Q&A: Jacob Dehus

  • Photo by Jodi Miller
From the March 8, 2012 edition

Jacob Dehus believes anything is possible with concrete. With his expertise, the rugged construction material becomes stunning, functional art that now sits inside homes and businesses across Central Ohio.

Dehus shared about crafting his ideas by hand.

I grew up framing houses, building things. When I was super young, my dad would take me on jobsites. I would pick up scrap pieces of wood and just build like random sailboats and little, crazy birdhouses.

As I was graduating high school, I knew I wanted to get into some form of sculpture. I got a scholarship to Columbus College of Art & Design. I went through the foundation year at CCAD and realized, “Hey, man, look. Industrial design is like sculpture with security.” I graduated in 2005 with a degree in industrial design.

I still get to do my industrial design. I still get to work with my clients and help design and produce something that somebody’s really going to appreciate. But then I get to create it. I get to fabricate it. That’s the gratification that really inspires me to do what I do.

When people think concrete, they think you’re going to put a driveway on their cabinets. And then they see it, and they’re like, “This is concrete?”

I’m the kind of person who will make the best of any situation.

With concrete, the sky’s the limit. You can take the creativity beyond any other rigid, surface-y material. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a countertop. I built these speaker stands out of concrete. I can make these vessel sinks. I can do all sorts of different organic forms.

The best advice I’ve ever received is that there are never problems presented, only challenges for solutions.

Something people might not know about me is that I love to surf. I’ve surfed all over the globe. I grew up surfing in the Outer Banks. It’s the one place where nobody else has any control over what my mind and what my body are doing.

Three things I would want with me on a desert island are an unbreakable surfboard, a never-ending stream of the best eclectic mix of music known and my family, my wife, Kara, and son, Caleb.