Fun & Fab Building Products…for the House that Jack Built

Looking for some unique building materials? What about translucent wood? Or twinkling concrete? While some of the products here are the result of innovative work in 3D printing, fiber optics or green engineering, others are new takes on traditional materials and methodologies. Whatever your proclivities, I’m sure the following collection of construction products will charm and dazzle you!

3D-printed ceramic tiles

3D-printed ceramic tiles.

Building exterior made of 3D-printed tiles

Building exterior of 3D-printed tiles.

As 3D printing becomes mainstream, artists and craftsmen are turning their attention to the creative potential of clay. The printing process lends particularly well to experimentation with voids and solids as shown in the tiles above.

Light reflecting concrete with small glass beads embedded in the material

Light reflecting concrete with 2-3 mm glass beads embedded in the substrate material.

Watch the logo very carefully and you’ll see the thickness of the alphabets’ outline shift in a gradual chasing pattern.

When glass microspheres are added to concrete, they reflect light directly back at the light source, resulting in a phenomenon called retroreflection.

Blingcrete‘s appearance is affected by the distance between light and the viewer, creating a dynamic experience as one walks by the material. It can be flat, angular or curved and is great for signage in wayfinding.

Backsplash of mosaic tiles made from coconut shells

Goin’ Coconuts – beautiful mosaic tiles made from coconut shells!

Cocomosaic is an eco-friendly surfacing material that can be used on walls, backsplashes and even lightly trafficked floors. No grout is needed. Aside from the expected neutrals, the tiles come in spunkier hues of blue, pink, orange and green.

Close up of a cooling screen of modular water filled clay tiles

An ingenious modern natural cooling system with roots in the time-honored traditions of the Middle East.

An ecooler interior partition

Form meets function in this literally cool room divider. The screen acts as a passive cooler – no electricity needed!

Ecooler uses a network of modular water-filled hollow clay tiles to cool buildings through evaporative cooling. Connectors allow user control of the panel’s configuration and provide a more sustainable approach to environmental control in hot climates.

Composite wall boards made with mushroom binder

Can you guess these boards are made with mushrooms!? No, I didn’t have the magic kind so I’m not hallucinating!

Evocative Design is leading the charge to create building materials from agricultural waste. Corn husks, flax, hemp and wood chips use living organisms – in this instance, mushroom roots – as a natural binder in place of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Similar to other recycled wood composite boards, Myco Boards are also biodegradable and compostable. Go GREEN!

3D fabric system that can be used as decorative panels

A versatile 3D fabric system in 100% spun polyester that can be used as window or wall coverings, free standing partitions or ceiling panels.

Although 3form is a leading source of creative prêt-à-porter decorative panels, this is its first foray into freestanding fabric screens. Available in 3 patterns, Parametre is simply held in place by industrial magnets and anchors which makes installation or repositioning a cinch.

Light transmitting wood composite screen that allows light to show through solid wood

This light transmitting wood composite allows natural or artificial light to show through solid wood. Truly amazing!

Video showing the an animated design using Luminoso.

Similar in principle to light transmitting concrete, Luminoso is made with optic fibers embedded in wood. By using either light blocking films, digital light controllers, or backlighting the partition, one can create striking static, animated or shadow effects.

Sculptural walls made from colorful translucent composite panels

Sculptural walls made from colorful translucent composite panels.

These partitions by Italian manufacturer Bencore are lightweight and structurally stable thanks to the patented cores sandwiched between acrylic sheets. They can be kitted out with frames, handles and hinges to create walls, doors, cabinetry or furniture with a striking contemporary look.

Flooring made with wood from wine barrel tops

An oenophile’s dream cellar – a wine filled storage finished with a wood floor made from heads of used wine barrels!

For a total wine immersion experience, Fontenay offers 3 lines of flooring made from reclaimed wine barrels: Cooperage above touts authentic barrel makers’ stamps; those who want more dramatic colors can spring for Wine Infusion whose richly colored planks hail from the insides of the barrels, while the Stave collection features markings created by the barrels’ hoops. Pick any one and Bacchus will approve…

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