LAS VEGAS — Rehau Inc. is taking high-gloss laminates and glass-like surfaces directly to designers in the high-end kitchen and bath market, pointing to the possibilities for them to tap into the latest trends at lower costs.
The Leesburg, Va.-based company showed its new line of acrylic top layers called Rauvisio Brilliant and its polymer that looks like glass called Rauvisio Crystal to a kitchen and bath audience for the first time at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas in January. The surfaces can be used as cabinet doors, drawer fronts and splash backs.
“Normally we're on a business-to-business level and sell to the manufacturer. With this product line we are selling to the design community. This show is our first step in that direction,” said Thomas Troeger, director of the furniture unit for Rehau.
While competitors use a clear top layer, Rehau co-extrudes its acrylic top layers with a color-matched ABS base layer for better UV resistance and a stylish depth effect, Troeger said.
The 1 millimeter acrylic panels come in 10 colors, including metallic. The surfaces, which have a lacquered look, can be paired with Rehau's 33 kinds of edge-banding laminates — one of its core businesses — for more decorating options.
The high-gloss surface trend is popular in Europe and picking up steam in U.S. metropolitan areas of Florida and New York.
“Most design trends on a global scale come from Italy,” Troeger said. “This product is the combination of Italian design with German engineering, which a lot of customers prefer.”
Rehau's other product, Rauvisio Crystal, won an award for its convincing glass-top design. The company says it is a lightweight, durable, scratch- and impact-resistant polymer that can be cut and drilled during installation. The 2 mm thick surface comes in three tones of white.
The Rauvisio products can be ordered as components — laminate, balance sheet and edge band — or as a finished, pressed board that is cut to size. The latter option makes it easier for small shops to offer high-gloss surfaces without investing in equipment, Troeger said.
Rehau used to focus on bigger manufacturers but is widening its target this year.
“Our audience was everyone who does millwork — any kind of millwork,” Troeger said. “Rehau supplies the office furniture industry — the Herman Millers, Steelcases and Ikeas of the world that make high-volume furniture and need to cover the edges. We also sell to kitchen manufacturers, door fixture manufacturers and even the RV industry for cabinets. Now we're going after kitchen designers.”
Rehau will offer a self-repairing countertop next, the company's furniture director said. The new material, which will compete with Corian, can be heated to polish out scratches, according to Troeger. It won't show fingerprints either and it will have anti-microbial, food-grade properties, he added.
Called Fenix NTM (for nanotech matt) and made of paper and thermoset “next generation” resins, this material is produced in Italy by Arpa Industriale. Rehau will be a North America distributor of Fenix NTM, which will be sold as a laminate as thin as 0.9 mm and a solid as thick as 12 mm.
“These sheets are so unique there is no similar material currently on the market,” Troeger said.