Laminates, veneers and plywood offer durability and style
These attractive traits makes them the preferred choice of material for interiors
Interiors are ever changing and, thanks to the almost limitless options in surface treatments, the possibilities in terms of design are endless. High pressure laminate (also known as HPL) is one of the few surface materials that perfectly combines robust durability with stylish versatility, perfect for all designs in any given space. Recently, new and innovative designs have been introduced, thus putting this material to good use and enhancing aesthetics.One of the best things about laminate is its versatility – as architects, designers and clients can get the look of real wood or stone by using laminates at a fraction of the cost of the original material. Thanks to advancements in modern technology, lami-nates are now imitating the look of wood, granite and other stones, making it impossible to tell the difference between the real thing and the laminate version. This quality provides designers and businesses with much more freedom when coming up with design concepts. Certain wood or stone styles may be unattainable due to budget con-straints – but thanks to high pressure laminates, the exact same look can be created effectively and affordably.
CenturyLaminates, whether for colour or texture, remains one of the all-time favourites in office spaces. Shankho Chowdhury, executive business head, Decoratives, Centuryply, says, “Design trends in the laminate and veneer categories are ever changing due to changing interior décor preferences of consumers. Globally, subtle or soft textures are gaining popularity in the laminates category. The demand for soothing colours and textures is increasing, thus new colour palettes with soft pastel tones and elegant natural wood shades with soft matt finishes is an upcoming trend. Whereas in the veneer category, grey smoked designs are gaining relevance due to their distinct look. These designs also complement the changing interior décor trends.”
Today, veneers can be combined with treated reclaimed wood, glass and stone interiors or furniture applications. In recent times, it is also used on MDF cut-outs, as a solid sur-face for wall and even ceiling applications, each providing a unique look to the interiors.Not only is a high pressure laminate surface robust, it is also exceptionally hygienic, making it a fantastic choice when designing spaces in restaurants and hospitals. Easy to clean, safe to use anywhere and immensely strong, lami-nates can be both stylish and practical. Parul Mittal, director, Greenlam Industries, reveals that Greenlam has some inter-esting textures in the market – like the Stucco range, which has a rough uneven texture that adds a rustic feel to interiors; while Greenlam’s Synchro range offers a tactile element to the laminates. “In the case of veneer, the herringbone and chevron patterns are trending right now,” adds Mittal. Laminates and veneers complement each other, making for great interiors.
Rachpal Kanwar, national head, Sales & Marketing, Stylam Industries, states ,“The global market witnessed a significant growth in recent years. The major factor which has contributed in influencing the market is the structural properties of laminates, which render it useful for various applications in residential and construction projects. Overall, latest developments, varieties and lots of options in terms of design, quality, texture, feel and durability have made laminates a preferred choice.”As for plywood, there are numerous advantages of using it. Navarun Sen, executive business head, Panels, CenturyPly, explains the plus points of plywood. “Strength-wise, plywood is stronger than wood by three times and it’s durability is higher in comparison to raw wood – depending on adhesive. It can withstand extreme climatic condition. It is also economical compared to the use of direct timber.”Another important trend is towards sustainable and environment-friendly materials leading to the use of natural, sustainable and healthy materials. Satinder Chawla, managing director, Span Floors, observes, “With people being more and more sensitive about the impact of chemicals on health, there has been a move towards natural as well as benign materials which do not contain harmful chemicals and, thus, do not harm the indoor air quality.”
Designs in 2018 are set to focus more on being environment friendly. However, this is not a new concept – since most of the designers are constantly coming up with designs that are both stylish and eco-friendly. Whether it’s for a bar, restaurant or shop, the materials used to create the desired look need to have as little impact on the environment as possible. Mittal states that all products at Greenlam Industries are environment-friendly. “We adhere to the strictest of guidelines during production. We have received FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certifications and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification), and we are also a member of the India Green Building Council. Moreover, we offer a range of anti-bacterial laminates to our consum-ers. All our products are NSF (National Sanitation Founda-tion), ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation), Greenguard and Greenguard Gold certified.
”CenturyLaminates has an expertise of more than 30 years in the industry, with the research and development team con-tinuously working towards developing world-class products, upgrading manufacturing technology and delivering highest value products. “With consistent investment in brand, products and technological innovations we have always brought the best, to our customers,” maintains Chowdhury. Some of their recent innovative additions are Germ-Free Laminates with unique Silver Nano technology that keeps interiors safe; Borer and Termite Resistant Venlam and veneer product range; anti-finger print laminates; Lucida, a high-gloss scuff and abrasion-resistant range of durable laminates; and Nature Plus which is a ‘natural wood looking’ laminate.
Kanwar explains that consumers, today, are extremely aware of environment-friendly products. “They are looking for companies who offer such products and are yet cost competitive. They want quality with the add-on feature of environment-friendly. Our Fascia Exterior Laminates are manufactured with special properties linked to the low sur-face tension, optimal UV resistance, high chemical resistance, anti-soiling and anti-fouling. The Stylam Laminate range is resistant to ultra violet light, water, hail, adverse weather, termite and borer.”Indoor air quality is a much-stressed-upon aspect. “When we talk about health, air quality becomes an important aspect. We look at the impact of the product on indoor air quality, so that it remains good for the building occupants
The sustainability aspect looks at the production as well as the raw material sourcing part from the viewpoint of envi-ronment friendliness and impact on the local environment. Practices such as using wood waste for creating local energy needs are given top priority,” explains Chawla.
The manufacturing process of laminates creates a surface that is strong and exceptionally durable. For 2018, the trend is minimalist, hence the design has to be as durable as it is stylish. Compared to stone and wood, laminate tends to be more robust and also hygienic – making it a fantastic choice when designing hospitality and healthcare spaces. Chowdhury recommends, “For high-use areas, higher thickness and high abrasion-resistant materials are recom-mended to prevent scratches and de-lamination caused due to rugged use. Our 2K abrasion laminate range is designed to withstand rough applications.” While there have been many innovations on application and usage of exterior laminates, one global trend which is yet to come to India is Digital Printed Panels wherein any picture or image can be printed on the laminate surface and can be customised according to the need of the user. “This innovation will give a completely new dimension to the exterior laminate category,” adds Chowdhury.
Laminates are probably the best product for spaces with high use and exposed to a lot of human traffic and corrosion, because most laminates are resistant to wear and tear and can last longer in such environments. “Our AFX laminates, for example, are smudge-proof and fingerprint-proof and require very little maintenance,” states Mittal. Kanwar says, “Every company is into a lot of R&D. We have come up with anti-fingerprint; anti-bacterial and anti-fungi laminates which are best products to go ahead with in conditions of high use. These laminates are manufactured to provide better hygiene and long lasting results.” For exterior laminates, Stylam brand’s fire-resistant, weather-proof, and water-proof products are quite useful for use in Indian weather conditions.
NEW ON THE BLOCK
Century Laminates’ new introductions feature more than aesthetics: germ-free laminates that use unique Silver Nano technology, anti-fingerprint laminates, Lucida – a high-gloss scuff- and abrasion-resistant range, and Nature Plus – a ‘natural wood looking’ laminate which is also low on maintenance. Century’s newest product line, VenLam, innovatively combines the aesthetic beauty of real wood with the efficiency of high-pressure laminates. It is made by a technologically-advanced process where decorative face veneer layers and layers of impregnated Kraft paper are fused together. VenLam allows application in those areas where traditional veneers cannot be used. When it comes to plywood, the Centuryply Bond 710 is a new launch with a warranty of seven years.
Ply Mahal recently launched Glorious Backlight Laminate – a new concept that fuses metallic finishes with backlighting. Suited to living areas, bedrooms, sideboards, kitchen cabinets, it can be used to create an arresting focal point in a space. Besides colours, the panels come in a variety of patterns such as geometric designs, fusion of tradition and modern, as well as unique contemporary designs.
Span will be introducing a unique plywood shortly under the specialty exterior brand called Outwud. It is specifically meant for harsh, exterior applications – from façade and signage to similar robust exterior applications.