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Episode 39 – Durat Modern Solid Surface – Make it Your Own

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In this episode, we will talk about Durat modern solid surface. We are here today with Jessica McNaughton and Julia Antenucci of CaraGreen.

JESSICA: Hi, this is JESSICA. 

JULIA: And this is JULIA. 

JESSICA: And this is Build Green Live Green, Care Greens podcast on industry issues and sustainable materials. Today we are talking about Durat, which is D-U-R-A-T. It is a solid surface material that is used to create seamless integrated surfaces. So think about, you know, integrated sheets and sinks in different colors. It's in the same product category as things like Corian and Avonite, but Durat really is its own thing. It was designed by two Finnish designers who really wanted to create a new aesthetic in the solid surface space that incorporated kind of that Scandinavian design but also had a great sustainability story. So Durat was invented about 25 years ago in Finland. 

JULIA: Yeah. And a big part of the sustainability story for Durat is that it's made with up 28% recycled content and it can be recycled at the end of its life cycle as well. 

JESSICA: Yeah. So Durat’s aesthetic is different. It's much more modern looking than Corian. I mean Corian, I think of, you know, grandma's house and they've tried recently to kind of shift to this “Corian Design” concept. But at the end of the day, their base color just almost has like a milkiness to it and Durat does not, Durat has this very clean, crisp aesthetic. And that recycled content you mentioned, it gives it almost a texture. So it's these clear speckles made out of post-industrial plastics and it really creates a modern looking solid surface. So you can get some really sleek designs and you can get every color from a white to, they have blacks, but all those vibrant colors in between as well. 

JULIA: That's something I really do love about Durat. They have 70 standard colors, right? And they have basically an unlimited palette of custom colors. We work with the RAL classic deck. So you know you want a purple base and green speckles, we're not going to judge you, do whatever you want. That’s the beauty of it. 

JESSICA: So Durat comes standard, it's 31 and a half inches by 114 inches. The sheets are half inch thick. All these bright colors can be used in a variety of applications. We see a lot of countertops, we see benches, we see tabletops, we see window sills. So anywhere you would use a standard solid surface, you can also use Durat. Again, you're just getting away from that standard solid surface that everyone's been working with for the last 40 years. It's, you know, it's murky. It looks like, some of it looks like vomit. Some of it looks like granite, I don't know. Some of it looks like nothing, but the Durat solid surface really has its own unique look. And to me it's timeless compared to some of the other materials. Every time I go into an airport bathroom, I look and there it is. There's some solid surface that I don't even know what it's supposed to look like, gravel or something. But you know, I think about Durat in contrast to all those other standard solid surface manufacturers out there and they really have just carved out a niche. 

JULIA: Yeah. That's one thing I really like about Durat. It doesn't try to be any other product category. It really is what it is. And you know, I think a big part of that, you were saying how the color is so saturated and this is something that I learned when I started at CaraGreen with Durat, it has a polyester base instead of an acrylic base, which is a big part of that, right? 

JESSICA: Yeah. The polyester can hold the color better than some of the acrylics, which is why Durat can do these beautiful color match sinks and all these bright colors and the acrylic companies tend to have a bone and an ivory or a white sink color, you know. And those are, those are really their only sink options because they can't do the color match that the polyesters can do. The other nice thing about Durat is that, you know, for years it was made in Finland and CaraGreen, as the importer, was buying from Finland. And then several years ago we entered into an agreement where we're able to manufacture it here in the US. So Durat USA was established and that facility is in Georgia, so it's actually a solid surface made here in the USA with all these beautiful aesthetics. 

JULIA: So not only does it have, you know, a great sustainability story, but now with Durat you can have a shorter lead time and you know where it's coming from, which I think is really important to consumers and designers alike. 

JESSICA: Durat, they say they have seven textures, I think they call them, but they're not really textures. They're actually different filler mixes. But they're all very clean looking mixes as we talked about. There's a clear, there's a clear and white, there's a clear and black, there's a multicolor. But the nice thing is you can get any base you want with any one of those fillers that you want. So their ability to customize, and Julia, you alluded to this earlier, their ability to customize the speckles really lets designers choose their own adventure, right? You design the Durat you want, what's your RAL base or choose an existing color base and swap in a speckle, remove a speckle, get it in a solid. It really lets them be versatile and there is no upcharge for it. So you're not paying to be creative, you're getting to do it with Durat solid surface. It's part of the package. 

JULIA: And that's really what I like about it. We've seen a lot of very cool projects come out of the custom color program. Recently Museum of Ice Cream did an amazing project with you know, multicolored speckles and a pink base and we've seen Glossier do a custom project with a solid. There are many ways that you can go, and it really helps you create a very unique design that helps speak to your brand. Or you know, if you're a school, if you're a restaurant or whatever, whatever kind of company you are, it's a really great way to communicate your ideas. 

JESSICA: Well, the other thing with Glossier that was interesting was the way they were using it, they actually needed three different thicknesses. So we were able to make those sheets at three different thicknesses for them. And that really allowed them to, you know, do a lot of unique things in their retail display space using those materials. So we were able to optimize it. So if they wanted to CNC into something, you know, they had a thicker material so they could cut into that. So it was really neat to see what they were able to do with it. So they didn't choose a standard Durat color. They chose a custom color, custom size and a custom thickness. And that's another thing Durat is really sensitive to is yield. So if you only need 29 inches wide, instead of 31 and a half, you can get a custom size. So you know, you can optimize the yield in your designs too. So you can specify Durat sheets at a certain width or length. I think the longest you can go is 144 and the widest you can go is 36 which is unheard of in the solid surface space. Wilson just came out with 60 inch wide sheets, but that really is the first size option that hasn't been the standard 30 by 144. 

JULIA: And that's great for designers, right? Because they get the freedom to really make what they want and really pay attention to budget and not be limited by size or money or anything.

JESSICA: And the main thing with the yield too is you don't want to be buying sheets and only use 60% of each sheet, right, and have to throw the rest away. So if you're able to optimize that sheet size, there's less waste. That's a big part of what Durat cares about. In fact, one of their lines of material- all Durat is color numbers, so it'll be color 100 which is a whiter color, 730 which is a light gray, or color 750 which is a bright purple. But what happens is there's a lot of leftover Durat that happens during their manufacture. They regrind that and they put that back into the Durat. So if you have color 100 and you replace the white filler with the ground Durat filler, it becomes color 108 and you know it has all this recycled Durat in it. So they really do maintain that circularity and that closed loop cycle in their solid surface. 

JULIA: And it becomes more than just a surface. It's a story that you can see as well, which is something we love here at Care Green. 

JESSICA: All our products tell a story, right. We've covered Paperstone. Paperstone is a great story about turning paper into stone, recycled paper into stone. IceStone has a great story about, you know, recycled glass made in the Brooklyn Navy yard put into surfacing. Lapitec sintered stone, you know, you've got this product that has no resins in it and then you've got Kirei which uses recycled plastic bottles for acoustics. All of these are topics that we've covered on our podcast and Durat slides right in there. You've got recycled plastics, so solid surface as a category, it really is plastics and Durat is, I would contend, one of the only companies in the solid surface space that is incorporating sustainability into their story. And not only do they have what I consider the most beautiful and comprehensive color program that you can choose from, they have the only fully customizable solid surface program that you can choose from. They're now on Material Bank. So if listeners haven't checked out Material Bank, you should, it's www.materialbank.com and it's this really cool facility in Memphis, Tennessee where you basically go online to the website and you pick any samples you want, and they're overnighted to your door the next day. Durat is now on Material Bank as well. So if you're not familiar with Durat, go to the CaraGreen website, caragreen.com. Click on Durat and kind of peruse all the color options and then any RAL color that you want, just let us know. You can email info@caragreen.com with any customizable Durat requests that you have. And yeah, I mean, make it your own. 

JULIA: Yeah, and if you want to check out Durat directly on Instagram, their Instagram handle is @duratdesign. And to learn a little more about Durat through CaraGreen's perspective, we have a few blog posts on our blog caragreen.com/blog. 

JESSICA: This is Jessica. 

JULIA: And this is Julia. 

JESSICA: And this is Build Green Live Green.

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