Myth no. 6 ’“ solid surface is only good for worktops
When I get asked what I do and I explain that I distribute Corian® this can often be met by a blank look from the uninitiated to the solid surface industry. Depending on the person who asked the question, it is sometimes easier to describe it as being known as a kitchen worktop material.
Whilst this usually gets an understanding nod or a light bulb recognition moment in response, it does leave me feeling that I've undersold solid surface to an extent because it can be used for so much more than kitchen or bathroom worktops.
Opening the door to choice
Take a look at the striking row of door and drawer fronts above including an elegant curved Corian® door that was created by Jack Trench
This is part of a growing trend of using solid surface as a door or drawer front in both residential and commercial situations.
In the home, designers are using solid colours to replicate the look of a hand-painted kitchen but with all the benefits of solid surface - no need to worry about replacing a door because you've nicked the edge and the paint has come off. Where a more contemporary look is looked for - sleek straight rows of white solid surface doors complement the worktops in the same colour. How about this great example from Higham Furniture
As well as looking great, solid surface ticks all the boxes from a functional view point. In the healthcare environment, the hygienic properties make solid surface the perfect material to be used for door fronts as well as worktops and sinks. Click here
to see some great examples.
A perfect end product
It's possibly an easy leap to make from worktop to door fronts in a kitchen or laboratory, but designers are increasingly falling in love with the fact that you can bend, shape, router out and back light solid surface.
There are not that many materials around that are quite so versatile. The upshot is that solid surface is being used more and more for different products around the world.
We have seen drums
made of Corian®. They look good and they sound even better than standard materials according to the musical connoisseurs.
From cooker hoods
to an ice-cream maker for Heston Blumenthal
the fact that products can be made that both work and look superb is a constant source of inspiration for designers. What about these superbly crafted bowls
for a bit of modern artisan work?
Westfield shopping centres are at the leading edge of offering a high-end shopping experience around the world. Their two latest additions in London feature play areas
that any child would be happy to use - and the parents can admire the view as well. Combining the vast array of colours available in solid surface with the ability to shape it and add textured patterns is a great recipe for working with. Add in the durability that solid surface offers and public spaces are another great user of the material.
I still never tire of seeing the beautiful seating booths and casino table at the Corinthian Club
One of the most exciting aspects of designers' increasing awareness of solid surface and its properties, is the fact that we are starting to see it used as external cladding.
Ever since CD UK was the first globally to promote its use over 25 years ago, when a "Masonic Lodge" in Exeter was clad in Corian®, solid surface has slowly become understood as a material for architects to play with to make a building look extra special.
The Seeko'o building
in Bordeaux simply takes your breath away. A solid block of white rises elegantly out of the French city's skyline. At night, lighting gives the Corian®-clad faÃ§ade an ephemeral look that would be hard to achieve in other materials.
I could happily go on with examples of how solid surface can be (should be!) used other than in its more obvious guise as a worktop but I'm sure you've got the gist by now.
The materials and the know-how are there to support architects and designers pushing the boundaries of what can be done so I guess it's over to the design community to see what extraordinary projects you can come up with.........
Please share any ideas you may have for using solid surface in new ways.