Sensitile® is an internationally-recognized designer and manufacturer of inspiring and sustainable materials for a wide range of architectural and design applications. Material design, prototyping, manufacturing, detailing, fabrication, packaging and shipping all occur exclusively from our headquarters in Michigan, USA.
Our hand-crafted materials are not simply stamped from stock but start from raw materials. Each has a unique story as it goes through the iterative, detailed process of production. Due to the specialized nature of Sensitile’s® materials, variations in color, shade, flow, grain, tonality, crazing, veining, texture, facial dimensions, thickness and slight bubbling are inherent features that enrich the character and visual aesthetic of the material.
We offer a spectrum of solution packages, which include combinations of materials and hardware and/or lighting. Each component is carefully customized to the design intent and fine-tuned to integrate with each other and, as a whole, to the installed environment to create an unforgettable experience. Alternatively, for a more hands-on approach, our materials can be purchased by the sheet and fabricated for installation. We are very experienced with large orders, international projects, roll-outs, and brand standardization, and provide full support to our customers from early design to installation and through the life of the material.
During his graduate thesis work at the University of Michigan in 2002, Sensitile® founder Abhinand Lath came across an 11th century Japanese Poem by Ghokuran -
“I repeat my vow In unchanging colors of the ageless bamboo – Which still creates ten thousand generations of shadows”
The imagery inspired by this poem of the dynamic interplay of light and movement creating ever changing generations of shadows led Abhi to create the first prototype of an interactive material design while still in school. Using internal light-conducting channels that bend, scatter, and redirect ambient or LED light, a revolutionary, interactive surfacing material using terrazzo as base matrix was developed. Using the same concepts of light manipulation in a resin substrate, he introduced the interactive Scintilla
Continuing to use light as a medium in his material design, Abhi has expanded Sensitile’s® offerings exponentially to include entire families of light-filtering and light-emitting materials. With each introduction, Sensitile Systems® continues to innovate and excite the design community with new materials, options, custom services and applications. Our award-winning, patented products have now been employed in landmark projects worldwide and we have shipped to over 40 countries globally from our only location in the US.
Community & Environment
We are dedicated to the upkeep and betterment of our community. In addition to supporting local vendors and the vast local talent pool making up our team, our building is a sterling example of our love for our community. In 2008, our current facility was a foreclosed property being used as storage by a bank. There were innumerable leaks in the ceiling and trees grew in the dock area. The building’s condition was a blemish on the burgeoning community around it. Unusual for a manufacturing facility of our scale, we are located in a semi-residential area surrounded by churches, schools, and businesses. Once we moved in, we didn’t simply fix the leaks and cut the trees; we completely overhauled the property, installing state-of-the-art equipment and implementing systems that will ensure that our operation serves as a beacon of growth, renewability, and sustainability.
Just as we are committed to excellence and innovation in the creation of our award-winning materials, we strive to find new ways to integrate environmentally-conscious practices into our work culture and the manufacturing process, from procurement through shipping. No volatile compounds (VOCs) are emitted during the production of our materials or during their installed life-cycle. Our equipment is optimized to minimum run times and temperatures. When available, all manufacturing equipment is variable speed, ensuring that minimal energy and resources are used in production. Our closed loop grey water recycling system ensures minimal consumption of “new” water and water harvesting for irrigating our landscape is another initiative to conserve water.
All of our materials are manufactured to the exact specifications of our customers, meaning that there is very little excess material stored in a warehouse. What little extra we produce is used in our aggressive and targeted sample program, which ensures that all these materials find a purpose.
Plastic, cardboard, and paper are all recycled at local facilities and surplus packaging materials are reused by local artists for shipping their works of art. Our commitment to sustainability and the environment also fuels our tireless efforts to increase the recycled content in our materials. The high degree of optical clarity required of our raw materials makes this quest challenging. However, we are pleased to announce a milestone achievement - nearly all our materials, including light fixtures, now incorporate at least 20% recycled content.
Materials & Solutions Offered
Signature lines of resin, glass, and terrazzo products include Scintilla®, Jali®, SLANT®, Ripple™, Celeste™, FLEX™, VAPOR™, Lumina™, Spark™, Infinity™, Sensitile Terrazzo™, Terrazzo Lumina™, and PIXA™. A wide range of customizable light fixtures (some UL listed) are also available in resin, glass and concrete options.