A Behind The Scenes Look in the Making of Cast

Written by Barkman Concrete Published on February 5th, 2017

We conducted an interview with our Product Development Team composed of Wayne Patram and Brad McGregor, to give you a behind-the-scenes look on how we came up with our new Cast planter.

Wayne, can you tell us the background on how this Cast product line came about? 

Wayne: The development of the Cast series was undertaken to address the product gap in our Site Furnishings offering. Our current offering is very polarized with Classic Precast making up the lower, budget friendly end of the spectrum and GFRC sitting at the premium end. However, we did not have any solutions in the middle that could provide a product that was both moderately-priced and aesthetically up-to-date with the current trends. Cast meets both of these needs, and Brad has done a fantastic job of designing products that are not only contemporary, but will also appeal to a large customer base and be suitable for a wide range of applications.

Brad, what was it like for you to work on this new planter line and what did the process look like?

Brad: Overall, it was a very good experience for me. It was my first opportunity to really see a project through from conception to completion. It gave me the chance to learn some new skills, and see what goes on “behind the scenes” as far as the finer details go. We also got to experiment with 3D printing on this project, which turned out to be a very valuable tool in the design process.

As far as the design process goes, it all starts with a concept. Basically, setting the rough guidelines for the final product, and that sets the tone for the rest of the way. The process is iterative, so it’s a cycle of producing some work, receiving feedback and suggestions, and taking those suggestions into account for the next stage in the design. The changes could be very small from step to step, but it leads to a more complete final product.

Wayne, what has been the feedback in the market about this new line?

Wayne: Cast has had a very positive response so far. We premiered all three designs at Landscape Ontario this year and the response, particularly from the municipalities, has been quite strong. Attendees appreciated the “concrete” visual appeal of the product, the durability, and that it is priced in a range that can work within their budgets. It will be exciting to see how this series grows over the course of the next couple of years.

Brad, what were the design challenges you faced along the way and how did you overcome them?

Brad: I think the biggest challenge we faced along the way was deciding on a shape.  With concrete, we have the ability to create almost any form you can imagine. The difficult part is deciding what shape best speaks to what we are trying to show in the product. 3D modelling and printing played a large part in overcoming this as it gave us a chance to get our hands and eyes on a product without having to produce a real product. It allowed us to see more options that could potentially be used towards the final design.

The molds also present some challenges. While the shape of the planters look simple, the design of the molds needed to be quite complex to produce this. There are multiple curves going in different directions so that’s where we encountered our issues. Thankfully Del Zotto could work with us and deliver a solution to our problem in the end.

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