Friday, August 23, 2013

Flexible Stone, wood and much more from Surface Innovation

The Beauty of Natural stone, wood…and other incredible materials                                                                  

Natural materials have always been considered luxurious and can create a wonderful atmosphere in home décor whether it is contemporary, traditional, country or any style you desire depending on what you select. 

Natural stone has been valued throughout the millennia for its sculptural and architectural qualities.

There is a unique new surface innovation for architects, designers, kitchen cabinet and furniture manufacturers and more!  Real slate, sandstone, granite and marble are now available in lightweight, and in some cases flexible, veneer sheets, their use limited only by the imagination.  Put natural slate, sandstone and granite where it was never before possible with SlateFlex, SandFlex and GraniteLite! These revolutionary veneer sheets are a thin slice of real stone, not man made composite imitations.    

While attending IDS 2010, I visited the booth of SurfaceInnovation Inc., a company located in Parry Sound, ON and for the first time viewed their “Flexible Slate Veneer” available for the Canadian market.  This product is real slate available in lightweight, flexible veneer sheets. Since that time they have evolved into many more product lines. 

Slate is an exotic and unique natural stone that is stately, sturdy, and durable; this earthy stone just exudes warmth. Who doesn’t love slate?   The character of slate allows it to fit into a traditional design with an informal time worn, classic, old world feel; as well as an upscale rich, sophisticated, sleek look of the refined, modern design of a high-rise. This stone is versatile almost everywhere.

Slate is commonly used in its rigid form regardless of its application.  How many more creative applications could be utilized if it were flexible?? This product comes in many distinctive slate colours and sandstone and is suitable for vertical interior and wet applications. Slate can be applied to surfaces where it was never before possible.  Think about the possibilities in kitchen and bath design, even furniture and curved walls.   It can be used on a backsplash, cabinetry, and columns (curved), curved walls, furniture, lighting, signage and feature walls.  Certainly we have seen it on some of these applications in its rigid form, however, with the lightweight and flexible nature of the veneer the possibilities are limited only by the imagination.

How is this possible??  This slate veneer is made from adding a fiberglass layer to the slate slabs and then peeling it off when it adheres to the stone.  The rough split texture is a raw stone surface covering a wide range of the colour pallet.  Both natural and quartzite slabs are available.

The Slate Flex veneer product is not only very flexible (approximately 2mm thick) it is also lightweight (approximately ½ lb per sq. Ft) which allows for many creative applications. A standard sheet size is 2’ x 4’ and can be processed with standard tools and readily available adhesives.  Slate Flex can be cut with heavy snips, table saw with masonry disc, metal shear or wet saw. 

The rough stone surface should be treated against contamination with standard stone sealers.  With the properties of natural slate being anti-bacterial, stain-resistant, non-absorbent (even with no sealant) and fireproof, this is definitely a low-maintenance and durable product now available at great cost savings.  

When looking at the transportation cost, fuel and space required in shipping and handling standard stone products, the extreme lightweight property of Slate Flex adds to its desirability of being eco conscious in reducing the carbon footprint.
IIDEX 2011 saw Surface Innovation roll out it’s new booth design and a number of new products.  Numerous architects and designers were introduced to two exciting new products, Marblelite and NatureFlex.  They were pleased to receive a bronze award for booth design.  

Many projects are currently underway as a result of the show.  Surface Innovation, based in Parry Sound, Ontario, specializes in products that can clad almost any vertical surface in your home with thin, decorative, natural materials. Options include: several types of stone, shells and even water hyacinth.  The veneers are thin enough to wrap concave and convex surfaces in natural stone.

The Flex series of products are far lighter than traditional stone products with a far smaller carbon footprint of transportation. Also, they are a much more efficient use of natural resources as only a thin layer of surface material is used.

The Barnwood product line features reclaimed barn-wood mounted on fabric, which allows for application to a multitude of different surfaces. The use of low VOC finishes is a safe and eco-friendly option for those who want to avoid harsh emissions. 

Surface Innovations has a representative in Southern Ontario or can be purchased through The DecoratingCentre in Burlington, ON.

Below are a few photos of the possibilities!!  Check out their website for the many other great ways to use this fantastic product.


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