Skip to Primary Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to Main Content All Site Map

Karim Rashid, Designer

Karim Rashid, DesignerWhat does the phrase "Ambient Culture" (Surface + Light) mean to you and, in your opinion, which is the most appealing 3M technology under the aspects of "ambient culture"?

"I use extensive variations of colors to create form, depth, mood, feeling, texture, and to touch our everyday public memory. Color is not just surface and is not intangible- it is very real, very strong, a powerful tool and has a real physical presence.

To help me achieve this I use 3M™ DI-NOC™ Architectural Finishes in almost every interior and installation project to bring color and form to life."


Huub Ubbens, Designer

"Ambient culture in terms of light and surface is a contemporary tendency which evolves from..." more

D'Alesio&Santoro, Lighting Specialists

"'Ambient Culture'" means to us a crucial recognition of the role of Lighting..." more

Sigurdur Thorsteinsson, Design Group Italia

"Architectural ambience exists by the illumination of objects and..." more

Architecture and Design planning and consulting firm

"We're visual creatures, and as such, light is an extraordinarily potent driver..." more

Matthieu Aquino, Design Manager Display & Graphics Business of the 3M European Design Lab

"Choosing without regretting, this is the great dilemma haunting many of us..." more

Byron Trotter, Design Manager, 3M Display & Graphics Business

"In design, light and surface are arguably the two most important areas for..." more

The Intersection of Design and Technology

3M Architectural Markets helps designers achieve something new

Designers face myriad challenges when embarking on a new project, with constraints in the budget, timeframe, material capabilities and many other factors contributing to the problem. A talented designer, of course, can overcome many of these challenges to produce a space that brings his or her vision to life. The key to success is knowing the tools that are available to help creatively conquer a project's constraints.

Now, a new division of 3M is giving designers more tools to meet their goals. 3M Architectural Markets brings the company's strong tradition of innovation into the design world, offering inspiring new capabilities to the industry. The division works to infuse sophisticated design into 3M's 40-plus unique technological platforms, resulting in products that help design professionals create amazing spaces.

At first glance, the design world may not seem like an obvious fit for a company best known for products like Post-It® notes and Scotch®-tape. But as Mike Kelly, Executive Vice President of 3M's Display and Graphics Business explains, "Design is a perfect space for 3M because it's enabled by technology. We have the unique ability to combine the richness of our capabilities into new, inventive solutions for the design market."

Surfaces and Lighting—Together

Those solutions include surface finishes, glass finishes and lighting, offering designers hundreds of options for customizing their projects. The surface materials, 3M™ DI-NOC™ Architectural Finishes, mimic the aesthetics of natural and other materials at a fraction of the price. For glass surfaces, 3M™ Fasara™ Glass Finishes & Crystal Glass Finishes provide the look, privacy and translucency of etched, sandblasted or otherwise textured glass, at a price point that makes them attractive alternatives to etched and sandblasted glass. And 3M™ Lighting Solutions will be on the leading edge when it comes to energy savings, safety, ease of installation and, above all, cutting-edge aesthetics.

Early adopters of the products include some of the most prominent names in design. "I use extensive variations of colors to create form, depth, mood, feeling, and texture, and to touch our everyday public memory," says star-designer Karim Rashid. "To help me achieve this, I use 3M™ DI-NOC™ Architectural Finishes in almost every interior and installation project."

3M Architectural Markets brings the design community a new perspective on surfaces and lighting in combination. As designers know, the interplay between these features can have a dramatic effect on a project. "In design, light and surface are arguably the two most important areas for the five senses that impact the human experience," says Byron Trotter, a design manager for the 3M Display & Graphics Business. "Having these two capabilities in one place gives designers freedom to imagine anything they desire."

Professionals in the design community agree. "Surface and light provide the definition and creation of space," says Amy Johnson, an associate at Gensler. "Applied in a thoughtful and creative way, the user experience can be extraordinary."

Huub Ubbens, Dutch designer based between Italy and France, considers this "...of anthropological importance as artificial light evolves from objects (lamp fixture) into architecture (surfaces), approaching itself towards the specific aspects of natural light and thus changing the relationship between man and light and its overall light culture."

Leila Schey, Architectural Designer at Gensler, explains, "A balance exists between surface and light in which one enhances and manipulates the other. This defines the sense of place and space by visually relating the viewer to the environment through shadows, texture and scale."

Understanding this relationship is one of 3M Architectural Markets' key strengths. "3M technologies are not about creating light, but rather managing and enhancing its quality and delivering experiences through synergic solutions of lighting and surfaces," says Sigurdur Thorsteinsson, Partner at Design Group Italia, milan-based design consultancy firm. "It is reductive to name just one technology, since 3M's strengths are the variety and potential for creating a different ambiance by combining technologies and making designers' dreams real."

That attitude is reflected by other customers as well. "The most appealing feature in 3M's technology is its variety in itself, allowing unlimited conceptualizations," say Lighting Specialists Carlo D'Alesio and Piero Santoro from D'Alesio & Santoro firm. "This wide spectrum of choice is the key for bringing something really new and strongly appealing, by many points of view."

The desire to create something new is a force that drives every project for a designer. But too often, real-world constraints make it difficult to fully execute a unique concept. Now, though, with the fresh capabilities that 3M Architectural Markets brings to the design community, something new is always within the designer's reach.

Featured images
Photo Gallery Featured images