Transform Walls into Multipurpose, Functional Surfaces

What if your design could do more than just look great? What if walls could double as useable surfaces? Modern architects and interior designers are uncovering new creative and functional designs by utilizing versatile, performance-based wall finishing systems for both commercial and residential work.

From offices to educational centers, there is a demand for materials that withstand high use as well as a need for reducing acoustics. Manufacturers are responding by creating products that combine these properties into one product.

Cork design blocks and bricks offer a modular surface that is tackable like a bulletin board and can withstand high impact in high wear areas making it very low maintenance. The system is also versatile since refreshing the walls or updating the colors requires only changing out the panels or painting.

Metalegance flexible wall panels are magnetic and flexible enough to wrap around corners. In addition they offer fire-resistance and are LEED-compliant.

Other options include felt or thick fabric wallcoverings which hold up to wear and tear while offering natural tackable surfaces. Functionality can look great!

cork moss tray

Muratto introduces Trizzano to the North American market

Introducing its ‘bespoke’ manufacturing arm to the US, Muratto (Portugal; www.muratto.com) launched its Trizzano effort to N. America at Wanted Design Manhattan on May 17, 2019.

Focusing only on ‘sustainable’ input raw materials, Muratto manufactures interior décor surface products for interior design and architectural applications.  With tremendous success and acclaim in the hospitality, restaurant, office, retail store design spaces, Muratto has brought its’ ‘know-how’ and manufacturing innovations to the bespoke product designer and retail segments through Trizzano, offering custom manufacturing to designers developing products, and retailers who value sustainable materials in their product line and portfolio.

Vasco Barros, president and CEO of Muratto, stated “we are very excited to bring our sustainable solutions to N. America through our Trizzano efforts.  We are fulfilling a long-requested client need, and have internally created a scalable operational solution to allow us to react quickly and efficiently to designers requests of customization and fabrication.  I am actually ‘over the moon’ with excitement about introducing this service and our capabilities to the US market through our introduction at Wanted Design”.

Muratto has led sustainable material innovation through many of its’ pioneering manufacturing processes historically with cork, and now more recently with other sustainable inputs including stone dust, post-industrial recycled shoe manufacturing discards, and salt – and all combinations therein.  Processes include molding and fabrication, color infusion of cork, development of flexible cement, and the amalgamation and development of a number of composite materials that aim to divert post-industrial manufacturing by-product from the waste stream.

“The limited introduction we’ve had into the US market has been remarkable,” says Swetlana Reifschneider, the President of Trizzano operations (www.Trizzano.com).  “Our ability to mold cork furniture and components in a relatively large format, and in colors, seems to be one of the driving motivators behind the overwhelming interest we are seeing with the industrial designers we meet with.  We are extremely excited and energetic about this, especially knowing that cork molding and coloring is just the tip of the iceberg of our capacities as it relates to raw materials and providing viable and engaging solutions for our clients.”

Muratto and Trizzano’s North American office and operations is managed by Sustainable Materials (Boulder, CO; www.sustainablematerials.com).   With a line of standard and stocked finish and décor materials, Sustainable Materials has proven their ability to be a viable conduit for bringing these Portuguese innovations across the Atlantic, into and through the channels where they are most applicable.  Pete Nichols, president of Sustainable Materials says, “We are really excited about the new Trizzano effort. We feel the time is right to bring our technologies to the industrial design segment, and knowing there is a developed and efficient backend that allows for scalability, both with service and production, we know we can provide a great impact, both in the short-term, and with developments we have in the pipeline.”

To learn more about Muratto, Trizzano, and Sustainable Materials, contact:

Pete Nichols

[email protected]

ph: 720-449-3063 (x101)

cork walls design

The Geometry of Design

While it may seem like a modern trend, geometric design has been around as long as there has been art. Like most design trends, geometric patterns have taken on different styles through the years, but the fundamentals remain the same. Here are some simple yet classic ways to integrate geometric patterns into any design.

Pattern

Using patterns is a simple way to immediately add interest and a theme into your design. Patterns can be as subtle as a plank floor or as decorative as a vibrant wallpaper. The repetition of single elements of design is a way to naturally create unity within the space. Pattern also increases visual excitement by simulating depth even on a flat surface. Patterns are found everywhere in nature, so bringing them into an office, home, or commercial environment can create a sense of harmony and order.

Texture

Texture can be used to create designs even in a monochromatic form. Adding texture to walls and floors will not only create interest- it can also help with way-finding and acoustics. Using the right texture on floors can increase safety by eliminating slick surfaces to create a safer walkway. Dimensional wall tiles in large open environments can also reduce or absorb excess noise.

Walls

Walls can easily be overlooked as one of the simplest ways to create focus and impact in a room or building. Plain, white walls are uninspiring but it doesn’t have to be so! Just a bit of paint can update your space for very little cost and effort. Take it to another level by using interesting wallcoverings. Introduce both texture and pattern with dimensional wall tiles. The color combinations are endless, the applications are quick and easy. You will love seeing how your space will be transformed.

Take a minute to evaluate your workspace and think about what a little pattern can do!

Transforming Plain Walls

What once was a bleak expanse of white paint is becoming increasingly more inventive as offices and businesses turn to wall coverings as a quick and easy way to promote upfront branding. This trend seems certain to continue as current top architectural wall covering designers continue to offer all kinds of unique and creative wall covering materials and textures such as fabric, cork and reclaimed wood. Business owners now have endless options for custom printed wall coverings and murals with the ever-increasing advances in printing technology.

Creative wall coverings offer many advantages over traditional options such as paint or wallpaper.

Durability- Many of today’s custom wall coverings are created with durability in mind, offering function as well as style. Texture can aid in durability by disguising wear and tear to walls and surfaces that a smooth or shiny surface would show immediately. Materials such as cork offer antimicrobial properties, keeping walls naturally clean and reducing germs.

Ease of Installation- Traditional wallpaper brings to mind messy glue, difficulty lining up patterns, and permanence. Many modern wall coverings and panels are designed to install quickly and change out easily. Panels such as our Cork Bricks even offer peel and stick options for speedy installation.

Branding- Wall coverings can be customized to include a company logo or color scheme offering instant recognition and making a memorable impression on visitors and clients. Mix and match organic cork blocks to create a unique pattern in a wide range of colors- many can even be painted for a custom look.
Consider modular wall coverings in your next design to create an easy, unique, and memorable look.

wall coverings

Wallcoverings: Trends and Options

What once was a bleak expanse of white paint is becoming increasingly more inventive as offices and businesses turn to wall coverings as a quick and easy way to promote upfront branding. This trend seems certain to continue as current top architectural wall covering designers continue to offer all kinds of unique and creative wall covering materials and textures such as fabric, cork and reclaimed wood. Business owners now have endless options for custom printed wall coverings and murals with the ever-increasing advances in printing technology.

Creative wall coverings offer many advantages over traditional options such as paint or wallpaper. 

Durability- Many of today’s custom wall coverings are created with durability in mind, offering function as well as style. Texture can aid in durability by disguising wear and tear to walls and surfaces that a smooth or shiny surface would show immediately. Materials such as cork offer antimicrobial properties, keeping walls naturally clean and reducing germs.

Ease of Installation- Traditional wallpaper brings to mind messy glue, difficulty lining up patterns, and permanence. Many modern wall coverings and panels are designed to install quickly and change out easily. Panels such as our Cork Bricks even offer peel and stick options for speedy installation.

Branding- Wall coverings can be customized to include a company logo or color scheme offering instant recognition and making a memorable impression on visitors and clients. Mix and match organic cork blocks to create a unique pattern in a wide range of colors- many can even be painted for a custom look.

Consider modular wall coverings in your next design to create an easy, unique, and memorable look.

healthcare cork design

The Importance of Design in Healthcare

“Form follows function”. Just as the architect Louis Sullivan declared, so modern designers should always consider the intended use of the space before beginning the design process. When considering the design of healthcare facilities, three important areas stand out.

First Impressions

The future of a healthcare practice relies on making a good impression on the patients and staff that come in and out of the practice. All areas from the waiting room to the patient rooms should be clean, sterile, and convey efficiency. Using products with clean lines and inviting colors will create the impression of cleanliness and order.

Mood Boosting

In general, healthcare facilities are not places people are excited to visit. Often patrons are nervous or not feeling well and the design should attempt to alleviate and soothe anxiety. Soft colors, simple patterns and ideal lighting can create a calming space. Good acoustics are important as well to dampen sound and reverberation. A calming, comfortable environment can even statistically lower blood pressure and mental well-being.

Safety

From mobility plans to ventilation, safety and wellness obviously at the top of the list of things to consider in healthcare design. Hospitals and health offices can often be very busy, filled with people rushing from room to room. Clear signage and color-coded areas are two ways to improve wayfinding. One of the most important considerations is to inhibit the spread of disease. Designers can assist in this goal by specifying materials that are easy to clean, hold up to high traffic, and optimally even provide natural anti-microbial surfacing such as our cork wall tiles.

3 Reasons to Include Wall Tiles in Your Design

Cork wall tiles are the designer’s perfect tool. Not only are they incredibly easy to install, they also offer unlimited options even when using the smallest amount. We offer wall tiles in every shape and size from our mosaic Versacork to our large format Metalegance.

1. Modular Solutions

When you utilize modular design products, you increase the flexibility of your design allowing it to be easily adaptable for future use. Cork tiles add color and texture to walls and can accommodate everything from contemporary to classic styles. Each of our product lines offer several colors to choose from including natural earth tones. Many of our products are even paintable or stainable so that you can achieve the exact look you envision.

2. Acoustic Solutions

Cork tiles naturally provide acoustical benefits because of cork’s inherent noise absorption which is especially welcome in conference rooms and office spaces. Traditional acoustical solutions are generally bulky and unsightly but with cork tiles you can achieve sound reduction while actually creating a more attractive space.

3. Functional Design

A cork tile wall will add color and warmth to your space but beyond that, most of our wall tiles are also able to double as a decorative pin board, allowing space for reminders or photos- an excellent feature for any home or conference room. Cork tiles can also be used to create elements such as headboards or even artwork panels for a quick and easy design update.

LEED-certification: More Than a Trend

It’s more than just a trend- green and LEED-certified buildings are on the rise and one company in particular is leading the way. Google currently has over 30 LEED-certified buildings and continues to aim for the highest LEED ratings in future building projects.

Sustainable Materials is proud to share that all of our cork products are LEED-compliant. Several of our products have been selected and installed in multiple Google buildings including Mountain View, Austin, and Washington, D.C. We carefully select our products and materials to make sure that they reflect our passion for sustainability in building materials. We are always happy to help however we can with your projects- give us a call!

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. LEED is available for a variety of building types, both commercial and residential. The more energy-efficient and green a building is, the more points it will earn towards LEED certification. There are 6 categories which cover everything from the building location to the materials used and even the innovation of design.  

“When it comes to greening our office buildings, we apply the same focus that we use for any of our products: put the user first. We want to create the healthiest work environments possible where Googlers can thrive and innovate. From concept through design, construction and operations, we create buildings that function like living and breathing systems by optimizing access to nature, clean air and daylight.” – Google Blog

Green building requires re-thinking the selection of materials as well as the function of the space over time. Ideally, the materials and resources used for buildings will not only do less harm but perhaps take a step further and actually replenish the natural environments from which they came. Life cycle assessment is an important part of planning to help a design team make the best possible decisions.

Designing Creative Spaces for Offices

With the rise and success of startups and collaborative office groups, creative space is more important than ever when designing or renovating an office. Closed doors and isolating cubicles have been replaced with open spaces, lower walls and multiple collaboration zones. Creative areas should include flexible seating and furniture, allowing for different uses throughout the day and providing a natural space for coworkers to meet and share ideas.

Here are some suggestions for designing creative spaces in the office:

Furniture:

Comfortable seating and flexible ottomans allow for a variety of seating arrangements, conducive to group discussions or one-on-one brainstorming.

Lounge seating can create an open and relaxed area, helping employees to feel comfortable and encourage conversation.

Standing height tables with stools offers employees different posture options, keeping them engaged and reducing fatigue.

 

Wall surfaces:

Adding tackable surfaces like cork wall panels  will allow users to actively engage and share information and ideas. Additionally, cork provides excellent sound absorption for an optimal meeting space.

Metallic Champagne

White boards or glass surfaces create a great place for writing and drawings ideas that everyone can see and contribute to for instant brainstorming. Post-it notes can be quickly arranged to express ideas and thoughts.  

 

Don’t forget to incorporate technology too- including monitors or projectors will enable users to share digital content and collaborate with teammates, even those in remote offices.

 

Flooring:

It is also important to consider the flooring when designing your space. In an office, flooring should be aesthetically pleasing while also offering good sound absorption and cushion for long periods of standing. Cork flooring can provide all of these features in addition to offering high-traffic durability.

3 Ways Cork can change your acoustics

When designing or remodeling, the acoustic properties of a room should always be considered, and ultimately be based on the type of activity intended within the space. Each activity has its own challenges, and therefore would benefit from its own acoustic design. Oftentimes large spaces and hard surfaces result in unwanted sound that interferes with the function of the given space. This can vary from room to room because what is disturbing and unacceptable in one design application, may be acceptable to another. When sound reflections are focused rather than dispersed, it can cause reduced speech intelligibility and adverse effects on music.

Here are 3 things to consider in order to optimize the acoustics for your design.

Sound Absorption

Unlike regular wall surfaces which can reflect sound, cork wall panels can help absorb and reduce acoustic noises. Cork is often used in music recording environments as noise reduction material because of its excellent sound absorption. All of our cork bricks and panels are easy to install for a great-looking solution for reducing excess noise and reverberation. For example, the Noise Reduction Coefficient for our cork bricks is 0.15 NRC (absorbs approx. 40% of sounds in the human voice frequency range, which is where cork excels). Using cork on the walls in conference rooms and office spaces is a simple way to create an ideal meeting room.

Noise Reduction

Cork is naturally good at noise reduction and it also prevents sound and vibration transmission. Using cork on walls and floors can reduce the sound level of noise due to impacts on the surface, such as those resulting from movement of people, dragging furniture or falling objects.cork acoustics

In multi-family construction in the United States, there are minimum IIC and STC values that a floor/ceiling assembly must achieve. The Uniform or International Building Code (U.B.C. / I.B.C.) call for a minimum 50 IIC and 50 STC values. Each of our cork flooring options (Ceramicork Tiles, Ceramicork Planks and Comcork) exceed these requirements, with an example being for the Ceramicork Planks that have the following acoustic values: over an 8” concrete slab: STC – 58dB, IIC – 68 dB; over an 8” with dropped ceiling: STC – 60dB, IIC – 73 dB. For a summary chart of these values for all other products, please see here.

Acoustic Insulation

Cork products are a great choice for building projects such as apartment buildings and office spaces where there is a need to reduce sound from adjoining rooms. Our cork bricks and blocks are a quick and easy way to add sound insulation to any wall while also looking great.