ARCHITECT Harley Danker brilliantly took what he learned about the design of buildings and homes, and integrated those ideas into creating something close to his heart, but on a much smaller scale – designing and creating beautiful plant pots, keychains and other handmade products.
Danker incorporates architecture design elements, created with similar materials like concrete and cement, used in the construction of a building.
“I have been fascinated by product design ever since I was studying architecture,” said 28-year-old Danker, who founded Concrete Dezign to produce his creative ideas.
Inspired by urban architecture, he incorporated architectural design (concepts), including brutalist and minimalist design approaches, into making the products such as name card holders, phone stands, lamp stands and tealight holders.
Brutalist designs often showcase raw concrete and rough and unfinished surfaces in architectural design, a trend that emerged in the 1950s in Britain. Meanwhile, minimalist design is simple, uncluttered and accentuates the features of a structure.
Although brutalism and minimalist design are also concepts used in art, Danker’s bespoke pottery is aesthetically pleasing with refined structures.
Danker focuses on form, shape, texture and colours, with the intention to create a profound product that encourages interaction between humans and nature.
His design products are modern, stunning and have a sophisticated feel to them.
Through the products, Danker hopes to convince people of the significant value of everyday materials.
“Concrete or cement isn’t just a piece of material, instead it inspires us to live life, meaningfully,” he said.
Between concrete or cement
“Concrete and cement have a beautiful imperfection and porous texture that makes it aesthetic,” said Danker, who coats the products with clear matte finish paint to give it a fresh and edgy look.
Recently, he launched leaf themed keychains, which are illustrated and hand-painted by him and available at www.concretedezign.com.
“I thought of expanding to other products as I have expertise in graphic design, as well,” he said.
Key chain prices begin from RM20, while the concrete products range from RM10 to RM150.
It all started when …
“I stumbled across a few concrete pots at the plant nursery,” he explained. “I was intrigued by the shape and texture. I began to search for more inspiration. I was enlightened to find a few start-ups in Behance and Instagram, which pushed my ideas further.”
At first, he made a small vessel pot and a flat tray. “I remember sharing my first photo on Instagram. I was in disbelief when (many) followers started to join my page,” said Danker.
“I took the chance to start my online business and venture into the local market.
“My business was noticed, especially when I began showcasing the products at bazaars. I received tons of positive feedback from customers. Some came back to purchase more. Finally, I began to experience the taste of being an entrepreneur.”
The digital shift
His online business was launched during the Movement Control Order (MCO) this year.
“The MCO period gave me the opportunity to focus on launching my own website. The web launch took place on April 29. I realised it is very convenient for my customers to shop online,” he said.
Initially, Danker, who first began making the items in 2018, had sold exclusively through catalogues.
Reminiscing upon his struggles before the business flourished, Danker said: “I never stopped believing in myself, that I could take this business further and beyond.
“Currently, I have a large number of plant hobbyists and art collectors who are my customers.”