Whenit comes to the world of materials, there’s definitely a lot more beneath thesurface than meets the eye. Digital printing technology is improving so rapidlythat it’s getting increasingly difficult to distinguish between thermally-fusedlaminates and wood veneers (or even natural stone looks). And there’s a vastarray of new substrates and finishes that may cause you to do a double-take asyou stroll down the aisles of the next industry trade show.
Thatwas certainly the case in June at the NeoCon World’s Trade Fair in Chicago,where CabinetMaker+FDM discovered anumber of exciting new materials at the Interiors & Sources MaterialsPavilion.
Followingis a selection of the products that best demonstrate new trends andpossibilities in materials manufacturing:
Neucor wood panel cores
Neucoris a new, patented engineered wood-composite product with environmentalattributes for use in furniture, store fixtures and displays, finished wall andceiling panels and cabinets. The company’s three-dimensional cores are insertedbetween two substrates to create a rigid panel that is durable and lighter thantraditional solid-core products.
“Itis relatively strong and it is adaptable to converting processes that arealready out there in the industry,” said John Fujii, owner of Neucor, “And it doesnot require special framing or special handling in order to process.”
BillO’Neill, director of sales and marketing for Neucor, said, “This one should (be)quite a bit less expensive than a solid piece of MDF, and that’s the goal: Toreplace that ¾-inch and thicker board for certain manufactures where it makessense for a corrugated-type pressed panel.”
Fujiisays the product can be supplied in both panel form or the core only, which canbe laminated on site by the installer, a more cost effective option in terms ofshipping. www.neucorpanels.com
Echopanel from Kirei USA
Oneof the drawbacks of the open office plan is the increased noise levels thatresult from sound bouncing off hard surfaces. The problem of sourcing anacoustical panel product that can add color and style to an interior while alsocontrolling sound reflection has been addressed by Kirei USA with its EchoPanelline.
“We’vebeen known for millwork materials in the past that were used for cabinetry, andwe’ve been continuously asked for materials with acoustic properties,” explainsJohn Stein, owner of Kirei. “So we finally found this product that matched allof our guidelines.
“EchoPanelis the triple threat of design properties: acoustic, great design elements andrecycled content,” adds Stein. “Those are really the three things that reallymake it a Kirei product. It’s got good looks; it’s not just an ugly, brownacoustic panel.”
EchoPanelpanels and tiles are manufactured using recycled PET plastic bottles,eco-friendly dyes and no added adhesive, resulting in a Green Tag certifiedproduct that can help gain LEED green building credits with almost no VOCemissions. They are available in 4 x 8 inch sheets and in 20 x 20 inch tiles,and it can be cut with a table saw or CNC knife, or even just a hand Stanleyknife. www.kireiusa.com
Wooden Textiles by ElisaStrozyk
Woodis among the last thing most people associate with textiles, but thanks toadvances in laser cutting technology, this familiar material takes on a wholenew dimension. Designer Elisa Strozyk has created an innovative, hybridmaterial that is half wood and half textile and pushes the boundaries of whatis possible in terms of interweaving textile elements.
Theprocess of transforming wood into a flexible surface involves deconstructing itand then attaching it to a textile base, which can then be applied tofurniture, upholstery, curtains, and flooring. Each design in Strozyk’s WoodenTextiles collection is different in terms of flexibility, as the shape, size,weight and stiffness of each tile varies.
Theproduct is also designed with sustainability in mind, taking a responsibleapproach to the lifecycle of a product, which has become a focal point foreco-minded product specifiers, especially those working on LEED projects.
Decorative coatings fromOrganoid TechnologiesNew Link
Findingdurable decorative coatings that are 100 percent natural can be a challenge. OrganoidTechnologies produces unprocessed decorative coatings from hundreds of renewablematerials such as alpine grass, pine needles, straw, lavender blossoms, palmleaves, fig leaves, and wood chips, and combines them with a 100percent biodegradable binder to create a decorative, durable coating thatengages all of the senses. The distinct advantages of this technology comparedto laser printed coatings are its natural, authentic fragrance and tactilesurface characteristics. The product can be sprayed directly onto architectural wall panels, decorative accessories,furniture, and mouldings, and is available in 10 x 4.5 inch sheet sizes.
Organoid’stechnology platform provides for quick and easy manufacturing of double-curvedpanels of any size and thickness for a wide variety of applications. The rawmaterials for the bio-composite are mixed with a non-hazardous natural binderand sprayed onto a reusable, inflatable inner form in any desired shape. www.organoids.com
Seeyond Select Collectionmobile walls
Anyonewho has been paying attention to design trends knows that corporate interiorshave moved away from the “cubicle farms” of old toward the open office plan. Tosuccessfully implement this design strategy, flexibility must be built in, andthat’s where Seeyond Architectural Solutions’ new Seeyond Select comes in.
Thisnewest line is predesigned as an integrated system of mobile walls available inseven shapes and in three heights that can be moved at any time to accommodatechanging work dynamics.
”Weuse different finishes to wrap the materials and make it look like wood ormetal or carbon fiber -— whatever you want,” said Kirby Ray, general managerfor Seeyond. “But it gives us a lot of flexibility to be able to twist it intovery complex shapes to put it together almost like a puzzle in any form thatthe customer wants to achieve.”
Thenew versatile mobile wall system offers varying wall shapes and heights and isideal for fast and efficient reconfiguration of open spaces. www.seeyond.com/Select
Bio Plank by Lea Ceramiche
Ifyou could blend the warm, natural look of wood with the durability ofporcelain, the end result would be Bio Plank, a new collection of porcelainstoneware from Lea Ceramiche that faithfully replicates the look and feel ofwood surfaces.
Combiningthe warmth of wood and the strength and durability of porcelain, Bio Plank isalso respectful of the environment and features the antibacterial protection ofMicroban, an active antibacterial ingredient that can be added to a wide rangeof consumer, industrial and medical products to prevent the growth of bacteriaon the surface of the item.
BioPlank features a unique deck finish with an architectural edge that adds depthand texture to the surface, and also includes Lea Ceramiche’s special R11anti-slip protection, making this tile ideal for both interior and exteriorapplications. Bio Plank’s large format tiles (7.9 x 47.2 inches) are offered ina color palette that includes both neutral, slightly worn shades, as well asbrighter colors.www.ceramichelea.it
Concrete-Silicon from RenateVos
Theold adage “opposites attract” is given new meaning with the introduction ofConcrete-Silicon, an experimental material from Dutch designer Renate Vos. Themelding of two contrasting materials comes together in the new Concrete XL Lamp(pictured) for Serax.
Combiningthe industrial look of concrete with the soft translucence of silicon-rubber,the meeting point of these two materials creates a serpentine strip around thelamp’s shell, creating a special effect when the light source is placed behindit, emitting a warm glow in spite of its sleek appearance. Vos’ work ischaracterized by her experimental approach to 3D design, and her ability toexperiment and combine various materials and techniques together. www.renatevos.nl orwww.serax.com/designers/designer/Renate_Vos/en
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