During election month, remember sustainable products also need to express their freedoms, to avoid VOCs, PVCs, and harmful chemicals and adhesives, and not to waste our natural resources, even if it’s an invasive species.
— Rita Catinella Orrell

Commissioned as part of last year’s Salone del Mobile, the Artek pavilion (top) is made primarily of UPM Profi material. The surfacing can be used for boardwalks, paths, and decks (middle left and right) and is made of 60 percent recycled paper and plastic from surplus label stock (above).

Composite made of recycled materials catches the attention of the design world

Japanese architect Shigeru Ban’s Artek Pavilion finally found a permanent home last June when Sotheby’s auctioned off the structure as part of a sale of Important 20th Century Design. Originally hoped to bring in $800,000 to $1.2 million, the unit was purchased at the bargain price of $602,500 by Sebastian + Barquet, a gallery for Modern and contemporary furniture based in New York City. The prefabricated pavilion, which has been exhibited in Milan, Helsinki, and Miami, was produced in collaboration with Finnish Modern furnishings manufacturer Artek and Finnish forest products group UPM. It comprises 21 modules, each consisting of a section of roof, wall, and structural elements forming an elongated exhibition space.

Originally built for the 2007 Salone del Mobile in Milan, the Space of Silence pavilion was designed by Ban using mainly one material: extruded profile out of UPM ProFi, a wood plastic composite made from 60 percent surplus paper and plastic left over from UPM’s production of self-adhesive label stock. The floor of the pavilion was made of UPM ProFi Deck, the first commercial product made of UPM ProFi, which is ideal for outdoor use in garden decks, patios, boardwalks, and other applications.

Weatherproof and highly durable, UPM ProFi Deck requires no annual surface treatment — only periodic cleaning is recommended. According to UPM, ProFi does not contain any harmful chemicals, so it can be crushed and converted to new product, incinerated, or thrown out with regular trash (although it will not decompose).

UPM ProFi Deck can be worked with traditional woodworking tools to create a range of patterns and designs such as compass roses, Art Deco patterns, curves, and waves. UPM ProFi Deck also reacts to temperature like wood, with a thermal expansion of approximately 0.1 percent. The material’s color (available in a natural palette) will change only slightly after several months exposed to sunlight because the material is virtually free of lignin, the natural wood molecule that turns gray when exposed to sunlight. A hollow core structure keeps the material lightweight and enables the use of hidden fastening and electrical cables that can be run unexposed inside the profiles.

Last April, UPM announced it plans to build a new mill in Karlsruhe, Germany. The plant, which will manufacture UPM ProFi decking boards mainly for the growing Central European market, is scheduled to start production in early 2009. UPM, Westmont, Ill. www.upmprofi.com

[Reader Service: November 2008 #214]


Traceable bamboo
Smith & Fong is now producing the world’s first range of Forest Stewardship Council–certified bamboo plywood and flooring. Smith & Fong’s certified products will qualify for the FSC Pure designation, meaning they are made of 100 percent FSC material from an FSC-certified forest and have been sold and/or processed by an FSC chain-of-custody certified company. No irrigation, pesticides, or fertilizers are used in growing the bamboo. Smith & Fong, San Francisco. www.plyboo.com

[Reader Service: November 2008 #215]


Plaster right over ICF
Manufactured by Gigacrete, Plastermax-ICF is an Greenguard-certified interior veneer plaster specifically formulated for direct application over ICF foam blocks, replacing drywall as a fire-rated barrier. According to the manufacturer, Plastermax-ICF is the world’s first coating applied directly without lath that offers superior bonding, no VOCs, and 50 percent recycled content. The highly abrasion- and impact-resistant finish consists of nontoxic, noncombustible natural ingredients, including limestone and recycled glass. Gigacrete, Las Vegas. www.gigacrete.com

[Reader Service: November 2008 #218]