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Bayer’s wallpaper is a strong performer

By Anthony Clark
Posted 16 November 2012

Bayer’s an innovative company – even the most cursory look at its website will prove this. Its R&D operations are market-leading and show just how important continued investment is to maintain a world-beating high-tech operation.

But I was still surprised by one of the firm’s latest development – earthquake-resistant wallpaper.

Although not strictly wallpaper in the conventional sense - Orla Kiely won’t be appropriating the pattern – this simple but effective product is both blindingly obvious and cunningly simple. If you live in a quake zone you can now strengthen your building with a skin of glass fibre mesh, held in place with a polyurethane bonding agent.

Bayer describes this approach as “an effective and cost-efficient seismic protection system for buildings”, a summation that rather robs the product of its uncomplicated charm. It also underplays its potential to save lives after a seismic event.

The MapeWrap EQ System could help the 1.3bn people worldwide who live in areas at risk of earthquakes but I can’t help feel it needs a bit of a makeover. Not only does it have a very dull name it also has a very dull appearance. Perhaps a marketing deal with Little Greene would be a good idea – a splash of retro styling could work wonders – although on second thoughts sometimes the simplest things are the best.

That said, it might not hurt to add a range of pigments to the polyurethane ‘wallpaper paste’. Safety doesn’t have to be boring after all.

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