Tag Archives: Chryso Southern Africa


CHRYSO, a global specialist in the chemistry of building materials, supplied its innovative VerticArt to The Trinity Session for an iconic artistic creation in the foyer of The Leonardo in Sandton.

VerticArt was the material of choice when The Trinity Session, a creative production team, embarked on the curation of a sculpted representation of a cross-section through earth, showing the strata formed by tectonic plates shifting and colliding, to form the intricate patterns of geological formations.

Marcus Neustetter, a director of The Trinity Session, explains that this ambitious project called for an earthy, robust medium. CHRYSO VerticArt, a cementitious mortar which is designed for application to vertical surfaces, presented the ideal material.

The chemical makeup of VerticArt allows for a vertically applied maximum thickness of 150 mm, making it ideal for relief three-dimensional (3-D) artwork.

CHYRSO VerticArt was applied in various thicknesses and then carved and textured using palette knives, trowels, chisels, straight edges and wire brushes, to the exact creative brief. A zero to 48 hour carving window ensured that the artists had sufficient time to perfect the application and sculpting processes necessary to create the required 3-D effect.

The mural was intentionally not pigmented, resulting in a very realistic artistic rendition of a cross-
section through the crust of the earth. This is further enhanced with focused lighting, giving the effect of an upwards journey though geological eons as visitors ascend the staircase.

This project used 4,5 tonnes of CHRYSO VerticArt, covering 140 m2, scaling a height of 15 metres (three storeys). It required the specialised skills of eight individual artists, in conjunction with the CHRYSO
technical team and took seven weeks to complete.

The scale, innovative material, product methodology and conceptual approach ensured that the
programme was not just a financial prospect for the materials supplier and the artistic curating team, but rather an opportunity for upliftment and growth for many of the artists, including emerging creative talent.

The artists, Damien Grivas (team leader), Angelique Koekemoer, Ciara Struwig, Marlecia Marais, Patrick Rapai, Paul Setate and Zanre Van Der Walt brought their own technical and creative touch to realising the vision of this work.

Neville Wearne, CHRYSO Southern Africa’s project manager: concrete aesthetics, says that VerticArt was developed to allow artists to create reliefs and textures, which can be sculpted and carved.

“This massive and bold statement artwork is a first for CHRYSO’s VerticArt in both South Africa and worldwide, challenging architects, designers and artists to further explore the decorative potential of concrete,” he concludes.


Upgrading its Jet Park laboratory has given CHRYSO Southern Africa the capacity to expand its solutions to customers in fields including aggregates, concrete aesthetics and cement.

Staffed by specialist engineers in interface physical chemistry, the CHRYSO Southern Africa laboratory conducts both research and development (R&D) and testing. It also designs its own molecules for industrial-scale production.

“There are a number of challenges facing our customers, including energy costs, environmental regulations and the recently introduced carbon tax,” Mpume Mlalazi, R&D manager at CHRYSO Southern Africa, says. “By enhancing our world class laboratory facility, CHRYSO can develop solutions that mitigate these challenges.”

Among the capabilities of the laboratory is a recently launched sand and clay diagnosis tool (patent pending) for accurate quantification of delirious clay minerals in aggregates, says Mlalazi. This helps customers address the growing issue of problematic aggregates in a cost-effective and environmentally responsible way.

“Our solutions, rheology robustness enhancers and clay enablers, use polymer science to allow customers to make use of readily available aggregates, without having to wash the material extensively with water,” she says. “The environmental benefits of this technology are substantial, especially in water-scarce areas.”

The facility has an extensive colour testing capability to support CHRYSO’s new concrete aesthetic range. Accurate measurement of colour can be conducted, allowing customers to easily match the colours that are required for a particular project. The expansion of technology also means that the laboratory can scientifically test demoulding oils, another important aspect of the company’s offering.

Mlalazi highlights that the laboratory has expanded its expertise into cement testing as well. “As part of our R&D function, we have acquired additional equipment to facilitate testing of cement,” she says. “This can now be done in a pure molecular chemistry environment.”

In addition, micro-concrete evaluation is used to optimise admixture selection to cement performance.

She emphasises that this work has put the company “ahead of the game” in finding energy saving solutions and meeting the impact of carbon tax legislation. The laboratory can assist with testing and R&D related to both extended cement and concrete.

“All work is conducted within stringent standards,” she says. “These include the ISO 9001 quality system, ISO 14001 for environmental protection and ISO 18000 for safety. We also test water quality to ensure we only discharge clean water and recycle water wherever possible.”

CHRYSO Southern Africa’s commitment to R&D is enhanced by research collaborations with local universities. The laboratory also engages graduates from these universities, who are mentored by CHRYSO specialists as part of their professional development.