Friday, February 26, 2010

Product 20: Bisazza Glass Tiles, Shield Pattern

Bisazza offers a fascinating array of glass tile options, including floors, pools, panels, partitions, walls, and furniture. According to their site, the latest development in Bisazza's Glass Tile Collection offerings is "the first patterned tile to feature a glass chip mosaic and inlaid motifs, lending a contemporary twist to this artistic technique." The glass tiles available in this line come in solid and glass chip and in dozens of colors, patterns, and styles. The way the system works is this: using new computer and laser-cutting technology, each tile and tile inlay are carefully measured and cut, then inset with absolute precision. This advanced cutting technique ensures truly seamless flooring accented with beautiful motifs of daisies, dots, stripes, checks, circles, stars, plain-solid, plain-chips, or as featured here, a shield pattern. For more Bisazza, see .

Product 19: B+N Industries' Quadri Frame System

B+N Industries has a way of making the unique even more so. Take the Quadri Frame System. It's not enough to just make lightweight, easy-to-use commercial display setups. Oh, no. They have to come in schmancy anodized aluminum and powder-coated steel, with clear acrylic accessories. And they'd have to be flexible in use: suspended from the ceiling, hung off the wall, leaned on the wall, or set up on the ground. And have interchangeable parts: pedestals, tables, display boxes, mannequins, and hardware. And the central point of the entire system would have to be really big and really customizable: the frame can be 1" or 4" wide, and the customer picks from multiple formats (horizontal, vertical, wide and squarish, tall and longish, wide and longish...etc). Wait, wait,'s reasonably priced, too (hardware starts at $7.00, and frames run the gamut from $52.00 to $595.00). To see more of these fascinating set-ups, see .

Product 18: Ann Sacks Bath Furnishings, Davlin

Finally, bathroom accessories worthy of Ann Sacks tile: Ann Sacks Bath Furnishings. These costly beauties are just that and a whole lot more. The Davlin group, for example, is made of handcrafted tile and glass, encasing artisanal gold leaf (available in four tones, for the discriminating gold leaf buyer: plain, antique, rose, and copper). Tony Davlin is a tile designer/craftsman for Ann Sacks tile, and his attention to detail is just as evident here as it is in his tile. The vase, tumbler, and wastebasket are hand-blown glass, and the soap dish and tray are made through the same process as the tile. The recommended tissue box cover and soap pump are borrowed from the Broadway line within the same collection. Careful, though--these pieces must be gently hand-washed or wiped clean. Prices range from $48.00 to $438.00, and for more information on this brilliant set, see .

Product 17: Wolf-Gordon Wallcoverings

Wolf-Gordon Wallcoverings was a research excavation project. One website is under construction, the other is limited (though sports a really cool do-it-yourself design lab), and contact information seemed limited. By coupling the smaller with the much more informative , however, a fascinating company was finally revealed. Wolf-Gordon is a design printing press, in essence, and can print literally any digital image on just about anything: vinyl, paper, and polyolefin wallcoverings, signage materials from satin to canvas, UV-rated solar screen, and photographic films: opaque, metallic, and a translucent laminate for backlighting--to name a few. Any size, scale pattern, and repeat desired can be accomplished, so the sky really is the limit here. Even better, Wolf-Gordon has a reclamation program in which they will reclaim any product, Wolf-Gordon or not, after it has been used and they'll send it along the line for secondary use. Great for hospitality and commercial use, but these prints would be remarkable in a residential setting too. See the bolded sites above to see more.

Product 16: Architex Textiles, WBRF2 Homage Collection (French Curve)

One of the big-dogs in commercial and upscale textiles, Architex offers wall-coverings, privacy curtains, outdoor fabric, drapery, leather, high-performance fabric, and upholstery. It is this last that will be featured today, specifically Architex' Walter Buhl Ford II Homage Collection, and to be even more pointed, the French Curve pattern. Affectionately known as the WBF2 Collection, these patterns and colors perfectly evoke the name of yet another of their sub-headings, the Mid-Century Collection. Vivid hues, mod organic patterns, and accents of the traditional (i.e. ticking stripes and tiny florals) make for some serious visual interest. The French Curve pattern was of particular interest, with its striking boomerang curves, because it is a true throwback to the mid-20th century. It is 100% polyester, but Architex offers plenty of green products, too, along with a kickin' site search system. Pattern repeat is 3.4"V-3"H, and it's 54" wide. French Curve can be ordered in 9 (apparently tasty) colors, from Avocado to Chutney, Nutmeg to Oyster. But for the full experience visit .

Friday, February 19, 2010

Product 15: PolyFlor's XL PU Heavy Duty Vinyl Flooring--Azure

While PolyFlor might want to work on product line names, they certainly got the product right. XL PU is a heavy-duty vinyl flooring created from homogenous PVC. Easy to clean and maintain, this slightly dimpled impervious floor is perfect for the healthcare industry. XL PU's rubberized texture cushions the feet and is slip and skid resistant. Approximately two dozen colors are available in the two-tone marbleized pattern. XL PU can be ordered in both sheets and tiles, and is recyclable. One small issue: PolyFlor is a predominantly European corporation, and they only have a handful of state-side distributors. Flexibility in supplier-locators, sample-requests and ordering decisions makes up for this in general. To see the full range of XL PU, go to the site at .

Product 14: Centiva for World Options, Contour Series, Asphalt

Centiva's eco-friendly line, World Options, has unveiled the Contour Series. Contour is a broad range of flooring options created form 100% recyclable heterogenous PVC, or vinyl flooring. The Asphalt pair is of particular interest in that it actually looks like asphalt, albeit a tad shimmery. The Asphalt flooring is pewter and silver tones on a black surface, pitted just like the real thing and with graduated edges. The equally slip-resistant sister, Arizona Asphalt (who knew roads were so different in Arizona?) is the same, but with a dark brown background and bronze and coppery fleck on top. Surprisingly enough, these two industrial look-alikes are the very definition of low-key chic, and are extremely durable and low-maintenance. More, you say? Go to , or e-mail at

Product 13: HanStone Premier Ruscello Collection

What's better than quartz surfaces? Highest quality quartz surfaces, from HanStone's Premier Ruscello Collection. HanStone Premier offers 36 top-notch surfaces in mostly warm and sandy tones (although Mystic Blue and Passion Rouge certainly stand out), deliverable anywhere around the globe. The five Ruscello choices are different from their predecessors in that there is very light veining, and almost no chip conglomerations. HanStone is backed by sustainability watchdog Greenguard for it's natural qualities and the National Science Foundation for it's sanitary non-porous surface. Client literature boasts "there truly is no better or safer surface in your kitchen or bathroom than HanStone." Other HanStone Premier surfaces offer a variety of choices in visual pattern: light or heavy veining, light or heavy chip conglomeration, and a few nearly flat picks. To check these out, see .

Product 12: WAC Lighting's Dazzle Collection-Minni

Although variety in a blog is a virtue, there was simply no deciding between the two WAC Collections. Both were in need of publishing, and so they were. Parte deux in this romance between blogger and manufacturer is WAC Lighting's Dazzle Collection. Minni comes in four clear glass colors, four socket set metallics, and as a part of the Quick Connect system. Like tiny flying saucer-Christmas Ornaments, Minni is visually barely there, but it's 50w capabilities say differently. Quite possibly the most exciting element of the sustainable fixtures is Quick Connect: Can't decide between Amethyst and Turquoise? Collect them all, and when a verdict is reached Quick Connect allows for a grand switcheroo in very little time. For more products and information pay a visit to .

Product 11: WAC Lighting's Reveal Collection

Pretty as their names (Folia, Pura, and Vida) the Reveal Collection's dainty pendants are also a pretty sustainable option. Even better, the Reveal Collection is a part of WAC Lighting's QUICK CONNECT system, for easy installation and easy fixture change should a different pendant be desired. All three fixtures are frosted white with masked images and can be ordered with three different metallic socket set finishes: Brushed Nickel, Dark Bronze, or Chrome. Folia is a loose teardrop with an open flared top, complete with a petal design. Pura is a rounded cylinder and has starbursts of graduated dots around the center. Vida is an open rectangle with softened corners and fern prints running up the sides. Modern meets classic simplicity in these pendants. For more, see .

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Product 10: Alkemi Natural 10 Surface material

Ever wonder what happens to all of those scrap pieces of fine-flake aluminum? Now you do: Alkemi, a LEED and SCS certified company under Renewed Materials, LLC, gives them new purpose. The flakes are mixed with a polyester-based resin, and churned out as countertop surfaces. 34% of the post-industrial fine-flake aluminum waste is used in production, making it green and durable, yet with no hazardous footprint. At first glance these surfaces look much like a granite, but a closer view reveals tiny, shiny curls of aluminum embedded in a customizable resin. There are 14 colors, three lines, and three finishes. Textured and classic finishes look to be chock full of the little flakes, while the honed finish grinds down some of the edges and makes little nautilus shell shapes (see images). The Alkemi and Alkemi Anodize are translucent, but the Alkemi Opaque lives up to it's name, with a milky-looking resin. These surfaces come in 1/2" and 3/4" thicknesses, and in 36"x 120" and 36"x 96" sheets. For more on Alkemi, check out

Product 9: Moz Weave

Moz Weave is a metal surface woven through Moz Designs Inc.'s custom hardware. Sounds fancy, but in truth it's appealingly simple; like waves of metal making ripples across...whatever the client wants. Moz Weave can be used as art, canopy, or room dividers. Basically, sheets of solid-core aluminum are woven through extruded aluminum poles. These strips of aluminum can be finished with a color, texture, or with various gloss and satin choices. Other thicknesses can be perforated with circles in 1/4", 1/8", or 3/16" diameters, with several standard or customizable patterns. When seen en masse, Moz Weave looks like liquid ribbons, and makes a strong statement. To see (and make!) waves, see

Product 8:Amorim Cork Plank/CORKcomfort Line

Much like bell-bottoms, vests, and overalls, some materials make a comeback, too. Introducing...the new and improved cork floor, brought back to life by the Portuguese manufacturer Amorim Revestimentos, S.A., and represented by Wicanders. The Amorim Cork Plank, a part of their CORKcomfort line, is more durable, more eco-friendly, and best of all--more stylish. Cork Plank is reprocessed in order to make it look like it's distant cousin Oak. A ceramic micro-bead finish adds an appealing sheen and beveled edges. Low-maintenance, the floor simply requires a vacuum and damp mop to clean, is highly durable, and is a great insulator. Cork Plank also reduces stress on the joints more than normal hard-wood flooring and greatly reduces ambient noise. This floating floor system has low-VOC content and by absorbing CO2, it reverses emissions. When visiting the site, ( be sure to check out the cheerful names for remarkable products: Personality Moonlight, Pebbles Rain, and Identity Eden.

Product 7: Spires Chandelier by Kichler Lighting

Much like Alexander Calder's famously counterbalanced sculpture and models, Kichler's Spires Chandelier hangs acrobatically in mid-air. Twelve incandescent light bulbs rest on shallow bowls, which in turn set on top of narrow tubes (well, spires), atop a cantilevered asterisk-like base. Somewhere between mod and Art Deco, Spires is plated in Brushed Nickel. It comes in one size up, with 18 bulbs, as well. Spires is a nice go between when the design setting needs glamour and sophisticated simplicity. The catalog said nothing about LEED accreditation, and it isn't equipped for CFL's, but even so...Spires Chandelier sure makes a nice conversation piece, doesn't it? For more on Spires and the myriad other lighting brands Kichler carries, see

Product 6: Loewenstein Elia Chair

A modern seat with classical lines, Loewenstein's Elia Chair is a striking hodge-podge of wood and metal. Elia is available in a chair or barstool, and both come with or without arms. All have wooden front legs to match the backrest (except for the arm barstools, which are only metal-legged) while the back two legs are metal. The optional arms are wooden, and the upholstered seat can come in amy fabric Loewenstein carries, plus any offered by Maharam QuickShip. Elia Wood Back is kin to the Elia Upholstered Back, and the two make quite a pair in any setting. For more information, pay a visit to, or call 800) 327-2548.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Product 5: Forbo Flooring Marmoleum Decibel

Funny name, serious kidding. Forbo Flooring, a leader in natural linoleums, brought out the big guns on this product. Marmoleum Decibel is an upgrade from its' predecessor Marmoleum, as it sports a hefty impact sound insulation of 17 decibels--11 more than Marmoleum the first. It's also bacteriostatic, meaning it inhibits the growth of bacteria on its surface; it is ideal for hospitals. Various patterns, colors, textures make Decibel a versatile choice of flooring. It can be ordered in a dressy crocodile texture, a more casual marbled surface, or can be cut in custom shapes (ie, school mascots and company logos). Marmoleum Decibel is completely natural and can be recycled. Forbo Flooring is a USGBC member. For more information, see the sights at .

Product 4: Arbor Series Wood Veneers

A slimmer alternative to traditional paneling, the Arbor Series Wood Veneers are paper-thin (rather, cardstock thin, for persnickety shoppers) slices of real wood. These veneers are coated with a polyurethane finish, and can then be installed just like contract wallcovering on most interior spaces: walls, ceilings, workspaces, etc. Though made from hardwood trees, the veneers are so thin that many less trees are cut down in the production process, and the trees themselves come from "plantations, which are carefully managed to ensure the forest's health," according to the Arbor Series website: . The product comes in everything from Ash to Zebrawood, and a variety of cut styles designed to maximize harvest.