Crackerjack Design Ideas

To quote Leonard Cohen, “There is a crack in everything … that’s how the light gets in.”

That’s how The Concretist’s Mike Miller views cracks. “Cracks aren’t a bad thing. It’s what concrete wants to do,” he says.

That’s why, rather than focusing on repairing cracks, he embraces them. He compares them to veins in marble and knots in wood. “Cracks give concrete its character,” he says.

Miller incorporates cracks into the decorative scheme of a concrete piece. He will grout a crack to expand it or fill the crack with bronze or brass powder.

“We don’t try to mimic geology, but we stylize things,” he says. For example, to create a rock strata look, Miller will spray a layer of dye, then use pieces of paper to create random edges, spraying with more of the same dye or a different colorant. The idea is to create visual textures. “Instead of only having cracks, we create a secondary layer that doesn’t necessarily follow the crack but complements it.”

While he allows that not all cracks are good cracks — “You don’t want anything that opens wide or can be tripped over” — most can be looked at positively, he says. “If you are going to get cracks, it’s better to turn them into something visually pleasing.”