New environmental transparency listings/certifications for Smith & Fong’s Plyboo products

This year we achieved Healthy Product Declarations (HPD) and Pharos Project listings for all of our

Declare expands into China…with Smith & Fong’s Plyboo products  

The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) has expanded the Living Building Challenge (LBC) an

Declare® Certification: Smith & Fong’s latest sustainability milestone.

In 2007 we began the process of removing urea formaldehyde from our core Plyboo bamboo product range

 

Deco Palm Winner in IGDA, Feat. in New York House Magazine

September 15, 2011 in Palm Flooring

Deco Palm finds itself in the winner’s circle in two categories in New York House Magazine’s Innovative Green Design Awards, flooring and interior finishes. The highly decorative flooring and wall panels wowed the judges with its aesthetic charms and green resumes.

Deco Palm flooring won the best overall in the flooring category while the wall panels won an honorable mention. The material, functionality, and appearance were all impressive to the judges.

There was some debate over the sustainable merits of the product because it isn’t FSC certified. However, it was explained amongst the judges that Deco Palm, like all Durapalm products, is made from palm trees that have passed their fruit bearing years. These trees are no longer productive and will either die or be cut down to plant productive palms. Using them in the manufacture of flooring and plywood gives the palm a new life.

Some time ago, Alex Wilson, executive editor of Environmental Building News and Building Green said of the product, “Durapalm could almost be considered an agricultural waste product. It is a great example of a company recognizing an opportunity.

Newsome Law Firm, the company pictured in the article about the IGDA win, really did an amazing job with the install. The racing stripe detail using the Deco Palm was an incredible touch next to the stark contrast of the deep tones in the Durapalm coconut flooring which is so prominent. The eye can’t help but notice how textural and graphic the Deco Palm is in this setting.

Also pictured on the site are a reception desk, which is finished with the Deco Palm wall panels (honorable mention), and the wall and storage unit in the conference room. The space creatively utilized the palm products, which just feels so appropriate for the location and use. The photos were very representative of the product, and the warm response in the Innovative Green Design Awards are very encouraging.

It’s a great product and so easy to install. We really hope that homeowners and businesses will enjoy using the product as much as we do at the home office.

~nicole~

How to Make Bamboo Walls with Plyboo Plywood

September 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

You’ve seen them in magazines like Dwell, Architectural Record, and Sunset. They’re green, they’re beautiful and, let’s face it, they’re sexy. Bamboo walls are undeniably modern and easily adaptable to virtually any residential or commercial space.  The best part is that you can replicate these looks with ease. Look no further than a sheet of Smith & Fong’s Plyboo bamboo plywood.

Look no further than a sheet of Plyboo’s bamboo plywood.  Plyboo clearly has you covered for bamboo flooring, but with a little artistic vision and a conversation with your fabricator, you’ll soon find yourself teleported into the design major league.

Smooth and Simple

Bamboo plywood can be used like any other decorative plywood panel.  Frequently, bamboo plywood is installed with clips.  Z clips as they are known are part of an integrated clip and grid system that is fasten to the existing structural wall.   Believe it or not, we use this system frequently at our trade shows. It’s easy to install, set up and take down, and is sturdy enough for a permanent installation as well.

Using the clip system can really save time and cost on an installation, however, if you find that you’re not quite so skilled with home improvements, there are wall systems professionals that can help with large or small renovations.  Just do a Google or Bing search for “wall systems installers” and contact with them locally.

 

Did you know that there’s a service that specializes in installing wall systems only?  Run a search on Google, Bing, or any search engine platform and you’ll be presented with several companies that can assist you with your wall installation.  They’ll know exactly what to do if you explain what you’re after, so if in doubt, always keep this as an option.

The beauty of using Plyboo to make bamboo walls is the ease of use.  Of course there are more dimensional options that the materials can be applied.  These options, however are not as simple and most likely will involve the help of a professional.

The photo above shows the bamboo walls curved to give the appearance of fluidity, like a river flowing.

It does help to have some ideas in mind.  For instance, if you live in a small space, perhaps sliding walls to add a bit of privacy or to give a feeling of spaciousness.  In the photo below, this store built out their walls to show off their products.  The walls act as shelving — a very realistic and simple option depending on your needs.

 The walls are build out to artfully display the products in this store.

High Definition Wall Panels

There are, of course, other options for wall coverings using Smith and Fong products. The answer is tambour. For those who are not familiar with the term tambour, it is used to describe a flexible paneling product. How does it work? Tambour can be any material, wood, plastic, even glass cut into thin strips and laminated to a fabric backing. There is a small reveal at the width of each strip allowing the material to form and shape to almost any surface. Tambour paneling made of bamboo or palm can be shaped around a convex, concave, circular or flat surface with great ease making it a great friend of the do-it-yourselfer.

The image above uses bamboo tambour paneling. This installation retains warmth and is very inviting.

Bamboo Alternatives

So you’ve decided to re-design the wall surfaces in your living space and you are looking for something that says “you” in a truly original way. Durapalm paneling options might just be what you are looking for.  Durapalm panels come in a tambour option as well as two other really unique and user-friendly designs. These are the palm Woven and Deco palm designs. The Woven look evokes the sense of a basket weave pattern with its undulating overlap design. The feeling is both calm and soothing. The Deco pattern on the other hand, breaks this all up with a random multi-depth surface that is modern, unpredictable and highly energized. The Deco is truly a one of a kind look and feel.

Make It Yours

Whether you’re just look for a great texture and material to surface your walls with, or if you are looking for utility and function, the DIY or professional should find the range and variety of wall solutions available.

Plyboo Bamboo Sport Flooring

August 12, 2011 in Bamboo Flooring, Installations

Get to know Plyboo Bamboo Sport Flooring with this informative video!

 

Interview with Kari Whitman

August 5, 2011 in Interview

Smith & Fong Co. did an exclusive interview with celebrity interior designer, Kari Whitman. In the interview, she outlines tips, tricks, and inspiration to incorporate her design aesthetic into you daily life.  To learn more about Kari, visit her website at: www.kariwhitmaninteriors.com.

Smith & Fong Co.: I read that you were an early adapter to environmentally focused interior design. What got you interested in this? When did you know you wanted to be a designer?

Kari Whitman: I’m from Bolder Colorado, a Tree Hugger Hippie, there’s no other way to be. I’ve never NOT been green. To recycle and reuse, even for a modern sleek home, I find pieces to redo, mix old with new, to find more personality in diversity. Older products are typically made with better ethics and better quality materials. I bring things down to the wood frame and re cover them.

SF: I first became acquainted with your work after seeing what you did with the home of Jessica Alba. Was she initially interested in green design or is it something you were able to explore together?

KW: She hired me because of my green knowledge. She understands sustainability and she will do everything she can to be non toxic. Jessica knows the value of creating a healthy home and worked with me to promote her standards through a designer’s aesthetic.

SF: What were the aims in the Alba home? Indoor Air Quality? Using rapidly renewable materials. What were the two of you going after when you collaborated on her home?

KW: Mold testing is a standard for about 65% of the homes, especially for a baby’s room. There are many issues about vocs (volatile organic compounds). So everything down to cleaning supplies was an issue. No quick fixes using chemicals. For maintenance, we used a combination of hemp oil, vegetable oil, and a splash of tea tree — wipe and clean everything, even on wood floors, they look great.

SF: I read in an interview not too long ago where you mentioned our Durapalm product (thanks by the way!) What drew you to it initially and what made you feel it was a product worthy of recommending by name?

KW: Plyboo is easy to work with as a company, has the most variation with different dimensions, and a large variety of products. I’m obsessed with Durapalm and it’s many ways of being used, along with coconut palm products having so many textures and tones. I love all the different grains. It is a sleek, yet gives an organic feel, but it can also look modern. Because it has a sleek look, I love to add metals to create a balance and harmony.

SF: Which projects did you use our products in? Do any come to mind? I am currently working on an estate, in Texas. We are creating furniture pieces with Plyboo, and possibly incorporating flooring. We might even use some of the materials to create an indoor and an outdoor look. In Aspen, with Tony Banderas’ house, I am using Plyboo to modernize a very rustic cabin to have a better balanced feeling.

KW: What challenges do you face when suggesting ecologically friendly building materials to homeowners? Challenges with manufacturers are finding those who are actually green and meet high sustainable standards. I want to use smaller companies, who are passionate. I do a background check to make certain they live up to what they say. Also getting a client to understand that green products can be sleek and modern.

SF: I see that you have a pretty large influence in green design, and you’re covered quite heavily in popular magazines. What advice would you have for a homeowner interested in making more environmentally sound design decisions — improving indoor air quality for instance? What advice do you have for renters?

KW: Find pieces of furniture, which are timeless. Also refurbish, reuse and give another life to a product. Take a chair and gut it. Perhaps use a beautiful royal blue fabric with cream piping. You can after five years take that same chair and use a silver grey fabric with nail heads and create an entirely different look. There are fantastic green no voc paints. I like AFM Safecoat. Take a few of their vibrant colors, add some lighting at lamps plus (a store known for green products, kooky and funky with a bit of hollywood glam). Find a few pieces of lighting, add some timeless pieces of furniture, use a Plyboo woven palm panel in a key place, and you have great design. It does not have to put you into debt to make your space sleek and well designed.

SF: Which eco-focused media do you follow? Any blogs in particular?

KW: I read the Bolder Magazine, Bolder Daily Camera, my home town is so profound they seem to be one step in front of everyone else. They even started their own sustainable place, Boulder Sustainability Network. CU has an education center which is tremendous. Dwell is great for ideas. Also Solar Row, reading from my roots, listen to lectures from CU sustainability project.

SF: Do you feel it’s difficult to transition into running a sustainable household?

KW: Not at all. Once you take steps, starting with cleaning solutions, fabrics, carpets — they all add up to a better organic aesthetic. You can feel the healthy environment. it becomes evident!

SF: I noticed that you’ve also done commercial design, and even have extended your brand to designing pet spaces. Is there any one area you feel people should really reconsider impact on their immediate environment when making their design to-do lists?

KW: Design with Paws in Mind, my book, is in the works. Pets and children, should use durable, non-toxic products. Chemicals and petroleum based products interact with pets and kids. I recommend when working with Don Henley when they were expecting their child, to look at all household cleaners. We also made certain that no carpet or other materials on the floors were going to be toxic. As we researched chemicals used in carpet I became more ware of how unhealthy carpet can be with all the added chemicals for stain resistance and simple binders they use for backing. Kids and pets are so interactive with materials that we focused on natural organic flooring and coverings. Also, take a look at Greener Pup Dog Beds. Remember use natural products, meaning few chemically developed fragrances and harsh solutions. The more simple it is the better.

SF: What would you like to see happen with the future of interior design?

KW: I’d like to see mandatory laws to really guide. I’d also like for sustainability not be a trend but a reality, from fad to a way of life. We should figure out a way for really green companies to be noticed and validated and be successful.

The views expressed are those of the interviewee and may not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Smith & Fong Co.

How hard is bamboo flooring?

July 26, 2011 in FAQ series

There are several types of bamboo flooring offerings available, each with winning aesthetic attributes and varying hardnesses.  The hardness of bamboo flooring, hardwood flooring, and plank flooring of other categories is determined by the Janka Hardness Test.  This test is most commonly used to decide a species’ average hardness for flooring use.

The Janka Hardness Test uses a steel ball to measure the resistance of the bamboo or wood flooring surface to denting and wear.  The test measures the force required to embed the ball halfway into the surface in pounds-force (United States), kilograms-force (Europe), or in Newtons (Australia). This entry will refer to the pounds-force measurements for the United States.

The pounds-force measurements are listed as PSI, or pounds per square inch. When reading hardness measurements, for example, you’d likely encounter something like “natural bamboo flooring: 1800 psi.” This means that it takes 1800 pounds of force per square inch to wedge a steel ball into our natural flat grain bamboo flooring.

Many people assume that hardwood floors are the strongest, however, this isn’t always the case. The chart below shows how Plyboo’s bamboo flooring product line stacks up against traditional wood flooring.

This chart illustrates the PSI or Janka Hardness results of various flooring surfaces.

As you can see, bamboo flooring made by Plyboo is quite tough, especially the strand bamboo flooring.  PlybooStrand bamboo flooring is 3000psi and is much harder than oak birch,  or maple wood flooring.   Plyboo Edge Grain and Flat Grain bamboo flooring, both in natural, are considerably strong as well at 1700psi and 1800psi, respectively.

Aside from the important aesthetic considerations of your flooring choice, it is important to consider your durability requirements as well.

Whether commercial or residential, high or low traffic the hardness of your flooring product will be an important decision in your choice of flooring product. If you’d like to discuss the specifics of your next flooring project, Smith & Fong’s knowledgeable staff is ready to help. Please contact at – sales@plyboo.com or call 866-835-9859.