Monday, December 28, 2009

Illuminating Translucent Materials in Our Design Lab

Some of the latest surfaces our designers are testing.  The sky is the limit!

Friday, December 18, 2009

We're a Favorite Place on Google!

Just opened today's mail, and almost lost in the stack of colorful Christmas mailings and office supply brochures was a small, crisp yellow envelope from Google Headquarters.  GPI International was chosen as one of Google's new "Favorite Places on Google", the mega-company's latest efforts to reach out to small businesses and capitalize on the growth of mobile technology.  

How it works: we'll post the sticker with our unique QR code on it, anyone passing by with the right "app" on their mobile phone can scan the bar code.   The user will be able to read reviews, visit the website, and find out any information on our company. 

Sounds kind of like a combination of Yelp, Twitter, and Whitepages all at once.  Now we just have to decide which window to put the sticker on...

Thanks to our wonderful clients and collaborators for searching for GPI and making us a Favorite Place on Google! 

Still not sure what we're talking about? Google Blog explains this new program in more depth.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

You Tell Us: New Materials & Products

Our design team is continuously building our materials library with the latest and greatest in architectural surfaces.  Backlighting translucent surfaces is what we do best- especially if you're crunched for space and need even illumination across a surface.  Based on the properties of the surface you choose, we'll provide consultation for lighting systems and construction details to achieve your intended lighting effect.

GPI International can provide backlighting for virtually any translucent surface you can dream up.  Here's just a sampling of recent products we've been integrating with our FLAT-Lite LED panels:
                 -Glass (recycled, printed, frosted)
                 -Resin / plastic / acrylic / polycarbonate / PETG
                 -Stretch fabrics
                 -Translucent honeycomb panels

Interior designers, architects, spec. writers, contractors- what new products are you itching to use but haven't found the right application for yet? 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Inherent Variances in Natural Stone & Onyx

Did you know that semi-precious stones are rated like diamonds as the rough blocks are pulled out of the ground?  The variances found in natural stone can affect the maximum panel sizes, structural properties, degree of light transmission, and aesthetic elements of your design visions.  GPI president Thomas Lawrence discusses how to best utilize the design process to shape your natural stone selections.

In predicting the variances found in natural stone, one can only predict common background colors, or overall color shades.  As a product of nature, it is these variances that identify natural stone from manmade stones; it is what sets natural stone apart from other design surfaces.  Inherently, this can make for daunting approval processes & procedures found within the designer / client relationship.  Quarries, suppliers and natural stone processors should use caution when supplying samples swatches of natural stones.  Variances from one slab to the other can vary greatly.  This holds particularly true in semi-precious natural stones such as:

These stones produce dramatic and quite unique variances that can provide challenges to the quarry or supplier as predicting these variances can prove to be unreliable.  It is suggested that overall tones be depicted through a general identifying name or color shade, ie, HONEY ONYX, MULTI-BROWN ONYX, VOLCANO ONYX, BLUE ONYX. 

1.  Once a general shade has been identified, clients should be made aware of the stones typical and most recognizable characteristics, i.e., striated veining, cloud type appearance, cross cut characteristics and vein cut characteristics alike.  It is only by identifying the general color tone and then recognizing the stones typical characteristics can a semi-precious stone be identified more clearly.  
2.  The client should consider obtaining ACTUAL photographs of current stones being quarried at the time of approval, for approval.  
3.  Samples can then be obtained after a “hold” has been placed on the stone in question.
4.  If then, it is approved; the stone then can be processed from the stock being held.

In many cases natural stones are given names.  Beware; these generalizations are far too encompassing to provide any accuracy when attempting to select a stone for processing.  For example, HONEY ONYX should only communicate the overall tone and base color for the stone.  Among HONEY ONYX itself, we know of over 30 varieties with many different characteristics and tones.  Selecting such a variety can only come from a recent digital image from a trusted and knowledgeable supplier or via personal visit to the quarry yard itself. 

-By Thomas Lawrence, GPI President

“Onyx is often confused with marbles, yet it is a significantly different rock type. Onyx is a sedimentary rock, formed as stalactites and stalagmites in cave interiors. This formation method results in the cryptocrystalline construction of the rock fabric, and it is the size and uniformity of these crystals that contribute to the classic translucent property of most onyx varieties. Characteristics of quarried stone are dependent upon the attributes of the deposit from which the stone was extracted; each quarry is able to offer a range of products unique in dimensions, color, and structural properties to its deposit. Therefore, it is preferable that the designer and stone supplier collaborate closely prior to and throughout the design process since planning a project around readily available stone reduces the environmental impact of raw material extraction.”