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What’s New at Material ConneXion?

The materials consultancy offers a look at some of its latest and greatest for the kitchen and bath
By Alice Liao
October 20, 2010

Nearly a year has passed since K+BB visited Material Connexion and covered some of the interesting kitchen- and bath-related surfacing products on view in its New York City office. For those who missed our report, Material ConneXion is a global materials consultancy and library founded in 1997 by George M. Beylarian. A members-only facility, it houses more than 4,500 materials and, in addition to New York, has locations in Bangkok, Thailand; Cologne, Germany; Daegu, South Korea; and Milan.

Because its collection is expanded each month, we decided to check back with Material Connexion to find out what’s new and newsworthy. As noted before, all submissions are thoroughly researched and then evaluated and voted on by a jury before being added. Here are seven that made it through:

[1] You gotta love a product with a name like Ballistic. Formed of rows of stainless-steel hemispheres and a ceramic and resin backing, these mesh-mounted metal mosaic tiles from SOLI Architectural Surfaces can be used on residential interior or exterior walls and come in 12-in. x 12-in. sheets that each measure 1/2 in. thick. The stainless steel is offered in a brushed or polished finish; custom colors and finishes are available.

[2] For those who crave personalization, MB Digitalprint GmbH & Co. KG’s MB Digitalprint can transfer favorite high-resolution images onto a variety of surfaces, including dibond, acrylic, glass and polycarbonate. The printing process is touted as being more budget-friendly than conventional HPL (high-pressure laminate) graphics and avoids the shrinkage that can occur during lamination, producing sharper images. Depending on the surface chosen, the results may also offer greater resistance to scratches, abrasions and the effects of light. The technology can accommodate panels up to 48 in. wide in continuous lengths.

[3] Lhotsky, s.r.o. in the Czech Republic uses an age-old technique of mold-melted glass to create tiles, as well as other products. After being melted together and then slowly annealed in a mold for a few weeks, the glass tiles are then polished and sandblasted for a matte finish. Available in white, dark blue, orange, cobalt blue, purple and light brown, they can be used in interior or exterior applications with a hard surface. Funky countertop anyone?

[4] If you’re not a fan of wood-look ceramic tiles but would still like a wooden floor in your bathroom, HALE GmbH may have an answer. Its Marin flooring is composed of thermally modified timber and a synthetic bonding system, which together create a surface that is both flexible and impervious to water. In addition, the product’s polyurethane joint resists the effects of fresh and salt water while supporting the tendency of wood to contract and expand. Available in 36-in. x 4 2/5-in. x 1/2-in. planks with a grout thickness of .15 in., it can be installed in bathrooms and indoor pool areas on cemented subfloors and subfloors made of chipboards that are bolted together.

[5] Okay, these may not be for everyone, but you have to admit, Hearts & Crafts’ Venezia floor and wall tiles (with coordinating skirting board) are kinda’ cool in a Star-Trek-meets-Spiderman way, no?  Made from 100 percent aluminum, they’re recyclable, lightweight, acid-resistant and suitable for floor and wall cladding in residential and commercial interiors. In addition, they come in 10 colors and eight machine-etched textures. A variety of sheet sizes are available, and thicknesses range from 5 mm to 10 mm.

[6] Nonporous and scratch resistant, Micro from Meld USA is an eco-friendly cement-based surfacing material containing up to 74 percent pre-consumer recycled glass. Because the glass is extracted within 500 miles of the company’s manufacturing facility, it can contribute to LEED credits not only for its recycled content but also for its use of regional materials. Slabs come in a standard size of 30 in. x 96 in. x 1 1/2 in. and six colors. Custom slab sizes and colors are available.
[7] R-Cast Dura from Reynolds Polymer Techology, Inc. is an acrylic cast panel material featuring an aluminum tri-hydrate filler. Durable and fire rated, it boasts an impact resistance greater than concrete and offers a cost-efficient alternative to solid surfacing. Offered in 48-in. x 96-in. sheets in 1/4-in. and 1/2-in. thicknesses, it comes in white opaque, white translucent and black; custom colors and sheet sizes are also available, as are a variety of edge treatments. The surface can also accommodate graphics and textures through the company’s R-Cast Mirage and Textures line.
All images and information courtesy of Material ConneXion.
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