The Polyurethane Passive House Walkthrough

Chapter 1 – The Living Room

Do you also enjoy feeling ‘at home’ in your living room? As the Polyurethane Passive House moves closer towards completion, it is time to have a look at what the house will look like when it becomes a home.

Designed by Bostoen architects, our house uses polyurethane for floor, wall and roof insulation, as well as polyurethane-glazed windows to ensure optimal airtightness and allow minimum heat loss. Yet no home would be complete without appropriate furniture. Whether you chose Art Deco, traditional, Swedish interior design or simply move in with the pieces you have had for years, there’s a good chance that polyurethane will also be found in a majority of your living room furniture because of its versatility, comfort and durability.

A model of the Polyurethanes Passive House living room

Let’s have a walkthrough the last decade of living room cult pieces for a closer look:

The Jacobsen egg chair (1958) was originally designed for the Radisson SAS hotel in Copenhagen

Danish Modern

The minimalist style of the 1940s-1960s that is often imitated today was pioneered by Arne Jacobsen, a Danish architect and designer. Of the many pieces that characterise the Danish Modern movement, the famous egg chair uses cold cured polyurethane foam for the upholstery and the seat cushion to combine comfort with a semi-executive design.

 

 

 

The iconic Panton ‘S chair’ (1967), made from polypropylene, a thermoplastic polymerthe, was the first single material and single form chair. It is amongst the most popular designs of the era still in production today

 

The cult plastic pieces of the 1960s rebellion years revolutionised furniture with their futuristic lines and space age motifs. Although Verner Panton, another Dane, first created headlines with his avant-garde architectural proposals, it was his innovative chair collection that made him amongst the most influential designers of the 20th century.

 

 

 

 

Sottsass’ Westside collection uses polyurethane foam rubber and stainless steel in unconventional shapes that defined the 1980s (1982/83)

 

The Memphis Group

If the 1980s is more to your liking, you may have noticed the Rubik’s Cube style of the Memphis Group, which flourished from 1981-1987. Pioneered by the Italian Ettore Sottsass, the movement reflected the decade with fluorescent colours and bold shapes, Art Deco and Pop Art styles, and futuristic themes.

 

Contemporary

For those who prefer a less bold version of geometry in their living room, contemporary furniture may be the optimal choice. Polyurethane topcoats are used to bring out the natural beauty of wood; on painted or stained surfaces, the topcoat helps protect from moisture, stains and scratches.

Polyurethane topcoats are used for bringing out the natural shine of wood, protect painted surfaces and bring new life to a used surface (Left: a recent Hülsta coffee table, Right: custom-made polyurethane-coated AV unit and bookshelves)

Polyurethane can also be used on older surfaces to bring back the shine of the wood, create a smooth surface and prevent the surface from fading. Water-based polyurethane top coats are commonly used to prevent sticky bookshelf surfaces and peeling-off paint.

The outer glass of the IKEA Grönö lamp is painted with polyurethane

A word or two on lighting

Whether you use your living room for entertainment, watching television or any other activities, the lighting will be decisive in setting the mood and atmosphere of the space.

Whereas table lamps are good for providing task lighting, wall sconces are better for adding ambiance and floor lamps are ideal for corners and lighting awkward spaces. Whichever mix you chose, chances are high that polyurethane will once again be in the equation – be it in the form of paint or as part of the design.

This evening, have a look through your home for which materials dominate your own living room. For both renowned designers and furniture retailers, polyurethane is a customary material of choice for providing comfort in cushioning, surface protection for wood and glass, and molding into the most imaginative of shapes that determine the taste of the decades ahead.

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