Friday, March 26, 2010
Shown here in the Adirondack style, Green Culture's PolyWood furniture is an eco-friendly alternative to discarding weather beaten wood, plastic or metal furniture year after year. PolyWood is 100% recycled plastic, recovered from soda and milk bottles. Once processed, this product is highly durable, weather-resistant, UV stabilized, and can be cast into any of dozens of furniture casts. PolyWood is easy to clean (soap and water), and comes in about 6 colors, though these can vary from model to model. Expect 2-4 weeks' wait when ordering, and some high prices: the rocking chair was $406.63 at 50% off. Kind of plain, but very nice. See eco-furniture.com to see these products.
An American-based Italian leather-gods company, Cortina Leathers, Inc. has always done things a little differently. They are "woman-owned" by a mother and daughter team, introduced chrome-free and environmentally friendly leather, invented the "No Overage Guarantee," and can drop-ship anywhere in the world. ANSI and ASME certified, these high quality leathers are purchased directly from tanneries. Finishes include embossing, stamping, printing, and with or without fur. And Cortina can produce any leather in any color, embossment, quality, sheen, tipping, and stain-resistance treatment. Leathers used also provide options: Cowhide, goat, horse, lamb, ostrich, parchment, pig, reptile, and shagreen (stingray). Order free samples or just look at the awesome pictures at cortinaleathers.com .
There are few pleasures in life better than bubble baths, at least for girls...but a bubble bath in a tub made of a semi-precious metal? That's just the ticket, especially after a long day in studio. Vintage Tub and Bath takes tubs to the luxurious extreme, and one of their finer lines is the copper bathtub collection. A specific delight was the "Elizabethan Classics Tub," (middle picture) though it's doubtful as to whether or not the original Elizabethan's would have appreciated a bath, this one it just great. The Weathered Finish it comes with is beautifully polished, though the finish will change some over time due to oxidation and wear. No faucet drillings in this model, though it does come with a pedestal base and a 65 gallon capacity, not to mention a hefty price tag of $5, 678.00 and a limited quantity. Dimensions: W-33.5", H-33.5" (with pedestal base), L-65.5". Sitting Area: 61.5" x 29.5". To see one for the coveting, see vintagetub.com .
Livinglass offers glass and resin in three lines: luxe (the heavyweight original), light (the slimmer, trimmer, cheaper, and LEED-friendly kid brother), and curve (the curvy twin of light). To visualize, think sandwich: glass or resin, filler, then another piece of glass or resin. Fillers can be virtually anything: flora (any plant, more or less), fauna (butterflies!), geodes, sandollars, fabric, imprints, custometc. Applications are near-infinite, as this is impact, UV, moisture, and chemically resistant stuff. Also Class A/Class 1 fire-rated, and anti-microbial/sanitary. Need a partition? Hanging ceiling? Doors, stairs, floors? Lighting or countertops? They've got it, at livinglass.com .
Those speckled dividers often seen in bathrooms can tell a story, if they're from Yemm & Hart Materials of Missouri. Yemm & Hart's Origins line is made of recycled plastic bottles (all HDPE #2 materials). After being sanitized and melted down, these bottles are shredded into oatmeal-sized flakes and are melted down into sheets of plastic. Applications? Bathroom and shower partitions, general privacy barriers, and table- or counter- tops. Each piece can be completely personalized by etching, stamping, ink-printing, or any of myriad options. Yemm & Hart offers many standard sizes, though some of the larger come at additional cost. Thicknesses range from 1/8" to 2". Prices are by the pound, and start at $5.67, though specialty panels (thicker, custom, special size) are more. Finishes are either textured or gloss, and maintenance is low. Interestingly enough, rubbing a spoon along (not across) a scratch can help repair it. Two little catches, though: No specific color or pattern is 100% guaranteed, as the plastic components come from the consumer waste stream: if no one buys Tide Detergent, no Tide-color Orange can be recycled, can it? Also, these are not UV-stabilized. There is a 15-year warranty, however, as Yemm & Hart pledge good faith and high satisfaction on their merch. Odd quirk: if an international student or designer wishes to order a sample, they must send "1 paper currency (any denomination) in use or that has been used in your country as legal tender, 1 brochure from your firm, 1 artistic postage stamp from your country (canceled or uncanceled), and 1 post card or photograph of something special about your country," in addition to the order. Sounds like someone's a collector... To see more, here's the site: yemmhart.com .
Friday, March 19, 2010
A designer's dream: padding around a room barefoot, toes scrunching into the deep, soft pile of 100% New Zealand sheep's wool, creamy white with gentle tufted loops...Introducing Fabrica Fine Carpets & Rugs' Canberra Carpet, available in 60 colors, plus any custom concoction imaginable. Soft meets sturdy with Fabrica's double backing treatment (primary: woven polypropylene, secondary: Custom-Bac™ woven polypropylene), and wool is naturally static resistant. Stains, typically, are more readily removed in wool, but be careful. Also note that a suction-only vacuum is best; no beater bars, please. Width is 12' wide, and weight is 98 oz/square yard. Fabrica Fine Carpets & Rugs also sells rugs (hence the name...) and some carpets come in both carpet and rug forms. For more information, some beautiful pictures, and a little tinkly music, see fabrica.com .
Kirei is a rough translation of the Japanese word for "clean" and "beautiful," which fits the Kirei board product from ecohaus perfectly. Kirei is made from stalks of the Sorghum plant, grown in northern China for food. This board is grown, harvested, and manufactured in that Chinese region to encourage economical growth and to ensure fair trade principles are in place. This product in 100% sorghum, with a low VOC rating and a formaldehyde-free adhesive. Prices range from $10 for a sample square, to $59.99-$349.98 for full sheets. It's strong enough for cabinetry use, but is very lightweight. Way cool, and way sustainable. For more Kirei and similar products, see the eco-friendly mall ecohaus.com .
Polished Concrete Floors are a highly buffed concrete surface, scored how the client wishes, then buffed to a high sheen to create a tile-quality surface with much more durability and strength. One company in particular showed interesting pictures describing the various ways polished concrete can be finished, so here Diamond Polished Floors of Calgary, Alberta is featured. They guarantee their floors for ten years, though it is expected that these floors will last much longer. The floors are highly durable (approximately 3500 psi), easy to maintain, but should anything happen, Diamond Polished Floors also repairs concrete. Many colors come standard, though there is something calm and appealing about that natural grey. They also sell limestone, marble, and granite surface solutions. For more, see diamondpolishedfloor.com .
3-Form, manufacturer of one-of-a-kind resins, is going where no plastics manufacturers have gone before--into recycling HDPE into architectural resin panels. Translation, please: Old detergent bottles, milk cartons, and shampoo bottles find new life in this slabs of plastic, perfect for counters, horizontal work surfaces, and even restroom partitions. PET plastic, the kind used to make disposable water bottles, is 40 times more impact-resistant than glass, and this is what 3-Form uses in other products. But PET's brother HDPE has always been more difficult to work with, despite being even stronger and more impact-resistant. 3-Form recycles discarded bottles and such made from HDPE into tiny plastic pellets, which are then melted down into the panels (see above pictures). Available in 6 solid colors and 4 blends (speckled), this product is chemical and UV resistant. Thanks to 3-Form's reclamation project, when it's reached it's end, just ship it back to the factory (free!) to have it completely recycled. It's name? 100 percent, of course. For more information on 100 percent, 3-Form, and other really cool stuff, see 3-form.com .
A material both intriguing and beautiful, Okite's 100% quartz countertops carry some considerable weight--physically and in stamps of approval. Okite is certified by the National Science Foundation, GreenGuard, and can earn a project up to 14 LEED points. Okite also sports high durability, easy maintenance, completely customizable color (though Okite offers many standard colors as well), and absolutely never needs to be sealed, polished or buffed like other stones do. #1665 "Bianco Assoluto" is heralded as "the Industry's whitest stone," and "Collezione Venati" is "the Industry's first veined quartz," both pretty nifty innovations. A word of caution, however: Okite is not meant for outdoor applications, so put away those Cabana plans. And while it is chemically resistant, be wary of heat and cleaners with high PH and alkaline levels. For more Okite, see this Italian line's website at www.okite.us .
Friday, March 12, 2010
One of the design industries top textile manufacturers is Maharam. Luxe prints abound, but one in particular stood out at last look. Vignette is full of whirls and swirls and comes in two rich colors; nutmeg and sangria. This upholstery fabric meets all appropriate testing standards, including NFPA 260, and has a "reduced environmental impact," according to Maharam. Vignette has high durability of 30,000+ double sided-rubs and 40+hours of lightfastness. Composition is 46% polyester, 32% cotton, 22% rayon, and an acrylic backing. Width: 54", Repeat: 13 3/4" V, 6 3/4" H. One word of caution, however: cleaning and maintenance should be conducted with only water-free dry-cleaning solvent. Students can order up to 10 free samples. More Maharam? maharam.com
My mother loves the patterns, but despises wallpaper for one reason only: tearing it down. Alas, a solution has been created by Sherwin-Williams. EasyChange Wallpaper, featured here in the lovely Dahlia Collection. This vast line (59 collections, dozens of prints within each!) all hold to the same stellar credentials. All are environmentally friendly, durable, breathable (won't retain moisture), and dimensional stability to prevent expansion, contraction and seam separation. Some are pre-pasted, and some are as easy to apply as painting, dubbed "paste the wall" by Sherwin-Williams. But when it's time to ditch those florals or stripes, just pull 'em off the wall. No fancy tools or solvents need apply. Check them out at sherwin-williams.com .
Pura Terra is a company represented by a New Jersey store and an online site. They carry multiple lines and products, decor and construction, but only salvaged or sustainable. Available brand names include Temple Inland gypsum board, Caroma Bathroom products, Sustainable Solutions International washroom products, Fuse flooring, and Roos wallcoverings. Among personal favorites was Roos' glass bead wallpaper, featured above. This was a neat site providing a service way ahead of its time. To see what else Pura Terra's got, go to puraterra.com .
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Flexco floors made a remarkable innovation in flooring when they introduced Welding Beads. These little bonders will make any of Flexco's tile flooring into true seamless flooring. This means tile patterns and customizable images can be melted to ensure no cracks exist in the surface. Ideal for medical design situations, operating rooms everywhere will be filled with relief. Now they too can enjoy checkerboard patterns and organic prints; no germs in these grout lines. Flexco carries rubber, vinyl, and linoleum flooring as well as specialty items and adhesives. The solid vinyl tile has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. Rubberized flooring carries non-skid and anti-fatigue properties, and is grease and oil-resistant. Many colors, lots of patterns, a million uses. For more Flexco info, see flexcofloors.com .
Say a student in a certain materials class is assigned an interesting project using the game Clue. This project entails finding materials to retrofit one of those infamous rooms in Clue (the Conservatory, for example...). Now, where could such a student find a paint that would be rich in color, resist the Conservatory's moisture, and not rub off when Mrs. White the maid cleans? At Benjamin Moore. The new Aura Interior Paint collection is available in every Benjamin Moore color and includes a Color Foundation primer. Five finishes: matte, eggshell, semi-gloss, satin, and Bath and Spa--which belongs in every respectable Conservatory. Aura Interior is the sister line to Aura exterior, and the Color Foundation is compatible with both. All but the Bath and Spa receive the GreenGuard Seal for Low-Emissions and Children & Schools, are resistant to mildew and moisture, and are easily wiped clean. Fair-weather painters will be happy to note that the "extreme hide" feature ensures that no wall will require more than two coats, and that the paints are self-priming with easy application. For more, see benjaminmoore.com .
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Old Mississippi Brick and Heart Pine (guess where they're based?) makes a practice of reclaiming beautiful antique and vintage hardwood floors, refinishing them, then reselling them to the public. Although the name says Heart Pine, Old Mississippi also carries Oak, Hard Maple, engineered flooring, and antique brick. Reclaimed flooring can be worked into a LEED program, has a long life expectancy, and is highly durable. Plank widths are 3"-8", with a 10" width also available. The grain is mixed vertical and flat, and the grain density is at a minimum of 6 rings per inch. There are some nail holes, but these antique characteristics are from a long life of wear, not mistakes. The knot content can vary greatly, and there is not a specification for heartwood, though bundles are usually "heavy heartwood," according to the site. Packaging is 10' nested, end-matched bundles. Old Mississippi can provide millwork and timbers in addition to flooring. Visit this neat company at heartpinefloors.com .