It's laminate, but not as you know it

Fenix-Table-And-Bench
Image from Fenix for Interiors

We were chatting recently with Edwin of EJ Ryder bespoke joinery, who revealed that the material of the moment for him is Fenix. Always keen to share the latest interior design trends, we thought we’d look a bit further into what it is and how you might use it in your own home renovation.

Made in Italy by high pressure laminate specialists Arpa Industriale, Fenix is upping the game in the world of laminates. 

Fenix-Kitchen-Blue
Image from International Decorative Surfaces
Fenix-EJ-Ryder-Kitchen-White
Image of Kitchen by EJ Ryder

How is Fenix made?

Traditionally high pressure laminate is made from layered sheets of paper or board in melamine resin, which are bonded under the combined effect of heat and high pressure to make a strong, hardwearing surface that can be applied to furniture and worktops.

As a material it shot to fame in the 1950’s and has become synonymous with its original inventor, Formica, who still supply a great range, however there are plenty of other laminate companies out there to choose from such as Polyrey or Egger. All have a slightly different colour range and finish so be sure to get samples to find the perfect fit for your project.

The amazing range of colours available means laminates have made a comeback in recent years as a cheap and playful way to finish plywood worktops and add some pop to your kitchen design. 

Fenix is the latest development in this trend. According to its manufacturers, it’s a high-tech nanotechnological material, unique thanks to a multilayer coating and the use of next-generation nanoparticles and acrylic resins which are hardened and cured through an innovative Electron Beam Curing process. 

Fenix-EJ-Ryder-Esters-Cafe
Image of Esters, Stoke Newington by EJ Ryder

What is Fenix like as a material?

While the science may be baffling, the result is an extremely durable material with an opaque finish that is soft to the touch. It is also anti-fingerprint, heat resistant, water repellent, mould resistant, hygienic, easy to clean and resistant to the solvents and reagents typically used for household cleaning.

As if that wasn’t enough, the surface of the material is scattered with a dense grid of crosspolymers with their own memory, which can be reactivated by the application of heat. Meaning that superficial microscratches can actually be repaired using a tea cloth and an iron.

But apart from all this, it’s the way it looks which has made it a current favourite with designers. Its ultra matt finish is soft to the touch and gives it an almost velvet look. It comes in a rather restrained colour palette which makes it feel like Formica’s sophisticated older sister. We’ve fallen in love with the Blue Fes, a dark midnight blue that works perfectly with crisp white tiles and a grown up brass trim. All we need now is a new kitchen to use it in!

Fenix-EJ-Ryder-Bench-In-Cafe
Image from International Decorative Surfaces
Fenix-Cupboard-Detail
Image from International Decorative Surfaces
Fenix-Kitchen-With-Marble-Worktop
Image from Custom Fronts

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