A plastic alternative to chain mail originally used in the film version of The Lord of the Rings trilogy has made its way from high fantasy to high-end interior design and now is about become more sustainable.
Kaynemaile announced June 6 that it was moving the bulk of its material from standard virgin polycarbonate to Covestro's Makrolon RE brand PC, made using recycled plastics. Kaynemaile showed off the RE8 architectural mesh during the American Institute of Architects' conference in San Francisco earlier this month.
Kaynemaile is made up of a series of interconnected rings, similar to flexible armor made of metal rings, but made of plastic and much lighter. When filmmaker Peter Jackson was making The Lord of the Rings movies in New Zealand, he tapped art director Kayne Horsham to come up with an alternative.
Horsham developed a system using polypropylene rings that had to be connected by hand — a process that took more than a year. (The actor Viggo Mortensen came up with the name "Kaynemail" for the final product.) You can see a brief behind-the-scenes video of the mail being made here.
After the film, Horsham did some further development to create an automated process to produce sheets of the mail using PC, and it was taken up by architects to highlight interior and exterior design options. It has been used at the Dubai Exhibition Center, at a Silicon Valley office complex, a parking garage in Atlanta and the White Castle headquarters in Columbus, Ohio.