Long the workhorses of finishes, composites have come a long way. Mineral- or wood-based, polymers, ceramics—new chemistries and production methods have expanded the both the performance range and the aesthetic qualities of these surface materials. Here are six new products that are as durable as they are attractive.
Visual grace notes to architectural compositions, surface and finish materials can bring tactility, color, and pattern into a space. From floor to ceiling, from wood and tile to composites and carpeting, here’s our pick of the current palette.
Founded in 1898, this family-run company sources Douglas fir and oak from the best forests in Europe, selecting trees between eighty and 200 years old for exceptional custom flooring installations.
Ceramic or porcelain, mosaic or large-format, rectified or squared, tile is a clay canvas for not only original expressions, but also for convincing imitations of natural materials. Here’s a sampling of new products.
Design Tale Studio / DTS
Fossil is a hand-drawn illustration, inspired by prehistoric imprints of plants and animals on rock formations. The collection was designed by Kasia Zareba, the winner of the manufacturer’s Create Your Own Tile competition. The 24-inch by 24-inch porcelain tiles are available in beige, brown, and grey and five patterns.
A Stapler Never Looked So Sleek: Tom Dixon’s designer desk tools are sure to make every architect jealous
Perk up your home office with sleek stationery that doubles as a design artefact. The new range of glammed-up everyday utilities from British designer Tom Dixon features the minimalist, no-nonsense aesthetic we have come to expect from British design. Clad in copper, each piece exudes an understated glamor that speaks of old money. Five product lines form a family of quotidian items imbued with an unexpected luxury and durability–from staplers to tape dispensers and a desk tidy box.
Dutch product designer David Graas started with this premise: what if the cityscape as we know it were literally flipped upside down? His answer is a collection of 3D-printed light bulb covers shaped like some of the world’s glitziest skyscrapers. Suspended from the ceiling, these so-called “Stalaclights” appear at once disorienting and enchanting from the impression of icy stalactites descending from the ceiling like tiny cities floating untethered in mid-air.
Rather than wear your heart on your sleeve, why not sport your passion on your finger? Peruvian architect Diego Delgado-Elias has created a collection of rings ornamented with miniature mainstays of the architect’s toolkit.
Enhancing acoustics, elevating comfort, and offering an attractive shot of color underfoot—carpeting can impact an interior in both subtle and obvious ways. Kick off your shoes and see what we’ve discovered.
The new Tatami collection by Ariadna Miquel and Nani Marquina are the first color pieces to be part of Nanimarquina’s Natural Collection. Inspired by Japanese straw tatami mats, Tatami is made with a combination of soft, New Zealand wool and bright, structured jute. These complementary fibers are hand loomed together to create the perfect marriage of style and comfort. Available in several colors.
Including an architect-designed element in the bath can elevate the look of the room without breaking the client’s budget. Whether a suite of fixtures or a single item, it’s an added-value investment.
Starck 1 Washbasin
This modern washbasin features a unique faucet hole that is nearly impossible to machine fabricate. The faucet surround of the sink is hand-sanded to create an entirely flat surface on the top and sides of the hole, resulting in a unique appearance.
Technology is supposed to make design a more streamlined, efficient process. But as anyone who’s ever squinted at a tools palette of inscrutable icons can attest, it too often deters the creative process. To the rescue comes a smart selection of task-specific, nimble apps and programs.
Available for Apple and Android phones, this app’s clean design and linear sequencing makes it easy to explore. In just a few taps, users can find descriptions and specifications of the surfacing material—including water permeability, thermoformability, and heat resistance—as well as all the products and colors available.
At the recent Design Miami fest, artist Naihan Li exhibited her work-of-art wardrobe, which is helpfully—or confusingly—titled I AM A MONUMENT. (Apologies, and a tip of the chapeau, to Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour.) The monument in question is, of course, Rem Koolhaas‘ CCTV building.