Malcolm Gladwell in his book “The Tipping Point” talks about the phenomena that turns a small idea or little known product into a major trend that reaches around the world. Gladwell's description of how ideas grow include: stickiness (an idea that stays in your head), mavens who communicate the idea, connectors that spread the word, and finally the word-of-mouth communication that remain its trusted endorsement.
This year several of the best decorative concrete projects had their beginnings by word of mouth, through a connection at the World of Concrete in Las Vegas, or from people searching online. The projects and the products in North America reach into China and Poland. New ideas, proven products, and relationships drive the momentum mainstreaming decorative concrete everywhere.
“It's a tide that can't be held back,” says manufacturer Gary Jones, president, Colormaker Floors, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. “Calls come from people all over searching the Internet to find different products and their applications. Without the Internet, decorative concrete would stay regional.” Where people were cautious about the risk involved with new concepts, decorative concrete now is viewed as trustworthy and there is a great desire to have it. Wayne Sellon, co-owner, Tajmawall, Temecula, Calif., whose main goal was training the vertical application of decorative concrete, thought he would find resistance in Poland, but the opposite was true. “The people have a strong desire to move ahead, but on their own terms. Their desire is not to be western, but to explore their own culture with design and color used differently than in the West,” he says.
Word travels in the United States from a project that features airbrush artists whose work is epoxied onto a stained concrete floor. These nationally known artists reference their art permanently displayed in a Utah company's concrete floor. In Minnesota, a grocery store installed a polished concrete floor because the designer discovered the idea from Internet research and then recommended it to the owner. The same phenomena repeated when Ryan Reedy, a developer in Kalamazoo, learned more about decorative concrete online and expanded its use at his hot spot nightclub Wild Bull. Manufacturer Clyde T Cobb, president, Specialty Concrete Products, Columbia, S.C., built a relationship and trust with Billy Law, owner of the Chinese company Ziaping, who spearheaded the liaison to the impressive Venetian Macau Casino project. Cobb says the philosophy he took with him to China was, “Whatever was needed for the project, we would be there and do it!”
The idea of decorative concrete sticks with you. The “here to stay” message that combines beauty with the utility of concrete travels by example, through the Internet, at expos such as World of Concrete, in trade publications, and in the best way possible—when one person tells the next and the next about great products and wonderful projects.
Learn more about the winner of the 2007 Decorative Concrete Project of the year, The Venetian Macau Casino, Macau, China.
Learn more about this year's nominees:
Agora, Chicago, Ill.
Bob's Produce Ranch, Otsego, Minn.Wild Bull, Kalamazoo, Mich.
Wild Bull, Kalamazoo, Mich.
ASET (Automotive Spraying Equipment Technology), Salt Lake City, Utah
The Residence, Pszczyna, Poland