The Top 250 Design Survey - October 2012

By Darius Helm

 

The commercial market may be smaller than it was five years ago, but there’s still a good deal of activity, with renovation work outpacing new construction. Some sectors are gaining, like higher education, acute care and senior living, while others, like retail and K-12, are flagging. The corporate sector is holding its own, and hospitality appears to be gaining steam from pent-up demand.

In terms of the A&D community, this year’s survey suggests that designers are more focused than ever on the business of securing and completing projects and less on ambitious aesthetic expression. Budgets remain conservative, credit is tight, and it’s all about doing more with less. One word that has just about vanished from designers’ lexicons is luxe. No one is talking about opulence or over-the-top installations, almost as though it’s in poor taste to be extravagant in these frugal times. 

The focus is on quality materials with high performance attributes and long lifecycles, with the differentiating factor more on intelligent, thoughtful design than on luxurious statements. With an uptick in hospitality projects, it will be interesting to see if the same approach holds sway, since that’s the one sector that has a hard time staying away from opulent expression.

SECTOR OVERVIEW
One market doing well right now and expected to show strong growth for the next decade or two is senior living, a market that seems almost limitless in terms of applications and design directions. Because today’s and tomorrow’s seniors are more active than seniors from years past and are more demanding in terms of their environment, the sector draws on products from many different markets. It includes looks typically associated with everything from the residential market to the acute care market, including products traditionally found in hospitality, retail, fitness and even higher education. 

However, senior living applications generally call for more slip resistant, cushioned flooring, and the colors and designs have to take into account the eyesight limitations of aging populations. 

Another sector in the middle of a long run of sustained growth is acute care, both because of aging populations and a need to renovate obsolete facilities with more up-to-date healthcare models. Today’s hospitals and clinics require much more sophisticated design, with less institutional patterns and warmer colorways, and at the same time the performance of the flooring is more important than ever.

One sector that by rights should be rebounding by now is retail, but by all accounts it still remains very sluggish. Part of the problem is downsizing, but it’s also the shrinking margin issue. Consumers are making less money and are consuming less. They’re consuming more cautiously and increasingly turning to the Internet, and at the same time the cost of products is going up, so retailers are squeezed at both ends and focused on lowering overheads to stabilize their shrinking margins (a problem not exclusive to the retail sector). But it’s a bit of a Catch-22 because getting traffic into stores is more competitive than ever before, and that puts pressure on retailers to spruce up their locations to both make their stores more attractive and put out signals that they are successful.

For the complete Design Survey results, see the October 2012 issue of Floor Focus Magazine. 

Copyright 2012 Floor Focus



Other Archived Articles

Starnet Closing in on Carpet Recycling Goal   Full Article
Darien, CT, April 4, 2014 -- Starnet said its commercial carpet reclamation program said that as of the end of March its members had recycled more than 44.6 million pounds of carpet.

Greenbuild Set for Los Angeles in 2016   Full Article
Washington, DC, April 4, 2014 -- The Greenbuild trade show will move from San Diego to Los Angeles in 2016.

Economy Adds 192,000 Jobs in March   Full Article
Washington, DC, April 4, 2014 -- U.S. employers added 192,000 jobs in March, according to the Labor Department.

Mannington Producing Click LVT Domestically   Full Article
Calhoun, GA, April 4, 2014 -- Mannington Commercial said it has become the only manufacturer to produce click installation system commercial LVT in the U.S.

Builder Beazer Says Sales, Orders Fall   Full Article
Atlanta, GA, April 4, 2014 -- Beazer Homes said severe weather contributed to a decline in completed home sales and new orders in the first quarter.

J+J Flooring Partners With Health Design Center   Full Article
Dalton, GA, April 4, 2014 -- J+J Flooring Group said it has become the exclusive industry partner for The Center for Health Design’s Research Coalition.

Growth in Services Sector Picks Up in March   Full Article
Tempe, AZ, April 3, 2014 -- Growth in the U.S. services sector accelerated in March, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

Jobless Claims Tick Higher Last Week   Full Article
Washington, DC, April 3, 2014 -- Initial claims for unemployment benefits edged higher unexpectly last week, according to the Labor Department.

Zillow To Help Chinese Invest in U.S. Real Estate   Full Article
New York, NY, April 3, 2014 -- Zillow said it would begin providing real-estate listings for Chinese real-estate portal Beijing Yisheng Leju Information Services.

Planned Job Cuts Plunge in March   Full Article
Chicago, IL, April 3, 2014 -- Planned job cuts fell to 34,399 in March, which was down 30% from a year ago and 18% from the previous month, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Finkell Forming New Hardwood Company   Full Article
Only, TN, April 3, 2014 -- Don Finkell, former head of hardwood maker Anderson, is getting back into business with a wood flooring startup called OEM Wood Floors.

Unilin's Winters Named NALFA Member of Year   Full Article
Dallas, TX, April 3, 2014 -- Unilin’s Jane Winters recently won the flooring industry’s "NALFA Member Of The Year” award.

J+J Flooring Names Metzger Director of Design   Full Article
Dalton, GA, April 3, 2014 -- J+J Flooring Group has named industry veteran Daniel Metzger as director of design.

Surya Names Curtin Vice President Sales   Full Article
Calhoun, GA, April 3, 2014 -- Rug company Surya said it has named Jim Curtin as vice president of sales, national accounts.

Factory Orders Rise More Than Expected   Full Article
Washington, DC, April 2, 2014 -- Factory orders rose 1.6 % in February, the U.S. Commerce Department said Wednesday

Jobs Growth Picks Up in March   Full Article
Roseland, NJ, April 2, 2014 -- Private firms grew their payrolls in March by the most in three months, according to the ADP Employment Report.

Mortgage Application Volume Declines   Full Article
Washington, DC, April 2, 2014 -- Mortgage application volume fell last week on lower refinancing demand, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Analyst Lowering Mohawk Estimates Due to Weather   Full Article
New York, NY, April 2, 2014 -- Flooring industry analyst Stifel Nicolaus said it is lowering its first quarter estimates for Mohawk due to weather issues but is maintaining a "buy" rating on the stock.

Mohawk a Finalist for Atlanta Environmental Award   Full Article
Calhoun, GA, April 2, 2014 -- Mohawk said it is a finalist in the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s E3 environmental awards for Atlanta area businesses.

Haines Vice President of Operations Dies   Full Article
Glen Burnie, MD, April 1, 2014 -- Distributor Haines said its vice president of operations, Mark Blakely, died March 27 from health complications.