Plywood has enjoyed perennial popularity among architects and designers, and Laminex product design manager Neil Sookee is unequivocal when asked why: “Ply is just such an honest material. It’s a rotary peeling from a log, so you get an undistorted representation of that piece of timber,” he says. According to Sookee, global research has revealed a resurgent interest in rotary birch ply as a decorative construction material. And so Laminex Raw Birchply was born.
Capturing the look of plywood in detail
The process of developing Raw Birchply was painstaking in its pursuit of an authentic natural plywood look. “It was all about achieving absolute realism,” explains Sookee. “We used a contrasting method to show the very fine fibre detail on the surface.” Natural veneers are notorious for changing colour, whether as a result of applied finishes or through exposure to light and natural “yellowing off,” so Laminex Raw Birchply was designed with a very light, natural colouring to reflect the true tone of freshly cut rotary birch ply, retaining the look of raw plywood over time.
The benefits of laminate
For many designers, natural ply will always be their first preference. However, in applications where hard-wearing surfaces are required, Raw Birchply will come into its own. Sookee says: “For spaces where there are concerns about constant cleaning, frequent splashing with water or everyday wear and tear, an authentic imitation of natural plywood is a practical and beautiful solution.”
The classic Laminex performance characteristics – durability, ease of maintenance, colour stability and UV and stain resistance – are the most obvious reasons for specifying plywood laminate over real ply, but there are also others. The prefinished panels of plywood laminate are easy to install because there is no requirement for lacquering or staining; the panels are simply cut to size and edged. Additionally, the consistency of Laminex’s production process means that panels will match each other for tone and detail, whether they’re specified at the same time or a month or year apart.
The many factors that influence the detail and tone of natural timber, coupled with the myriad effects of finishing and ageing, make Laminex Raw Birchply a valuable addition to the design toolbox. laminex.com.au