February 6th, 2008

Artistry in Concrete

The World of Concrete is a HUGE show-full of testosterone and all things that testosterone infused beings like: Mega-large machinery, tools, big displays of bags of cement and the like. Tucked away out back of the three huge halls filled with this stuff is a small area dedicated to “Artistry in Concrete” where 10 people are selected to show their stuff on a 10′ x 10′ slab that is poured just for the occasion. For the last fours years Modello Designs has supported some participating artists with design and products and this year we were pleased to have our product used by a couple of lovely ladies!


Stevi Michner was there representing her Detroit-based decorative concrete company, Surface. She created a concrete sculpture of a kimono using overlays and colorants from Colormaker Floors and decorated it with a customized version of our EasPan 114 Plum Blossom tree.




My friend Nancy Jones from Artworks! Spokane (and a participant on our recent Italy trip) create this very cool tiger mural. She worked with Aaron on developing the artwork into a two-layer Modello that was used with custom-tinted SkimStone. She achieved the subtle shading and color variations by applying by both brush and trowel and adding in more hand-painting after the Modello pattern was removed. The only sad thing about this is that they jack-hammer these slabs up at the end of the show. I hope you got better pics than I Nancy and that you get to apply this somewhere with some more permanence!

January 22nd, 2008

A Man and His Machine

Seeing as how myself, Eric and Aaron are here in Las Vegas at the World of Concrete show I thought this would be an apropos time for this post. Aaron Knight is the go-to guy in the graphic department for our decorative concrete customers. With a fine art degree from Chico State he likes to utilize Adobe Illustrator vector art in many of his own studio projects. When it came time to contemplate what type of design to use on our concrete production room floor I gave Aaron the challenge of coming up with something that would be a little ”different”, reflect what happens in our company, and that would appeal more to men-our primary customers for decorative concrete. 

Tinguely Concept

Aaron was inspired by the work of Jean Tinguely and his scupltural machines and developed a working sketch for our floor after Tinguely’s work.

Modello Laid Out

This became a series of vector art, gears, screws, belts and other assorted ”parts”, that we worked into a “machine” that travels across our production room floor, much as our jobs flow through.

Modello with Spray Top

After many hours spent applying the various parts of the Modellos in proper order (see Aaron left) we had Ernie Archuleta (right) come and and spray Concrete Solutions Spray Top in a matter of minutes. This sprayable overlay is ideal for large-scale production as it lays down an even layer of colored concrete very quickly and we almost immediately were able to begin removing the vinyl.

Finished Modello

Some shots of various parts of the final machine.  Aaron is a man who puts alot of thought into his life and work and these were his thoughts for this project:

Machines are a refined process. This machine has been abstracted to suggest an openness to new ideas or methods. This site specific design is representative of the way I seen the different people who make up the business of Modello Designs. The design department feeds the machine with ideas. The gears turn in production to realize the idea of the designer. The finished patterns are then sent to the decorative artists who then apply their own unique twist. This machine was not meant to have one refined process, not condemned to a life spent stamping out fenders. This machine is an “idea” machine, capable of bringing together and realizing the ideas of many people.

January 7th, 2007

Many Thanks!

Continuing from the previous post-

I am happy to say that Modello Designs has grown into a successful, growing business. We started off slowly the first couple of years and were kind of learning and improvising as we went along. While there were a few companies, such as Say What, that had been cutting custom lettering from vinyl, no one had developed the idea of a business that would/could cut decorative patterns (either custom or from a catalog) from vinyl. In my initial research, all I could find as potential “business models” were some companies that cut designs for the etched glass industry and for concrete sandblasting.

Even though I thought Modellos were the best thing to come along since triple lattes, there was much more resistance than I expected at first, esp. to the “one-time-use” aspect. Thanks to the support, though, of the fabulous customer base I had from Royal Design Studio and many other close and supportive business associates in the decorative painting industry, Modello decorative masking patterns are now becoming an industry staple. BTW the word Modello translates in Italian to “pattern, or “I model”. Because it has become so commonly used and associated with the medium and application, we have just recently received notification that we have the official registration on the wordmark, as well as our logo!


While I have many people to thank for the success of the past three years, I have to put the great team of people that make up Modello Designs at the top of the list. We have such a dedicated and talented staff of people that work so well together I feel very blessed and thankful and appreciate the many customers who have gone out of their way to sing their praises to me!

From left to right: Elizabeth (custom design), Eric (operations manager), Aaron (graphics/customer service), Lauren (layout graphics, my creative assistant), Brandi (graphics/customer service), Dawn (graphics/customer service), Jerome (shipping/print manager), Tony (production manager) and Juan (production assistant)

I WOULD have liked to have gotten a good company photo at our recent Christmas wine tasting or Chargers tailgate party, but everyone was having a little too much fun to think about it :)