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Finishing touches

Annabelle Filer FX Magazine
Granitato

Granitato


The latest available resins address environmental concerns as well as giving a diverse range of finishes



There would we be without resins? Nature created them and man, as with any good idea, has copied. Natural resins are hydrocarbon secretions which can come from many plants, especially coniferous trees, and are valuable as varnishes and adhesives. Fossilised resins, such as amber, are a source of great beauty.

Synthetic resins are manufactured through a process of esterification and, like natural resins, are viscous liquids capable of hardening. Without getting into the minutiae of resins’ chemical composition, I think there are two main types worth remembering for architectural and design purposes: epoxy resin, which is used as a thermoset polymer for adhesives and composites; and polyester resin, which accounts for 75 per cent of all resins.

It is important, when specifying, to understand the main differences. Epoxy is a solvent-free adhesive system that is capable of adhering to all materials bar plastics and is much tougher than polyester. Polyester, on the other hand, is UV stable, a third of the price and creates a smoother finish.

Polyester is used for general as opposed to ‘formula one’ mouldings. It is possible to use a composite in which the polyester gel coat is placed in the mould and then the fibre and epoxy liquid is added, to create a product that has the best elements of both.

However, like all good plans, this falls apart with flooring, where polyurethane resins are the main contenders.

ALKEMI

This resin material is visually fascinating and an environmental salvation. I am always intrigued by the ability that man has to look at something pretty random, such as metal swarf in this case, and see its potential. Alkemi is an updated version of existing solid surface materials such as stone, glass and laminate.

Composed of a minimum 60 per cent industrial scrap and polymeric resin, Alkemi is both durable, strong and easy to work with using conventional woodworking tools. Its surface may be sanded and buffed to both matt or high gloss and in the honed version there is an inherent light-reflecting quality. This makes the filings appear brighter under certain light conditions. Beauty is achieved from a scrap product that would otherwise burn to an invisible pollutant.



GRANITATO

Brazilian company, Three-dimensional One (Tridimensional é uma), has recently launched a synthetic rock known as granitato. Based upon a resin composition, this award-winning material has been reproduced to a standard that emulates the veins and crystalline compositions. The finish, when polished, takes a depth of colour that gives it the most extraordinary surface, rather like velvet mercury. Granitato is suitable for both internal and external applications, particularly in kitchens and bathrooms.

STRATUM JEWEL SILVER RESIN

When I show samples of this floor to architects and designers they are often astonished at its finish, flexibility and clarity. This particular resin floor has a slightly textured, swirling silvery greewith a clear gloss surface that has slightly separated from the mass as the pigment sank. Designed and developed by Bolidt, the ‘Bolidtop Design’ range of polyurethane-based resin floor finishes may be applied to timber or concrete substrates and is compatible with underfloor heating systems. It includes Jewel, the more natural looking resin finishes, and 525, solid colour options that can be re-coloured should there be a desire to refresh the space at a later date.



COFFEE GRIND SUGAR RESIN

Nick Rawcliffe is a talented individual whose engineering brain and desire to do good for mankind has seen him through a design journey from wheelchair inserts for children in Bangladesh to snowboards. Recently, his company Raw Studio has created a resin-based material that looks like a cross between stone, leather and chocolate, created from coffee grinds or tea leaves and sugar resin. It is a veritable concoction of naughtiness but with a serious sustainable backbone. This material is currently suitable for countertops (not worktops), wall panels, shelving and furniture.


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