South African concrete product manufacturer demonstrates outstanding social responsibility

Our May 2018 issue included a comprehensive report on the activities of the South African precast producer Cape Concrete Works. As promised back then, we are now following up on this coverage by presenting another concrete product manufacturer headquartered in the Greater Cape Town region, Revelstone.

Our May 2018 issue included a comprehensive report on the activities of the South African precast producer Cape Concrete Works. As promised back then, we are now following up on this coverage by presenting another concrete product manufacturer headquartered in the Greater Cape Town region, Revelstone.

This company was founded in August 1993 by Andrew Cyprianos. He identified a niche in the domestic commercial market for customized cast stone products – and Revelstone was born. In 1997, his son Alex began supporting him in managing the business. Combining their talents, substantial industry experience, and passion for the business, they have grown Revelstone to be today’s market leader in the Western Cape region.

68 employees, 13,500 m² production footprint

From small beginnings in an underground cellar in the coastal town of Muizenberg near Cape Town, the company’s reputation for innovative products and personalized service rapidly spread. Exponential growth followed, resulting in the company having to move on three occasions before eventually purchasing its own factory where Revelstone has been manufacturing its products since 2001. Whereas, in 1993, the business occupied a modest footprint of only 300 m², its premises had grown to about 1,100 m² just three years later. Today, Revelstone’s production facilities extend over a substantial area of 13,500 m²; the business currently employs 68 people.

“Meanwhile, knowledge gained from research and hands-on experience has allowed all our concrete products to be visually indistinguishable from more expensive natural stone alternatives,” Andrew Cyprianos proudly explains. “This is made possible by our passionate attention to detail, subtle variations in color, and a variety of surface textures and product shapes and sizes.”

The company is still 100% family owned, which guarantees that the founding principles are not only maintained but reinvented as the business is growing and evolving further.

The Revelstone product portfolio comprises concrete pavers, terrace slabs, curbs, concrete tiles, claddings, steps, wall cappings, and custom elements such as fire pits. It includes a wide range of sizes of up to 1 m in length but also an exceedingly wide variety of colors and shades.

Prayer room and donation of concrete products

Besides its actual production activity, Revelstone management members are demonstrating an outstanding degree of social responsibility and basically consider its predominantly black African workforce to be their extended family. This appears all the more remarkable because company founder Andrew Cyprianos, whose roots lie in the north of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, and his family emigrated to Southern Rhodesia (today Zimbabwe) after the Turkish intervention in 1974. Like many other farmers with European ancestry, he then also had to leave his “second home” amidst land expropriation and severe strokes of fate after the country gained its independence.

However, Cyprianos quickly managed to gain a foothold in neighboring South Africa, not least thanks to the establishment of Revelstone. With hindsight, the degree of social responsibility taken by Revelstone is thus truly amazing. For instance, the social facilities for the workforce include a combined canteen and prayer room so that workers are given the opportunity to follow their religious practices with prayer and song during their breakfast or lunch breaks, which they enjoy to a great extent.

Another crucial point is how the company deals with unsold residual volumes and graded stock, which includes Revelstone concrete products that exhibit minor visual imperfections with almost no effect on their functionality. Whereas other manufacturers often dispose of their seemingly lower-quality pavers or slabs, or feed them back into their production process, Revelstone donates these products to charitable causes, including outdoor spaces of schools, day nurseries, or hospitals in the region.

In the context of the company’s commitment outlined above, it thus comes as no surprise that Revelstone is also sponsoring cycling and soccer teams of local sports clubs.

Last but not least, even the rubber molds used in the production process are reprocessed in a chemical/thermal process. At the end of their service life, they are shredded, molten and recast so that each individual mold can be used in several hundred production cycles.

Multi-colored products, impressive track record

“We basically use up to seven main colors for our concrete products,” explains Alex Cyprianos, the owner’s son. “That said, we create up to ten shades per batch by adding powdered pigments in varying quantities, which is why surfaces exhibit quite the opposite of a monotonous appearance.” The in-house laboratory operated by the company is thus constantly busy developing ever-new shades, product sizes, and surface textures.

Revelstone employs a largely manual production process. Raw materials are procured from mostly regional, long-term suppliers, including concrete additives from Chryso South Africa and cements from PPC. Aggregates are sourced from nearby gravel pits and sandy beaches and combined so as to ensure that product specifications are met at all times.

Revelstone has thus an impressive track record of completed projects. For instance, Cape Town International Airport greets its visitors from across the world with the “Welcome to the Mother City” tagline designed with colored concrete blocks supplied by Revelstone. Another prime project example are the outdoor spaces around the Silo Hotel building situated near the Cape Town Victoria & Alfred Waterfront at the foot of Table Mountain, which include Revelstone concrete pavers and cobbles.

Revelstone wins prestigious CMA Trophy

Revelstone was one of four Overall Trophy winners in this year’s CMA Awards for Excellence competition. The award was made at a gala-dinner ceremony in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, on March 24, for a wall-cladding project at Cape Town International Airport’s international departures hall.

The mural initially took an Aesthetic Excellence Award, however, the judges subsequently ruled that it was the outstanding entry in the Aesthetics category and the award was escalated to Overall Trophy Winner status.

Revelstone director, Alexander Cyprianos, says that the project is a prime example of how precast concrete cladding, in this instance Revelstone’s Viking Random Cladding, can be used to mimic natural rock, and how it assisted the artist on this project to skillfully portray cheetahs in their natural habitat.

Commenting on the project, the judges said that besides displaying an African wildlife scene, the mural embodies the creative use of precast concrete, demonstrating how the material can be successfully deployed for works of art.

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