by reducing the directionality of the production process they can significantly
NATURAL WOODGRAIN FINISHES
Raw, distressed, recovered woods are found on furniture, floors and walls
in commercial and residential markets. To execute these textures realistically
requires the lowest possible level of gloss. Some of these materials feel so raw
you could swear the samples leave sawdust on your fingertips.
The combination of incredibly high-definition printing technology and matte/
gloss and E.i.R. textures have helped to separate laminates from their
pedestrian past. The line between real and imitation has been blurring, so
much so that even furniture experts can be fooled. At the same time, design
specifiers are finding value in the positives of realistic laminates—durability,
design consistency, and access to rare and unavailable species without
requiring their harvest.
On a macro level, most human beings are hungry for new experiences,
visiting new places, tasting new foods, hearing new sounds, breathing in new
smells, and touching new textures. We’re not only looking to saturate our
senses…sometimes we’re just starving to be surprised by something new
The evolving technology of texture on laminates adds a little spice to our
world on a micro level. The unexpected realism of a woodgrain or a topography
that adds dimension to a solid color or subtle pattern trigger an unquantifiable
emotional response from everyone who interacts with that surface.
It’s the small differences like this that will make your work delightful, even
interiorsandsources.com june2016 interiors+sources DE105
• SESA Press Moulds, Presentation to TCM Conference, Leipzig, Germany, 2016;
• “Brain Regions and Functions,” ASU – Ask a Biologist, Arizona State University,
School of Life Sciences
• “Incidental Haptic Sensations Influence Social Judgments and Decisions,” Joshua M.
Ackerman, Christopher C. Nocera, and John A. Bargh; Science. 2010 Jun 25; 328(5986):
• “Surface Impact,” Psychology Today, March 11 2013
• Interview with Lisa White, head of Lifestyle & Interiors for WGSN, by Kenn Busch, January 2016
be engineered for special performance properties, like moisture and
fire resistance, specific indoor air quality goals, density/screw-holding
power, lighter weight and varying thicknesses.
TFL is the most efficiently manufactured decorative panel. The
process of thermally fusing the resin-impregnated decorative paper
to a composite panel core takes less time than producing a sheet of
HPL. In most cases TFL is pressed in the same facility that produces
the composite panel, eliminating costly transportation, handling and
potential for damage.
This means that the decorative panel leaves the factory with
decorative surfaces on both faces, ready to be made into finished
products or installed as decorative millwork. (HPL, on the other hand,
must be glued to the panel in an extra production step, adding time
and cost.) Have your fabricator add an edge treatment and it’s ready
for office desks, bistro tables, retail fixtures, night stands, you name it.
BETTER THAN CARBON NEUTRAL
Thanks to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) standards,
composite panel producers have stepped up and modified their products
accordingly. Panels produced in North America now meet, and usually
exceed, these newly established indoor air quality (IAQ) goals.
Producers have also invested in further research into the true
impact of their materials and their operations. Though a recent lifecycle
impact analysis (LCIA), they discovered something extraordinary—that
their materials are actually “better than climate neutral.”
One major factor in this finding has more to do with traditional
makeup of the panels than recent modifications.
Particleboard, unsurprisingly, is made up of small wood particles.
In MDF, the wood chips are further refined down to cellulosic fibers,
producing a panel with a smooth surface and homogenous core.
Together they use tons of wood fiber left behind by other manufacturing
processes from lumber mills, plywood plants and furniture fabrication—
wood fiber that would otherwise be burned or landfilled—as well as
recycled post-consumer urban wood.
A recent life cycle impact analysis (LCIA) conducted by College of
Forestry, Wood Science and Engineering at Oregon State University, found:
w Composite wood panels make incredibly efficient use of
• They consist of mostly recycled or recovered wood fiber;
n Some suppliers offer up to 100% non-virgin fiber content
• Particleboard, over 90%;
• MDF, over 80%.
• 7% of the fiber is used as fuel in the manufacturing process.
• Less than 3% is landfilled.
w Wood is one of the planet’s most easily renewable resources:
• Composite wood panels are primarily produced from wood
resources that are sustainable, renewable, recycled from pre-consumer waste, and can be made from post-consumer waste.
• U.S. forests are sustainable in that they generate more
wood annually than are harvested; in 2006 there was 72%
more net growth than total removals.
• To ensure wood is from specific sustainable sources,
producers can request certification by such third party
groups as FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council), SFI
(Sustainable Forestry Initiative), ATFS (American Tree Farm
System) and CSA (Canadian Standards Association).
w Composite panels are “better than carbon neutral”
because wood is actually a carbon sink.
• Wood stores carbon as it grows.
• 50% of wood’s chemical structure is absorbed carbon,
which is not released back into the atmosphere until it
burns or decomposes.
• The carbon sink properties of the wood in composite
panels more than offset its carbon footprint, including
manufacture and transportation.
• Their net carbon footprint, therefore, is negative, actually
offsetting some of the CO2 in the atmosphere.
• The longer a wood-based decorative panel last in an
application, the longer that carbon is sequestered.
The new textures coming online are the final frontier in TFL design,
creating a material that delivers a unique combination of benefits for
furniture and interior design:
w TFL’s aesthetic versatility makes it possible to achieve any
visual effect, including rare and endangered materials, without
depleting those natural resources.
w Extensive design-matching programs give you hundreds of
“one-stop shopping” options; you don’t have to request
samples from several suppliers and hope they’ll look good
w The finished decorative panels are very durable, a longer
installed life and easier maintenance than veneers and
w It’s highly efficient to manufacture and requires less processing,
transportation, energy and chemicals than other materials.
w The traditional way TFL’s composite panel cores are produced is
inherently very resource efficient; more recent advances have
improved the product’s environmental footprint to the point that
it’s been deemed “better than carbon neutral.”
Most TFL designs are woodgrains, because wood is our most
ubiquitous building material. We love it, at home, in the office, in
public spaces, everywhere. But natural woods aren’t always the most
responsible choice, especially in areas where they won’t be able to
stand up to the wear and abuse.
With this latest generation of textures, decorative TFL panels are,
more than ever before, able to provide the warmth of wood with better
design consistency, higher performance and lower costs.