EXTREME GREEN? - MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID; CMG

Surfaces Trade Show in Las Vegas is a mighty gathering of key floor and wall covering exhibitors proudly presenting their product-development “babies”.  Solution-driven products; new twists on old favorites, and creative aesthetics leave you wondering—how did they build that?  This is what I’ve come to expect from Surfaces after attending for so many years, and all I can say as I write this article from the Show is, mission accomplished.  It’s a thrill to discover earth-friendly products that have just been brought to market, and the very next thing I want to do is share it with you.

Let me introduce you to Architectural Systems, Inc., home based in NYC.  Their logo by-line describes their interior finish products as “Distinctive / Global / Sustainable / Affordable.  That’s a pretty big claim and one that deserved to be researched further, which of course, I did.  ASI fabricates environmentally friendly Ecotextures® architectural panels, a magnetic floor system, and a collection of bamboo wall panels (Eco-Dimensions Collection) -- among other specialty interior finish products.

Their magnetic floor system is stunning.  It thrives in the retail store sector because it’s easy to install, easy to replace, and easy to maintain. "Luxury" vinyl flooring has an enviable product life cycle in high-traffic installations. A 10-year commercial wear warranty is offered on all ASI "luxury" vinyl products and they are all sustainable which can contribute to LEED® points. Vinyl tile is  an environmentally-friendly product.  An assessment of the life-cycle of the material will show that vinyl outperforms comparable flooring materials in energy usage, maintenance, and durability.  Ultimately assessments of LVT confirm that this is a material that outlasts its competitors.

Commercial products have evolved to become state-of-the-art designs with a homey touch, and luxury flooring is a great example of that.  Note that these floors can be laid over preexisting hard floors (parquet, tiles, linoleum, laminate, marble, granite, or stone). That spells PROBLEM SOLVER to me.  Many of wfca.org readers are entrepreneurs and ask for flooring ideas for their retail stores or corporate environment.  Well here it is…. these products are tough enough to survive hospitality installations, so be assured they can weather any commercial setting with ease.

Let’s talk about wall systems.  I have been searching for something unusual and budget-friendly for several design consultations, and I think I have found it. Here’s how ASI describes their bamboo panels:

The next level in sustainable and striking collections has arrived with Eco-Dimensions Bamboo Wall Panels ! Made from pressed bamboo pulp, these 3-dimensional panels are lightweight, seamless, flexible, and durable, with sound-absorbing qualities. Available unfinished in six intricate patterns, the wall panels can be painted or stained for a modern yet comfortable design solution.  And here they are:

Bars Dunes Moonscape Pads Bloom

Diamond

Bamboo, of course, is a rapidly renewable natural material which gives this line of wall panels high marks in sustainability. I would tag it “extreme green” as it relates to earth-conscious choices in design.

Next in ASI’s “tool box” of interior wall systems is environmentally friendly Ecotextures®.  The unique wood-grain of these panels comes from crafted, stranded timber (all from rapidly renewable natural resources).  These panels are shrink-resistant, durable and ideal for millwork, feature walls, column covers, fixtures and case goods.  The component lumber is Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certified, and that’s no small detail.  It’s very important for designers, architects, and end users who are serious about designing “green”.  These beautiful panels come in a variety of pattern choices:  pyramid, basket weave, flat panels, tiers or stripes. 

Design directions indicate two significant trends for 2012-2013.  First of all, design continues to be trending “green” for interior finishes, AND very importantly, good design is incorporating texture, texture, texture into interiors.  What a great discovery these panels are for successfully merging both of these major trends. Check out the visuals on the website to see some real-life installations or order samples: www.archsystems.com

Well, there is my first exciting discovery from Surfaces in Las Vegas.  (I’ve also discovered that slot machines can devour $20 in no time at all.)  However, on a more positive note, there is much more to come from my Surfaces discoveries in the FloorTalk segment over the next few weeks—so be sure to check it out.

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