Furniture Today Staff -- Furniture Today, September 15, 2011
Material Connexion is a global materials consulting firm and a resource for innovative materials research and strategic materials insights. It is also a sister company to Home Accents Today, part of the Sandow Media group. Its most striking physical feature is its library of more than 6,000 advanced and sustainable materials, available at its New York headquarters and international locations. Material Connexion will share some of its insights on interesting new materials and applications in a periodic column in Home Accents Today.
Although it may be "what's inside that counts," we are still deeply affected by and from emotional responses to the surfaces of things. It is our initial connection to any object, and through all of our five senses, the surface provides us much information, often creating within us a positive or negative effect as a result. Whether it is through pattern, texture, illumination, the reduction of noise or simply that it remains clean, a surface can fill us with wonder or turn us off completely. So for our inaugural selection of material innovations for Home Accents Today, we have chosen some of our favorite ways of making an impact with surfaces, selecting materials and technologies from among the 6,000 materials available at Material Connexion's Library.
1. Surface Illumination: Philips Lumiblade
Lumiblade is an extremely thin light source based on organic LEDs (OLED). The light source evenly emits from its entire surface and exhibits diffuse radiating characteristics. The lighting process works by passing electricity through extremely flat layers of organic semiconductor materials, aluminum, indium tin oxide (ITO) and plastic. The uniqueness resides in the opportunity of not having to "hide" the light into a design but making it part of the design itself. This innovative material allows integrating light in advanced ways and custom shapes in paper-thin sections. It also allows for the use of lighting that can be either transparent or mirrored when not energized.
2. Surface Printing: Infinity Pix Fabric Imaging
This printing process produces high-resolution imagery onto any style or weight of polyester fabric with water-based inks using dye sublimation. The image is digitally printed on to a paper with a wide-format printer and then the fabric and digital image are run through the transfer calendars and baked on the fabric. Fabric imaging is applicable to various aspects of interior design creating stand-out results.
3. Surface Protection: P2i Ion-Mask
Ion-Mask is a coating bonded to textiles at a molecular level rendering them water-repellent while maintaining temperature control and breathability. It stops water and dirt from penetrating the textile but also allows perspiration to escape. The dirt- and water-repellant properties promote stain-resistance and allow products to maintain their original appearance longer. The coating is only nanometers thick and does not add any additional weight to the textile. It is solvent-free and uses only microscopic quantities of a protective monomer, resulting in minimal waste and a low environmental impact. The nano-coating is physically bonded at a molecular level so it lasts as long as the textile and cannot be seen or felt. Ion-mask can be used on textiles ranging from upholsteries to apparel.
4. Surface Writing: Wolf Gordon Wink
Wink is a water-based finish that turns any paintable surface into a "dry-erase" surface. It performs as a writable finish like a whiteboard on any new or existing painted surface. Standard dry-erase markers are recommended. To apply, the surface should be clean, dry and free of grease and mildew. Once the material is mixed it must be used within one hour. The paint should ideally be installed by a professional installer. It has a long cure time and is writable only after five days. Writing can easily be removed with quality dry-erase cleaning sprays or wipes.
Resource: Material Connexion
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