Oliver Whyte’s Core Collection

WORDS Michaela Stehr

Ross Robertson, the designer behind multidisciplinary studio Oliver Whyte, made use of discarded construction concrete to create one-off tables for his Core collection.

“In a way, it was by chance that I chose concrete,” explains Ross. “I found a concrete core on my building site that had been left behind by the core drilling company. It’s the waste by-product and they pay money to have it dumped. I took it home and it sat in my entrance hall for two years before I got the idea for the collection. I actually started prototyping with wood and had a collection called The Sticks but it never made the cut.”

As Ross describes the intricate process behind making his pieces, it’s clear where he came up with the name for the collection. “Each piece starts the same way, with mixing batches of concrete and pouring it into a big box which gets left to cure. The concrete block then gets core drilled, which creates a long cylindrical shape of concrete, and that is then shaped by a grinder and polished.

“Each core undergoes at least 14 hours of polishing using various machines to achieve a granite-smooth finish. The process turns the concrete from a very dirty light grey into a dark, almost wet-looking shade of grey that also makes all the aggregate stone ‘pop’.”

“I work closely with a core drilling company and we are always looking to reuse special cores that come back from unique locations, like a heritage building where the concrete would be close to 100 years old. The stone aggregate would probably have been river stone and it yields a very different look and feel.”

See more at oliverwhytestudio.com.