Getting over the Counter

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Contractors checking out the new materials in local libraries may not ever touch a book or computer.

March 31, 2000

Contractors checking out the new materials in local libraries may not ever touch a book or computer. Solid surface materials are being used by furniture manufacturers in edge treatments for tables and work stations, as well as to cover the surface of heavily trafficked circulation desks.

The custom furniture division of the Brodart Company in McElhattan, Penn. is offering DuPont's Corian solid-surfacing material and an exterior edge treatment to any piece of furniture that features a work surface. The option, called the Brodura System, is offered on eight of the eleven Brodart furniture lines.

"We were looking for a material that could withstand the punishment that library furniture is subjected to and maintain its appearance over the expected life of library furniture, which is about 20 years," says Randy MacKenzie, director of marketing for the Brodart Company's custom furniture division.

Historically, library furniture and similar heavy-use furniture has been edged in solid wood. After years of heavy traffic and abuse, the wood edge will eventually show wear and dirt will collect in the open wood grain. The worn and dirty look, unattractive and uninviting to library visitors, does not interfere with the function of the furniture, but solid surfacing materials will increase the longevity of the furniture's esthetic appeal as well as its functionality.

Additional creative uses of solid-surface material have been seen around the United States. Recent renovation of New York City's Grand Central Station includes chairs made of Corian. The seating emulates the appearance of stuffed chairs and loveseats, although in a durable material for the heavily traveled Station.

"We chose Corian for these lounge chairs and loveseats because it is a beautiful, high-quality and durable solid surface material that could be molded into stylish, comfortable and seamless chairs and loveseats," says David Rockwell, designer of the renovated area. "Since it's stain-resistant, easily maintained and renewable, it provides the durability we need in this high-traffic area, that has up to a half-million visitors a day."

The same creativity applied when architecture firm Eva Maddox Associates redesigned and renovated the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Corian was used to cover over existing bathroom tile, without removing the existing products. In addition to eliminating the need to tear down the old bathrooms, integrated solid-surface hardware was helps with the bathrooms for germ prevention.

"Because Corian surfaces are a universal material, you can integrate things such as soap holders or seats without extra hardware, which is where germs collect," says Eva Maddox. Corian countertops with integrated cup holders and trash receptacles were also included in the renovation, to give the remodel a universal look throughout the hospital.

Remodelers and contractors can use the flexibility of custom-created solid surfacing material to meet the needs of projects with durability requirements. For more information on Corian, visit http://www.corian.com.

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