Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Formica Gets Its Mojo Back -- and Now It's Green

Move over (quarried, imported, non-renewable) granite.

Did you see yesterday's d5R article about furniture recycled from beetle-killed pinewood, an otherwise "unusable" but abundantly available resource that, if not recycled, is a leading cause of forest fires? Here's a similar comeback story involving a sustainable, often-overlooked material. Sort of. 

From NPR's Marketplace program:
"...[B]y the 1970s and '80s, Formica had a bit of a bad rap. The smooth surfaces had been chipped or rubbed down to show the brown paper under the pretty colors. By the 1990s, expensive stone countertops became a status symbol, paving over passe Formica.

"But last year, Los Angeles designer Scott Lander chose white Formica for the kitchen in an award-winning project.

"'Most people were asking, 'What is this surface?' Most people didn't even know it was Formica,'" Lander says.

It's also getting more popular with budget remodelers. And, green builders. The company has switched to non-toxic resins, and uses recycled paper. Just one more way Formica is clawing back a little more counter space.
Formica is a classic, no doubt. At a museum several years ago, I saw a familiar item in a display case: a piece of 1950s-era Formica in the classic "boomerang" style. Not long before, I had purchased an old home whose kitchen had last been remodeled in the 1950s, as far as I could tell -- and the wonderful aqua-blue boomerang Formica countertops were a vintage highlight, along with the copper-colored double wall oven.

Too bad I didn't keep them when I remodeled.

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1 comment:

Abe Degnan said...

Plus, stone counter tops always feel cold to the touch. I've even seen articles and advertisements advertising how to heat your stone counter tops! Sheesh, what a waste. Nothing is perfect but for the price, laminate tops are still a great value!