Krion by Porcelanosa: Freedom of Design Meets Solid Surface
Following a great CPD session earlier this year with Porcelanosa, we wanted to learn a bit more about one of their latest, fascinating products: Krion Solid Surface. We were really impressed by its versatility, as well as the opportunities it offers Self Builders to be creative. We put our questions to Porcelanosa’s William Hannah, and we think you’ll agree, this Krion stuff is pretty cool!
So, what is Krion, and how is it made?
Krion is a new generation solid surface, developed by Systempool, a company belonging to the Porcelanosa Group. Krion is a mineral compact material, composed of powdered alumina, with a particle size of 7 microns, monomers, with the addition of exclusive additives developed by our chemists.
It is a material that is warm to the touch, and similar to natural stone. It is made of two thirds natural minerals (‘ATH’ – aluminium trihydride), and a low percentage of high-resistant resins.
This composition gives Krion a number of exclusive features: it does not have any pores, it is naturally antibacterial without any additives, it is hard wearing, highly resistant and easy to repair, and requires minimum maintenance, so is easy to clean.
The composition of Krion means it can be cut in a similar way to wood. This allows the sheets to be cut easily, and they seamlessly connect. The Krion sheets can then be thermoformed to create curved sections. It can be injected during the production process, making it possible to create different designs.
Project designs, that seem impossible to achieve with other materials, are now possible with the use of Krion. We offer a wide range of colours, with new colours being released for our 2016 range. ‘Snow White’ stands out for its purity and neutrality, which really is unique when compared to other solid surface products.
Can Krion be used for domestic projects, and how might a Self Builder incorporate it into their project?
Krion can be used for any project, including Self Builds. It can be used in more applications than other solid surfaces – from kitchen worktops, table tops, furniture, and different wall claddings, both interior or exterior. As well as this, Krion is also available as cast products, which customers can buy off the shelf with no fabrication required.
In addition to coming as pre-made sheets for fabricating into various applications, Krion is also available as ready-made bathtubs, sinks and shower trays that can be fitted easily into any bathroom design.
The advantage of this, is that the material has all the Krion benefits – but if required, it can be altered by adding Krion sheets. Using an approved fabricator, you can take a beautiful Krion bathtub, and have it moulded with a Krion surround, shaped to any requirements you desire. The design process really is limitless.
What are the benefits of using Krion (costs, aesthetics, energy efficiency, etc.)?
- Krion is resistant to bacteria and germs, and meet both ASTM G21 and UNE-EN ISO 846 standards. Krion does not allow the proliferation of germs and bacteria
- High resistance to acids means Krion achieves the ISO 19712-2 standard
- Easy to clean and maintain, Krion passes continuous usage tests established by NEMA LD3
- It’s suitable for continuous food contact, meeting criteria in the highest degree, set by NSF FOOD ZONE
- Krion is free of Bisphenol A – complying with the emissions certificate ‘BPA Free’
- It’s also free of 161 chemicals deemed harmful or disturbing substances, in the regulation ‘REACH Compliance’
How does your design process work? For example, do you work with architects when designing interior/exterior features? How easy would it be for Self Builders to get a hold of a Krion specialist?
Porcelanosa have many specialists that are here to help architects in any aspect of their design. I can personally help with the design process, offering technical advice required in the fabrication make up of the project (build up of materials – such as timbers, and frames), right through to the finalised look of the product.
If the architect can put their vision on paper with rough shapes, requirements and sizes, I can assist with how we make the design a reality – giving it functionality, and the finished look they require.
Many projects require technical advice – from external facades, to reception desks with backlit logo designs. Krion can be backlit, for instance, to create stunning crisp text, retro illuminated logos, or even picture perfect images.
However, to do this, we need to create voids in the project for the light source, depending on the effect the client wants. Porcelanosa also have technical support in Spain, working with the most advanced technology, in a process of continuous improvement – offering guidance and advice to clients.
Krion-specific fabricators will be highlighted in the near future, as we aim to release a Krion Quality network. Fabricators will be awarded the rights to promote Krion once they pass the requirements set by Systempool.
They will be tested in fabrication, product knowledge, previous projects, and machinery they possess. The machinery assessment is to help identify who is equipped to fabricate certain projects.
How does Krion compare to other solid surface materials?
Every batch of Krion manufactured is tested for the resistance it has to fire, and ultra-violet radiation. We have sun chambers that simulate up to 2100 hours, up to 5 years of extreme climate change, high levels of thermal shock, and the impact resistance of the material, consistency of the translucency and colour stability.
We also check other solid surfaces in all of our tests, and none of them hold up to the testing of Krion. Systempool go beyond the recommended guidelines of testing – to make sure that Krion is the best it can possibly be.
They also aim to push the limit of each test, to guarantee the material is suitable for any project, any location, and any function; whether for interior use, or exterior.
Krion has been awarded the Greenguard certificate Gold award for its low chemical emissions. As Krion is mineral compact – and resistant to germs and bacteria – it is suitable for operating rooms as it does not allow the proliferation of germs and bacteria.
Can you give us some examples of the best uses of Krion you’ve been involved with?
Recently, Porcelanosa was tasked with constructing a food preparation and cooking station for students at a large catering and hospitality company. We also had to clad a canopy extractor in Krion above the cooking station. The station itself was over 3 metres long, and was fully clad in Krion – making the station island seamless.
The client knew that the advantages of using Krion for this application included the antibacterial properties, as well as the beautiful seamless finish. As a bonus the surface was non-porous, impact and heat resistant, and there were four hobs and four ovens installed in the station.
As food preparation would be the main use for the station, the company also wanted an elegant, modern and beautiful design that would be used for demonstrations and events. This became not only a functional tool, but also a very impressive display to guests when showcasing equipment for catering.
What are your Top 5 Tips to Self Builders who might be considering using Krion for their project?
1. Don’t be Afraid to Think Outside the Box
The main advantage of Krion is that it grants freedom of design. It’s not limited to worktops or bar tops – it can be used to make anything: from seamless walls with integrated storage, to televisions; headboards with illuminated images; furniture; swimming pools; external cladding for buildings; staircases; doors; and we have even clad radios in Krion.
Artists are now using Krion to create sculptures. The possibilities really are endless.
2. Ask for Advice
Porcelanosa are here to help, guide and offer assistance. For any idea a customer comes up with, we will offer assistance in making the idea come to life. In some cases, we have created mock-ups or models for the client to see how their design would look once it has been fabricated.
This also helps with the fabrication process – making designs better and more functional, as well as reducing costs too.
3. Think of the Finished Product
Some designs are so big that we have to deliver to site in sections. before joining it up on site. This can be because there are perhaps access issues to the property, meaning that the finished item will not fit in the desired area in one piece.
For some projects, the sooner we get involved the better. If a property is under development we can work to a schedule with the builder or construction company in order to make use of openings in building works that help us minimise not only labour time, but also potential disruption to a project.
4. Consider the Timescales
Krion comes in sheet form with a standard size of 3680 x 760x 12mm. We use the sheets to fabricate and join together to create the finished item. Most items will have a subframe of timber or steel – so depending on the size, function and design, we need to set up fabrication times.
If a Self Builder, architect or designer is planning on a Krion element, as before, the sooner they have us involved in the project the better. Don’t wait until you’re five weeks into a six-week project, for instance, before placing the order.
The skilled fabricators are making bespoke products, and require time to construct and finish the items. Again, we will work to your schedule, and make the best use of the timescales within your project.
5. Come with a Budget
As Krion can be shaped and formed to any design – no limitations! – sometimes imagination can take over. We can help, and design within a budget you have to spend.
There are different fabrication methods that can help reduce costs – so the client can get as close to their design if it is outwith their budget. The help we offer also includes making payment options for the customer taking their budget into account.
We’d like to thank William Hannah and Maggie Smith for their help and expert contribution to ACA’s blog. If you are interested in utilising Krion as part of your Self Build project – why not contact the Porcelanosa team in Glasgow?