The edge of innovation

The leading edge of design will always be in the distance, a constant challenge most in the building industry find compelling. Designers want to innovate because their clients expect a wow factor in the finished product. Builders must make it happen, stretching to find subcontractors with the precise knowledge, skill, and equipment required to deliver the leading-edge innovation. For both designers and builders, keeping up with the curve is critical.

Architect Broussard Associates selected a combination of the Bomanite Sandscape Refined Antico finish in Bomanite Light Brown and three integral colors in a Bomanite Sandscape finish to get the cohesive yet varied look Northside Church members sought for the baptismal center.

“Architects are often looking for something new or unique, an answer to a problem. That’s where we excel,” says Bomanite Co. Director of Technical Services Terry Grimble. In high-performance, indoor or outdoor concrete surfaces, “Our goal is to be able to economically recreate all of the finishes we develop on a much larger scale, in a way that can be installed using tools and equipment common to the industry,” he adds.

With a 70-year history and 50 licensed, independent contractors across the U.S., Bomanite is recognized as the inventor of stamped concrete, exclusively establishing the techniques and market for premium, imprinted, decorative, and ornamental flatwork in the 1950s. The company takes pride in meticulous development of compositions and finishing processes that can be readily articulated in the field. Bearing in mind practicality for the builder, durability for the product, and high quality for the owner, Bomanite goes through as many as 50 iterations before finalizing the technical details of a new concrete surface offering. One recent development, the Antico process, yields fissures, voids, and other random effects simulating a semi-worn stone surface comparable to natural pitted limestone or a travertine tile.

When members of Northside Church in Clovis, Calif., decided to transform a plaza into a dynamic baptismal center, their primary goal was to create a place where people feel welcome and connected. “Decorative concrete is wonderfully flexible in terms of being able to create virtually any combination of color and texture and shape imaginable at a reasonable cost,” says Terry Broussard, who led landscape architecture services for the redeveloped space. “Bomanite’s products are a very viable solution for public spaces where design matters and ordinary broom finished concrete isn’t going to feel special.”

“Concrete isn’t paint,” quips Grimble. “There are a lot of variables, from the selected aggregate’s specific gravity and color influences to the ready-mix producer’s material composition.” Standardized and custom 3-in. square chips developed in Bomanite’s Denver laboratory allow architects, owners, and contractors to hold the real thing on a smaller scale, demonstrating clearly that design intent is understood. “These samples are basically a business card and we are heavily invested in controlling quality and confidence in the finished project,” affirms Grimble. “They are far more accurate than a color chart or product photograph could ever be.”

Sean O’Keefe writes built environment stories for Bomanite Co., Granite Bay, Calif., 303/369-1115,, and many others in the design and construction industry