If you weren't looking for it, you’d probably never find it.
It’s tucked away down a side street off one of the busiest streets in Melbourne.
It has an unassuming yellow brick Art Deco façade, and you can only find what’s inside by finding the electric blue door.
Two mates, over 18 months, pumped in thousands of dollars to create a revolutionary product that has finally come together at 27 Dover St, Richmond.
I’m greeted at the door by a little wagging tail. “That’s Wiggles,” says Paul, referring to the gorgeous sandy coloured dog. “She’ll try and get a pat off anyone!”
- Above image, the gorgeous Wiggles
Stepping through that electric blue door with Wiggles by my side, I’ve found a world first; Polished Concrete Veneer.
The brainchild of Paul Lawrence and Tony Wratten, Pangaea Polished Concrete Veneer looks like traditional polished concrete but is a 10mm concrete overlay.
- Image above, Paul Lawrence on left and business partner Tony Wratten.
“About 18 months ago, through lots of trial and error we got the design of our Polished Concrete Veneer right” says Tony.
“It actually exceeded our expectations”.
What Paul and Tony created actually surprised all those involved.
“It all started with an idea. If you could make concrete benchtops that are thin, why couldn’t you do the same thing on the floor?” muses Tony.
The main aim for Paul and Tony was to create a thin concrete overlay, no thicker than 10mm that could easily adjoin to existing floors, and be easily installed over an existing timber or concrete floor.
The boys created many different versions of their modified concrete flooring, but it didn’t work. And it didn’t work for a long time.
“When we thought we hit a dead end with this concept, we went overseas to America” says Tony.
“It’s the home of polished concrete. The Americans are mad for it; they have associations and federations and everything!”
Tony and Paul wanted to see if anyone in America had a similar concept to them, to see if what they were striving to create was actually possible.
And no one had it.
“We went to this exhibition called World of Concrete; the show was 10 times bigger than the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, and still nobody had it” Tony says.
The boys came back from America and simply persevered with their idea.
There had to be a way to create a concrete floor without needing a minimum of 50mm to put down.
“We finally created a mixed design that could be laid down thinly and easily, unlike traditional polished concrete floors which are thick, heavy and messy” says Paul.
- Image above, the colour ranges available for the Pangaea Polished Concrete Veneer.
Paul is the Sales and Business Development Manager of Panagea with over 30 years’ experience in the building and construction industries.
Tony is the flooring specialist and takes care of the Marketing and Product Development side of the Polished Concrete Veneer business.
Tony and Paul, with Wiggles in tow, show me the fruit of their labour in their Richmond showroom.
A brand new polished concrete floor has just been installed, in a range of different colours. It’s mind-blowing to think that just two hours ago, the guys put the floor down and I can already walk on it.
“We’re just giving it a bit of a polish, but realistically we like to buff it to the point where it becomes shiny on its own” Tony says.
Pangaea Polished Concrete Veneer doesn't require you to move out of your home when it’s installed, because it dries so quickly.
When you buy engineered timber floorboards, you know that the sample will look the same as the finished product, however hardwood timber floorboards will have natural characteristics and variations in each plank of wood because it is an all-natural product.
This same philosophy can be applied to Paul and Tony’s Polished Concrete Veneer. “What you see is exactly what you’re going to get” Paul says, showing me two samples of Panagea Polished Concrete Veneer that are identical. And that’s part of the beauty of this Polished Concrete Veneer.
“If you damage our polished concrete veneer flooring, it’s repairable; it’s an invisible mend and you could do it different times over its lifespan and it would still match” Paul says.
"With polished concrete, you can’t lay it under 50mm and you can only patch it up; you won’t know what that patch is going to look like and if it will blend in”
The introduction of Pangaea Polished Concrete Veneer is coming at the perfect time, as the popularity of polished concrete floors takes off in Australia.
- Image above, Pangaea Polished Concrete Venneer looks spectacular in this kitchen fit-out.
So unique and popular is Pangaea Polished Concrete Veneer, it will appear on the upcoming season of The Block on Channel 9.
“It’s easy cleaning, it’s not high maintenance and it’s cheaper than tiles” Paul says.
All you need to keep your polished concrete veneer floor looking fresh is a weekly steam mop.
And every 3-4 months a good buff will keep your floor looking shiny and brand new.
Tony is extremely proud that Pangaea Polished Concrete Veneer is the only product of its kind that incorporates Ultra-Fresh™ during its manufacturing stage.
“It’s an anti-microbial product that stops bacteria and mould from growing”.
This makes Pangaea Polished Concrete Veneer perfectly suited to wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.
And there are no grout lines which makes it a perfect alternative to tiles.
So where to next for Pangaea Floors?
“We actually named our company after the ancient Greek word Pangaea; Pan means “entire” and gea means “earth”. We want to take this worldwide” says Tony.
Stay tuned for Polished Concrete Veneer walls, splashbacks, benchtops and even access flooring.
“What we have created is a very unique product that is fully Australian made and designed” says Paul. “And we are extremely proud of that”.
To contact Paul or Tony, or to shop for Pangaea Polished Concrete Veneer Flooring, please click here
- Image above, the Pangaea Polished Concrete Floor makes for a striking feature in this kitchen.