Lighter and less expensive than real rocks and planks
Interview with Edmund Ostrowski, Managing Director WVS, Bad Wurzach
Edmund Ostrowski mentions his reference customers Douglas, Intersport, Escada, Bogner, Edeka, Rewe, Mey and Loewe.
Industrial manager Edmund Ostrowski was a sales manager at a particleboard plant when he founded his own company in 1985. He manufactures composite material systems (“Werkstoffverbundsysteme”) – from which the name WVS has been derived. This no longer has much to do with particleboards; Ostrowski specialized in reproducing nature – smooth and rough wood, stone and concrete. His customers are shopfitters and interior decorating companies. WVS employs ten staff members, including six consultants for architects and planning bodies. We spoke with Edmund Ostrowski about the advantages of reproductions and surface trends.
Nature plays an important role in shopfitting. What are the benefits of reproductions versus real wood and rock?
The benefit of using reproductions aside from price is often the easy processing as well as the quick installation. In the area of stone imitations for example, an installation is virtually possible by anybody with no required previous knowledge. In contrast, laying and installing real stone is exclusively something to be handled by expert professionals.
What is the environmental audit of your reproductions?
Our stone reproductions, which we sell under the name Panespol, are manufactured from a core of highly compressed polyurethane in conjunction with a genuine mineral surface. This is why this product is absolutely nonhazardous from a structural as well as an ecological point of view. The particleboards we use for our embossing plates are subject to European standards. The veneers we use are for the most part so-called fineline veneers, meaning industrially designed imitation wood. As a starting basis, mostly fast-growing wood products like for instance poplar trees are being used for this.
Which shopfitters use your surfaces? Are there some exciting showcase projects?
We team up with virtually all of the well-known shopfitting companies. Many companies such as for instance Douglas, Intersport, Escada, Bogner, Edeka, Rewe, Mey, Loewe and many more use our products.
The multitude of surfaces on the market is getting bigger and bigger. Are designers sufficiently informed? How can a retailer get a general idea?
Aside from us being ever present at the trend determining planning agencies, our prospective clients and customers are continuously informed about new products through our WVS-Kurier (WVS Courier). Our homepage is also continuously being updated, so that the user can have an idea about our latest surfaces.
Can you combine thermal insulation or sound insulation with decorative construction?
Outdoor items can be perfectly showcased in an ambiance of rough-sawn wood.
Yes, our Panespol panels have a very good heat conductance value and offer great sound absorption due to the highly compressed polyurethane medium. This also pertains to our Kreos-Beton concrete imitation.
What do you need to pay attention to when it comes to fire prevention? Which fire protection classifications are important?
The regulations are different depending on the project. Usually it is sufficient to use B2 – meaning non-inflammable. By request, we can also deliver B1. Usually, these criteria are determined and checked based on the project by the fire safety engineer. Special attention is paid to the building equipment here –for instance the existence of fire sprinkling systems – or the condition of the substructure, for example of wall panels.
Are there fashion trends for wood surfaces? What is in vogue right now?
One trend in woods is still good old oak in all of its different versions from natural oak, chocolate colored, with a cured or weathered look. Walnut, elm tree, ash tree, ebony maro and weathered larch play another role. Deep, succinct structures, spalted wood appearance, roughly cut surfaces, wood that shows signs of wear and tear – so-called used surfaces – are also being sought after. Matured timber or made to look mature surfaces are also popular.
What differences are there in concrete surfaces?
Different production technologies by different manufacturers yield sophisticated optical characteristics. When you reproduce a real surface, it has to look so you are not able to spot a visual difference from the original concrete surface.
Natural stone reproductions are getting more and more perfect. Yet it is also important how they are being built. What do store designers need to pay attention to?
Great reproductions are more low maintenance than the natural product.
The statement that there should be no differences in the reproduction when compared to the original stone, also applies to the appearance of natural stone reproductions. Aside from the appearance, haptics as well as the texture of the panel play an important role. The shopfitter should pay special attention to whether the panels can be easily and quickly installed. This aspect should not be underestimated when it comes to pricing. After all, the motto “time is money” also applies here.
For large surfaces and recurring elements not to look fake, you need to ensure that panels are hand-painted for instance and this way every single panel looks like one of a kind. For recurring, concise “large stones”, you need to make sure that manufacturers offer multiple panels of the same kind.
What was your new product at the last EuroShop and what has happened to it since then? Where can we see this product “in action”?
Our new products at the Euroshop were spalted wood surfaces, as well as creagloss-high gloss products. Both products received AIT awards commemorating the Euroshop 2011. In addition, we introduced Kreos-Beton (Kreos concrete) for the first time. This product is also very popular and has already been successfully used in interesting projects.
When do you start planning for the next EuroShop? How do you design your next appearance at the trade show?
Starting approximately in March 2013, we will be busy planning the Euroshop 2014. We will probably focus on introducing our products by showing practical examples (e.g. furniture pieces, interior elevations etc.)
Interview by René Schellbach, EuroShop.de