Interior design and engineering were always seen as two different disciplines, but today they’re growing much closer. Technologists collaborating with designers are developing new materials every single day, and interior designers are finding ways to put them to great use. Many of these new looks are every bit as exciting as they are surprising. As a designer, I chose to be one of those bold designers by taking advantage of out of the box materials made from technology to develop that “wow-factor”.
Designers Using Technology to Create Great Design
Laminates Aren’t Just for Floors
Most laminate products ship in the form of floor coverings, but new breakthroughs in engineering have helped to put many new materials on market. Laminated glass features numerous colorful objects pressed between two sheets of glass, which gives it a classy look. Some pieces feature bits of colored glass shoved in between a couple of flat sheets of clear material, which can make a wall into a sun catcher. Some bold designs even feature full colored glass sheets. Traditional laminated resin pieces could only ever be used on cabinet doors, but new lighter styles are so thin they can be installed in walls to give any room the look of a Japanese tea lounge.
Stainless Steel is In Again
Few materials can be shaped into as many different forms as steel can. While the very term steel conjures up images of sheet metal, brand new manufacturing techniques are creating entirely new types of material for interior designers to work with. Stainless steel wires can be woven together using new machines to create a sort of screen that makes extremely dramatic curtains and partitions. A few designers have used this new steel fabric to enclose shower stalls or section off bedrooms.
Sheets of bent steel with laser-cut perforations are ideal for making futuristic staircases and entryways. Industrial suppliers like Parker Hydraulics and top international design firms have partnered together to find new ways of using this classic metal. These same designers might soon be using aluminum in much the same way.
Woven Vinyl Sheets
Commercial-grade woven vinyl has improved considerably over the last few years, and it’s no longer the ugly matting that it used to be. This is making designers rediscover the substance for use as a floor covering. Rugs made from these sheets are every bit as attractive as they are free of maintenance.
The Next Big Thing
It’s rather hard to predict which substance engineers will develop next or how designers will use it. Industry magazines are reporting that materials as diverse as fiberglass-reinforced gypsum, bone and stitched resin are catching the eye of creative interior designers. The future should certainly be colorful and exciting.