Trinity Glass - A Merger for Beautiful Countertops

At the West Coast Green conference last weekend, I had the opportunity to sit down with EcoTop/EcoClad creator Joel Klippert, and Squak Mountain Stone creator Amee Quiriconi to talk about the creation of green surfaces. The two recently joined creative forces to develop Trinity Glass — a unique countertop surface that is both refined and rustic. These two designers shared a little bit of their passion for the industry and the charge they get from designing with materials once though to be worthless.< />
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Joel Klippert has been creating things for the last nine years — where there is a need, Joel tries to find a way to meet that need. Seems reasonable enough — but his creations take this one step further and create something out of what the untrained eye might see as garbage or useless. The EcoTop countertops are made from certified bamboo pulp and consumer demolition wood fiber, you know, all of those scraps from demolished buildings that no one knows what to do with. This essentially allows you to take fibers out of landfills, giving new life to old buildings and creating more space in landfills until we figure out how to reuse or recycle other materials. The countertops are also 100% water based, 100% voc-free, clear and UV stable colors and 100% petroleum free. The new resin system allows for an expansion in colors anywhere in the spectrum from white to black. This unique eco-friendly mixture allows for up to six points on your next LEED project.

EcoClad is just like EcoTop but with an added UV coating to allow for its use as exterior siding. Both EcoTop and EcoClad can be used on countertops, wall coverings and even flooring. All materials used in the products are made or recovered within a 500 mile radius of Eugene, Oregon and the store itself is based in Tacoma, Washington.

In the future Joel hopes to expand out to the recycle-board market — using 100% post consumer demolition wood fiber to create new building products, which would also include particleboard and medium density fiberboard.

Amee Quiriconi of Squak Mountain Stone got into the countertop business after creating a fictitious business for school and realizing that it was actually an unmet need in her community. According to the business model, a local nonprofit recycling center for disable women sourced her the pulp scrap, which also helped the center which was unable to send their paper to the area pulp mill. The granite dust for the countertops came from the scraps of a local quarry. From here, Amee got to work, beginning with making different concoctions and mixes in her garage. On the weekends friends and her husband would help make the casting of the stone and during the weekday she would plug away, raiding area resale stores for spring form baking pans that would hold her molds. After a year of testing, the proportions were stable and after suggestions from friends who said that the countertops were really good, she launched the business in 2005.

Amee really comes alive when talking about her product and I'm not sure she even took a breath during the interview. When she talks about the products she acknowledges that it's the "anti-countertop" countertop; the look is rustic and antique and ties in with her personality. The idea is that, like people, with countertops and materials, aging is natural and you don't have to be perfect to be beautiful. Amen Amee.

At this point, Amee is still doing all of the manufacturing herself and helps people install the countertops themselves. Often loading up Subaru Legacies with slabs that they take home and transform into their own pieces. Squak Mountain Stone will also expand to create backsplash tiles for trim around the countertops as well as bowls and vessel sinks which retail at $150 and are really beautiful. There was a sample sink at the conference and it was one of my favorite pieces there.

Talking with both Joel and Amee, you get the sense that they can't not create new products, and more importantly, recycled products. The creation of Trinity Glass this last year seems so natural because the two were constantly meeting up at events and helping each other along the way with new materials and ideas. Trinity Glass itself is a merge of 75% glass from recycled beer bottles, plate windows, wine bottles, etc from Seattle and 25% low carbon cement.

Both Joel and Amee acknowledged that often times you work alone in this industry and that can be very lonely but they do it because it's right. Over the last 18 months, the world has really changed and suddenly they find that they are no longer on the fringe, but that this shift in focus has put them right on the cutting edge and that is really exciting and validating.

I can't wait to see what else they come up with. For more on each company, check them out online at KlipTech, Squak Mountain Stone, and Trinity Glass Products.

Tags: Countertops | San Diego