DECORATIVE CONCRETE STANDS THE TEST OF TIME
ARTISAN AND CRAFTSMAN, JON
NASVIK FORMED CLIFFHANGERS 25 YEARS AGO TO CREATE FUNCTIONAL AND DECORATIVE USES FOR CONCRETE, A MEDIUM HE FINDS IDEAL FOR ARTISTIC EXPERIMENTATION.
The Romans were the first to make extensive use of concrete, which enabled them to revolutionize architecture through their understanding of its strength and range, and these advancements still impact our building practices today. But even then they realized concrete’s potential as more than just structural.
Throughout concrete’s long and storied past there must have always been a temptation to play with this mud
like substance. How would you approach it, artistically, practically, or both.
Jon Nasvik, one of the Wood River Valley’s experts on “Decorative” concrete, says that the popularity of concrete is on the rise. About modern concrete capabilities and uses, Nasvik says, “The difference between then and now is how much better and capable the modern product is. Concrete can be applied as thin as paper or dozens of feet thick. Additives have enabled it to perform to highly specialized tasks. It can be waterproof or pervious, foamed much like shaving cream, hardened beyond that of granite; it can be modified to conduct low voltage electrical current and be programmed to even repair its own cracks. These days they make boats, and even a small remote-controlled airplane has successfully competed with more conventional RCs.”
“CONCRETE IS UNIQUE IN ITS ABILITY TO TAKE ON COLOR, TEXTURE AND ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES FOR SHAPES.”
For all that concrete can do, Cliffhangers, Inc. still leads the Sun Valley-area market in concrete application. Nasvik says, “Concrete is unique in its ability to take on color, texture and endless possibilities for shapes.” And looking at Nasvik’s portfolio, you can see that Cliffhangers has extensive experience putting it to a variety of uses. And he stays really busy. “Clients are so much more aware of what concrete can do these days,” says Nasvik. “Interestingly enough, many of the folks who call me are specifically looking to exploit the unique abilities of concrete. Where I’m used to getting calls that ask, ‘what can you do?’ Now, I often get, ‘here’s what I want.’”
Nasvik says it’s an exciting time to be in the decorative concrete business. “Creative new directions going on in the building industry today often amaze me. Perhaps,” he says, “it’s always been like that, but I can’t help thinking how affected we all are by modern technology and how this is changing the demands on my work.” And Nasvik has his clients to thank for the creative directions he has taken. He says, “My clients have been invaluable in bringing me to higher levels of achievement in my craft by simply asking for things I’ve never made before,” he said. “Now, with technology driving changes from all directions, concrete chemistry, design trends and local client preferences, I’m feeling some new and interesting challenges in the wind.”
Cliffhangers expects to move forward, the way it always has, by keeping up with the times, which in most cases means keeping up with endless possibilities presented by its clients as long as it involves “playing in the mud.”