Cement for bling

By Pujanee Galappaththi

We are about to show you how beautiful and malleable cement can be. Concrete beats wood as a construction material; it is known for its versatility, durability, and sustainability. This week, The Sunday Morning Brunch spoke to someone determined to look at cement beyond its obvious use as a raw material for building houses to the possibility of accessorising it.

GeoBlox was founded by Kanil G. Dias Abeygunawardene and is a lifestyle brand that offers coasters, ashtrays, word planks (ornaments), cement pots, small tables, etc. made out of cement. All items available at GeoBlox are made out of cement, or of wood or metal with a cement structure.

“Most modern homes are minimalistic and I believe cement adds some personality to it and gives it a unique touch. Let’s not forget that cement is also extremely durable and sturdy and will never go out of style,” said Dias Abeygunawardene.

GeoBlox functions as an online store through Instagram and Facebook. However, you may also find their items at Pendi.

Dias Abeygunawardene is a team of one and manages GeoBlox with his full-time day job. Each item is made with a lot of love and care and is delivered to your doorstep by Dias Abeygunawardene himself. He is planning on expanding to include more lifestyle products like stools, lamps, coffee tables, etc.

Speaking of the beginning of his business, Dias Abeygunawardene stated that cement design was initially a calming pastime for him. “I started experimenting with it. I liked its texture and enjoyed playing about with it. Initially, I would just throw away the things I make or gift it to my friends. I started selling them because a friend of mine convinced me it will make a niche market. I gave it a shot and it worked out great.”

GeoBlox is named after “geometrical blocks”, as hexangular pots were some of the first things that were offered by GeoBlox.

Dias Abeygunawardene drives inspiration from his customers. “Generally, when making a design, there is a lot of research involved and since I make a lot of customised products, I base my products on the vision of my clients,” he shared.

When asked about his clientele, Dias Abeygunawardene stated that he has a mixture of clients ranging from aesthetic coffee stops in Colombo to designers, lifestyle enthusiasts, and youngsters. “I believe the appeal comes from the versatility of cement; unlike ceramic, it doesn’t have to be made perfect, it can remain rugged.

Unknowingly, people see a lot of cement and concrete every day and they don’t realise cement can make smaller objects with which one can embellish a house.”

Speaking of his creative process, Dias Abeygunawardene said: “When coming up with a design, after a whole lot of research, I come up with a design and I think about how it will turn out overnight before making the mould. The mould must be made in a manner in which the final product is reflected. As concrete can only be poured, this is a tricky process. We call this the ‘negative mould’. This includes 80% of the work.

“The process of making an item takes at least up to seven days. Most of this time is spent on curing the cement. After it is taken out of the mould, it either turns out just the way I wanted or it is a total failure. Then I try again until it is perfect.”

To get customised items from GeoBlox, you can reach Dias Abeygunawardene via Instagram, Facebook, or WhatsApp (mentioned on his Instagram bio) and discuss your design with him. “The most important thing when customising is to give the client what they ordered. The usual process includes getting a picture or a description of what the design should look like from my clients. Then, I make an illustrated drawing based on this and show the client. If there are any alterations, I do it and get the confirmation before making the mould,” he added.

The most popular items sold at GeoBlox are coasters and word planks. “They are perfect to mark a special occasion such as your wedding or to gift to a loved one.

Something I like to say is that I help cement your love.”

GeoBlox offers a wide range of delightful options to light up a modern home.

We asked Dias Abeygunawardene to give us three tips on how to accessorise your home with Geoblocks. Here’s what he said:

1 You can spruce up your coffee table with our hexangular pots and cement pots with cacti. Succulents are very in, so we offer this little treat for the artistic souls.

2 Beautify your dining table with our coasters. This is very much in demand and always gives that hip look to your home.

3 Make a statement with our word planks. You can basically add anything into our word planks. Try to have fun with it.