Harvard Grad School Design Students Discover New Materials for Sustainable Design; Vycom's Celtec Used in Unique Plant Sculptures

Design students are being introduced to new sustainable materials that can help them integrate natural gardenscapes into city architecture. David Mah and Leyre Asenio, visiting lecturers at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, MA, introduced their students in Spring 2012 to Vycom's Celtec Ultra White PVC, to provide a framework for two sculptures called Surface Deep and Surface Deep II, which featured interwoven plants and moss. Celtec Ultra White is a solid PVC material designed for outdoor applications where resistance to ultraviolet degradation and impact strength are critical.

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Vycom's Celtec is durable enough to withstand kids climbing on it and outdoor weather

“At first, the students were a bit uncertain… PVC?” said Leyre Asenio, Harvard Grad School of Design lecturer. ”But now that they work with it, they love it. Celtec was very easy to fabricate, from the card mills to the computer controlled routers.

Scranton, PA (PRWEB) November 29, 2012

David Mah and Leyre Asenio, visiting lecturers at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, MA, presented their students with a design challenge: how to merge modern city architecture with greenscapes that engaged the public. In a project that uses design to bring ecology to the concrete jungle, they turned to Vycom’s Celtec® Ultra White as a new sustainable material for their compelling sculpture series.

Celtec Ultra White is a solid PVC material designed for outdoor applications where resistance to ultraviolet degradation and impact strength are critical, making it perfect for Mah and Asenio’s outdoor garden displays. They were also attracted to Celtec’s post-industrial content, recycled from scraps in the manufacturing process.

With an international design practice called asenio_mah, their work was featured at the 2012 Canada Blooms garden show in Toronto and the Grand Metis International Garden Festival Show at Reford Gardens, Quebec.

The Quebec installation, called Surface Deep, is an intricately carved garden wall that incorporated moss into the hollows. The Toronto design is a spiraled, twisted planter featuring a diverse range of plants. “Simply putting moss on roofs prevents heat and run-off from spilling into cities, resulting in a less destructive effect on the local environment,” said Mah.

For the two sculptures, Surface Deep and Surface Deep II, the designers needed a frame material that combined “lightness, recyclability, a good finish and the ability to withstand outside conditions,” according to Asenio.

Freeman, Inc., a local distributor recommended Celtec Ultra White, since it’s used successfully as outdoor signage material and seemed like a good fit. “We really appreciated the product’s lightweight, since our shop at Harvard GSD is in the basement,” said Mah. “And we were traveling back and forth to Canada so we needed transport costs to be low.”

“At first, the students were a bit uncertain… PVC?” said Asenio.” But now that they work with it, they love it.” She said Celtec was very easy to fabricate, from the card mills to the computer controlled routers. “It even responded well to more primitive methods we had to do afterwards, like sanding or shaving with a knife,” she said. “And since Surface Deep had so many intricate designs and cuts, a material that was difficult to work with would really be frustrating.”

“Now, the students at Harvard GSD keep coming up to touch it,” said Mah. “And the four-year olds at the public events as well,” laughed Asenio. “Children at both garden shows were drawn to it. We had hoped to engage people with the notion that the sculptures are something they appreciate for their beauty and want to interact with.”

“The designers agree that the Celtec material has showcased a new way of thinking about structures, one that doesn’t choose between the sustainable, the beautiful, or the durable. “We can bring together all three,” said Asenio.

In addition to the unique Surface Deep application, Vycom’s Celtec® Expanded PVC and Celtec® Ultra White® feature highly printable surfaces for sharp, bold display graphics. To learn more, visit http://www.vycomplastics.com

About Vycom:
Vycom, a division of CPG International, is dedicated to maintaining an environment where quality meets performance. Vycom offers the largest range of products, capabilities and inventory for all your Olefin and PVC needs. For more information, visit http://www.vycomplastics.com