This week, we spoke with Jordan Castro, designer of our concreteware products.
How did you get into Upcycling?
I used to own a concrete casting business that primarily worked with architectural objects and countertops. When the economy took a hit, I had to close my business. I ended up landing on my feet at a company that fabricated granite and marble (primarily countertops). I had noticed that when our shop was fabricating stone with their diamond tooling, they created a lot of very fine dust, which was then transferred to a filtration system, where it was formed into cakes and then disposed of.
Having my background and familiarity with concrete mix formulations, I realized that this very fine particulate would make a great aggregate addition to a very fine and dense concrete that might be able to be used to make smaller, more detailed products. To this day, this very fine particulate constitutes the majority of our unique concrete blend.
I immediately started working nights and weekends developing the Culinarium product line. I started by offering some products on Etsy and, very fortunately, we were able to sell enough of our products that I was able to leave my job and devote all of my time to Culinarium!
How did you get involved with Hipcycle?
We actually were chosen as one of the "Emerging Designers of 2012" at the New York International Gift Fair. This distinction essentially gives small producers a chance to showcase their wares in a small booth which is offered at a very low price to small businesses like us who are just starting out. While I was at my booth, I recall a woman who approached our booth and had expressed an interest in our product. She explained how she represented Hipcycle and she took some of our information. A couple weeks later Andrew got in touch with me, and I am glad to report that we have been working together ever since!
How do you create your products?
We start by mixing our proprietary blend of cement, sand, and stone dust. I then pour our mix into molds which I create in my machine shop. The molds are vibrated at different frequencies and then cured in a vacuum chamber for about a week in order to create a dense formulation.
After removing everything from the molds, we then allow an additional 3 or 4 days of curing time. Next, we diamond polish all of our products by hand.
The last step in our process involves sealing our products. All of the products that we produce that come in contact with food (like the cellars and shakers) are sealed with an FDA approved sealer, while the products that we sell that do not come in contact with food (like our coasters) are sealed with carnauba wax.
If you like our Upcycling Posts become a Hipcycle Insider! Sign up here:
Evan Hopkins is one of Hipcycle's fantastic interns, and a general writer of fantastic things. When he isn't encouraging green living through his writing, he enjoys going on adventures, swimming, and being awesome.