Fans of Formica

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Dan O.
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Fans of Formica

Postby Dan O. » Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:58 am

As part of a CSS-like pole shelving project I had planned on incorporating a Formica desktop in the Virr Varr pattern that was available up until the last year or so:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/blizzardgulch/5634949936/

Lord knows why numerous lame and/or hideous Formica patterns are available continuously for years on end while a really cool pattern like Virr Varr comes and goes so quickly. Does anyone have any leads as to where I might be able to find some remaining stock? I've already tried two major laminate suppliers in the L.A. area whose names I forget, of course they sold out of Virr Varr long ago.

I'm fairly desperate at this point and am ready to accept I'm never going to get what I'm looking for, with that I'm open to suggestions so long as it's not boomerangs or cracked ice patterns, a light gray or white-ish linen pattern would be suitable.

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Postby egads » Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:58 am

I have a bunch of laminate samples and will look through them for MCM alternatives. Most are not as "patterned". You may have to settle for a much smaller, subtle pattern like linen. Being old, I actually remember some of those patterns from my youth. The big advantage of using actual Formica brand is it's availability in many sizes. Many other brands only come in 4x8 or 4x10 sheets.

Formica:
citadel warp 5882-58
possum warp 5878-58
cafe weft 5879-58 (there are more colors in these small patterns)
Dogbone 5281-58 is the white
I'm always attracted to the natural paper & cardboard ones, especially good for shelves & desks. My one sample is:
Cardboard solids 7813-58

For Formica: http://www.calpanel.com/

Here are some other brands:

Nevamar:
Manhattan glamour MH6001T
Vanish Vava VA7001T
Vision Vava VA2002T
Calm Distinction VA6001T
Other metallics: MXT003T, MXT003T (these seem to be just a metal pattern, not actual metal like a formica stainless. The real metals are expensive and eat router blades)

Wilsonart:
Pewter Mesh 4878-38

It is frustrating that these companies keep changing what's available. Just remember, their main customers are commercial. Those of us around here who would use laminate in a our homes on purpose are rare birds.
They make what sells. I personally think the boomerang would have sold better in different colors. There just was not much us MCM restorers could use.

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Dan O.
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Postby Dan O. » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:05 am

The candidates from Nevamar will fit the bill nicely, one of the Vava colors would be my first choice with Manhattan Glamour running a close second; I'd better stock up on one or the other or both before they disappear. I think laminates (here in the U.S. at least) suffer from the image of being the "cheapskate" alternative; it's like most manufacturer have taken the approach of "we know you want granite so we can give you this far cheaper stuff that looks just like it".

Personally, I think laminate is at it's best when it's not trying to fool you - like a well designed graphic pattern or something with an interesting texture that would otherwise be entirely impractical (such as linen or silk shantung). Nevamar and I believe Wilsonart cater to custom order patterns, basically you supply them with a design and they reproduce it in laminate form; one of these days I'm going to find out exactly how much this would cost.

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Postby Futura Girl » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:45 pm

we used Virr Varr in our studio kitchen in vegas. nya nya nya.... :-P

okay - i am bummed they no longer make it, too. because i am doing 2 more 1954 kitchens and would prefer to use some form of subtle pattern like this as they will both be rental kitchens.

good thread with all the suggestions... any links to formica in usage greatly appreciated.
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Postby britepepper » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:03 pm

Was ATC Distribution in N. Hollywood one of the places you contacted?

I went through the same quest for VirrVarr White about 6 months ago and all I could find was the pattern in light blue. I realize it's nowhere near the color you want but they might still have some if you think it could work.

The only other option I considered was somehow importing it from Europe where it is apparently still available. I really didn't put much effort into figuring that out since by that point I was so exasperated with the endless and fruitless searching I gave up and settled with Dogbone in white.

To add to all the suggestions above for alternatives, there is also Pionite. One I considered was Cavalcade South - AT650.

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Dan O.
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Postby Dan O. » Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:55 pm

Didn't try ATC but it's good to know about them. Today some samples came in from Arpa, their site is pretty crummy but their product appears to be first rate:

Image

I was looking for something with a grasscloth or linen appearance, their stuff could pass for the real thing.

Image

The giant-sized samples came from the west coast distributor CPS Garten, visited their site and found out about Lab Design Laminates (http://www.labdesignlaminate.com/). MCM appropriate patterns include the Comet, Weave, Tesseract and Organica colors. I did some customizing with Organica and came up with an alternate colorway, how cool would this be:

Image

I have no idea how difficult they would be to obtain but Clay Tesseract and Ice Comet are looking pretty sweet.

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rockland
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I like formica...

Postby rockland » Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:35 am

even basic white. Ours is original and 50 yrs old. Even the backsplash. Not sure what i would do if it needed changing.
[img][img]http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5307/5617901728_0b2457f8bd.jpg[/img]
IMG_1169 by Dosperos, on Flickr[/img]

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Joe
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Postby Joe » Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:18 pm

formica is great. nice period touch.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/barthlow/3 ... 3634507741

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Postby Futura Girl » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:13 pm

I am totally inspired by the linen look.
I'm gonna keep on the run... I'm gonna have me some fun if it costs me my very last dime.

If I wind up broke up, well, I'll always remember that I had a swingin' time

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Joe
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Postby Joe » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:46 pm

old school "linen" circa 1955

Image

awoodby
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Something like this?

Postby awoodby » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:12 pm

Excuse me if this isn't what you were looking for at all, but I had just stumbled across this site of laminate with prints a short bit ago and it may be what you're talking about?

http://samples.wilsonart.com/c-19-indie-collection.aspx?pagenum=1

Hope it helps!


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