Lighting Design Week

With minimal material thickness, the inLight concrete pendant luminaire – ingrau’s latest creation – achieves maximum impact.

The inLight concrete pendant lamp by ingrau is truly handcrafted: each lamp is individually cast, machined and connected to the luminaire body as a unique piece

A concrete answer: Ingrau | News

The inLight concrete pendant lamp by ingrau is truly handcrafted: each lamp is individually cast, machined and connected to the luminaire body as a unique piece

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Concrete has played a pivotal role in human history – whether as a mortar compound in the times of antiquity or as the favoured building material of the Industrial Revolution; as external architectural embellishments at the end of the 19th century or in the interiors of the 1950s through Le Corbusier's promotion of exposed concrete. Yet the true potential of this material has remained concealed for nearly 10,000 years.

At the end of the 1980s, when concrete designer Jens Maaßen was born, no one could have anticipated the hype that would surround this cool, grey material. Maybe it's just a coincidence that his own biography is closely interwoven with the triumph of concrete itself. Or perhaps not. At the age of 13, he started working part-time in a company where he became professionally involved with concrete. After an apprenticeship as a bricklayer, he returned to the company and rose to the position of production manager.

the dimming function of inLight by ingrau makes the concrete pendant luminaire super-versatile: above the dining table, as a desk lamp or kitchen luminaire

A concrete answer: Ingrau | News

the dimming function of inLight by ingrau makes the concrete pendant luminaire super-versatile: above the dining table, as a desk lamp or kitchen luminaire

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Concrete fascinated Jens Maaßen so much that he eventually trained to become a qualified master concrete and terrazzo maker. Simultaneously, the building material became fashionable: for home accessories and furniture and even for kitchen fronts and chain pendants. But, true to its nature, the material in all its forms continues, above all, to emphasise strength and monumentality. Its quality is its coarseness.


True to its nature, concrete in all its forms, above all, emphasises strength and monumentality. Its quality is its coarseness


With his own company ingrau, which he founded in 2018, Maaßen is now setting out to soften the image of concrete: his latest design, the concrete pendant luminaire InLight, shows how filigree concrete can be. The walls of the luminaire are extremely thin – less than 5 mm – and the overall dimensions are surprisingly delicate for the material, without the concrete losing any of its impressive impact in the space.

The idea for the design came to Maaßen when a designer friend said that his work always appeared very masculine. This was not a criticism, more an observation, and yet Maaßen could not let go of the idea. As the greatest possible contrast between material and object, he developed the design for this seemingly floating luminaire – unique for its slender measurements.

the reception desk in the INDIGO hotel in Berlin really catches the attention. The unusual ingrau design of this commissioned work fits perfectly into the modern style of the lobby

A concrete answer: Ingrau | News

the reception desk in the INDIGO hotel in Berlin really catches the attention. The unusual ingrau design of this commissioned work fits perfectly into the modern style of the lobby

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For the production, he experimented intensively with the mixing ratios of the concrete. It was essential that the self-compacting concrete be extremely smooth, robust even with its thin walls, as well as self-ventilating. Developing the perfect recipe, however, was not the only challenge that required a lot of time to overcome – even though it is now serially produced, the manufacturing process still demands expert know-how and craftsmanship.

Maaßen has combined the unusual luminaire model, which is available in lengths between 1m and 1.75m, with modern LED technology hidden in the concrete form. This makes it possible to switch the InLight on and off and dim it remotely. The combination of modern technology and innovative design brought InLight a nomination for the German Design Award and an award at the Iconic Awards 2020 in the Innovative Interior Design category.

in the creation of the fire table, concrete proves itself superior as a material: it remains cool and clear in design, no matter how high or hot the flames

A concrete answer: Ingrau | News

in the creation of the fire table, concrete proves itself superior as a material: it remains cool and clear in design, no matter how high or hot the flames

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It took a total of one and a half years for the luminaire to meet Maaßen's own exacting standards. Giving up was not an option. Not because the designer is obsessively ambitious, but rather because nothing made of concrete seems impossible to him. From the first kitchen worktop he designed for an acquaintance before he became self-employed to the furniture he recently developed for the INDIGO Hotel in Berlin, all his handcrafted one-offs have an unusual approach...


And Maaßen will continue setting news standards because, for him, the full story of concrete has yet to be told


Whether an eye-catching counter that seems cut out of stone, a side table supporting a wooden counterpart, impressive fire tables, sinks, window sills, vases, candleholders, nameplates and much more: Maaßen is a master of concrete and brings it into every conceivable form, even fulfilling complicated requests from architects and designers, whether indoors or outdoors, small-scale or enormous. Rarely easy, but always worth the effort.

In his workshop in the Geman town of Vreden near the Dutch border, Maaßen is currently developing additional colours for InLight, which he has so far offered in grey and anthracite. Soon, the design will also shine in different shades of grey. And this is just the beginning of the luminaire theme at ingrau, with the designer also currently working on a new family of wall lamps.

ingrau’s ‘Gears Table’ commission clearly show how well concrete can be combined with other materials such as metal, glass or wood, while also demonstrating Jens Maassen’s skill in fulfilling off-standard work

A concrete answer: Ingrau | News

ingrau’s ‘Gears Table’ commission clearly show how well concrete can be combined with other materials such as metal, glass or wood, while also demonstrating Jens Maassen’s skill in fulfilling off-standard work

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These models aren't intended as a simple continuation of the InLight design, though. The two to three variants will provide even more variety to the ingrau range and, in their own way, once again explore the possibilities of concrete. And Maaßen will continue setting news standards because, for him, the full story of concrete has yet to be told.

© Architonic

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