This week we headed to Las Vegas for S2, a combination the Surfaces and StonExpo trade shows. We walked miles through the exhibition spaces at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and here present the favorites of what we saw.
Among the rows and rows of solid and engineered hardwood, cork, bamboo, and tile flooring at Surfaces, the laminates from inhaus—specifically its Urban Loft collection—jumped out. Shown here is its Whitewashed Oak flooring.
Also in inhaus's Urban Loft collection is Wine & Pine, mimicking the look of repurposed wine barrels. Though laminates often get a bad rap, the Urban Loft 8-millimeter-thick surfaces comes with a 40-year residential warranty and are AC4 wear class-rated (the second highest laminate wear rating, indicating greater durability).
Voguebay's Watercube glass tiles were among a range of tiles taking on a three-dimensional nature at the show. Its design was fashioned after the Beijing National Aquatics Center—nicknamed the Water Cube—which was constructed for use at the 2008 summer Olympics.
Recycled glass surfaces have become huge in the countertop market and the origins of the colored bits are a favorite story-telling tidbit. Massachusetts-based manufacturer Curava set up its booth with an array of samples, including its Bristol Blue countertop, made with glass from Nivea skin care bottles. The bottles are made in the United States then shipped to Thailand to be filled at a site quite close to the Curava factory. The ones that don't make it across the ocean in one piece end up in Bristol Blue.
A number of exhibitors at the shows featured the hidden materials that make surfaces stick. JamesHardie—which manufactures HardiePanel—displayed its new HardieBacker ProGrid Cement Board, designed with a gridded scoreable material and with recessed areas for nails.
BASF also highlighted behind-the-scenes products such as its adhesives. In our February 2011 "Process" story about the 111 Navy Chair by Emeco, we chronicled the journey of 111 plastic bottles being turned into the chair, which included a trip to BASF in Tennessee, where the recycled PET is combined with glass fiber and color pigment before being injection molded.
The bark of a cork tree regenerates every nine years, making cork an excellent source of sustainable flooring. CorksRibas, a Portugese flooring company, exhibited its products and explained the differences in patterns: even patterns are made from smaller crushed pieces of the bark whereas more patterned pieces often include larger, less crushed sections (giving the flooring interesting detail and texture—and, of course, increasing its price).