By Annette Callari, Allied ASID; CMG
Surfaces 2013, sponsored by the World Floor Covering Association, rocked the halls of the Mandalay Bay Convention center in Las Vegas in late January. Retailers were back, in force, along with designers taking advantage of the education days, product tours, and the always- popular Trends Hub. How refreshing to see a buzz of activity as new products were unveiled and novelty interior products debuted.
When you think of Vegas, you think of glitz and glamour. So appropriately, I discovered a product with all the glitz and sparkle of precious metals. It’s actually hard to put this into words. As part of the Trends Hub showcase of products, Genesis Development introduced a product prototype of stabilized aluminum foam coated in clear resin. I know, I just lost you because those words sound like they don’t go together. But hang on—it’s a new material concept, definitely worth understanding as to what it is and what the applications could be! The sample materials pictured here should help you visualize it. Glittering copper, gold and silver versions of this open-celled aluminum were imbedded in resin, and these treasures were on display in the Trends Hub. Everybody wanted to know what they were and how to use them.
International designers have already glommed onto this innovative discovery and are using it for wall cladding (interior and exterior), light-weight ceiling tiles, flooring, and countertops in commercial settings. It’s just a matter of time before you see it incorporated into art-status furniture and lighting fixtures as well.
A Toronto based company, Alusion, which is a division of Cymat Technologies, has their own trademarked version and markets this exciting new product globally. Their resume of applications for these stunning panels includes restaurants and bars, corporate offices, hospitality applications, and retail displays—all very impressive, to say the least. Because these panels can be built with translucent properties, light is an important additive to the finished design. Colored wall-wash lighting can be timed to change the entire look and ambience of an interior. The modernity of the panels gives a sparkling, contemporary edge, and the colored lighting adds yet another exciting element.
Interior design is at its best when it pushes the boundaries of imagination. This new marriage of art and technology has done just that, and produced a newcomer to the world of design. The possibilities are beyond exciting. Utilized as a floor covering, this open-cell, colored aluminum encased in a durable polymer brings a fresh, high-character look to the floor. Right now, most of these applications have been featured only in commercial interiors. But wait for it—it’s just a matter of time before the frontier expands to the residential world as well. I will keep you posted.