A firm like Benecke-Kaliko, commanding a large part of Europe’s market for auto interior sheeting, knows well the need to adapt to market pressures. They also know that people will spend on average up to two and half years of their lives inside their cars. Comfort, and sustainability, are top priorities.

It was decades ago that Austrian artist-designer-architect F. Hundertwasser dreamed up homes with plant-covered exteriors. Technology since then has leapt and bounded. Proof of that is Sioen Industries’ vegetative textile wall.

The Belgium-based company teamed up with Vertical Ecosystems to get rid of the glass and steel components commonly used in vegetative walls in the past. The alternative: PVC-coated textiles and non-woven materials to create a far lighter wall.

When Juergen Deinert thought about reinventing the corrugated roof over his head, he and his R&D team at German VPW Nink thought about worst-case scenarios. What if it hails so hard it seems the sky is falling? What if there’s a fire?

Deinert decided to improve on the usual acrylic formula, only safer and more durably, for carports, terraces and balconies. The result: Salux Prisma.

Having worked with PVC for over half a century, Mondoplastico knows the need to respond to the winds of change. With sustainability in the air, the Italian firm mobilised its R&D team to boost recyclability after it joined the industry’s  programme VinylPlus .

“We’ve made a lot of effort to improve PVC’s environmental performance,” says Nicola Avella, technical manager at Mondoplastico. “for our recipe, we mix PVC with materials coming from vegetable or renewable resources.”

You’re going for convertible car and find yourself flipping through the interior colors in the showroom. You like ‘night blue’ for the seats but decide it’s not an option because you imagine that dark, elegant tone heating up in the summer sun, causing cries of pain from anyone daring to touch. Think again.

Germany’s Konrad Hornschuch AG has reworked PVC upholstery to reflect sunlight, even the darker tones, using skai® cool colors Venezia. It cuts the heat build-up by up to 25%, or 20 degrees Celsius, a marked difference.

For a company with 5,000 solutions for all kinds of industrial and decorative projects, you’d think they’d be too busy to help the do-it-yourself aficionado. Think again: Spain’s Polinter mobilised its research, development and innovation team (R&D+i) to create a DIY PVC installation kit for ceramic floors.

And one surprise for a lot of DIYers: it needs no cement or glue.

How to give architects and builders more flexibility in dreaming up new designs in wood? A lighter mix of wood and PVC that not only slashes the weight, but prevents water absorption. The Italian family-run business – Friul Filiere S.p.a.– has taken the long view to meet this market demand.

In the automotive business, high performance comes not only from the tiger under the bonnet, but the materials used throughout to ensure durability. What goes into interiors is especially key, and Vulcaflex has developed new PVC synthetic leathers to satisfy tough and tougher customers.

“Automakers in recent years have become increasingly demanding to customise interior trim and offer their customers a huge choice of options,” says Sergio Ballardini, director of research and development at Italian-based Vulcaflex.

For designer Davide Noti, CEO of Wallcovering Pubblicità, safety, aesthetics and innovation went hand-in-hand when he dreamed up the PentaSystem support for road signs using PVC. And no wonder – he’s had a hand in creating everything from sport clothes to electrical appliances for big companies for years.

“I dream every day, not always about commercial business. I run after my dream,” Noti says of his Milan-based company. But he insists, he’s practical as well. “To make the sun, artists add yellow. I add the sun.”

Desert dust can stop even the most high-tech armies in their tracks, affecting the electronics that make so much modern hardware tick. So can urban dust encumber a household. The Czech company Kopos Kolin has developed an airtight electro-installation box using some hybrid PVC technology which can prevent any dusty surprises.

How do they do it? With something called “progressive double injection technology.”