Towering job

Etihad office tower ... ColorCore from Formica used.

Formica’s laminates were chosen to design the interiors of Etihad Towers

Formica Group, a global manufacturer of interior and exterior surfacing products, has supplied its ColorCore and High Pressure Laminates (HPL) to the Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Etihad Towers is a prestigious, fully integrated, mixed-use development designed around the concept of ‘unity’.

Overlooking the Arabian Gulf in Abu Dhabi, this unique collection of five different towers of varying heights includes three residential apartment towers, a hotel and serviced apartment tower and an office tower. Developed by the Sheikh Suroor Projects Department (SSPD), and designed by Australian architects DBI Design, Etihad Towers is one of the capital’s flagship buildings.

This striking complex was built with careful attention to exterior and interior detail – ranging from materials and finishes to spatial planning and ambiance. For the interiors of the Etihad office tower, design and construction supervisor Aecom specified ColorCore by Formica Group and Formica HPL in soft white matte.

“Formica laminate in white creates a neutral, fresh and airy background that is ideal for a professional and welcoming environment,” says a spokesperson for Formica.

“The colour bounces the light into and around the interior, making the room look brighter and more spacious. As a unifying element throughout the building, Aecom designers specified soft white in both ColorCore and HPL, which allowed them to use the same finish for multiple applications.

Formica laminate ... ideal for hard-wearing environments.

Formica laminate ... ideal for hard-wearing environments.

“Used for cupboards and wall panelling in the Etihad office tower, ColorCore, with solid colour throughout the product, is the ideal material for hard-wearing environments such as office buildings. Extremely durable and functional, ColorCore provides surfaces that are easy to clean and maintain, and always look good,” he says.

Aecom chose ColorCore because its solid core of colour allows the creation of sleek looking panels, eliminating the brown edge sometimes associated with laminate.

The dramatic surfacing material that features the high performance characteristics of Formica decorative laminates with the added dimension of solid through colour is suitable for applications such as counter tops, point-of-sale units, doors and work surfaces.

A versatile material, it is ideal for creating inlay effects and sharp edging detail. In addition to the classic matte texture, ColorCore is also available in MicroDot and gloss finishes. Playful and modern, MicroDot is a subtle grid of concave dots in a low sheen satin finish, offering a three-dimensional aspect for optical effect. Interpreted in eye-catching solid colours, this texture transforms the traditional flat surface of plain colours.

On the project, one of the applications for Formica HPL was on the interior doors. “Formica laminate provides the perfect qualities in terms of decorative finish and performance,” says the spokesman. “Its low-maintenance properties mean that it will continue to look good with the minimum of effort.”


Formica HPL was also used for the architraves and windows panels, meeting the aesthetic, practical and functional requirements of the interior fit-out. It is manufactured through fusing multiple layers of impregnated paper under high pressure and temperature to create a hard wearing, durable and hygienic surfacing material. The Formica Colors, Patterns and Woods ranges are high-pressure laminates which are available in horizontal grade postforming (HGP) as standard. Flame retardant HPL (VFP grade) is also available on request. These grades all conform to EN438:2005.

With over 100 years of innovation and manufacturing experience and as the ‘original’ developer of laminate, Formica Group has unrivalled expertise, which ensures quality, reliability and products that are fit for purpose. Working closely with architects, designers and specifiers, the company is well placed to offer innovative products and décors which respond to market needs and complement current design trends.

Requiring minimal maintenance, Formica laminates are durable, easy to clean and resistant to impact, heat and scratches. Resistant to humidity, they can be also steam cleaned or disinfected with no adverse effects. Typical applications include wall panelling, doors, cubicles, furniture, counter tops and more.

Formica laminates are Greenguard certified – the premier mark for low-emitting products. All of Formica Group’s European manufacturing sites and distribution centres are accredited by the internationally-recognised Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified laminates from leading accreditation body, BM Trada. Formica HPL, compact laminate and bonded worktops carry the Carbon Trust’s Carbon Reduction Label.