Meet The Founders Of Concrete Nation – The Latest Concrete Craze To Hit New Zealand
Concrete Nation has arrived in New Zealand and it has interior designers, architects and home owners buzzing. The versatility these colourful concrete basins and baths provide New Zealand bathrooms is really exciting.
Concrete Nation is so unique to other basin and bath products on the market in New Zealand. Such a gorgeous range of organic, natural soft colours are available which really suits the New Zealand interior palette we see coming through.
Plumbline, one of New Zealand’s fastest growing innovative bathroom providers, has built on its existing portfolio of unique, high quality international brands by bringing Australian made Concrete Nation to New Zealand.
Meticulously handcrafted in Burleigh Heads, Queensland, Concrete Nation is a collective of artisans, craftsmen and innovators who create custom-crafted, bespoke, architectural concrete works of art.
Jason and Kate Lett are the creative and talented husband-and-wife team behind Concrete Nation. They first met in Kate’s home country of the United States where New Zealand native Jason was playing rugby union and working for a builder. They share with us their story of how their concrete craze began.
Concrete Nation was born from a small storage shed back in 2013, tell us about the lead up to its birth.
When we moved to Australia in late 2011, we knew we wanted to start a bespoke concrete business. While we were settling in, Jason started dabbling in it, doing some benchtops and vanities for friends, just to get started. It really was a slow progression, learning not only how to run a business but also how to work together, working to each other’s strengths.
Tell us about the design and build workshop that Jason completed in the USA?
The course that Jason took at Yestermorrow focused on polished concrete benchtops. It was not a very complete course but it taught him all of the basics when it comes to fibreglass reinforced concrete. From there it has just been years of playing with mixes, finishes, colours and so on, to get to where we are now.
Jason loved that the possibilities were endless with concrete, with very little limitations. He also saw a void in the marketplace for it. Back in 2010, there was very limited concrete out there.
How did you arrive at using concrete in bathrooms and kitchens?
The course at Yestermorrow focussed mostly on kitchen benchtops but once Jason realised he could apply the same concept to bathrooms, that’s when he really started getting creative. We first started doing vanity tops with integrated sinks, and then came up with the idea for trying to make it into a basin. When Jason learned more about mould making, we were able to do the more custom shapes that we have today.
Where do you get your inspiration for colours and styles?
When it comes to our colours, we try not to follow trends but rather think about what colours would look beautiful in concrete. Coming from 10 years of working in the fashion design industry, colour selection is second nature to me. It is just an emotional response, that’s when we know we have found our next colour. Since concrete is a natural material, we try to focus mostly on the colours of nature.
What has been your most popular concrete vessel basin colour in Australia?
Because colour is so personal, offering a broad range of colours allows us to appeal to lots of different people with different styles. Our most popular colour for basins right now would be our Dusty Pink. However, every month, a new colour seems to take over for a bit.
How do you juggle family life and running a business?
Every day is a balancing act, making sure we are giving enough time to our kids, our business, and each other. It is really hard not to bring the stress of running a business home, but I try and switch off when I am with our girls. Jason and I are both really passionate about what we are doing, so often times when the kids go to bed, that is our time to brainstorm and chat about what’s happening.
Are there clearly defined roles and responsibilities between you and Jason?
We learned very early on that having clearly defined roles was important for our business and our relationship. We looked at our strengths and weaknesses and built our roles from there. Jason manages the manufacturing side of things and I manage more the business side of things. We both love the creative aspect of what we do so we always brainstorm designs and concepts together.
What emerging bathroom design trends are you noticing in Australia?
Concrete and colour! The demand for both has increased so much over the years. We are seeing so many people not afraid of using colour in their bathrooms. Also, people are gravitating towards natural products. They are looking to make statements in their bathrooms and concrete is the perfect product to do that.
The Concrete Nation collection can be viewed at Plumbline showrooms (Newmarket, Auckland and Grenada Village, Wellington), online at plumbline.co.nz and is available from all leading bathroom showrooms throughout New Zealand.