Noodle Theory

I had lunch with a friend at one of my favorite noodle houses in Oakland yesterday: Noodle Theory. I

City Hall, Kansas City, MO

Smith & Fong’s Durapalm Deco Palm paneling product finds its way into many surprising loca

Bamboo driftwood.

I remember when we first starting manufacturing and importing bamboo flooring in 1993, telling a fr


Choctaw Health Center: A particularly unique installation of palm.

December 10, 2014 in Durapalm, Palm Woven Paneling, Sustainability

One of the more notable installations for Smith & Fong this year is the Choctaw Health Center, located in Choctaw, Mississippi, a 58,800 square-foot comprehensive health care center that opened under tribal management in 1975. The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians also manages three rural health clinics in the Choctaw communities of Bogue Chitto, Conehatta, Red Water, Standing Pine, and Tucker. The Choctaw Health Center averages 100,000 patient visits per year and is a single story facility that includes an 18-bed inpatient unit and a comprehensive offering of health services.

For this new facility—our first tribal installation—we have supplied approximately 1,000 square feet of Durapalm (coconut palm) Woven paneling. This paneling is a visually striking product developed by Smith & Fong from 100% reclaimed coconut palm logs. The panels themselves measure 6” x 48” and join easily together at the ends with a finger joint/overlap system. The look is rich, textured and earthy and we believe a wonderful fit for this vital and essential health facility.

Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito

December 3, 2014 in Bamboo Plywood, FSC-Certified

photo 3My daughter and I recently visited the Marine Mammal Center located in the Marin Headlands just north of San Francisco on the coast. The center has been operating for nearly 40 years, and is the only rescue facility of its kind in California, and possibly the west coast of North America. The Center is one of the largest marine mammal hospitals in the world, with capacity to treat up to 200 animals at once and more than 600 per year. Since 1975 it has rescued and treated more than 18,000 animals.

The Marine Mammal Center’s website explains that their “mission is to expand knowledge about marine mammals—their health and that of their ocean environment—and to inspire their global conservation. Our core work is the rescue and rehabilitation of sick and injured marine mammals, supported bystate-of-the-art animal care and research facilities, a corps of dedicated volunteers, and an engaged community.”

After many years of good work, the organization received a large number of donations and was able to build a new facility completed in 2009. We were proud to learn that Plyboo had been chosen to grace some of the interiors at this important facility.

Both the lobby and the gift shop are outfitted with Plyboo FSC-certified, vertical grain bamboo plywood, with no added formaldehyde. Plyboo is used extensively for cabinets, counters, displays, shelving and the reception desk in the lobby. It is literally everywhere in the store.

As innovators, educators and promoters of sustainable design and construction products in built environments, Smith+Fong applaud the great work of this groundbreaking organization.
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Stacy Willard is Smith & Fong’s new COO 

November 26, 2014 in Bamboo Flooring, Bamboo Plywood


StacyWillard copyStacy Willard came to Smith & Fong in 2007 as inventory and logistics manager and quickly became indispensable to the company’s growth and success. This month we’re pleased to announce Stacy’s promotion to the position of chief operations officer (COO).

Over the past eight years, Stacy has come to know the company and our mission in a broader dimension, and he was the natural choice to take on this new and challenging position. He has played a key role in our company’s logistics and supply chain initiatives over the past few years and assuming the role of COO will be a great boost to our management team.

Stacy, a former US Marine, has held numerous management positions in the field of logistics and fulfillment and resides in the San Francisco Bay area with his wife and two children.

Our congratulations to Stacy as he takes on this expanded role within our expanding company.

Rainbow Grocery

November 26, 2014 in Bamboo Flooring, Plywood and Veneer, Sustainability

photo 1My family and I love Rainbow Grocery here in San Francisco. Rainbow has been a source of information on healthy eating for us for more then a decade. As soon as we are in the door, my daughter races to the cheese sampling in the far back by the vegetable section, with me in fast pursuit as my wife settles in to the spice section for a long review of their offerings.

To my great pleasure I have discovered that Rainbow Grocery has, in turn, been a Plyboo fan for some years. I first noticed our mutual appreciation society with the application of PlybooSquared end-grain bamboo plywood for seating and tabletops near the Folsom Street entrance. Soon after that, our Havana PlybooStrand plywood popped up in casework at the cosmetics section. This year Rainbow owners redesigned their spice, coffee and bulk foods section, using Plyboo Chocolate bamboo plywood for casework and shelving. As noted, the spice section has always captivated and inspired my wife, and I now get to say it tastes a little better, housed in bamboo.

photo 4Rainbow is a place of discovery on a many levels and having noticed the construction at the front entrance, I took a moment to wander over and see what was manifesting there. Looking to my right I noticed a hidden garden, an oasis by the elevated freeway, with an “open” sign hanging from the verdant fence. I ventured in to take a look and discovered a portable cafe wedged into this small slice of Mission District real estate.

As I got closer I found more Plyboo plywood in use for surface treatments in both the interior and exterior. It looks like this portable cafe and Plyboo have found another place to dwell under the Rainbow.

I ordered two cappuccinos and a hot chocolate and went back to find my family.

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Smith & Fong and Plyboo at Earth Island Institute and the David Brower Center

October 31, 2014 in Social equity, Sustainability

Located just across the bay from us in Berkeley, the Earth Island Institute is a non-profit environmental group that was founded in 1982 by David Brower. EII supports activism around environmental issues through fiscal sponsorship and provides the administrative and organizational infrastructure for individual projects. As stated on the EII website:

“Earth Island Institute was fashioned to encourage people to be bold, a temple for all the people doing good.”

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EII’s John Knox (right) with Smith & Fong founder Dan Smith

We couldn’t have described it better ourselves, and it is with no small pride that Smith & Fong has been a supporter of EII and its Brower Youth Awards for the past few years. EII’s executive director, John Knox, is a friend of ours, and the organization was founded on the tenets of sustainability and social equity that Smith & Fong holds in high regard.

When the David Brower Center, a LEED Platinum building that houses a number of environmental organizations— including Earth Island Institute, Friends of the Earth (also founded by David Brower), Citizen Engagement Lab, Equity Community Builders and many other truly worthy organizations — opened in 2009, Smith+Fong

was deeply pleased to be part of the architectural interiors. Plyboo is prominently featured in the 180-seat Goldman Theater, home to great public speaking events, performances and film series. Plyboo is also found throughout the lobby area as well as the kitchen cabinetry at the Earth Island Institute offices.

The Brower Center also highlighted the work of many talented artists, including Sebastião Salgado, Daniel McCormick, David Liittschwager, Laura Cunningham, Isabella Kirkland, Chris Jordan, David Maisel, Jeffrey Long, Bill Curtsinger, Joseph Holmes, and more recently, Richard Misrach and Douglas Gayeton. The work of all of these artists shares a common thread–a commitment to shedding light on natural places, environmental or social issues.

photo 2Additionally, since 2000, Earth Island has presented the Brower Youth Awards to six young environmental leaders each year, all of whom are making strides in the environmental movement. Brower Youth Award winners demonstrate excellence in leadership as well as a commitment to the communities their work serves.

Smith & Fong remains a proud supporter of the efforts of these young environmental advocates.