Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wood and Waste and a hint of Eucalyptus

Sustainability is about many things, but who knew it would include plastic, as in plastic laminate. Well the people at Wilsonart of Temple, Texas did.

In an article posted yesterday, November 18, 2009, on Interior Design’s blog by Penny Bonda, , the accomplishments of Wilsonart in their environmental stewardship were highlighted.

Wilsonart is know as an industry leader in the production of high-pressure decorative laminate. They are also producers of Laminate Flooring, Solid Surface and Adhesives. A consistent theme throughout the portfolio of Wilsonart is the attention to environmental issues.

The recent achievement of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain of custody certification for their high-pressure laminate from the Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) is the first award to a laminate company.

When you look at the content of a typical laminate from Wilsonart, you have rapidly renewable materials, primarily eucalyptus, post-consumer recycled content, FSC and controlled wood fiber that contribute to the majority (70%) of the material. The remaining material being resin. The laminate backer contains a minimum of 30% recycled content as well. The post-consumer recycled content in the laminate is the highest in the industry.

The collection of color and patterns from Wilsonart is as great as their environmental story. The new patterns Medallion, Eclipse, Luna and Mosaic revel an ability to show a vision while keeping current with design and trends within their portfolio. The new collection of wood laminates is also a beautiful addition to the more traditional standards.

What are your new favorites? Mine is 4893-60 Tumbled Mosaic.

Also available in Wilsonart HD High Definition and Wilsonart Premium Laminates is AEON Enhanced Performance technology. It creates a surface that is more durable and can last longer in areas that take more wear and abuse that a standard surface, all the while the product will still look great.

All Wilsonart Laminate products are Greenguard Indoor Air Quality and Children and School Certified, and can contribute to LEED credit for Low Emitting Materials, Indoor Air Quality, Recycled Content, Rapidly Renewable Resources and Responsible Forest Management.

The overall package of Wilsonart as a company is the real future. While laminate has gotten the sustainable spotlight, the company is committed to their environmental program with all their products. The Adhesives for wood and laminate are Greenguard Certified for Indoor Air Quality, the first introduced. The Laminate Floor is SCS Certified for a minimum of 70% pre-consumer recycled wood fiber as well as Greenguard Certified for Indoor Air Quality. The wood fiber is also from sources that are certified by Sustainable Forestry Initiative. The Solid Surface made by Wilsonart is also Greenguard Certified for Indoor Air Quality.

Look up Wilsonart and all that they have to offer at .

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Have I seen you somewhere before?

Have you ever seen an old New England farm house or barn in person or photograph and had visions of what could be done with the raw materials if you used then again in another building? All the character and texture that life has worn into them has added to their beauty. They are more precious than new timber in some ways.

Well, deconstruct not demolish! What a sustainable idea. To reuse and recycle a material for another life as opposed to sending it to the landfill because it was no longer needed in it’s current form.

That is what Stone Source has accomplished with their Reclaimed Wood products in development with a third generation family owned mill. As a building is being deconstructed, not demolished, 90% of the building’s reclaimable resources are obtained and carefully graded to produce product that is of desirable quality and aesthetics.

Textured Reclaimed Wood Series

Textured Reclaimed Wood series comes mainly from deconstructed old barns, farm houses, attic floors, cabins and light structural beams.

Textures include American Chestnut - Sculpted, Berkshire Pine Barn Siding - Raked, New England Hemlock - Bear Wood, North Faced Oak Barn Siding, Poplar - Raked, Vertical Grain Heart Pine, Wide Pine - Burnished.

The product’s applications are best suited for interior walls.

All of the Reclaimed Wood is FSC Certified. The Textured Reclaimed Wood won the 2009 Best of NeoCon Silver Award in the Wall Treatment category. All of the Engineered Reclaimed Wood is Rainforest Alliance Certified.

Antique Reclaimed Wood Flooring Series

Antique Reclaimed Wood Flooring series is deconstructed from columns, structural timbers, siding and thick decking throughout the Northeast to provide different types and sizes of wood fiber in several different grades.

Antique Woods include: American Chestnut Beam Stock, Heart Pine Beam Stock, White Oak Beam Stock, Hickory Beam Stock, North Faced Oak Barn Siding - Kendall Road, and Reclaimed Mixed Softwoods.

Antique Reclaimed Wood Flooring is suitable for interiors.

The wood flooring is FSC Certified and Rainforest Alliance Certified.

Engineered Reclaimed Wood Flooring Series

Engineered wood flooring is primarily sourced and manufactured in the United States with the exception of the Fair Dinkum Jurrah. The mill has been proactive with their engineered wood flooring by seeking an ecologically responsible alternative to other manufactured product. The plywood used in the panels is produced from domestic species and is FSC Certified. Reclaimed wood, in a layer 3/16" thick, is bound to the plywood with a low-VOC formaldehyde-free adhesive.

This series includes: Engineered Reclaimed Hickory, Engineered Reclaimed Ash, Engineered Reclaimed Chestnut, Engineered Reclaimed Grey Elm, Engineered Reclaimed Fair Dinkum Jurrah, and Engineered Reclaimed Heart Pine.

Engineered Reclaimed Wood is suitable for interior floors.

All of the Engineered Reclaimed Wood is FSC Certified and is Rainforest Alliance Certified.

With this entire collection Stone Source has not only saved beautiful material from going to a land fill but have given the design community inspired product to create new spaces.

For more information about these material and Stone Source visit

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just how do you Fit?

If first impressions count the most, then Kimball struck a cord yesterday at the NeoCon East show in Baltimore with their Fit chairs. They had strategically placed them on the registration level of the Convention Center and they were in a bright red mesh fabric. They just called out to people to come and try them.

I, of course, could not resist trying them like everyone else. The chair, at first look, appears to be something that will either bounce you right out of it like a rubber ball the moment that you try to sit or that you will sink in too low to ever get back up with out a hand from a friend or co-worker.

Much to my amazement, neither was the case. The chair gently cradled you in what ever position you sat. The say it’s the chair that isn’t a chair until you sit in it. And they are right.

From an ascetic perspective, the piece is very contemporary and may not appeal to corporate brand standards. It is more iconic and unique in it’s form and function. The Fit chair would be appropriate for a lounge, break room, informal conference areas and study areas.

Fit won a Best of NeoCon 2009 for Innovation. The steel frame is powder coated to match the color of the mesh fabric of the seat for coordination. The mesh is also reinforced around the seat area to provide the user extra support while sitting. The Fit also comes with an optional headrest. This chair is also SCS Indoor Air Quality certified.

For more information about Fit and other Kimball products check and

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Let’s get Entwined

Pallas Textiles has just introduced the Entwined Collection of textiles, a Laura Guido - Clark design. This collection is a inspiration to the simple elegance of textiles. The texture of thread in intricate patterns and the play of light and shadow create a broad pallet of color.

The collection consists of five patterns:
On the Fringe
Running Stitch

While Pallas has created a beautiful textile collection, they also are environmentally conscience. The Unspun pattern offers Crypton Green, the first high-performance fabric system to receive a MBDC Cradle-to-Cradle and SCS Indoor Advantage™ Gold certifications. Unraveled has a 100% biodegradable polyurethane surface and Interlace is 100% recyclable solution dyed nylon.

To add one more bonus to all of this, Pallas is donating a portion of the proceeds for the Entwined collection to breast cancer research.

I like the balance of solid textiles with texture and coordinating patterns. It makes this a strong collection for healthcare or corporate clients.

Pallas offers graded in programs with many manufactures for easy of specifying.

Check out the new Entwine collection for the beautiful patterns and color pallet.

Pallas Textiles

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Help me find my way home

Have you ever stood in the hall ways of a hospital building or university looking up at the directional signs and still been lost? Tried to remember if the person you asked for directions said to turn left after the third hall way or was it right? Maybe you couldn’t even find anyone to ask for directions?

Way finding is an important and complicated process within the interior of a building. The experience that a person has inside that space also says a lot about the company that is within the space. It can also be costly and troublesome to update if there are continual moves and changes.

If walking from the front door of a Medical Office Building to a specific doctor’s office takes a road map, the visitor is not feeling welcome by the time they get to their destination. What might the medical error rate be on a patient floor every time some stops a doctor or nurse to ask for directions?

Electronic Bread Crumbs (EBC) is a way finding system that takes us into the digital age. A walk up kiosk would be at the entrance. Visitors select their destination from a one touch screen. Everything is menu based from the first touch of the screen. A visual indicator will appear showing your specific destination, a ticket will print with a bar code and directions to and from your destination. At other intersections a bar code reader will read the ticket and give more directions if needed.

This EBC system can be updated by an IT administrator anytime there are changes within the build. Traditional systems require you to remove custom signage, order new and to replace the incorrect signage. This results in waste that is not good for the environment, nor for the bottom line. I don’t think we are going back to the black felt signs with white letter any time soon are we?

The accessibility of accurate information at all times gives the visitors the control to move from destination to destination easily, and the availability of having the information in two languages, makes this an asset to hospitals and universities.

Take a look at the virtual tour on their web site.

EBC system

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

They might be giants, Green Giants that is

In late September Newsweek published The Greenest Big Companies in America This looks at the 500 largest U.S. companies based on their actual environmental performance policies, reputation and industry-neutral metrics that help even the playing field for companies in carbon-intensive businesses.

One of the companies to make the top 100 is First Solar. Their product intrigues me for many reasons. Solar panels are a good clean energy source and are manufactured and tested in only 2.5 hours. The panels can all be substantially recycled at the end of their life, including the glass and the encapsulated semiconductor material, which can be treated and processed into new modules or other products. With their collection and recycling program, First Solar is preventing the disposal of the panels into local communities’ landfills.

First Solar has also set in place a program to hold funds to handle the collection and recycling of the panels from the initial sales. These funds are held by a third party insurance company, ensuring that when the client is ready to recycle their product, no matter what the company’s financial status, there are funds available to collect and recycle their modules. The client’s only responsibility is making a collection request with First Solar, this starts the process to dissemble and box the panels.

In this industry we continually talk about recyclability of materials and product. How are clients and end users to actually accomplish these tasks when the product is not labeled or recyclers are not available?

Is it a wonder that so much material goes to the landfill? How easy do manufactures make it for the actually end user to recycle the material when it has gone through its useful life?

For me this program makes First Solar an excellent choice for one of The Greenest Big Companies in America.

So check them out. First Solar

A few others to note that made the list were: #45 C.B. Richard Ellis, #51 AECOM Technology, #56 Owens Corning, and #145 Jacobs Engineering.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Weaving a Dream

An article in The Grand Rapids Press,, this week brought to my attention a wonderful collaboration to the office furniture industry. DesignTex has contracted with Azure Rugs Inc. for a new collection of rugs called Common Threads made by Afghan women.

The program is more than about the carpets. It’s about empowering these women and girls and providing education and employment for them. We get a beautiful product and they get a better life.

Azure Rugs Inc. is a not-for- profit organization that is providing sustainable income for Afghan women by making connections and selling the rugs they weave. The program that Azure has established helps empower the women weavers so they are able to provide for their families and gain access to education and healthcare.

This is the first product the weavers have produced that is being sold through the office furniture industry. The Common Threads Collection was previewed at NeoCon in Chicago this past June with great success. It won two awards: Innovation and Editor’s Choice.

Sizes are 5x7, 6x9 and 8x8. The rugs are hand tied with 100 knots per square inch.

Patterns are Unity, Relativity R600, Prosperity, Humanity, Connectivity R300, and Diversity.

Personally I love the Humanity design with Prosperity a close second. Somehow that sounds a little strange but right, Humanity over Prosperity! I like it.

DesignTex has taken sustainability into account with these rugs in many areas. Make sure to check out their environmental Design criteria for Common Threads.

I think these are beautiful and tell a great story. They are worth checking out.