Artisan and craftsman, Jon Nasvik formed Cliffhangers 20 years ago to create functional and decorative uses for concrete, a medium he finds ideal for artistic experimentation. As more and more people recognize the benefits of concrete as a fireproof material and its green applications, as well as its role as a cornerstone material for modern design, concrete has moved to the forefront of building materials. Since he is one of the Wood River Valley’s expert on the uses of concrete, Western Home Journal thought it was time to check in with Jon Nasvik to see if it is business as usual.
It appears that it is decidedly not business as usual, and the interest in concrete is stirring up change. “Keeping up with the requests of clients has always been a challenge for my business,” recounts Jon. “Design concepts seem to endlessly evolve and change, often aided by trends publicized through popular media tools. I am often amazed by the creative new directions that I see the building industry going today. Perhaps 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. Interestingly enough, many of the folks who call me these days are specifically looking to exploit the unique abilities of concrete. Where I am used to getting calls that ask ‘what can you do?’ now I often get ‘here’s what I want.’”
“I used to amaze people with colored textured concrete paving and simulated rock formations that would be difficult to distinguish from what I was mimicking,” Jon continues. “And even though these are still viable products that I can provide, architectural items like countertops, sinks, fireplaces and interior floors were what clients seemed to prefer and marvel over. The idea that concrete could do so much with color and texture, take any shape, and fulfill so many functional purposes amazed people.”
Are they still amazed? “Not so much anymore,” Jon says. These days more and more clients know what is possible and what they want, and that’s a good thing because the clearer a client is about what is required the easier it is for me to give them what they’re after.”
The fireplaces pictured here are entirely constructed of concrete and resulted from a clients need for an historic effect that would have originally been done with wood, if not for common sense and current building codes requiring the use of an inflammable building material. This gave me the great opportunity to bring history and modern times together. What is the difference? It is clients as the source of new inspirations and challenges. “Aside from concrete as a resource for my business, 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. 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 the endless possibilities presented by its clients.
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