It isn't a race to become head of the pack, but a team effort we are all involved in to pull the whole industry forward. All of this year's entries have done just that.
Going through all of the submissions, it was hard for us just not to get swept away by the great variation and innovation this industry is experiencing. With so many new shapes, functions and territories our entries have trekked, it was even harder to decide on winners. Before announcing them, we would like to stress that all our entries have gone above and beyond the call of duty as surface fabricators.
Best Overall Design
Creative Arts Unlimited
Pinellas Park, Fla.
Project Name: Hilton Hotel "feathersound" Carillion Park
Project Location: St. Petersburg, Fla.
Scope and Objectives
The project was to create a solid surface bar out of Avonite Blue Glass Series that lights up (see Figure 1). The bar was 4 in. thick and had to wrap around and pair well with a mosaic tile column while staying lit, and a 4-in.-wide, 1⁄4-in.-deep strip had to be routered along the work side of the bar for drink mats after the bar was seamed up on-site. The glue lines where the solid surface was fused together remain dark when the bar is lit, which creates an appealing two-color look. The project also included back shelf panels out of the same material that were to light up for holding and displaying glasses. The back work bar below the shelves was not made to light up, which adds to the two-color look.
The most challenging part of the project was the lighting itself, putting neon lights under the Avonite along the whole bar. In particular, the mosaic column the bar was to wrap around was the most challenging obstacle to both create from the material as well as illuminate with neon lights. Another challenge to the project was that the top was to be 4 in. thick.
To light the bar, 1⁄2-in. white Plexi was used to fuse the lights and then was topped off with the Avonite and seamed on-site. Because it is difficult to thermoform Glass Series to wrap edge around, pieces that were one and a half times the radius were cut out and stacked up seven and a half times to go around the mosaic column. Dani-clamps were then used to hold all the edges in place for gluing. (see Figure 2).
Hard Surface Fabrications Inc.
Project Name: Steelcase "we" spaces
Project Location: Grand Rapids, Mich.
Scope and Objectives
The project was to create a unique and productive work environment for meetings and conferences to take place (see Figure 3). The conference space was designed to be made from Corian and to have a seamless, one-piece look. The project also removed architectural walls from the work environment and created a more intimate space that embodied a group's need to huddle together around a common idea. The room features built-in digital sensors that change the lighting when it is entered, and indicators on the outside that inform others when the space is occupied. Steelcase collaborated with Color Kinetics to install solid state lighting technology, including a projector on the ceiling that displays on a table in the middle of the space. The conference room is one of a series of designs in different sizes that function as individual, two-person and group work areas.
The main challenge in the project was how to fabricate something so large and with such an unusual shape to have a smooth appearance. The curved shapes of the design would not fit in standard ovens. Also, it had to be able to be taken apart and reassembled for transportation purposes.
The techniques used to fabricate the room were carefully thought out, and after extensive trial-and-error procedures were done, the heat-forming process that achieved the level of quality and performance demanded by the project was found and executed in an oven that was designed and built just for this project. To be moved, the finished room can be divided into three pieces and reassembled for on-site designers to add the finishing touches, such as cushions and lighting.
Best Residential Kitchen
Applaus Creative Solid Surface
Project Name: Frith Kitchen
Project Location: Bull Mountain, Ore.
Scope and Objectives
Applaus Creative Solid Surfacing was hired to create new countertops for an out-of-date family kitchen that was being remodeled to have a modern and unique style. The project involved new cabinets, countertops and sinks, as well as a new multilevel island countertop (see Figure 4). Flowstone Elite, a modified polyester composite solid surface material offered by the company, was chosen because it allowed the customers to create a unique appearance all their own.