Panels for design
Bencore started producing honeycomb composite panels in Carrara, Italy over 20 years ago for industrial applications like truck beds, yacht building and light stone to maintain the same aesthetic but in a thinner, stronger and lighter format. The honeycomb material's design and stunning lighting effects quickly attracted architects and designers, inspiring Bencore to produce several collections using different honeycomb cores made of plastic, or aluminium or cardboard.
Bencore's raw materials are sourced entirely from within the EU and the composite panels are all manufactured in Italy. Bencore have started using Green cast recycled acrylic for all of their collections with Clear Satin or Transparent skins, and recycled colour is in development. Bencore have also created a take-back scheme, making all of the honeycomb composite panels fully recyclable at the end of their useful life.
How it's made
The structure and strength of Bencore panels come from the honeycomb cores. The inner layers are made by stretching transparent plastic sheets between metal plates to create different structures and patterns, forming linked tubes, bubbles or starry- celled cores.
Bencore's honeycomb cores are sandwiched between translucent sheets of acrylic (PMMA), polyester (PETG) or polycarbonate (PC). To bond the layers, adhesive is applied only to the edge of the cell walls, leaving the cells clear to diffuse and direct light. This reduces weight, allows for privacy and lets in more natural daylight.
Bencore is made to order in 3015 x 1000mm sheets in 23 colours with a satin or glossy finish. The thickness of the material depends on how far the core is extruded and the thickness of the outer skins. Most of the colours are 21mm thick (acrylic skins) or 19mm thick (PETG/PC skins), except for Lightben Mini, Lightben Kaos 3D Mini, Lightben Large, Starlight Floor, Starlight Maxi and Ecoben Wave.
Bencore is used by architects and designers in commercial, restaurant, retail and hotel interiors, as well as offices, hospitals and public spaces or stages and set design. The translucent materials let natural light reach inner parts of a building without sacrificing privacy, reducing energy consumption for lighting systems and improving well-being. Bencore can save on raw materials and help optimise energy performance in comparison to traditional materials used for partition walls, doors and dividers. Because of its excellent light transmission, Bencore is often backlit to create stunning lighting effects.
Bencore composite panels are great for vertical or horizontal design applications like table tops, raised or stage floors, partition walls, room dividers, suspended ceilings, doors, retail displays, furniture and shelves. And Bencore's original range of industrial materials like Aluben, Plyben, Miacore and anti-slip Benboard can also be used as a substrate for things like light stone, temporary floors, composite doors and cast designer surfaces.
Bencore's signature material, Starlight, is a lightweight, strong and transparent collection of honeycomb composites with a unique tessellating star pattern. Super-strong Starlight comes with different finishes and thicknesses and can be thermoformed to a curve. Bencore Starlight Floor has the highest strength-to-weight ratio and has a textured anti-slip finish on one side which is great for raised and backlit flooring, stage and set design, stair treads or even as a platform for car showrooms.
Made in a similar way to Starlight, the Lightben Collection is even lighter and uses cylindrical shaped cells and can be thermoformed to a radius. The tubes in the core of Lightben can be clear or coloured and come in a range of cell sizes, like with Lightben Large or Kaos 3D. Lightben Kaos 3D multi-sized cores undulate light as your point of view moves across the panel. Lightben Acoustic's skins have pinhole perforations in the skins that help absorb sound is perfect for desk dividers or suspended ceiling panels. Bencore Lightben CC uses coloured cells that adds a little more privacy and creates a subtle colourful glow.
The lightest weight panels, Bencore Hexaben use a premium aluminium foil that is cut into strips, layered, laminated and then stretched into hexagonal honeycomb cores. With two different cell sizes in Hexaben Small or Hexaben Large, the ultra-lightweight material reflects and refracts light within the the cells, creating a soft glow from within that seems to dance as your point of view changes. Hexaben Plus pairs the aluminium cores with polycarbonate skins to offer excellent fire resistance.
With a 100% recycled cardboard core, Ecoben Wave uses a layer of corrugated cardboard honeycomb bonded between satin or translucent sheets. This material combination adds a warmer, more rustic and natural feel to interiors and maintains its superior strength and lightness. This range of design panels offers the most privacy of any Bencore collection and is perfect for sustainable designs because of its natural recycled content, and full recyclability.
Bencore's latest innovation, the Mirror Collection, was created for shopfitting, allowing designers to play with light in places like stores or internal offices, where natural light isn't available and backlighting isn't desired. Using one side transparent acrylic and the other side mirror-backed to sandwich the different composite cores, Bencore Mirror panels reflect light through the core and out into a space. The resulting reflection changes with the viewing angle and the colour of the mirror finish. Bencore Lightben Kaos 3D, Kaos 3D Black, Kaos 3D Clear, Kaos 3D White, Hexaben Small and Hexaben Large are all available with Silver, Gold, Grey or Bronze Mirror and is perfect for doors, dividers and retail fixtures.
Bencore have created a range of modular systems for doors, partition walls, dividers and frames. Smart Office is a collection of systems by Bencore for moving or permanent partition walling in offices. The aluminium profiles in the systems can be powder-coated or painted and usually fit to existing walls or installed floor-to-ceiling up to 3 metres high.
Upset stand alone partitions act as a stable moveable room screen with stainless steel feet.
Stretch suspends Bencore from thin cables that are incredibly sturdy even though it looks like it's floating.
Wallite is a system for partition walls that allows Bencore panels to be easily installed within a thin U-shaped aluminium profile and can be edge lit.
BePod is a new system of standalone translucent curved meeting pods.
Bencore also offers different solutions for sliding doors and swing doors including Fos, Meli, Koros, Roi and Glistro.
Availability + fabrication
Bencore produce many custom fabrications in-house like edging, joins, custom cuts, different thicknesses, bespoke colours and thermoforming to a radius. The material can also be milled, routed, joined and edged by a skilled joiner, fabricator or shopfitter.
Surface Matter work with Bencore to support and supply the innovative material throughout the UK. We can talk through projects, offer technical advice, give samples and distribute the sheet material. To get a better feel for the material, a range of small and large format samples as well as doors and furniture can be found in our materials studio.