High And Mighty

Architect and Interiors India|October 2019

High And Mighty
When It Comes To Performance And Durability, High-pressure Laminates Have Become A Go-to Surface Material In The Construction Industry
Carol Ferrao

Whether it’s capturing the beauty of natural wood or providing realistic designs in stone finish, the High Pressure Laminate (HPL) industry’s inventive streak has left architects and designers spoilt for choice. Often more economical than the natural materials, HPL solutions are easy to maintain with faster application process. Made of wood-based layers impregnated with resin, HPL has many layers of Kraft paper, with the final layer featuring high-quality printed design accents and decorative finishes.

“Categorising HPL as just another cladding material is a thing of the past,” says Ashwani Khanna, AVP-Marketing, Fundermax India. Today, HPL is being recommended for a variety of applications in both the residential and commercial areas. Think countertops, cabinets, furniture, and more. Given its multiple features, mainly high-performance durability and strength, the material is perfect for high-traffic areas such as offices, lobbies, restaurants, hospitals, stores, hotels and educational institutions.

According to a report by Market Research Future (MRFR) titled ‘Global Decorative High-Pressure Laminates Market’, the HPL market is expected to strike 5.3% CAGR to achieve a valuation of USD 14,857 million by 2023. The growing demand for the material stems from its use not only in flooring and infrastructural development, but also in ready-to-assemble furniture, cabinets, countertops, tabletops, case goods, wood panels and much more. Thanks to the booming construction industry in Asia Pacific, the market is anticipated to grow exponentially.

Manufacturers and suppliers are motivated by the demand to improve their portfolio as well as provide the best solutions. “With our growing portfolio of products and an increasingly comprehensive range of laminates and allied products, our investment in research and technology is aimed at improving the environmental performance of our products for a more enduring client experience,” states Alfa Ica, a known provider for HPL in the Indian market. Improving chemistry of laminates needs to be a primary focus for these companies – and they ensure it by investing in new technologies, often sourced from European countries.

Laminates have grown since their inception in terms of design innovations as well as technicalities, reinforces Manav Gupta, director, Stylam. Many textures that add to the design, overall look and feel of laminates have been introduced with some advance ranges, and the overall properties these advance ranges offer make spaces look different and appealing. “As a group, we have come up with many advancements and range of special surfaces which are specifically planned keeping in mind the problems an end consumer faces when it comes to normal laminates. These surfaces have extra advantages in terms of finishes, properties, look, safety, hygiene and maintenance,” he adds.

HPL in India has come a long way indeed, according to companies like Durian who believe that, in the present time, it is difficult to add finesse to surfaces without this material. It’s not just the material’s high-quality finish, designer appeal and versatile applications that make it a popular solution for both interior and exterior application. Today, HPL surfaces are also designed to withstand abrasions, fire, chemicals and wear and tear that is commonly seen in high-traffic areas.

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October 2019