Tri Geometrica is run by Robert Laing, a Glasgow based designer & maker of handmade and handcast geometric items made from concerete and Jesmonite. You can find our current range of jewellery and planters on our online store. We also offer commission work for cafe’s, bars and weddings. Custom cast jewellery is also available. Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The following interview took place in March 2017 as part of Handmade Candle Co.’s ‘Meet the Maker’ series and provides a little insight into our processes and inspiration.
MARCH MEET THE MAKER: TRI GEOMETRICA
For our March collab in aid of ‘March Meet the Maker’ we teamed up with Robert Laing, the face behind the brand Tri Geometrica to find out more about his work. Robert is a designer currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Robert trained in Visual Communication at Glasgow School of Art and graduated in 2005 but only recently started his own business, Tri Geometrica, in 2016. Setting up Tri Geometrica was a bit of a sidestep in terms of discipline for Robert as it brings in a three dimensional sculptural element but the process maintains many problem solving skills which he developed as a designer over the years.
How did you get into sculpture and concrete molding?
When my partner and I bought our flat we spent a lot of time renovating it before we moved it. When it came to accessorising we really wanted some concrete planters to match the style – greys and geometric shapes. We couldn’t find anywhere in Scotland who made exactly what we wanted. There were a few companies in the US but shipping was really expensive. I decided that I would try and make my own which allowed me to create a one off unique piece. Once I had created my first planter I kept looking at it and thinking about other possibilities. Through considering other geometric shapes and experimenting with scale and height I got the bug and Tri Geometrica was born.
I have always been interested in brutalist and modernist architecture which uses concrete as its main building material. These pieces of architecture are hated by many but I’ve always been drawn to their angular geometry. Buildings such as the Giesel Library in San Diego by William Pereira are perfect examples of geometric perfection. More locally to me the Gillespie Kidd and Coia designed Cardross Seminary which, although it sits in ruins, is a fantastic concrete structure which I’ve visited a number times. It’s fun to be able to experient with concrete myself and I guess the pieces I create are mini homages to these brutalist examples of geometric architecture.
Generally I feel concrete as a material is much maligned. In part this is no doubt down to its use in unpopular 60’s and 70’s architecture which haven’t always stood the test of time. It is very versatile though. I really love the textures which can be achieved ranging from rough to highly polished. It provides a solid industrial feeling which is perfectly offset by the use of succulents and cacti in my planters which bring a natural contrast.
Does working with this material have limitations or cause issues within your work?
Concrete can be difficult to work with at times. I’m still getting used to making the perfect concrete mix and dealing with varying temperatures and curing times – it can be a bit of trial and error. I’m a bit of a perfectionist too so a few pieces have ended up in the bin!
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Experimentation. There are so many possibilities, combinations and products which can be created from this very basic material.. I’m looking into making further variations and items such as lighting and furniture. The versatility and unknown possibilities is what makes it fun. Generally I find the whole process intriguing in the sense that you can start with a powder, mix until it’s a liquid and finally end up with such a strong solid material – all within a week. It certainly gives you a sense of satisfaction that you have made something from nothing!