Canadian design firm likes what it learns about TFL

By Scott W. Angus

The team at Design TWG starts with a vision when it approaches a project.

“Our vision is to be able to successfully transform our clients’ dreams into reality,” said Hemen Modi, Design TWG’s principal designer.

More and more frequently, that vision includes thermally fused laminate, and that TFL is from Uniboard.

“We have a very special relationship with Uniboard,” said Rishma Parikh, design manager at Design TWG.

Design TWG is a full-service architectural and design service in Mississauga, a suburb southwest of Toronto. The firm focuses on commercial interior design and does work in hospitality, banks, health care, hotels, offices and more.

The key people at TWG, which opened in 1999, came from India, so they were open to new ideas and materials as their business grew in Canada. Interior design finishes tend to be labor intensive, and convenient-to-use materials such as TFL have traditionally not been used in higher-end interior projects, Parikh said. Design TWG learned about TFL from a millwork company – ECM -- that shares its business campus.​

“Since the introduction, we’ve been working regularly with Uniboard to use TFL on all kinds of projects. We are trying to use the material in innovative ways,” Parikh said.

Uniboard, based in Laval, Quebec, is a leading manufacturer of engineered wood products such as particleboard, MDF and HDF, and it is the largest supplier of TFL panels in North America.

Parikh and Design TWG point to two projects as especially good examples of how it used Uniboard’s TFL effectively and extensively. They are the National Sweets and Restaurant in Brampton, ON, and the Albert and Parliament Healthcare Center in Regina, SK.

Among Design TWG’s preferred TFL finishes are Uniboard’s Bistro and High Gloss, she said, and it favored the Caramello wood grain look in the health care center and Ember in the restaurant.

The firm hasn’t specified Uniboard’s highly textured or embossed-in-register TFL finishes much to this point, but it expects to in the future, Parikh said.

Parikh said she and other Design TWG workers benefitted from a “lunch-and-learn” session put on by Uniboard in 2015.

“It was great because it was about the history of TFL and the production process in general, not based only on Uniboard. It was so informative,” she said, adding that Design TWG hopes to schedule another session soon.

 Design TWG is sold on TFL for many reasons, Parikh emphasized, but among the most important are the reasonable price, the ease of installation and, of course, “the aesthetic.”

“It’s very close to wood design. We love that in Canada, where people appreciate warmer finishes. Uniboard gives us that,” she said.

While other TFL suppliers have been in touch, Design TWG remains loyal to Uniboard.

“Excellent customer service, ease or ordering and getting samples, ease of contacting someone for technical information -- all of that really helps us a lot. It’s a very good relationship,” Parikh said.