Annette Callari, Allied ASID
This is the story of how a product started out as one thing, and evolved into something entirely different. Back in 1943, a family-owned company named Richlite produced materials strictly for industrial purposes: aerospace applications, fiberglass reinforcements for marine industries, and materials for commercial food industries. But in the late 1990’s architects and designers discovered Richlite and began specifying it for high-end residential and commercial countertops, as well as reception areas. And, to date, this story just keeps getting better and better.
Richlite is made primarily from paper purchased from FSC-Certified sources. The paper is treated with resin, then pressed and baked to create solid sheets of material with exceptional strength. Because of its blend of waste paper, corrugated cardboard, soft woods and wood fibers, Richlite is able to create Herculean surfaces that satisfy aesthetics as well as function. (And brings “Green” specification to a new level.) If you are wondering just how strong Richlite could possibly be, it’s a fact that the action sports industry has successfully used this material for outdoor skate ramps!!! Enough said.
These countertops have earned GREENGUARD certification for indoor use residentially, but are also approved for school and institutional environments. The material has a natural appeal and matte finish that gives it a clean, architectural look–very urban chic by nature. Its strength is inherent for the life of the product and enables the surface to accommodate long spans and cantilevers without extra support. No wonder designers and architects love it. Its uses, of course, are not limited to countertops. The product can be used for interior wall cladding, wainscots, work surfaces, wall caps, stair treads, and even free-form architectural features.
If you happen to be intrigued by this chameleon product, log on to www.richlite.com to find out more. There you can also see the color choices, which include dark green, rich chocolate tones, deep blue, golden amber, light maple, and even a deep red.
I love bringing versatile, innovative products to your attention, especially when they further the cause of sustainability. I’ve given you some interesting applications as food for thought. But its uses are limited only by your imagination. Now it’s up to you to get creative! Let me know what you create and I’ll share your story with our readers in future blogs.