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Seriously Cool…

2/10/2014 1:34:06 PM
Article by Pat Windmeier

In the world of countertops, it seems that quartz, stone and solid surface materials dominate everything. At least in the residential market they do. I would say that 90% of our jobs are done in those three material choices.

But the other day, what I saw lit up my inner design fire. This long forgotten, overlooked, not thought of as cutting edge, very outdated material was by far, the perfect material for this application. And it really got me thinking about the product again.

I hope you find this to be a pleasant surprise, but the material I am talking about is called laminate. Some of you might want to call it Formica®, but that is the same as asking for a Kleenex®, when you mean a tissue. Laminate is an amazing thing, and if used correctly in the overall design application, it is timeless and cool.

In case you are wondering how laminate is made, I have included a link to Wilsonart’s website that gives a wonderful explanation of how laminate is made.

I was sitting in a burger joint in the burbs of Chicago called Augustino’s Rock & Roll Deli. The main counters and accent pieces are solid surface materials, Avonite, to be specific. But the tables are all laminate in a 1950s theme. As I sat there, staring at my table, I was thinking this is the perfect material for a bar in a basement, or a garage. The designing fire had been lit. How cool would it be to have a bar top done that has the look of records, pictures of celebrities, cars, and things related to the 1950s for your countertop?

Here is an example of cool in laminate. Let me give you a link to Formica’s website,

And here is Wilsonart’s link to cool…

(I did not want to overwhelm you with the long list of laminate manufactures so I selected just two that most everybody will recognize immediately. Google laminate manufacturers and you can begin to explore the world of laminate.)

This is all beyond cool, and it only gets better; each manufacture produces endless possibilities in laminate. And yes, I think boomerang counter tops are awesome. Retro is in, very in. And truthfully, it never went out.

In the commercial world where cutting edge designs happen, laminate is king. Once you start looking at these web sites you will start to see where, how, and why laminate is king. Laminate is being used in custom furniture, reception desk, wall cladding, doors and everything in between.

Take time to look at all the possibilities that are available with laminate. Erase the old misconceptions that laminate is outdated, old, yesterdays material, and only something you find at the low end of countertop materials. Instead, let your inner design fire get lit up, and do some cool project with laminate. Feel free to send me pictures of your cool project. My email is

Here is a fast list of manufactures you can Google and look at for inspiration: Formica®, Wilsonart®, Arborite®, Nevamar®, Pionite®.

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