Art in Construction

October 1, 2015 at 4:57 am Leave a comment


Looking up through a matte white plaster spiral staircase: 1″ thick plaster over wire mesh and steel armature. Design by Richard Meier Architects, created by Art In Construction

Art in Construction is a Brooklyn-based company that had its start in the 80’s replacing old-fashioned 3/4″ thick plaster walls, ceilings, and ornament.

Recently completed cementitious

Cementitious “Artisan Plaster” Bathroom Floor (cream color) and Shower Walls (board formed cement grey)


A sink that cantilevers through an exterior glass wall with an AIC cement plaster finish; Leven Betts Architects, Eric Glasser Contractor

Since then, they have expanded into a specialty artisan construction firm, specializing in unique plaster-based finishes and objects which include, but are not limited to, interior wall and ceiling surfaces, cement plaster flooring, cement staircases, shower wall and floor surfaces.

“We also produce three-dimensional cast pigmented cementitious objects – furnishings, tables, sinks, tubs, counter tops,” says owner Stephen Balser. “Additionally, we produce a steady flow of in situ sculpture and art installations as envisioned and directed by the artists who conceive them.”

Architects, designers, and general contractors are drawn to the company based on their long-range success and longevity of their work with the types of finishes they create.

San Francisco Public Library project - Sample of partially plastered Dewey Decimal Cards for permanenet art installation by Ann Hamilton that Art In Construction installed with her

San Francisco Public Library project: sample of partially plastered Dewey Decimal Cards for permanent art installation by Ann Hamilton that Art In Construction installed.

The process begins by fostering dialogue, either by showing the client samples and photos of completed work, or by reviewing photographs, samples, or locations provided by the client. The goal is to get a clear picture of the performance, color, finish and appearance required for the project.


Art In Construction shop, Brooklyn NY

Site visits are conducted, samples are produced, and full-scale mock-ups are created and submitted upon which the final installation is begun.


Deep Eggplant Bathroom; Clodagh Design

“Clients can expect to interact with artisans who are fully and truly passionate about their craft,” adds Balser. “They will end up with something they can be quite proud of.”


Balser was inspired by a trip to Italy in 1984 and began experimenting with pigments and traditional lime putty plaster. As well as its’ durability, longevity and low maintenance, lime plaster is environmentally friendly.

“It gives off zero VOCs,” says Balser. “It has no off-gassing chemicals and has mold resistant attributes. It is non toxic, non-allergenic and while curing, it absorbs carbon dioxide much like a tree, increasing optimal indoor air quality.”AICpink

The materials they use are not much different from thousands of years ago. They are comprised primarily of mixtures of slaked lime, fine sands, pulverized marbles and quartz, powdered earth pigments, metallic oxides, gypsum and water. The custom mixtures are trowel applied and polished by their skilled artisans.


And what about color?

AICgreen“Color has a profound effect on how surfaces are conceived,” says Balser. “For example, concrete grey-colored surfaces are typically experienced as concrete, whereas leathery-type browns are naturally experienced more like leather or wood, and super-saturated colors are experienced more like polished jewel stones.”

AICClay   “Basically we read or respond to surfaces based on our preconceived ideas of materials as they relate to color, texture and density,” adds Balser.

“Also quality of light is astoundingly influential on how colors are perceived and experienced. One can create rooms with totally different ‘feels’ using the same colored surface but varying light sources. Lighting can never be ignored.”

NYC apartment; Clodagh Design, photography by Daniel Aubry

NYC apartment; Clodagh Design, photography by Daniel Aubry

When asked what his favorite color is, Balser replied, “As a youngster, I would have automatically said blue, but at this point I have no favorites; they all have their place depending on mood or need. I think I get the most thrill when I see two colors reacting in a visual harmony – like cobalt blue and ivory white, or maroon and cream beige, or an electric blue and cocoa brown.”


Cement “Artisan Plaster” floor and textured “Artisan Plaster” chimney breast. Design by James D’Auria.

Blending Art in Construction with modern touches and design elements is a collaborative process between artisan, designer, client and architect. Adds Balser, “we just do our best to make their ideas succeed as envisioned or better!”

Owner Stephen Balser

Owner Stephen Balser

For more information, you can visit, call 718-222-3874 or email For more pictures or to follow, visit Art In Construction’s Facebook Page.


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Space as Story – Traction Architecture Color as Abundance and Opportunity

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Rebecca Lonergan

Founder and Creative Director of Modwalls Tile Company. Since 2005 Rebecca has been designing Fresh Tile in Colors You Crave. Shop Online at

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