Harbinger foretells the future of concrete

Harbinger Showroom      Photo Credit: Curtis Speer

Harbinger Showroom      Photo Credit: Curtis Speer

Edmonton was just falling into the dark cold nights of winter, it was December, the year was 2012. On this particular night I was contently shaping sculptures and experimenting with techniques in my garage when I was distracted by an interesting request.

In 2012 I had just discovered Instagram and began posting some of my experimental work on there. This is how I first met Joe Lucas. He discovered us on Instagram and was wondering if we would sell our work in his showroom Harbinger, located in Los Angeles, California. I was blown away.

Harbinger Showroom Photo Credit: Karyn R Millet

Harbinger Showroom
Photo Credit: Karyn R Millet

At this point you might need to know a bit more about the city Concrete Cat lives in.  Edmonton is a heavily wooded city in the heart of “Oil Country” Alberta, Canada. Our city is industrial, utilitarian, and conservative both in aesthetic and buying habits. The overwhelming response from my beloved mentors in the construction and architecture industries was that my “experiments” didn’t look enough like traditional concrete. They would tell me, “Client’s want concrete to look rough and rugged. They want square shapes, and they definitely don’t want colour!” I chose to ignore their advice and what began as a small stock pile in the corner of my garage soon accumulated into a large collection over a two year period. Eventually I had to crush and recycle much of my early work to stop my storage from encroaching on my limited studio space.

Faced with this underwhelming response to my work it was shocking to have a prolific designer from LA contact us to carry our work in his shop. I had been working in a bubble for so long I hadn’t realized what I was doing could be for anyone but myself. I make things for myself first so I was amazed to connect with someone who shared my sensibilities. Over the next 2 days we put together a sample collection and shipped it to LA and then we we sent another and another. Since that snowy winter night many more amazing retail locations across the US (and even a handful in Canada) have started carrying Concrete Cat but it all started with Joe Lucas and the amazing team at Harbinger.

We are eternally grateful to Harbinger and the vision of Joe Lucas for giving us an opportunity and encouragement at a time when we really needed it. Thank you!


Joe was gracious enough to answer some of our questions about Harbinger and design.

Joe Lucas of Harbinger LA    Photo Credit: Karyn R Millet

Joe Lucas of Harbinger LA   
Photo Credit: Karyn R Millet

Describe Harbinger.
[Joe Lucas] Harbinger is my 5000sqft multiline showroom to the design trade. I carry over 50 lines of fabric, wallpaper, lighting, furniture and carpets along with small creative lines of decorative accessories. We are in the heart of Los Angeles’ famed La Cienega Design Quarter.

What are a few essential qualities of a well designed space or object?
[Joe Lucas] For me it is all about layers and a story. Adding the layered eclectic look to a home is essential and the more of a story each piece has the better.

What are you excited about today?  
[Joe Lucas] We are expanding the showroom and adding another 1000sqft over the summer including new partnerships with leading companies like Merida Studio, Fromental Wallpapers and Lance Wovens.

What’s your favourite space to design? Why?
[Joe Lucas] I am known for a more traditional east coast look mixed with a California relaxed sensibility so I always love a great house by the water.

What country/city do you find the most inspirational for interiors? Why?
[Joe Lucas] I am a sucker for Amsterdam but I think Paris will always win this category.

Harbinger LA
Harbinger Showroom Photo Credit: Curtis Speer

Harbinger Showroom
Photo Credit: Curtis Speer