NeoCon 2017: This year's show was bigger and busier than in recent years - July 2017

By Darius Helm, Beth Miller, Ruth Simon McRae and Anne Harr

By every metric, this year’s NeoCon, held at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart from June 12 to 14, was a success. The hallways were crowded with over 56,000 attendees, up 7% from last year. Six new permanent showrooms were added, and 25 new exhibitors signed on. And even on the third day, when the Mart is historically a ghost town, there were still crowds moving through the showroom floors.

According to Byron Morton, vice president of leasing for the NeoCon show, “We went into this year strong-showrooms were at capacity, and there were 28% ‘new to NeoCon’ brands in our sold-out seventh floor exhibit hall. The buzz continued to build with three full days of sold-out keynotes, at-capacity CEU sessions, innovative product launches and dynamic networking events. We look forward to leveraging this momentum as we get ready for NeoCon’s 50th anniversary in 2018.”

Most of the flooring activity was in the permanent showrooms on the third, tenth and 11th floors, and in the booths grouped on one side of the seventh floor. Tarkett combined its showroom and booth spaces from previous years into a massive new permanent showroom in the middle of the third floor. And several of the seventh floor exhibitors increased the size of their booths.

This year, just about every carpet mill showcased LVT collections, including a lot of rigid LVT, and people still couldn’t get enough of it. It came in so many shapes and sizes and colors that it makes one wonder what next year’s LVT will look like.

Many attributed the increased activity and attendance to optimism about the market, but commercial business is still far from robust. Hopes are that this year will be stronger than 2016, but the jury is still out. One thing’s for sure, though: there was no shortage of enthusiasm at this year’s show.

TRENDS AT THE SHOW
While there were several notable design trends at this year’s show, the strongest trends were probably about diversified product offerings from the various manufacturers, particularly the carpet mills, along with developments in the various commercial sectors, in terms of how these different commercial spaces are evolving and adapting, and how their flooring needs are changing.

Bringing together hard surface and carpet offerings was a big focus at this year’s show. And that included coordinating designs, colorways, profiles and overall looks, like Interface’s Boundary Metallics LVT collection, which not only is the same thickness as its carpet tile products but also shares the distinctive biomorphic look found on many of its products. And Mannington introduced an LVT called Portland Project, designed to subtly complement last year’s Portland carpet collection in its colorways and angled line motif.

However, in terms of bringing together hard and soft programs in general, most notable was Tarkett, which this year displayed its entire roster of flooring-from carpet tile, broadloom and Powerbond to LVT, homogenous vinyl sheet and rubber flooring-in its new showroom. Its Ensemble Healthcare collection, a Best of NeoCon award winner, is comprised of all of those flooring types.

In terms of commercial sectors, the rapidly evolving trend is not just about mixing hard and soft surfaces, but also about the profile of those sectors in general. The concept of the corporate look or the healthcare look or the hospitality look is racing toward irrelevance. Everywhere is mixing hard and soft, commercial and residential, formal and informal.

Nowhere is this in greater evidence than in corporate workplace design, and the (non-flooring) showroom that best exemplified it this year was Steelcase. Everything in Steelcase was about zones: privacy zones, collaborative zones, transit zones-all heavily delineated by flooring choices like LVT, carpet tile and area rugs. One respite zone even used real grass turf for its floor. Another big workplace trend is smart furniture, like desks that elevate to make you stand if you’ve been sitting too long. And there was a lot of color, like colored lampshades and computer arms, products that were previously utilitarian and steely, or at best white or black-and chairs that were not just colored but were multicolored.

Color was a big theme throughout the show. In flooring and other interior elements, though there was still plenty of grey, it felt like greys, taupes and neutrals in general were no longer trending. Instead it was colors, like soft peach, rust and ocher, or cooler greens, or combinations of warm limey greens with cool greens and blue greens. Organic oranges like in Mohawk’s Lichen.

Speaking of Lichen, biophilic design was another theme at this year’s show, mostly expressed in carpet design-from Mohawk, Interface, of course, as well as Shaw, with its award-winning Emergence floral design. Even J+J Flooring’s pottery theme, expressed in both carpet tile and Kinetex, had a biophilic feel to it.

Another theme was watercolor, from digitized expressions like Milliken’s Encryption back to J+J’s Kinetex and its Flux collection.

In LVT, like last year, the multi-category producers didn’t limit themselves to wood looks, instead experimenting with textile visuals and abstract looks. And even among the LVT specialists on the seventh floor, it wasn’t just about wood anymore. US Floors Commercial, for instance, had dramatic stone and concrete designs. Metroflor experimented with wood looks overlaid with weathered decos. Armstrong played with textiles in Spettro from its Natural Creations line.

Digital technologies were prevalent. Not just smart desks and chairs, but virtual reality interfaces that let users tour virtual spaces and switch out flooring. Mohawk’s VR technology was an award winner, but other firms like Armstrong followed down the same path. And by this time next year, these technologies that enhance the specification process will likely be much more widespread.

THE BEST OF NEOCON
CARPET: BROADLOOM
GOLD: Tarkett North America, Apace
SILVER: Bentley Mills, The Outskirts Collection
EDITOR’S CHOICE: Bentley Mills, Night Vision

CARPET: MODULAR
GOLD: Mohawk Group, Lichen
SILVER: Shaw Contract, Emergence
INNOVATION: Bolyu, Collaborative Collection

CARPET FIBER
GOLD: Aquafil USA, Econyl Pure
SILVER: Bolyu, Continuous Color

FLOORING: HARD SURFACE
GOLD: Mohawk Group, Lineate
SILVER: Patcraft, Subtractive Layers

HEALTHCARE FLOORING
SILVER: Tarkett, Ensemble Healthcare Collection

SOFTWARE/APPLICATION FOR SPECIFICATIONS
GOLD: Mohawk Group, Visual Interactive Studio

WALL TREATMENTS
SILVER: DuChateau, Wall Coverings

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS
Shaw Contract’s NeoCon space this year was less about showing product and more about telling a narrative about how different styles can affect the mood or experience of the end-user, depending on which product is chosen. Shaw Contract coined this year’s showroom theme, “Personal Alchemy.” And while carpet continues to be the main focus, there were areas devoted to LVT as well.

The three featured carpet collections were Active, Off the Grid and Emergence, with Emergence winning a silver Best of NeoCon award in the modular carpet category and Active winning two HIP Awards. The designs in Emergence feature bold botanical images, while those in Active are stimulating and Off the Grid is more calming. Active comes in four styles that evoke movement, with 14 color options, all in a 12”x48” modular format. Off the Grid is available in two broadloom styles and four tile styles (12”x48”) in a color line that ranges from eight to 12 colors, depending on the style. Emergence comes in three modular styles and two formats.

A secondary theme for Shaw Contract this year was material diversity, due to the range of non-traditional surface finishes, like felted planks made out of a blend of nylon and PET, and a metalized 9”x48” LVT plank in a 5mm thickness, so it can be installed next to carpet tile without a transition. As the name infers, the product looks like weathered metal, and it comes in nine colors. Shaw Contract also introduced a hybrid LVT collection with a woven vinyl face, called reThink.

While Shaw is clearly the marketshare leader in the specified commercial carpet market, LVT continues to play an important role-especially within the Shaw Contract brand, into which Shaw folded its hospitality business a few years ago. Hospitality now accounts for 20% of Shaw Contract’s business and that sector is quickly shifting more of its floors over to hard surface.

Shaw Contract’s breadth of product will be even bigger starting next month, following its announcement at NeoCon that US Floors’ commercial business will become part of the Shaw Contract brand. Product design will shift to Reesie Duncan’s team, and the sales forces will be merged into one team. So next year, look for Coretec commercial WPC and rigid core products to be on display in the Shaw Contract space.

Mohawk Group’s third floor showroom was energetic, crowded and noisy. The entire front space of the showroom was filled with Mohawk’s Lichen Collection, a bold organic carpet plank with three related textural patterns: Macro Bloom, a large-scale field of lichen blooms; the smaller scale Micro Bloom; and Groundcover. Lichen was designed by Jason F. McLennan, founder of both the International Living Future Institute and Living Product Challenge and McLennan Design.

As explained by Mark Page, senior director of creative design and development, “in the wild, lichen is a very important part of our ecosystem. Covering 6% of the world, lichen acts as the canary in the coalmine in the identification of environmental pressures.” There is a tremendous variety of lichen species; the colorways in the Lichen Collection represent nine of these species.

The Lichen Collection received a NeoCon Gold Award for modular carpet as well as the International Living Future Institute’s Living Product Challenge Petal Certification.

On the resilient side, Mohawk also scored with the Lineate Collection, a linear ombré gradient visual with a subtle textile look. The color ebbs and flows across the plank to give the illusion of depth on a flat surface. Mohawk mixed three colorways on the showroom floor, emphasizing the tonal color flow. Lineate’s 12-color palette includes a range of neutral colors, along with several complex brighter hues that coordinate with the Lichen Collection. Lineate has been recognized with HIP and Neocon Gold awards as well as Best Product in Resilient at the Hospitality Design show.

Mohawk featured a standout innovation, the Visual Interactive Studio (VIS) system, drawing designers through the current products to the back of the showroom. Based on gaming technology, the VIS system is cutting-edge interactive software for the flooring industry that will allow a designer to experience a specific product in any space, at 360 degrees, in a virtual reality format. VIS won the NeoCon Gold for Software/Application for Specifications. It is currently only available in Mohawk’s Chicago showroom. However, it will be available on its website in the near future.

Interface came to NeoCon with two carpet collections: Global Change, the first global launch from Kari Pei, the firm’s lead product designer; and Human Connections, designed by David Oakey. Both collections were designed to work well with existing collections-and future collections as well. And they also match the thickness of the firm’s LVT products, making the transition seamless between hard and soft products and obviating the need for transition strips.

Global Change, made of Universal’s nylon 6,6, features seven designs, including three striated base textures (Progression I, II and III) in skinny planks at different price points and weights, along with two skinny plank designs and two squares. The planks, Glazing and Shading, feature mottled organic patterns-inspired by light filtering through tree canopies-against a striated texture, with Shading as the richer, more plush expression and Glazing in a flatter, less dimensional texture with more prominent striations.

The two square designs in Global Change are Ground and Raku, which are expressions of the earth itself. Raku has a softer, more dimensional look, while Ground is a flatter, harder look, with more prominent striations. Global Change comes in seven earthy neutral colorways.

Human Connections is made entirely of Aquafil’s 100% recycled Econyl nylon 6 and will formally launch in the next month or so. The design is inspired by the junction of nature and man on the ground, expressed through pavers and cobblestones infiltrated in varying degrees by greenery like moss. Paver and Flagstone, for instance, convey the impression of timeworn city streets in four warm greys. Kerbstone transitions from those visuals to a subtle cobblestone motif, fully expressed in Sett in Stone. Moss in Stone has a transitional design, shifting from grey cobblestones to stones outlined in green, and Moss depicts greenery taking over.

The collection comes in squares (approximately 20”x20”), and it also includes two Flor styles with abstract expressions of mosaics that come in eight colorways, including some bold accent colors.

Also on display in Interface’s NeoCon showroom were some of its new LVT products from the first LVT line fully designed by Interface. Boundary Metallics Daylight and Boundary Metallics Eclipse were installed on the showroom floor, and what was most notable about the new styles was how well they reflected the distinctive Interface biomimicry aesthetic. The LVT planks, which come in six colorways, feature a rustic, weathered surface reminiscent of timeworn stone, elevated with the subtle use of metallic sheens.

Interface also introduced Proof Positive, a prototype carpet tile with a negative carbon footprint, and what’s noteworthy is that its carbon-negative aspect is achieved not through the purchase of carbon credits but by using cutting-edge technology to convert plant-derived carbon into the materials that make up the Proof Positive tile. The program syncs with Interface’s Mission Climate Take Back, which seeks to go beyond reducing environmental footprints to a more restorative model that is designed to help reverse global warming.

Mannington focused on the design process as inspiration for its new product collections. The Paper and Origami carpet collections, developed in collaboration with HOK, were inspired by a work session exploring various kinds of white, ivory and translucent papers that were crumpled, creased, torn and folded.

An intriguing paper sculpture created by artist Christina Lihan at the showroom entrance intentionally drew designers into the showroom. Once inside, the sculpture introduced the Paper and Origami collections. The Paper carpet tile collection has a subtle, crumpled look and comes in 18”x36” planks. The Origami Collection meshes geometric shapes with soft lines to create three patterns: Mountain Fold, Valley Fold and Fan Fold. Both are available in broadloom and modular tiles. Tufted of Aquafil’s Econyl fiber, the Paper and Origami collections share a 12-color palette ranging from cool greys to navy blue tones.

Umbra was at the entrance of the showroom, drawing people in with its layers of flowing translucent imagery. Umbra, an LVT flooring from the Amtico Collection, offers an organic, smoky look in a randomized pattern with no two tiles alike. Umbra’s eight plank and tile sizes range from 3”x 36” to 18”x36”.

Another notable LVT introduction, Portland Project, was inspired by Oregon’s mountains, forests and rugged coastline. The collection features wood grain looks along with an abstract striated design and another abstract look with shaded angular visuals that pays tribute to last year’s Portland carpet tile collection. Portland Project comes in six tonal colorways in 6”x48” planks.

Yet another introduction, the Medina carpet collection, was inspired by a trip to Europe where designers explored age-old cities of Eastern Europe, their richness in patterns and textures and “the beautiful flaws born out of time and change.” The vibrant collection comes in three patterns: Saray, Grand Bazaar and Kasbah. Medina offers highly textural patterns in broadloom and 24”x24” tiles with 2”x24” accent strips.

Mannington also unveiled the Self Assembly collection, inspired by the craft of hand knitting, where small patterns wrap around each other to create an entirely new composition. The collection includes nubby vertical and horizontal textures along with an allover loop for coordination. Tufted of Ultron 6,6 nylon fiber, Self Assembly is a piece-dyed product, allowing for custom color flexibility.

Tarkett came to NeoCon showing all of its products for the first time in a single space, securing the triangular center showroom on the third floor, comprising nearly 10,000 square feet. Bringing together all of its brands, including Johnsonite, Tandus Centiva and Desso, under the Tarkett umbrella was particularly timely, since it reflects the most important evolution in the commercial market right now and in many ways the theme of this year’s NeoCon-seamlessly blending hard and soft surface programs, targeting multiple commercial sectors, as these sectors themselves evolve away from traditional decors and formats. The open space featured dozens of product launches, generally transitioning from one to another with the firm’s MetalEdge transitions.

New products included Apace, a lush, nubby woven broadloom that won a Best of NeoCon Gold in the broadloom category. Apace is a solution-dyed product in 13 colors that achieves its rich, arresting look by wrapping a four-ply bulk fiber in a tightly twisted two-ply fiber.

The firm celebrated the 50th anniversary of Powerbond with a large-scale floor display of Progression and Progression Transition, a collection of Powerbond carpet, subtly speckled, that seamlessly transitions from one color to another across a handful of both vivid and neutral colorways. Each 6’ piece is up to 32’ long, and they are attached to each other with Tandus Tape to create a floating floor installation. The floor display used Powerbond “tiles” that were about 6’x12’, installed side by side to transition from purple to grey to yellow, creating a single unit over 30’ long.

Also noteworthy was the Ensemble Healthcare collection, which won a Silver Best of NeoCon award in the healthcare flooring category. Ensemble Healthcare is a grouping of collections that offers a one-stop solution for a complete healthcare install for both acute care and senior living, from carpeted resident rooms all the way through operating rooms and intensive care units. The collection includes broadloom, carpet tile and Powerbond, along with hard surface products like More than Wood LVT-featured on the showroom floor in a stunning spalted maple design-and Optima IQ homogeneous sheet flooring, showcased this year in new colors with a visual reminiscent of linoleum. On the carpet side, the collection includes ColorKnit, with low-key tweed and chenille looks in carpet tile and Powerbond, and IslandGate, a broadloom in soft neutral textures. Both solution-dyed products with moisture barriers are ideal for assisted and independent living, priced at less than $10 a yard.

The showroom also featured a section for Desso’s hospitality programs, which now include hard surface flooring from the Tarkett side. On display was a modern Axminster with bold organic shapes, along with ColorPoint broadloom.

Tarkett also introduced SlideLock, its patented system for attaching looselay rubber tiles, showcased in a stony travertine design. The rubber products, manufactured at Tarkett’s facilities in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, come in a range of surface textures, from hammered to wood grain.

This year, Milliken’s 11th floor showroom was dominated by Encryption, a carpet tile collection using the firm’s proprietary Millitron digital dye injection technology to create mesmerizing patterns of pixelated visuals in tonal colorways that shift irregularly like digitized watercolors from light to dark, suggesting both hidden forms and encrypted information. It looks dimensional and multileveled from a distance, and in linear or ashlar installations, mixing the small scale Linear Code and medium scale Block Code, it almost looks like a nighttime futuristic city skyline or intricate glass mosaics.

The plank formats, approximately 10”x40”, enable a range of installations, including herringbone patterns. And mixed installation patterns, illustrated on the showroom floor, are particularly compelling and can be created to help define different areas within a space. The collection comes in 20 colors, from near neutrals to more vivid and saturated hues.

The firm also unveiled another dye-injected collection called Moraine, a design of converging and diverging narrow stripes-Relief and Explorer, in two different scales-tilting across the field to create dimensional geometries, along with Navigate, a dotted line design, and Regions, a smaller scale dot pattern. The mostly neutral colorways can be enhanced with eight accent colors across sections of the design.

Also on display were the firm’s latest LVT designs. District, a global collection, features five designs offering expressive interpretations of city communities through graphics and textures in various scales. The designs share four colorways-except for one, Midtown Village, which also features accent colors for a total of 12 colorways in all. A second LVT collection, Shift, is a line of gradated neutral tiles that can create gentle ombré effects or more dramatic contrasts, depending on the installation.

Masland Contract showcased its range of capabilities this NeoCon, from low profile solution-dyed tufted tiles to highly patterned collections, as well as both handmade and machine-made rugs in a huge range of textures and formats.

Avant by Masland Contract introduced Reflect, a modern organic that has thick and thin lines creating deconstructed hexagons, and Radiate, an energetic linear design. These carpet tile products are100% Antron Lumena solution-dyed nylon 6,6 with a shared nine-color palette.

Masland by Balsan reflects the ongoing partnership with this French manufacturer. The three modular products, Track, Avenue and Boreal, are all extremely low profile piece-dyed products in a neutral color palette. With extremely high density and PVC-free bitumen backings, these products expand Masland’s reach into both the North American and international markets.

For classic commercial situations, the Fit II collection consists of ten contemporary designs, offering a versatile selection for any project, including budget-oriented applications. Five patterns are offered in eight tonal colorways, and five patterns are offered in the same palette yet with a third accent color. The accents are highly researched logo-inspired colors, along with two warm/cool color combinations. All Fit II products are available in both tile and broadloom.

Masland’s rug capability is a key differentiator in the interiors market. Masland excels at rugs and offers a wide variety of options, including hand-tufted, hand-woven and Hitex, which is machine-tufted on a frame. The market is seeing increasing demand for rugs as hard surface and resilient products become more widely used.

Hand-woven on traditional looms in India, the Woolridge natural sheep wool rug collection features two new styles, String Cloth and Ridge Row. String Cloth is a tip shear woven of undyed wool; Ridge Row is a cashmere, nylon and wool blend in a cut and loop texture. Both are offered in four standard sizes, as well as custom sizes. In another approach, MRugs 4.0 is a custom program of machine-tufted solution-dyed nylon rugs with 108 designs and 150 yarn colors, allowing designers to create sophisticated rug patterns.

On the resilient front, Masland introduced its Calibré LVT line in the fall of 2016. Calibre’ offers luxury wood-look planks with Quiet Down technology, a pre-attached sound abatement layer that adds comfort underfoot. Two new styles, Straight Cut Oak and Georgia Ash, were highlighted this NeoCon. Each has a natural colorway of eight colors, including a popular pale grey that functions as near white within the palette.

J+J Flooring Group’s showroom was a joy to explore due to its intriguing concept and product designs. The showroom floor was laid out effectively to showcase the concept, which was based on handmade pottery and ceramic glazes. The theme was expressed in J+J’s portfolio of products, from carpet to Kinetex to rugs.

For design inspiration, the J+J design team visited the Pewabic pottery studio in Detroit. Fascinated by pottery shapes and colorations, especially iridescent high fire glazes and raku, the team developed the Form + Finish Collection. Some of the actual ceramics that served as inspiration were on display in J+J’s space, helping visitors to understand the relationship between idea and product.

Form + Finish is made up of five styles, each referring to a specific pottery technique. Amorphous is a pattern of softly transitioned diagonals that reflect how a piece of pottery changes color as it is turned. Emulsion demonstrates a drip glaze technique, with different visuals created by installation layout, either mirrored or random. Atmospheric, based on the surface texture of pottery as it glazes, also exhibits a moonlight-on-water visual. The method of raku glazing inspired Organic Raku, referencing its unpredictable and beautiful results. Organic Raku’s 18”x36” planks are turned randomly in the showroom installation, emphasizing the value difference between the tiles and creating a rich color flow. Form + Finish’s three-color palette is made up of bold combinations of neutral tones with black, each incorporating a strong accent.

Form + Finish was also installed as a rug inset into an LVT field in the glass walled back conference room. Emulsion’s drip pattern forms the rug ‘border,’ its mitered corners emphasizing the rug effect.

Kinetex, already known as a highly innovative material, has made a huge leap this year from a design perspective. Flux is a design based on the flow or viscosity of ceramic glazes in colors that appear nearly iridescent, with a similar visual to Organic Raku. A second style called Fracture reflects the crackling and veining on a ceramic surface in a more conservative visual. Fracture was installed on the showroom floor in multiple distinct yet related colorways, a trend seen throughout Neocon this year. Flux is offered in 12”x48” planks, while Fracture comes in a 24” square tile.

Patcraft’s new Subtractive Layers LVT plank collection won the NeoCon Silver award in the hard surface flooring category. Subtractive Layers was developed through a hands-on rather than digital process. Designer Kelly Stewart created actual painted textures, then experimented by running broken combs through the paintings. Combing through the paint layers emphasized the perception of texture. She then digitally manipulated scans of her original paintings in order to create the designs. Subtractive Layers is made up of two styles, aptly named Withdrawn and Remove. Withdrawn was created with a single, finer comb, while Remove used a coarser comb, allowing bits of a third color to emerge.

Continuing Patcraft’s out-of-the-box design process, designers took tufting back to its basic components to create Deconstructive Metal. Inspired by a study of transparency, Deconstructed Metal highlights patterns that emerge through exposed primary backing and a variation in fiber pile heights. The high luster primary fabric is visible on the face, yet is tucked under the higher loop yarn, protecting wear and creating both real and perceived texture. The design team developed three unique primary backings-titanium, bronze, and graphite-to create this collection. Deconstructive Metal’s two products, Alloy Shimmer and Metallic Alchemy, are tufted of six different yarn combinations that each pair up with the three metallic backings for a total of 18 colors.

Scotland’s rugged landscape inspired the Isle of Skye collection. Edinburgh is a textural organic pattern that both stands alone and serves as a small-scale base coordinate to the other two styles. Aberdeen is a medium-scale design that emulates the serenity of the natural movement of wind, water and clouds. Large-scale Inverness caps off the collection with a geometric design based on dry mortar-less stone walls.

Bentley Mills was larger than life at NeoCon this year with five new collections, plus the addition of Balta’s Modulyss products to their portfolio. Once again, the firm’s tenth floor showroom was a theatrical presentation that attracted crowds of designers eager to see the latest California looks from Bentley’s creative in-house designer, Todd van der Kruik.

Two of Bentley’s collections won awards this year. The Outskirts collection won a Best of NeoCon Silver award in the broadloom category, though it is also available in modular tile. Outskirts comes in three styles inspired by nature: Outlier features bold geometrics; Ritual looks like textured high-end wool; and Coexist has a more edgy random pattern. The collection is produced on the latest ColorPoint tufting technology, and it will be available in late summer. Outskirts features Antron Lumena solution-dyed nylon 6,6, and the modular styles come in three formats: 24”x24”, 9”x36” and 18”x36”.

A second collection called Night Vision won a Best of Neocon editor’s choice award in broadloom and its crystal-esque design uses a combination of color and texture, which is created using Infinity tufting equipment. The space-dyed yarn in this collection comes from Ascend.

Earlier this year, Bentley was acquired by Belgium-based Balta, the largest carpet producer in Europe, and as of June 1, the firm’s 60+ salesforce has taken over the U.S. sales of Balta’s Modulyss product, which had previously been sold here by agents. As part of this move, van der Kruik has selected 14 new products that he feels are a fit for the U.S. market. Much of the styling with Modulyss is European flatweave, but it also produces Chromo-Jet printed products that will give Bentley more to sell into the hospitality sector.

During NeoCon, Balta went public on the Brussels stock exchange, so once again, Bentley is part of a publicly traded company. Bentley expects to have another double-digit growth year in 2017, based on the performance of the first half of the year and the enhancements the company has made to its sales force.

Around the corner from the Merchandise Mart, Spartan Surfaces, a sales and consulting group, showcased products from Novalis, including SMPL and SPRK from its Ava line of commercial LVT. SMPL is a rigid LVT with an extruded vinyl core and an attached cork underlayment, and it features 6”x48” wood-look tiles, all with a 20 mil wearlayer and a click system for floating installations. SPRK is a traditional gluedown LVT with a stone/concrete visual that comes in a lot of saturated hues along with a few neutrals. Its AMP antimicrobial coating offers enhanced scratch and scuff resistance, making it suitable for healthcare and education projects.

Spartan Surfaces also showcased products from Fletco, a Danish firm that makes a unique carpet product using Ascend’s Ultron nylon 6,6 fiber. Its flatwoven digitally printed carpet tiles are dense and high performing, and are laser cut, eliminating edge ravel.

The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design awarded Aquafil USA a Green Good Design award for its sustainability efforts. Members of the European Centre’s International Advisory Committee served as the jury.

Aquafil also took home a Best of NeoCon Gold award in carpet fiber for its Econyl Pure, the world’s first piece-dyeable fiber made from 100% regenerated nylon, with at least 50% coming from post-consumer waste. Aquafil’s showroom floor featured Econyl Pure in a custom carpet produced by Mannington. According to Franco Rossi, president of Aquafil USA, Econyl has been around for a few years, but the regeneration process produced an impure product that was slightly yellow, which altered the dye process, caused breaks in the fiber and generated discontinuity in the fiber. Econyl Pure signifies the perfection of the process, producing a “pure” white product. Another benefit of the Econyl Pure process is that it allows for the production of thinner fibers that are approximately 100 times smaller than typical carpet fiber. These thinner fibers are used to produce apparel for companies such as Adidas, Speedo, Levi’s and Volcom.

Plank flooring was the overarching theme for Atlas’ showroom floor at NeoCon This is quite a departure for Atlas, a company with a historical reputation for elegant, patterned piece-dyed broadloom. Moving to a balanced portfolio of broadloom, tile and plank formats allows Atlas to create varied and complex floor designs and expands its reach into a wide range of end-use markets.

One example is the Change of Pace collection, Atlas’ first product collection that is exclusively carpet tiles, offered in 24” squares and 12”x36” planks. Change of Pace is made up of five styles-Tempo, Swerve, Shuffle, Alter and Veer. Suggesting both building materials and architecture with some interesting combinations of angles and curves, the patterns transition easily into each other on the floor. Atlas designers credit modern architects such as Tadeo Ando and the late Zaha Hadid as inspirations for this collection. Tufted of Antron Lumena nylon 6,6 yarn, products in the Change of Pace Collection have a common 12-color palette.

Two standout products, Link and Online, were featured at the entrance to the showroom. Designed by Atlas’s senior designer, Elena Cordoba, both are bold textural loop carpets in plank format. Link has a rhythmic, intermittent linear pattern, and Online offers a more literal stripe.

It was refreshing to see some of Atlas’s distinctive cut loop products amid all of the textured mixed loop biophilic designs at NeoCon this year. Artistic Expressions offers five styles ranging from geometric to elegant organic designs; the large patterns are tufted in a crisp cut pile set against a multi-level loop field. The five patterns-Inspire, Reveal, Transform, Portray and Evoke-all share the same complex loop under-texture and rich, piece-dyed colorway. Artistic Expressions is available in both broadloom and tile.

This year, Atlas introduced Parlour Games, its latest collaboration with Robert A. M. Stern Architects, featuring Mah Jong, Domino, Backgammon and Solitaire, chic geometric designs that cleverly reference each namesake game.

Chilewich products have a myriad of uses, from flooring to upholstery and window coverings. In 2000, when designer Sandy Chilewich introduced her woven vinyl textiles to the design world, there was no one else in North America with this sort of product. The first flooring product was introduced in 2001. Today there is more competition in this market, but Chilewich manages to set itself apart thanks to its striking designs and innovative products. This year’s NeoCon products were no exception. The new collection, Shade, is a flat, tight twill weave that features a rotation of bi-color yarns, creating a subtle ombre effect. Shade is available in 6’ rolls, 18” square tiles and 6”x36” planks in three colorways.

Beaulieu America’s contract brand, Bolyu, took home two Best of NeoCon awards-a Silver in carpet fiber and an Innovation award in modular carpet-which embodied its theme: “the intersection of technology and design.”

The open-sourcing approach Bolyu took to produce its latest environmentally friendly product, the Collaborative collection, won the Innovation award. The process started with its Nexterra carpet tile backing, and Universal Fibers provided the nylon 6,6 solution-dyed Thrive fiber. Catalina Carpet Mills out of Dalton, Georgia provided the ColorPoint tufting machine to produce the 20-ounce carpet. According to Tom Ellis, Bolyu’s chief marketing officer, the average tufting face fiber weight ranges from 26 to 28 ounces. Bolyu created the carpet design, and, ultimately, the final collaborators were the designers at NeoCon: the feedback provided at NeoCon by designers determines which products Bolyu will launch.

Bolyu took home Silver in carpet fiber for Continuous Color, its solution-dyed fiber with a space-dyed color performance. The new fiber allows Bolyu to produce carpet that has the appearance of space-dyed fiber using a more colorfast solution-dyed yarn.

Surya, best known in the flooring industry for its residential rug business, took a booth at NeoCon for the first time this year to showcase its product offering, which not only includes rugs but also accent furniture, commercial grade cushions, textiles and over 500 lighting options. The firm even curates art packages for hospitality, senior living and work spaces.

The firm started targeting the contract market a couple of years ago. Its rug program, which has been ballooning in recent years, includes over 5,500 rug patterns, mostly handmade in India, using wool and Tencel, along with some nylon and polypropylene. It also offers outdoor rugs.

The firm’s commercial program allows designers to pick any rug aesthetic, and its design staff will convert it into the right specification for the job.

Crossville’s NeoCon message this year wasn’t as much about its latest products as it was about how to mix and match its running line products for unique looks, which made for an edgy display in the center of the seventh floor. Since 80% of Crossville’s business comes from the commercial market, the company understands that designers want to create their own custom look for their clients, and Crossville’s goal is to offer a system that its A&D clients can build on.

Many of Crossville’s end-users are in the retail and hospitality sectors, where positively impacting the consumer’s shopping, dining or travel experience makes the difference between growth and failure. The firm does a great job of creating products that achieve that goal.

This year, third-year interior design students from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville competed in a Crossville-sponsored student design competition, and Crossville invited the four students with the best projects and presentations to attend NeoCon.

Hard on the heels of its $36 million acquisition of Mannington’s VCT business, Armstrong Flooring came to the show with a new raft of VCT designs that mirrored Mannington’s VCT products. The firm had already added to its Premier Excelon Crown Texture line with 25 products matching Mannington’s Progressions program, and at the show it unveiled 15 additions to its Standard Excelon Imperial Texture line for a total of 40 products duplicating Mannington’s.

The firm is also working on using its Diamond 10 protective finish on its VCT products, and at the show it had a handful on display in different textures in order to gauge reactions from visitors to the booth. If successful, VCT with Diamond 10 technology would not require initial polishing and would yield a longer maintenance cycle-one of the big reasons VCT has been losing share in recent years is due to the heavy maintenance it requires.

Also on display were three new background designs in the Natural Creations with Diamond 10 technology LVT program. The new Spettro textile designs, which were showcased on the floor of the booth, come in three neutral hues and can be customized (for a 500 square foot minimum) with streaks of accent colors (up to two per design) from a range of solids, including saturated high-chroma colors. Spettro, which is part of Natural Creations’ Mystix line, comes in 18”x36” and 6”x36” formats.

In addition, Armstrong displayed its Pryzm rigid LVT, notable for its solid PVC core and melamine protective layer. And it previewed its Migrations and Striations composition tile with Diamond 10, along with several new colors-on the side wall of the booth a deep blue and an aqua green were on display. The previewed line will launch this fall.

A couple of months ago, Armstrong pulled together its residential and commercial offerings, expanding what it can offer in each market. To that end, the Woodland Relics hardwood program, which was launched to the residential market at Surfaces in January, was also displayed at NeoCon. According to the firm, the commercial Woodland Relics is acrylic impregnated to enhance its performance.

Armstrong also showcased its VR technology, with a headset that offers a 360º view of a commercial space, and a handheld controller enables users to switch out flooring colors and patterns and also move through a range of commercial interior space layouts. Armstrong’s goal is to refine the system so that its reps can bring it along when they call on potential clients.

US Floors Commercial, which following the show is going to market under Shaw Contract, came to NeoCon with Aeon, a rigid core LVT using the firm’s XRC technology featuring a core of extruded limestone with a small amount of polymer resin and a PVC cap. The six concrete and stone designs-wood looks will follow in the coming months-were displayed in vertical panels held in place by frames of corten steel construction beams. Aeon is 5.5 mm thick with a 1mm cork back and a 20 mil wearlayer on the face.

The firm also added to its WPC program with Defined, a collection of 8mm products, also with 20 mil wearlayers, in a range of formats from planks of 5”x48” and 7”x48” to 12”x24” and 18”x24” rectangles. And coming soon is a 9”x72”. Most notable with Defined, which features hardwood visuals, is the crisp beveling that adds another layer of realism.

At this year’s show, Metroflor focused on its “I am Isocore” theme first launched at Domotex (in Hannover, Germany), then carried through to Surfaces, Domotex Asia (in Shanghai) and now NeoCon. In its seventh floor showroom, the firm demonstrated the strength of its Aspecta 10 rigid LVT with Isocore technology through a series of interactive tests. One test featured a three-pound weight that was released onto both Aspecta 10, with no visible mark, and a competitor’s flooring, which left a noticeable indentation. Aspecta 10 is the first rigid core flooring product to be issued a Declare label, which is akin to nutrition labels for building products. Additionally, Metroflor has issued Health Product Declarations (HPDs) for its full line of Aspecta products. HPDs are comprehensive transparency documents that provide health-related information for product ingredients.

A new product introduction for Metroflor at this year’s show was its Aspecta One Ornamental LVT collection, consisting of three overlay motifs-Damask, Masquerade and Malta-that architects and designers can apply where they desire interest and accent. The new Ornamental collection expresses Metroflor’s new focus on biophilic design, which it intends to apply in the creation of its products moving forward.

Metroflor also had a lounge-like space on the ground floor of the Mart, where the firm served complementary smoothies. Metroflor also sponsored keynote speaker Jessica Green, a world-renowned scientist, who spoke on how the microbial blueprint of human beings, homes, cities and forests impacts the world-and the future.

Roppe previewed its new Chevron LVT, which is still in the conceptual stage. The product is offered with a left and right design and will come in three colorways. With its general look and feel, Chevron lends itself to the retail and hospitality markets. However, the firm also expects it to be used in new or refreshed healthcare applications, as well as on college campuses. The large chevron planks measure 91/4”x591/4” and offer Roppe’s standard 28 mil high-performance wearlayer. Chevron also comes with C-shield protection, making it easy to maintain.

Flashcove Prefabricated Bases, a division of Roppe Holding Company, previewed its products in the Roppe space. Flashcove Bases offer a tighter radius, eliminating gaps with their concise fit. They are designed, literally, to fill in the gaps where site-formed bases are weakest and prone to punctures, compromising hygiene. Flashcove is guaranteed to be puncture-proof for life.

Karndean previewed the Korlok collection, a rigid core locking LVT inspired by North American and European woods. Korlok, available to the market this month, will include 12 colors in a 9”x56” format. Korlok’s technology features Välinge’s 5G drop and lock system, and its waterproof K-Core technology is designed to offer superior dimensional stability in installations over imperfect subfloors. It also meets the ASTM test for indentation resistance. Korlok’s pre-attached foam backing has an IIC rating of 62. The product is finished with Karndean K-Guard+ surface protection system, a hygienic and durable finish.

Now in its second year at NeoCon, Six Degrees came to the show with a new heavy commercial collection called Compass, and each style within the collection is named after a U.S. city, highlighting how all of the brand’s LVT products are made in the USA. Compass has a 48-color palette, and thanks to its 28 mil ceramic-reinforced urethane wearlayer, it offers a 20-year warranty.

Six Degrees is a Roppe Holding Company brand focused on selling quality LVT products. All of the brand products are produced in Fostoria, Ohio in partnership with Nox Corporation, a global market leader in the LVT sector. Based in South Korea, Nox was the first Asian producer of LVT to build a plant in the U.S.

This was Earthwerks’ second trip to NeoCon to promote its commercial quality products. Its WPC products all come with a standard 30-year commercial wear limited warranty, and they are available in 18 SKUs in 30 colorways, primarily wood looks. The WPC products, which feature a core made of composite material with PVC, are completely waterproof, making them suitable for high humidity and wet environments. In addition, the rigid core of Earthwerks’ WPC products hides subfloor imperfections.

Earthwerks has new folders for designers that combine three different products of the same quality into a single folder. Each folder has binding labels that show all the information about the products, simplifying the selection process for designers.

Lonseal is celebrating its 45th year of producing vinyl sheet flooring. This year at NeoCon, Lonseal featured three tailored, classic products. The first is Lonspec, a classic speckle design with a beautiful, refined visual. The look feels current due to its ultra small scale and the refreshing nine-color palette. A budget-friendly product, Lonspec is ideal for corridors and can offer an alternative where there is a tight VCT-level budget.

Lonmoire combines a subtle wood grain pattern with fine wavy lines. A new embossing overlay helps create the effect of moiré fabric, a watermarked silk with a horizontal texture. Available in six natural colors, Lonmoire has a refined, upscale appearance. Its target markets include corporate and healthcare.

Londeck Sol is an exterior product with a pebbly texture that started as flooring for pontoon boats. Londeck Sol reduces heat absorption and is available in four neutral colors.

Florida Tile previewed new products to be launched following the show. The Wexford glazed porcelain collection is being offered in four sizes to allow for a variety of patterns in its burlap fabric-look, geometric mosaic tile with Microban technology. While Wexford looks heavily textured, the tile surface is surprisingly smooth with only a hint of texture, making for a very low maintenance product. The product comes in multiple rectified formats and five classic colors: Linen, Muslin, Burlap, Wool and Tweed.

A second collection, NY2LA color-body porcelain, inspired by contemporary design of New York and Los Angeles, offers up a six-color palette with high shade variation in a cement/plaster look to complete the urban aesthetic. The hand-created graphics are the product of layers of raw elements sanded and tinted repeatedly to achieve the desired affect. NY2LA is available a range of rectified formats, along with a new shape: a 21.5”x29.5” waterjet-cut polygonal shape.

Both Wexford and NY2LA meet the DCOF AcuTest requirements allowing them to be installed in wet areas. The tile surfaces also incorporate Microban’s antimicrobial technology.

Windmöller Flooring Products came to NeoCon for the first time this year to introduce the Wineo brand of organic flooring to the specified market. The company’s commercial product is called Purline, and 90% of its ingredients are rapidly renewable and natural. Similar to linoleum, the three main ingredients are bio-based: canola oil, castor oil and chalk. And similar to laminate, the decorative layer of the product is paper, and the wear surface is polyurethane.

Purline is made in Germany and distributed here in the U.S. by Mats Inc. The product was developed by Ulrich Windmöller, the son of Albert Windmöller, who started the Witex laminate business in 1978, first with furniture components, then with flooring in 1990.

Purline is sold in sheet, strip and square formats in a wide range of visuals and colors that gives the buyer over 80 different styles to choose from. The product is 2.5 mm thick, and it has a ten-year warranty.

Gerflor wasn’t at the Merchandise Mart this year, but since its U.S. headquarters is in Chicago, it decided to create a floating showroom on a chartered boat moored on Navy Pier and lure designers over by offering catered boat rides on Lake Michigan.

Gerflor is a 75-year-old Europe-based resilient flooring company with annual global sales of nearly $1 billion. Here in the U.S., its core market focus is healthcare, education, sports and transportation.

To add emphasis to the heritage of its two leading flooring brands, Mipolam and Taraflex-which were first developed 80 and 70 years ago, respectively-Gerflor is launching a giveaway sweepstakes called The Originals. Designers who register to win will be entered into a drawing for a trip to Paris to attend the Maison & Objet show or win other prizes, like a Montblanc pen or other fashion items that are iconic firsts in their category.

Gerflor also used this floating showroom to show prototypes of the new visuals that the firm is adding to its running line of LVT products.

DuChateau won a Silver Best of Neocon wall treatments award for its 3D solid wood wall coverings available in walnut or white oak. The line comes in numerous patterns, including chevrons, tresses and parallels. While most people associate DuChateau with hardwood, the firm also offers LVT products, and at NeoCon it showcased LuxCor, part of the Grand Collection, which features click installation and has an attached acoustical underlayment. This collection, which is embossed in register, is available in several natural wood tones in both 7” and 9” widths.

Tennessee-based StonePeak Ceramics came to the show with a handful of products, including Highland, a polished linear stone visual that comes in six neutrals and earth tones in three formats: 18”x36”, 9”x36” and 12”x24”. Also on display was Classic 2.0, an extension of its Classic collection with four new designs-Calacatta Oro, Bianco Carrara, Travertino Chiaro and Travertino Grigio-all available in either polished or honed finishes. The firm also showcased a glazed wall tile called Shadows in either matte or high gloss in a range of eight warm neutrals and earth tones from black and rich brown to a taupe, three greys, almond and white.

Concrete flooring has become a popular choice for many, but there are drawbacks associated with it-it’s hard, cold and loud. FloorFolio’s Fresco LVT collection offers the modern, stylish visual of a concrete floor without any of those issues. It comes in a plank format in eight neutral shades. Another great looking LVT collection showcased at NeoCon by the Edison, New Jersey manufacturer was Driftwood, which combines multiple rustic wood-look strips in different shades and widths into a single plank, and it comes in four colorways. The firm also unveiled the Maplewood collection of wood looks with a more contemporary flair. The plank size is wider, and the color palette is modern and clean.

Another new introduction from Floorfolio was EnviroQuiet II LVT, a new version of the firm’s patented EnviroQuiet, which is manufactured with an attached sound-reducing underlayment. It is still a glue-down product but does not require time for the product to acclimate to ideal job site conditions, offering instant installation access. EnviroQuiet II is a 3.2mm rigid LVT adhered to a 3mm acoustical backing. Standard options include an 8 mil wearlayer for residential and multifamily applications, and the commercial options feature a 22 mil wearlayer with a denser rubber backing suitable for high traffic areas.

Florim USA showcased several tile products launched earlier this year at Coverings, including Loft, a reclaimed, weathered wood look available in grey and white and also in a multicolor that combines three different woods into one tile design. Loft is available in 6”x26” and 9”x36” planks, along with a 24” square tangram-graphic-inspired style. Another Florim USA product at Neocon was Evolution, a natural stone look in either a polished or natural finish. Both of these collections come with accent pieces.

American Biltrite announced that two of its rubber flooring products, AB Pure and Marathon, have achieved Red List Free status as a part of the Living Building Challenge Declare program. The Declare label provides specifiers with information such as where the product comes from, what it’s made of, life expectancy and end-of-cycle destination.

Landmark Ceramics, part of the Concorde Group, presented six new lines that meet commercial specifications but are designed for both commercial and residential applications. July 1, 2017 will mark Landmark’s first year in production in the U.S.

DesignWork is a special project for the A&D community made up of Soul and Vision tiles. These collections can be mixed and matched to create a variety of design options. Both collections total 12 colors and share the same color palette. Soul has a fabric look, and Vision is a solid concrete-look tile.

True and Re-True are Landmark’s wood-look tile offerings. The True collection represents the more classic wood looks in three colors, while Re-True offers a distressed wood look in white, grey and multicolor-which has proven to be a very popular product.

In response to customer demand for its Charme marble-look matte-finished porcelain tiles introduced last year, Charme Lux marble-look tiles were created with a polished surface to offer a more sophisticated and elegant visual.

Rounding out the new collections is Trek, a stone-look tile. The subtle texture comes in five color options, offered in Landmark’s most popular size-12”x24”.

CBC Flooring previewed four new homogeneous vinyl tile products from its Toli brand: Arborpath, Kolurpath, Strataline and Terraline. The products, which will be launched in September, are ideal for high-traffic applications and are aimed at the healthcare, education and retail sectors. All four products, which are made of 50% post-industrial recycled content, can be used to help achieve multiple LEED credits.

Kolorpath, Strataline and Terraline come in 18”x18” oversized tiles in earthy and neutral tones drawn from nature, with names like Alabaster, Desert and Bedrock. The only color exception is Kolorpath. In addition to the earthy colorways, it offers Garnet, Alexandrite, Peridot and Lapis.

Arborpath comes in 6”x36” planks with four neutral and two dark wood looks. The larger format is designed to reduce the number of seams and creates a more contemporary look.

Flexco has received positive feedback on its new FreeFlex rubber tile that comes in different size offerings, giving it the ability to coordinate with other products like carpet tile and LVT. Flexco consulted designers to see where it could fill in the design gaps, and the result is a versatile tile that comes in three new rectangular sizes, along with three existing square formats.

Geodesy solid vinyl tile is Flexco’s new tone-on-tone speckled homogeneous vinyl tile that comes in 14 colors. The tiles can be heat-welded, no waxing is required, and the floor can also be dry buffed. Flexco also offers custom colors.

Tennessee-based Harris Wood, a division of QEP, showcased its new Wynwood Commercial Collection that was introduced in January 2017. While the collection boasts a commercial designation, it is intended for residential use as well, specifically in high-traffic areas. The new offerings come in a 5” width and boast eight colors in three species: maple, hickory and red oak. The engineered collection is designed with the characteristics of real wood planks and comes with a five-year commercial warranty.

Altro, which manufactures its LVT and sheet goods in the U.K. and Germany, came to NeoCon with several unique products, including sheet vinyl in a range of colors and designs across three performance levels, all with 28 mil wearlayers. Operatta is 2mm, Orchestra is a 2.85mm product featuring a thin cushioned backing, and Serenade is 3.9mm and features a foam backing for acoustical abatement and comfort underfoot. They all share several designs in common, though the widest range is in Orchestra.
At the end of 2015, the firm acquired Debolon, a German firm that gave Altro film print technology and enhanced sound technology, which the firm used to refresh and retool its Altro Wood line, which comes in the same three performance levels. Altro also offers LVT and quartz tile, along with its well-established safety and slip resistant flooring.

Shannon Specialty Floors introduced three new products to its Teknoflor series, all part of the new Teknoflor HPD collection of commercial resilient sheet flooring. The new Teknoflor HPD products, made of 100% virgin vinyl, are no-wax and no-buff, and come with a 12-year commercial warranty. All the HPD products offer the same 2.33mm thickness-except for Medscapes, which is 2mm-and the collections have coordinating colors so each style can stand alone or be combined for a more custom look. Forestscapes HPD is based on Forestscapes, one of its top-selling products. Based on market research, the firm selected the most popular 22 wood visuals. Urbanscapes HPD is a solid tone sheet vinyl available in ten SKUs. And Medscapes HPD is homogeneous sheet product with TekDefend incorporated into the wearlayer to help inhibit bacterial growth. It is available in both neutrals and subtle blues, greens and corals. The Medscapes HPD sheet is the first of its kind in the Shannon Specialty Floors product offering.

Sunbrella came to NeoCon this year with a collection of Dickson woven flooring made from finely woven phthalate-free PVC. The collection consists of six styles that range from subtle textures to linear designs to bold graphic patterns. Dickson is manufactured in France and has been sold through Summit for one year. Starting in 2018, Sunbrella plans to put more emphasis on its flooring business.

Divine Flooring, a hardwood producer based in Calgary, Alberta since 1998, opened its showroom on the ground floor of the Merchandise Mart four months ago-its first showroom in the U.S. The firm, which produces flooring through partnerships in both Canada and Asia, targets the higher end of the market with trendy hardwoods, mostly engineered, totaling about 250 SKUs. It also offers higher-end, embossed-in-register wood-look laminates and LVT, also in wood looks.

Notable collections include Cosmopolitan, a line of engineered white oaks, including pale visuals, a black high gloss called Vegas and a black matte called Gatsby. On the showroom floor was Charlie, a Cosmopolitan product with dramatic color range. The firm’s Louis XIV authentic French white oak collection comes in 6’ lengths in four colors, along with four matching Parquet de Versailles 311/2” squares. Orleans from the Louis XIV line was recently installed in the library at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., designed by BBGM.

Summit International Flooring partners with a range of global manufacturers in order to establish their brands in North America. This is the first year Summit has had a showroom at NeoCon. The space featured two of its partner brands, Object Carpet from Germany and Tuntex from China.

Of the two, Object Carpet is positioned as Summit’s luxury brand. The showroom featured Freestyle, a collection of six printed woven carpet tiles, including both graphic and subtle designs. With its extremely dense construction, Freestyle does not fray at the seams like typical flat carpet. This year, Object Carpet also introduced its Rug X program, with seven rugs available in three sizes, including a circle and two rectangular formats.

Tuntex typically manufactures carpet tile under private labels for other brands. At NeoCon, Tuntex introduced a full product line under its own brand. The Tuntex product line includes 71 patterns tufted of solution-dyed yarn, in a wide range of constructions and looks.

Summit International represents a wide variety of brands and surfaces, some of which include woven cotton and wool residential carpets from Van Besouw, Axminster carpet tiles from Calderdale, LVT from Arkit, wood look vinyl from Durawood, rooftop tiles from Edel Grass, Elegance recycled leather tiles and rubber gym and salon flooring.

Schluter Systems showcased Designbase, a finishing profile that works as an alternative to vinyl or rubber baseboards. It is available in anodized aluminum and brushed stainless steel, making it very durable and impact resistant.


GREEN@RETAIL
It is a consensus among the retail designers with whom we spoke that sustainability is no longer a trend but, essentially,e smart about the products we are specifying and stay engaged with the manufacturers on their roles to help with reduction of landfill use, or replanting trees, or using less plastics in their products. One planet, one life.”



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