Showroom's Use of Solid Surface Captures Top Honors

Showroom's Use of Solid Surface Captures Top Honors

By Barbara Capella Loehr

In fact, the display part of the Signature Kitchens & Baths of Charleston, Inc. showroom is so impressive, it took top honors in the Best Commercial category of the first annual SolidSurface Design Contest. The contest, sponsored by SolidSurface magazine, challenged designers and fabricators of solid surface and stone products to stretch the limits of their creativity and fabrication expertise.

"An appealing aspect of the live cooking display project that made it stand out from other design contest entries, was its open design combined with the hard-working characteristics of [DuPont Zodiaq] quartz surfacing," states SolidSurface magazine. "Nothing beats a commercial kitchen for wear and tear, yet this design presents a solution that is more than up to the challenge from an aesthetic and functional point of view."

Indeed, Signature Kitchens & Baths' live cooking display was one of three designs that caught the judges' eye because of each design's creative use of solid surface and stone in an everyday working environment.

Signature Kitchens & Baths' winning display incorporated stainless steel into the main cooking island. Then, with the help of Columbia, SC-based fabricator Real Value, Inc., it applied DuPont Zodiaq to the rest of the countertop and backsplash areas.
Signature Kitchens & Baths also incorporated a Brazil stone (black granite) island into the design, again with the help of Real Value.

The main objective of this award-winning cooking display was "to provide a large display area in which to demonstrate appliances and various cooking techniques," explains James R. McLain, CKD, of Signature Kitchens & Baths.

It was key for the surfaces to be durable and easy to clean, but, at the same time, the surfaces that guests would come in contact with the most had to be warm and inviting.

To that end, McLain chose Zodiaq for the table that sits adjacent to the stainless steel cooking island. The island includes a Wolf French top, two burners, a deep fryer and a steamer, as well as for the perimeter countertops and backsplashes.

Normally, Signature fabricates its own DuPont Corian countertops, but for the Zodiaq tops the firm turned to Real Value, Inc. to fabricate them.

"It handles like granite, so we cut it like natural stone with wet saws and wet routers," explains Jeff Swager, Real Value's senior v.p. and field manager on this project.

Real Value's Zodiaq fabrication process for this project yielded two approximately 5' sections for either side of the 60" Wolf range, another two approximately 5' sections for either side of the Franke sink, and full backsplashes for both areas.

To break up the large expanse of countertop, "a stainless steel countertop with custom-formed, 6", double E radius edge is used to integrate with the professional appliances in the kitchen," explains McLain.

"The combination of textures draws people to the area. I think the combination of stainless steel and Zodiaq together creates an inviting atmosphere. And though it's contemporary, it's very soft," believes McLain.

Cabinetry that incorporates wood, stainless steel and glass doors, along with two large custom, stainless steel hoods complete the stunning design.

"The effect is exciting and highly functional," McLain adds.

The contest also produced two other winners. Most Innovative honors went to a play area and medieval castle made of DuPont Corian. Designed by Sterling-Miller Designs, Inc. in Brockton, MA, and located in Maple Avenue Park in Cambridge, MA, it won for both its practical and whimsical appeal. Best Overall Design went to an Art-Deco-style conference table done in tri-color DuPont Corian. It was designed and built by Art-Tech Surfacing, Inc. in Knoxville, TN for the local magazine, CityView, in Louisville, TN.

"Each winning project transcends pie-in-the-sky creative fantasy by finding practical and commercial applications in an everyday working environment," notes SolidSurface magazine.