As the world enters 2008, we'd like to shine the spotlight on some very interesting uses of the industry's many surfacing materials and options in this tenth installment of our regular Innovative Applications and Design article. In this year's feature we'd like to show you some not-so-traditional uses of some traditional materials, as well as some not-so-traditional materials for use in the surfacing industry, in order to help you foster your own innovative ideas. We hope you'll be inspired by what you see.
The London Design Festival 2007 hosted a number of noteworthy projects constructed from traditional surfacing materials in a number of applications. Amanda Levete, working with DuPont Corian and Zodiaq materials, created the Size + Matter installation at the Southbank Centre where the design contest was held.
Having been asked to choose a material and push it to its limits, aiming to blur the boundaries between architecture, design, engineering and sculpture, Levete's project pays homage to the reciprocal inspirational relationship between design, materials and space.
Levete wanted to exemplify the material properties for aesthetic purity, flowing geometry and translucent effects. "In order to achieve this within the constraints of the maximum size for thermoforming," she said of the project, "we have approached the installation through a number of smaller, self-similar, flowing elements that interlock to create a gently curving wall which rises and falls in response to the loads upon it. Our installation also exploits the translucent properties of the material by playing with the relationship between solid and void, introducing subtly changing light effects on the surface which are inspired by the dappled light through a leafy canopy." The project is a curving "wall" 8.5 m wide by 19.5 m long by 4.4 m high. It is made up of approximately 220 interlocking, thermoformed "leaves" of Corian set into a plinth made from Zodiaq quartz surfacing material.
"By Royal Appointment," another design at the festival, by Moritz Waldemeyer, creatively experiments with technology in his furniture designed for fabrication out of Corian. Waldemeyer's design was an installation of three chairs with integrated illumination. Not only does each chair create an aura of light around the person seated, but the chair will also automatically adjust its color to tone with the color that the person seated in the chair is wearing.
When Custom Fabricaton Inc. owner Randy Kloke and sales manager Mike Woods were presented with a challenge by Colt Industries to craft a unique display using DuPont's newest colors of Corian and Zodiaq, they came up with the idea to make the engineered stone guitar shown here. The display was to be featured at Colt's New Product Showcase and then given away as a door prize to one of the many trade professionals in attendance. The challenge was elevated with a two-day deadline for the fabrication team. A Gibson bass guitar was used as a template and the final product exceeded everyone's expectations.
The Leonardo Glass Cube, the new showroom and conference pavilion for the glaskoch company's "Leonardo" line of glass outside of Bad Driburg, Germany, created an integrative structural concept that combines architecture, interior design, graphic design and landscaping into a uniform aesthetic entity, designed by 3deluxedesign of Wiesbaden, Germany.
The open foundation design of the multifunctional Leonardo building affords a usable surface of 1,200 sq. m that allows the integration of product presentation spaces, seminar and conference rooms, inspirational working areas, and much more. In a very extraordinary way, the interior of the Leonardo Glass Cube imparts a clear sense of harmony and rapport within its walls. The glass front of the building not only acts as an interface between the interior and exterior, but also lends the supernatural aesthetic feeling of a world that is above and beyond — the transparent impression adds a subtle visible image plane when viewed from outside or inside.
The architectural firm contacted the world-renowned solid surface fabrication company, Rosskopf & Partner AG, to construct the design using LG HI-MACS solid surface.In handling the interior and exterior "genetics" of the Leonardo Project, Rosskopf & Partner AG significantly increased the exactness of measurements in the construction of the final product.
The Oneida Nation Walk of Legends project in Green Bay, Wis., pictured here was the creation of Aspire LLC, a public art facilitation company owned by Sandi Campbell and designed by "Corrie" McLain Campbell.
The Walk of Legends is an ongoing project of 24 art pieces, 12 of which pay tribute to individual legends in Green Bay Packer football history — one pays homage to Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach, and 11 others celebrate different eras in Packer football history and feature other legends from those eras who are not on the individual pieces. Ten of the 24 pieces have been completed in a period of 18 months. The other 14 pieces are in the works and the total project is expected to be completed in 2009.
Four different teams handle the installation of the 14-ft. high, 12-ton pieces, including a team of expert granite fabricators, polishers and pattern makers. Installers handle the granite portion of the project and a team of engravers from companies all over the world handle the significant amount of engraving that needs to be done on the pieces. The project requires the coordination of shipping and handling from inside and outside the country of 2,800 sq. ft. of black granite.
TILE, TILE EVERYWHERE
In 2007 the annual Coverings Spectrum and Prism awards, held in conjunction with the show, attracted a number of skillfully crafted and designed projects. A notable entry, and Spectrum's first prize residential winner in the 2007 contest, featured architect Jeff Shelton's work at "The Ablitt House" in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Shelton earned the prestigious honor for integrating ceramic tile both liberally and gloriously throughout a home in Andalusian fashion to match the style of architecture. Stairways are ornamented and enlivened with colorful tile facings, archways are pronounced with tile striping, and floors and walls are treated to art that's practical as well as aesthetic, with a mix of floral and geometric patterns.
The Mio Restaurant, located in the heart of Washington D.C.'s Midtown, has a new look. The architectural firm of Grupo7 Design Studios, comprised of Jim Cronenberg, principal; José Tohá, principal; and Emily Furr, designer, spearheaded the restaurant's unique Mediterranean-inspired design pictured here.
One of the design elements of the new look, focuses on the dining tables, fabricated using Hakatai Cartglass Classic Series of ¾- by ¾-in. mosaic glass tiles in the color Porcelain as a unique surfacing element to complement the architectural design. Tile craftsman Juan Arce created the table tops that were used in conjunction with the custom-constructed table frames and bases created by table fabricator, Alejandro Puebla from Bruno and Bunker Contractor.
"We wanted to construct an area with a slightly Mediterranean feel using light surfaces and dark woods," said Cronenberg. "We chose glass tile because it bounces the light upward and creates animation at table level." The use of glass tile created some challenges in cleaning, but the details were quickly worked out, as the tile surfacing was not only of aesthetic importance for its look, but also for its texture and touch, adding another sense to the dining experience at Mio's.
LIGHT OF THE WORLD SQUARE
Arketique installed ceiling fixtures in the World Square shopping arcade in Sydney, Australia, using Arketique solid surface ⅜-in. thick Lightbox Neutral glued to both sides of a ¾-in. white opal acrylic blade, which was used in the support and fixing of the solid surface. Each blade of the ceiling fixture is illuminated with two RGB LED spotlights that are programmed to change the color in a running pattern to give the effect of a rainbow. Each one of the 56 blades is 10- by 2-ft.
By using the acrylic blades in this project, the company was able to achieve translucent ceiling fixtures without a visible fixing or support frame. The acrylic blades also added the effect of a glowing white light between the solid surface. The translucent Arketique solid surface evenly disperses the light and gives the ceiling fixture a glowing finish.
WORTH ANOTHER LOOK
If you're looking at this uncommon full-height backsplash and you find yourself wondering who laid the tile so meticulously that the tiles are almost perfectly centered in their fields, look closer.
Counter Solutions Inc. of Naperville, Ill., created this residential full height backsplash out of solid surface. The company made use of LG HI-MACS Volcanic Collection in this eye-catching display, cut to replicate tile. The surface was finished to a semigloss creating a sheen look across the counters. The white "grout" line effect was achieved by leaving the routed grooves of the design unsanded.
NATURAL STONE SHINES THROUGH
Stone Technics, of Alpharetta, Ga., designed and installed this backlit bar out of 2-cm honey onyx for a private residence in Roswell, Ga. The terrace-level bar features a "sportsman's paradise" theme. The bar was a raised 130-sq.- ft. U-shape with internal lighting. Lighting the stone from "inside" allows for the design impression of a glowing stone. The construction of a sufficiently tall air space to provide uniform lighting, with no "hot spots," presented support challenges. To overcome this, the company had to develop a transparent support system in order to allow the stone to be lit without showing shadows.
Stone Technics also designed and fabricated an outdoor grill made from 3-cm granite with laminated edges and an inlayed brass channel shown here. The grill is part of a new residence in Douglas County, Ga., and features a large horseshoe design with lower countertops and a large raised bar. The bar is laminated to 6 cm with a full bullnose edge. The border design runs from one end of the bar to the other. The brass then follows down the 6-cm bullnose edge, down the riser and then across the lower countertop. The design faced a number of difficult factors. Inlaying the brass to perfectly follow a straight line all the way around and making 45-degree turns at the columns required careful planning and execution. The brass is glued in the channel with resin epoxy and was done on site after the granite was installed and seamed.
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
This pictured kitchen backsplash installation makes use of clear tempered UltraGlas, a kiln-formed, decorative architectural glass produced in Chatsworth, Calif. The use of ¼-in. tempered UltraGlas in this installation increases the light level and provides privacy to the outdoors, letting in natural ambient light, while also doubling as an attractive backsplash. The diagonal checkerboard design extends design continuity with the flooring, lighting and cabinet door inserts.
UltraGlas surfacing provides an unexpected, yet distinctive alternative to traditional materials for surfaces from countertops to backsplashes and more.
TIME FOR A QUICK SHOWER
Solid surface isn't just for countertops. The Pinske Edge, of Plato, Minn., was selected to fabricate a large solid surface shower project in the Comstock dormitories at the University of Minnesota. Because the project was a remodel, there was much to consider like existing plumbing, etc., as well as an aggressive time schedule to meet, which would consist of a total of 80 showers fabricated and installed — half to be completed during the summer of 2007 and the rest to be fabricated and installed during the summer of 2008.
Comstock hall was built in the 1960s and was due for bathroom updates. The project includes shower pans and wall surrounds fabricated from Staron Sanded Sahara material. There are eight different types of showers that have been fabricated including double showers and showers with towel or "dry-off" areas for the students. The showers have both interior and exterior shower walls fabricated from solid surface as well as benches and shelves for personal belongings.
WALL OF HONOR
Parksite Surfaces made use of an innovative 3-D photo imaging process to complete the FBI Wall of Honor in the new Tampa, Fla., FBI Field Office. This FBI Service Martyrs display utilized the compromise of state-of-the-art photo technology and traditional values and décor to create this lobby focal point. Backlight Images, a patented process produced exclusively by R. D. Wing Co. Inc. of Kirkland, Wash., is a 3-D photo imaging process that is created by utilizing imaging or graphics supplied by the customer and re-creating that imaging by relieving the surface of 1/4-in. translucent Corian. Unilluminated, the images look like sculpted art, but once lit from behind, 256 shades of gray go to work to make the image come alive in a 3D format. The wall of honor was dedicated on May 15, 2007, the National Day of Recognition for All Law Enforcement Officers Who Have Fallen in the Line of Duty.