Kast Concrete Basins: Concrete Action
Tim Bayes was in college, at the University of Westminster in London, when he first became enthralled by malleable concrete, a material he describes as “fascinating and unique.” As he explains, “It starts out life as a liquid and combines the organic characteristics of natural stone with the ability to be cast into any shape. It also has a contemporary context that other stone materials don’t have.”
Raised in Switzerland, where there is an abundance of architectural concrete fashioned into various permutations on display, Bayes was drawn to the material’s purity and versatility, and it showed him “the potential of its limitless nature in terms of product design,” he recalls.
This awakening compelled Bayes to launch Lowinfo in 1998, where he designed and fabricated a range of concrete furniture and interior surfaces, and then translated that expertise to Kast Concrete Basins, the niche Nottingham, England-based company he founded in 2013. Specializing in designing, manufacturing, and distributing concrete washbasins and sinks, Kast marks the first-ever dedicated collection of its kind, growing from just a few concrete designs to a spectrum of different styles.
“I saw a gap in the market. When we started there was no one to follow and we have continued to innovate, pushing the boundaries of form, color, and material,” says Bayes, who also serves as Kast’s creative director.
Kast’s diverse line-up of basins is available in cheerful hues such as forest, mint, and blush—as well as calming, timeless ivory—that pop against patterned bathroom tiles and dark walls alike, and each one in the portfolio is united by a decidedly minimalist flair. “Many of my design values align with modernism, with an emphasis on functional design and clean lines,” Bayes points out.
There is the slim-edged countertop Arla, for instance, as well as Cero, melding a circular bowl with a generous vanity area. Texture is another Kast Basin hallmark, whether it’s the fluted, semi-circle Luna, the pinstriped Elm that re-interprets the traditional bucket sink, or the trough-like Iva, flaunting a corrugated surface.
For Bayes, it is experimentation that leads to generating ideas and solving problems. “I believe a tacit knowledge of materials and physical making skills underpin and elevate the design process,” he says. “It’s why our factory is also home to our design studio, as it means that any design that we conceive can be tested, refined, and made right here. We have full control and flexibility.”
At this year’s ICFF, Bayes planned to introduce a brand-new Kast collection, comprised of a bath, two basins, and a freestanding pedestal, but it is now on hold until later in the year. Kast is also developing an ongoing concept of concrete “counterparts.” Complementary additions like a vanity stand will ultimately create a more aesthetically integrated bathroom layout.
“The pandemic has been difficult in many ways, but it has allowed us as a team more time for thought, reflection, and planning,” says Bayes, noting how streamlining headquarters and forging a business strategy to navigate the new climate were among Kast’s areas of focus during the crisis. “Washing our hands has never been so important.”
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