Without a progression of ideas, materials, and methods in the architecture community, the palette we have to work with becomes stagnant. That is why “innovation” is a word that frequently comes to mind when considering design solutions. We seek out innovative ideas, not just because they are new, but because they stand on the shoulders of giants, meticulously improving upon the past. High-pressure compact laminate panels are not just a high quality exterior cladding, but a tool that leads in innovative design.
Innovation in Science
The science behind the production of high-pressure compact laminate panels is relatively complex, which is reflected in the quality of the end product. There are two main processes the panels go through.
Compression: Each panel, or high-pressure compact laminate, is made with a mixture of 70% wood fibers, along with resins, which, when compressed at high pressures and temperatures, creates a very dense molecular foundation, making them extremely durable and impact resistant, the perfect material for high traffic areas. The dense nature of the panels also provides extreme resistance to weathering, meaning temperature, UV radiation, humidity and rain are unable to significantly affect the panels’ structure, or color over time. These panels are completely non-porous as well, a very practical feature, meaning that they are very resistant to dirt accumulation, making cleaning the panels as simple as washing them with water.
Electron Beam Curing: Electron Beam Curing (EBC) is a technology which is the secret behind these panels’ ability to sustain color over time, as well as scratch resistance. In this process, a specific color is applied to a single sheet of wood fibers, which is then put into the EBC machine, bombarding the sheet with electrons at a high velocity. This causes the sheet to harden immensely, making it scratch resistant, as well as color fade resistant. This treated sheet is then adhered to the high pressure compact laminate boards, creating a panel.
Innovation in Design
Durability in a material is highly sought after, but design options are equally important. Trespa International B.V. is a producer of compact laminate panels that understands this tenfold, with a spectacular array of colors, textures, sizes and shapes in their inventory. While they have a plethora of options for exterior panels, siding, and interior applications, two of their products stand out above the rest.
Trespa Meteon: The landmark feature of the Trespa Meteon Panel is its range of use. With over a 100 options in color, texture, and pattern, these panels can be used in any type of project, leading to very diverse results. Whether you want a solid colored panel, a natural finish, or the perfect wood décor pattern, Trespa has you covered. While you can create a stunning façade using solely Trespa Panels, such as the Microsoft Building in Santiago, Chile, or the Home and Office building in Luxembourg, some of the most exciting results occur when using a mixture of Trespa panels along with more traditional materials. A great example of this would be the SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital Addition, done by Lawrence Group. Using the Trespa panels as a sort of accent, the upper building is adorned with glass and Trespa, and sits atop the original construction using a more standard brick face. The end result is a beautiful combination of materials that are reinforced with the Trespa Panels’ flowing pattern.
Trespa Meteon Lumen: Adding the element of light as a design tool, Trespa’s Meteon Lumen series of panels is a unique addition to their collection. The Lumen panels come in three different finishes and a multitude of colors, and give the designer the ability to reflect and redirect light to give depth to a flat surface. One successful case study would be the Asport building in Ingeldorf, Luxembourg. Using different shades and finishes of gray, along with highly angular shapes, this building successfully manages to elicit the impression of depth on the flat surface.
An architect should never settle for less, and these types of panels make it so you don’t have to. Featuring quality and quantity, with hundreds of design options and world renowned technology, you will never have to hesitate again when searching for an exterior cladding system. The panels give designers an innovative tool, the rest is up to us.
*All information and photos were gathered from the Trespa websiteLuke Schmidt, Trespa