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2011 Bloom Awards Winner: Innovative Materials


2011 Bloom Awards Winner: Innovative Materials

As modular offices increasingly become the norm rather than the exception, architects, designers, facility managers and building owners are looking for products that offer maximum flexibility as spatial needs change within an office space. Modular interior construction provides a sustainable antidote to the wastefulness of conventional interior construction. It is a desirable interiors solution because of its aesthetics, its ability to integrate technology and its adaptability in the face of change.

This year's winner in the Innovative Materials category does just that, and although it's not quite "magic," The Bullet, as part of a modular system, introduces a fundamental shift in how movable walls behave. It solves the problem of posts by intersecting sidewalls with front walls without adding any new dimensions. It does not disrupt the interior aesthetic or other building elements, and it reacts to variable and unforeseen angle requirements during reconfiguration—working effortlessly around building elements such as convector units, for example. Walls, doors and sidelights can all be the same size, and are therefore interchangeable. It also provides an acoustical seal whether intersecting with a glass curtain wall, the wall of a base building or with the adjacent panel in a modular wall.

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The Bullet can be finished with rapidly renewable materials such as bamboo and FSC-certified wood. DIRTT generally uses virgin aluminum for its structural wall elements because of its strength and consistency, but the company does offer aluminum with approximately 20 to 25 percent recycled content. (Aluminum loses strength and consistency at higher percentages, making anodizing impossible due to the mixed metal base.) DIRTT's manufacturing facility uses only water-based finishes, and as a result, no masks or special clothes are required to be worn by factory workers. Powder coating contains no solvents and releases negligible amounts of VOCs into the atmosphere.

Judges appreciated The Bullet for its innovation, flexibility and the company's Triple Bottom Line (People, Profit, Planet) approach to business.