Our roundup this month includes products that help create ornamental centerpieces, increase safety or security, apply unexpected materials such as eucalyptus and crystal, or further open up the building envelope, as with the exterior folding door system featured here. ' Rita Catinella Orrell

From top: The post-free folding door system, here with three panels per side; beveled door edges protect it from weather; drop bolts and five-point locking hardware come standard.

Post-free 90-degree folding door system peels back the layer between indoors and out
For the past few years, exhibitors at the International Builders' Show (IBS) have responded to a demand in the residential marketplace for spaces that extend indoor living areas to the outside. Product introductions at the most recent edition of IBS, held last February in Orlando, included outdoor kitchen appliances to replace indoor food prep, cooking, and cleanup; retractable window screens that allow unobstructed views when not in use; and a growing number of exterior folding door systems that open up rooms to patios, gardens, and decks.

Jeld-Wen launched its first folding door system at last year's IBS, and the product's success encouraged the company to take the concept one step further this year. The zero-post, 90-degree Exterior Folding Door System allows designers to open up two wall spans in a room with a single product. The suggested length for each side of the system is three to five panels; longer than that is not recommended. Beveled door edges and double weather strip seal the unit against the elements, even without a structural corner post.

Shane Meisel, product marketing manager for Jeld-Wen, says that architects specifying the system must make sure they have an appropriate header, and depending on the number of door panels, use a supporting I-beam. Working with a structural engineer is also suggested.

Jeld-Wen's first generation folding door system for flat applications offers a DP 45 rating and general Florida building code approvals, while the 90-degree option is currently undergoing third-party testing. The system is available in Jeld-Wen IWP Aurora Custom Fiberglass door panels, as well as custom wood. Panels come stained, painted, or primed with energy-efficient low-E glass as an option. The door frame can be clad with any Jeld-Wen standard color to match windows, and for security the system features drop bolts and five-point locking hardware.

Applications range from high-end single-family homes and condos to commercial projects such as hotels and restaurants. Meisel expects the system to sell well, specifically to customers 'who want to commune with nature, or bring the outdoors in.' While folding door systems do tend to sell better in temperate climates, he adds, 'We sell quite a few in the Colorado/Montana area, the Pacific Northwest, the Northeast, and the Mid-Atlantic. It's more a personality and lifestyle type than a specific region.'Jeld-Wen Windows & Doors, Klamath Falls, Ore. www.jeld-wen.com


Italian entrance
The Graffiti door, designed by architect and Luceplan founder Paolo Rizzatto with the graphics of Italo Lupi, features bas-relief decorations on the panel in three different motifs alluding to letters of the alphabet. Available in a range of depths, the door jamb juts out from the wall and can be used as a support for brackets, hooks, shelves, or wood paneling, or fitted with wires or electronics as needed. Montanari Group, Los Angeles. www.montanarigroup.com


Fire-rated metal doors
Now available in an expanded palette of designs, Forms+Surfaces’ Architectural Metal Door collection allows specifiers to choose from an array of metal, finish, and pattern combinations while specifying doors with 45-minute, 60-minute, 90-minute, and 3-hour UL fire ratings. Six configurations and sizes up to 4' x 10' are standard. Shown here is the Champagne pattern in stainless steel. Forms+Surfaces, Carpinteria, Calif. www.forms-surfaces.com