At IIDEX, NeoCon Canada: Chemetal’s Laminate Panels

So we’ve looked at panel-size wall finishes in fabric, resin, and the ever-tempting acrylic/polycarbonate sandwich, how about good old fashioned hard-as-nails steel? Actually, aluminum and copper is more to our purpose, since “as one of the largest suppliers of metal laminate in the world,” Chemetal of Northampton, Mass. manufactures and distributes (through an international network, which speeds up the transport of these often unwieldly 4′ x 8′ sheets) over 100 distinct metal laminate designs.

Autumn Leaves, metal laminate. Manufactured by Chemetal.

If you’ve not thought of applications for this stuff before, the short roster includes anything that might take a wooden laminate (cabinetry facing, handrails, wrapped structural elements); the long roster includes anything that lends itself to modular or panel walls (accent walls, ceiling panels, tabletops, furniture finishes, sconces, cubicles, and fishtanks!). In fact, now that I think about it, one of the wonderful things about Chemetal’s panels is that they do a double duty of a sort, working in both traditional laminate applications as well as in the less conventional-but rapidly increasing-venue of modular/movable vertical panels (see Bencore, Dirtt, and ResinArt for examples).

At IIDEX, NeoCon Canada: Chemetal’s Laminate Panels

While metal laminates certainly have a distinctive look-I tend to think shiny, shiny, shiny, and generally most appropriate for commercial/retail-the tremendous variety of Chemetal finishes makes them easier to incorporate into home decor. The multiple styles are categorized by series (100 through 900) encompassing “embossed industrial patterns in the 200 series, oxidized finishes in the 300 series, abraded designs in the 400 series, and polished, smooth, or brushed metallic looks found in the 700, 800, and 900 lines.” The array astounds: the 100 series features perforated steel in different geometrical configurations, which creates a 3-D effect that promises great fun at parties; the 200 series includes intricate embossings in aluminum or copper with such intriguing monikers as “Reptilian,” “Cobblestone,” “Cityscape,” and “Autumn Leaves,” any of which introduces an irresistible tactile element as well as promising subtle thematic resonance with other design elements; and the 300 series promises intricate arts and crafts designs via oxidization-great for autumnal palettes or counterpoised with vibrant solid colors.

As another contender in the accumulating line-up of new products to dress up walls, Chemetal is right there jostling for the lead. See the great variety of Chemetal’s laminate panels at IIDEX, NeoCon Canada in Toronto on September 25 and 26.

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