aestheticsIssue 13

Inspiring Spaces

Flying Turtle Cast Concrete Showcase Home

Mat Rogers is having a love affair with concrete.To hear the Designer, Owner and Chief Craftsman of Flying Turtle talk about the material he’s made famous with his exquisite installations—15-footlong white counters with slot drain sinks integrated right into the design, loam-colored kitchen islands with inlaid gems and leaf imprints that evoke the lively, earthy feel of a creek bed—you’d never guess he was talking about the same substance that makes up the standard sidewalk.

For people like me who have never heard of concrete as a luxury building material, Rogers is more than happy to offer enlightenment. “It’s a medium that’s incredibly versatile. It will take on the subtlety of a feather,” he says, miming the action of placing a feather into wet concrete. “It has all of the imprinting characteristics of fine plaster of Paris, but you can also get it to almost any color—as red as a Ferrari or as yellow as a lemon.”

Rogers designed and crafted his showcase home in the heart of Modesto’s quiet Enslen neighborhood to demonstrate his medium’s versatility, and boy does it. In a sense, Rogers’ creation is the Ferrari of home design: sleek, luxurious and—dare I say it—sexy. He tells me that unlike granite, which has a shiny, speckled harshness to it, concrete takes on a gentle, human feel. And he’s right. When I run my fingers over the surfaces in the Flying Turtle Showcase Home, be they the ammonite-inlaid slate grey counters or the show-stopping center fireplace dividing the dining room from the living room, I’m struck by how supple they are. “Concrete has a feel almost like fabric, even though it’s hard,” Rogers says. “People really pick up on that. They like the even, soft quality.”


DK: How would you describe your style?
MR: I would say I tend to prefer more clean, contemporary design. Something elemental and simple.

DK: Where do you find inspiration?
MR: It comes through meditation. I’m always engaged in a process that is re-inspecting and clearing out and looking at reality through many different lenses. That work is incredibly clarifying and empowering and it allows for inspiration to emerge, to appear.

DK: What are the benefits of good design?
MR: There’s a quality of presence that can be communicated by a well-designed, well-executed project. Well-designed spaces do arrest people in a certain way. They provide something that is unseen, that’s maybe indescribable, but it’s undeniable. Whether it’s through mundanely attending to details or just coming up with beautiful juxtapositions of materials, you should do so in a way that brings out the beauty in each material. It’s often a process of eliminating rather than putting things in.

DK: What’s your best advice for people looking to update their space?
MR: To be honest, I think people are better off talking to design professionals. Find one that you like, even if it means just paying them for consulting – you don’t have to necessarily buy off on them doing your entire project, but to consult with you, I think that’s worthwhile.


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