Ron Schoenheit, founder and CEO of Cascade Coil, runs a family business in Portland, Oregon, that weaves wire for a wide range of applications and locations, from hotel lobbies and restaurants to private residences. A recent development is GuardianCoil, a product line that Schoenheit defines as a safety measure ‘to protect against flying glass, the number one cause of death and injury in bomb blasts’. Frame spoke to both Ron and his son – Andrew Schoenheit is the firm’s vice president of sales – about the ins and outs of this remarkably versatile material.
How does Cascade Coil’s wire-mesh fabric differ from its competitors?
Andrew Schoenheit (AS): Our wire mesh has hundreds of applications, ranging from interior partitions and window treatments to the wire-mesh wheels of space exploration rovers. If someone has a great idea for the use of wire mesh, we consider developing the concept, a comprehensive process that includes initial talks, engineering and installation.
You can weave any type of wire mesh in your factory?
AS: Nearly all our orders are for a custom-made product, which we can manufacture in any configuration – circles, slopes, et cetera. We deliver the fabric and mounting hardware for most applications.
Let’s say I want a rainbow-coloured screen, with a print on it.
AS: We’re not doing prints at this time. Apart from that, you have a lot of possibilities. Designers use their artistic talent and imagination to mould the raw material into a multitude of configurations and applications. Our selection includes various weaves and an unlimited range of finishes, from sprayed and nylon-coated finishes and plated-wire to clad-metal finishes and stainless steel.
Although you don’t make a point of it, I know that you are actually a green company.
Ron Schoenheit (RS): The wire mesh is 100 per cent recyclable. It is highly durable and requires little or no maintenance. Raw material for the product is purchased in the USA, thus minimizing the incoming carbon footprint. The product reflects and absorbs sunlight and acts as a heat sink when used as a window treatment, providing year-round comfort and energy efficiency. Our wire mesh is also lightweight and easy to install.
Have you thought of developing a product using another material? What’s behind your love affair with wire mesh?
RS: Our love affair – your term, by the way – with wire mesh is stimulated by continually evolving applications for the product. Cascade Coil mesh has been on the market since the early 1960s, and designers, as well as others in our industry, keep coming up with new applications. Having said that, I can reveal that we’re currently experimenting with mesh embedded in plastic.