A Mesh You Can’t Resist Touching

As those of you who are long-time readers know, I am {fascinated|obsessed|kidding myself} by finding meshes in the real world. (Remember Wood Skin?)

Admittedly, I sometimes push the boundaries of credulity and force you to squint and use your imagination to find the mesh.

No imagination is required with my latest find. Here is JOIN-Facet from Finell.

Finell-JOIN-Facet-2

My new JOIN Facet placemats from Finell.

My new JOIN Facet placemats from Finell.

What the images show are 3D, silicone placemats. The lighting makes them look gray but they’re actually black. They fit together like puzzle pieces into various arrangements as you can see on Finell’s website (there’s an animation on the home page).

Everyone who comes into my office to see these can’t resist rubbing their hands all over them. Between the 3D tri-faceted surface and the smooth silicone, they are very tactile. (Good thing they’re also washable.)

How JOIN Came to Be

I exchanged emails with Amber Kern, Finell’s marketing manager, to learn more about how these items came into being. Rebecca Finell, the company’s CEO, had very practical reasons for wanting to improve her home entertaining with something that could serve as both table runner and placemat while also being easy to clean and wrinkle-free relative to traditional materials.

That led to the choice of silicone as the material which in turn offered quite a bit of flexibility in the design since it could be sculpted almost at will. SolidWorks was used to design the facets in a manner such that the peaks are all at the same height so that objects will balance. Manufacturing was done overseas.

The idea has earned Finell a utility patent and industry recognition. Coincidentally, the Wall Street Journal recently ran an article on facets in design which featured another of Finell’s products.

Meshing as an End Unto Itself

Finell-JOIN-Facet-3I’ve always believed it would be great if meshing was an end unto itself instead of being the red-headed stepchild of CFD. These Finell JOIN-Facets are a step in the right direction.

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