Inspired by urban living, Eric Weil, sculptor and founder of Oso Industries in Brooklyn, and his team individually handcraft multifunctional furniture and architectural elements featuring concrete and other materials in clean, geometric forms.
In 1996 Weil graduated from Oberlin College where he studied sculpture. He also studied woodcarving in Ghana, where he got inspiration from traditional furniture design. After moving to New York City, he focused on this adaptable material. Tjos was after recognizing concrete’s untapped potential for use in design, In 2004, he founded Oso Industries. This is a design studio focusing on new applications of concrete for furniture and custom interior design.
Elevating concrete from its often-considered utilitarian status into beautiful, highly polished surfaces has been his focus ever since. Over the years, the design studio has continued to find new uses for concrete by coupling it with stainless steel, bronze, walnut and colored glass.
Starting with the Rollerboy in 2005, Oso Industries embraced the combination of mobility, multi-functionality and creative use of materials. In 2010, the Rollerboy was reintroduced with a cast concrete body, making it more solid, durable and also more suitable for outdoor use. It comes in eight standard sizes.
The introduction of expanded glass
Beginning in 2018, Oso started using Poraver expanded glass in many of its mixes. This included using it in all its cast furniture. “The addition of Poraver expanded glass in the Rollerboys has allowed for a 30% decrease in weight. Thus, it makes for a better product. It is also easier for the client to use and cuts down on the shipping costs,” says Weil. “The material doesn’t add much to the materials costs, as it replaces various sands in the mix.”
Alongside with being an integral part in Oso’s standard furniture pieces, the company also uses expanded glass it its backup mixes for precast countertops, sinks and other custom pieces of furniture.
“As a backup and filler material, it decreases the weight of the countertops, making for easier installations without sacrificing strength,” Weil says. Overall, he adds, Poraver has become an integral ingredient in the different concrete mixes Oso uses.
The company continues to develop new furniture applications with architectural elements. They also continue to develop new lightweight products such as concrete bowls, trays and other household items.