Corian has a few major advantages: Its malleability allows it to be formed in a myriad of shapes and continuous surfaces; its durability and repairability allow it to be used a primary finished surface; and its translucency allows designers to integrate lighting features seamlessly into surfaces.
In 2007, Dupont teamed with Jean Nouvel in Milan to create an exhibition using Corian with integrated lighting. The resultant Corian Nouvel Lumieres show produced several juicy eye candy pieces in a futuristic residential setting (see images of translucent cabinets and bookshelves above).
Amanda Levete Architects created the “Corian Super Surfaces Lounge” installation for the 2009 Milan Design Fair. The installation really pushed the ability to use digitally fabricated, non-repeating 3D forms to shape and diffuse light.
Evans & Paul are a New York based fabricator specializing in Corian installations. The portfolio section of their site contains some amazing projects.
The Elie Tahari store in Beverly Hills features a 600 sf seamless, back lit wall surface fabricated by Evans and Paul. The panels were cut with a cnc-router to different depths to create the various translucent patterns (see process shot below).
Corian even works at an urban scale: The Seekoo Hotel in Bordeaux, France uses Corian as an exterior architectural cladding system.
The Seekoo’s signage is simply shallow lettering cut into the back of the panel and illuminated from behind. Integrating a concealed system of low-res LED pixels behind translucent Corian is an obvious next step.
For a parting image, here’s a simple internally illuminated vanity from Dupont’s website:
Of course, the difficulty is that to achieve all of the wonderful effects shown above, designers are stuck using traditional lighting fixtures hidden behind the surfaces. Creating new lighting systems that work well with integral wall surfaces is an open area awaiting innovation.
For even more info, also check out Dupont’s recently unveiled NYC showroom: Corian Design Studio.
images from Dupont, Jean Nouvel, Seekoo Hotel, Evans & Paul