NeoCon 2014: Review of the top Carpet and Hard Surface Intros

By Darius Helm, Heather Osteen, Maurie Welsh O'Neill, Ruth Simon McRae and Frank O'Neill

 

This year’s NeoCon show was strong and vibrant, and busier than in recent years, despite a fairly sluggish level of commercial business. The show featured plenty of color, a fair share of innovation and plenty of tools to make the job of specifying contract interiors easier for architects and designers. In the flooring category, while there was plenty of new design and innovation, there was also a lot of next-generation enhancements of existing products, design philosophies and installation techniques.

This year, attendance at NeoCon was up about 20% to nearly 50,000 visitors. And in that crowd were higher numbers of international visitors. Also, many design firms returned to the practice of bringing multiple team members. The commercial market may not be roaring right now, but there are strong signs in contracts and other forward-looking data that suggest the market will be strengthening as the year progresses. 

Two of the biggest trends at the show, unique installations and brighter colors, are both signs of a stronger market. Also, many of the carpet mills offered heavier, more luxurious carpet than in years past. 

The growth in luxury vinyl by both smaller players and large carpet mills is transforming the industry, and it’s also spurring green developments. These big carpet mills that are now producing vinyl have established and sophisticated green programs for their carpet—it’s part of their brand identity—so their vinyl must now face the same environmental scrutiny. And that is pushing the greening of vinyl flooring.

TRENDS AT THE SHOW
Shapes: The biggest flooring trend at this year’s NeoCon was shapes. Plank shapes have been trending, and firms like Shaw recently introduced hexagons, but at this show the concept of shapes exploded, led by firms like Patcraft, Tandus, Mannington, and long planks in both hard surface (USF Contract) and carpet (Tandus showcased planks 90” long). Sizes are also growing, with 36” and 48” squares popping up in hard surface flooring.

Creative Installation: All of these shapes are enabling a far wider range of installation options than ever before, like herringbone and boxed designs in both carpet and hard surface flooring like LVT and porcelain tile. 

Mixing Hard And Soft Surface: In the last couple of years, all the big mills have undergone significant transformations in their offerings, and suddenly there are four big manufacturers that have comprehensive hard and soft surface offerings—Shaw, Tarkett, Mohawk and Mannington. Both Beaulieu and J+J Flooring have also developed soft surface PET tiles, a hybrid of sorts, and Beaulieu also offers an LVT line.

These firms, eager to leverage their advantage as multi-category producers and to capitalize on LVT’s surging popularity, have quickly developed joint hard and soft surface collections, created complementary color lines and targeted new markets.

Luxury Vinyl: The biggest product trend is LVT. Now that the big manufacturers are all in the business, the category is poised for a series of transformations. For instance, manufacturers are already aggressively targeting markets where LVT is still small and their carpet has a strong position, like corporate. And those same big players are leading the market in design innovation as well, as they try to distinguish themselves from the smaller players, many of whom are already well established.

While the LVT from many of the big mills was in the business of redefining the product (Mohawk’s Why Y, Mannington’s Intersected and its custom LVT programs, Tandus Centiva’s Substrate, Patcraft’s Mixed Materials), most of the smaller mills are still entirely focused on hardwood looks, possibly because wood looks are still trending and these small players can’t afford to experiment in the face of all this new competition.

Flow And Dimensionality In Carpet: Flow was a big part of the carpet installations at this year’s show. Firms like Interface and Atlas offered flowing patterns that obscured the shapes of tiles and planks. Tandus’ FreeForm technology, allowing for all sorts of rectilinear shapes, also created installations with unexpected, dynamic flow. Switch by Totally Carpet was also interesting in terms of flow.

Then there was dimensionality, epitomized by Mohawk’s Breaking Form carpet tile collection. The fastest growing commercial market, senior living, is also just about the only market that absolutely avoids dimensional designs, and this may have been stifling creative expression—hence, the desire for more daring visuals.

Color: For the second year in a row, color has been a big part of NeoCon. This year, many of the carpet mills offered bright colors, often more to attract attention than to generate direct sales. Nevertheless, carpet mills like Tandus Centiva, Mohawk and J+J/Invision showed a lot of color, and they weren’t alone.

Certain colors cropped up a lot, like complex reds ranging from persimmon and cinnamon to more fiery hues, as well as softened blues and greens, and some oranges like tangerine, also softened.

Authenticity In Hard Surface Flooring: There’s a clear trend away from replication of natural looks toward abstractions of wood, stone, fabric and blended looks. Central to the trend is a sense of the designer or design process on the finished product. For instance, two cuts of stone on a single visual, wood looks that show signs of stone veining, or stone visuals that resemble textiles. Another good example is Johnsonite’s Minerality, a rubber tile with compelling stone-inspired visuals.

Trends In Healthcare: Floor Focus editors also studied the furniture producers at NeoCon to identify upcoming trends. For the healthcare markets, where wood looks are still a hot item, there is also a movement toward a carefully calibrated lighter tone. For instance, prints, including fairly bold and colorful florals, are making their way into healthcare upholstery, along with furniture that is light rather than heavy, for a less institutional and traditional look.

Trends In Corporate: Flexible collaborative space is more important than ever, and it is redefining concepts of public versus private. As paneled work spaces have been replaced by communal environments, private space has shifted scale. What’s trending now is high back chairs with side walls and sofas with similar backs or screens, creating nooks that are essentially privacy shells—smaller spaces than the cubicles and offices of old, in line with the shift from desktop computers to handheld devices. A trend within these more secluded spaces, where people can retreat and recharge, is an aesthetic that mixes casual and formal décor. 

These new spaces elevate the role of flooring, both as a fundamental design element (since flooring is so much more prominent in open spaces) and in a functional role in zoning and wayfinding. And sound-absorbing products like carpet are more important than ever in these corporate workspaces.

Micro-Trends: Area rugs are gaining interest in the commercial market, including corporate, where they are used to balance the workplace atmosphere with a casual, often folksy aesthetic (Haworth). Firms like Atlas and Masland are also focusing on their area rug programs.

Woven vinyl: This year there were four woven vinyl flooring producers at the show—Chilewich, Bolon, Dickson and Infinity Fabrics. It’s a unique look that manages to appear luxe and modernistic, yet at the same time it has a retro quality to it.

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS MULTICATEGORY MILLS
• When you compare and contrast Shaw Industries’ two contract commercial brands, Shaw Contract Group and Patcraft, the former is clearly maintaining its leadership position but it is also being challenged by its sister division. It is interesting to watch how the more established brand evolves—especially now that Patcraft is building momentum with its own brand. 

This year, Shaw Contract continued its string of accolades by winning Best of Neocon Awards, for the thirteenth year in a row, winning a Gold award in the Healthcare Flooring category and a Silver award in the Modular Carpet category. It’s also worth noting that all of Shaw Contract’s modular introductions this year were formatted as squares, while a prevailing trend at this year’s show was floorcovering in the form of strips and rectangles—a trend that Shaw Contract helped to initiate with the introduction of 18x36 at NeoCon three years ago.

This year’s standout introduction in the modular carpet category was Design Journey, which was inspired by a 12-day trip by Shaw’s design team into Cambodia and Laos. While in southeast Asia, the group traveled out to rural villages and studied the craft culture of weaving silk. The collection included products grouped into two themes, Novice and Master, for a total of eight patterns and 15 colorways. And while the inspiration follows the theme of “handmade,” Shaw uses the latest computerized Colorpoint tufting technology from Card Monroe to convey the message. Also noteworthy is the fact that this new product is heavier in construction—with face weights that average 38 to 40 ounces per yard. 

The healthcare collection, Collective Time, has both modular and broadloom patterns inspired by the human body’s circadian rhythms—based on visuals from the design team’s Fitbit health and exercise tracking program. The three modular patterns are Activity, Unwind and Rest, and the two broadloom patterns are Dusk and Dawn. And to complete the theme, the color line is divided into AM and PM shades.

A third carpet collection that deserves mention is Flight, which features several large scale patterns that are designed to work in public space environments, like airport terminals. In addition to its durable loop construction, it has varied textures that can be used for wayfinding purposes.

This year, Shaw Contract Group’s hard surface LVT presentation was moved off the eighth floor and incorporated into the group’s tenth floor showroom. The two featured LVT products—Pigment and Grain—were designed by Reesie Duncan’s design team. Grain is a subtle wood pattern with 22 colors, four of which have a metallic sheen, and Pigment comes in 12 near-solid colors, some of which are bright. Both of these products come in a 7”x48” inch strip format with a click locking system for rapid installation.

• Walking into the Patcraft showroom, visitors were surrounded by the entire Mixed Materials Collection. Each quadrant of the open showroom was decorated with creative installations of the coordinated carpet and resilient package, each area flowing visually into the next. The winner of a NeoCon Gold award for Modular Carpet, Mixed Materials is a stunning collection of soft tweed textures in carpet tile, combined with wood-style planks and near metallic solids in resilient. 

The collection is basically a kit of parts that includes both square and “facet” shapes that fit together. The textural Optix, Fabrix and Geometrix make up the carpet grouping, with a common palette of 12 colors. Resilient products include nine colors in wood planks and ten in the Metallix offering. 

Patcraft offers two rectangular sizes, 24” square and 12” x 24”, along with the innovative facet shapes. Based on a rhomboid, the facet shape was created to work in parallel with existing flooring shapes; it is available in two sizes, one with 24” sides and one that is half size, with 12” and 24” dimensions. A key aspect of this collection is that both carpet and resilient have identical thicknesses, allowing the products to be installed without the use of transition strips. Color Choice creates the organizing palette of 24 colors and is also available in the new facet shape.

The trend in interior architecture of designing collaborative spaces drove the development of Mixed Materials. Creative Director Pam Rainey explained, “We were inspired by designers and end users who need the ability to transition flooring in collaborative work and learning spaces. By using resilient and carpet tile without limitations, designers are liberated to create visual cues that better allow for the learning, creating, healing, selling and collaborating that take place in open environments.” Design was also influenced by the current trend of mixing different interior materials of all types in unique and surprising combinations.

A second attractive and usable LVT collection, Typography, was shown in an adjoining space. It is composed of three coordinated styles; Letterpress, the map-like Charted and Typeface, a tiny texture that has the look of old style linotype.

• Johnsonite, one of Tarkett’s commercial brands, came out with a whole new approach to visuals in its rubber flooring with Minerality, which looks like a combination of wood and stone. What makes this so significant is that, as ceramic tile and LVT producers move from wood and stone replication (which anyone can do) to stylized blends of wood, stone, leather, concrete or textile, essentially showcasing creativity, Johnsonite is joining the trend from the opposite direction, since rubber, like linoleum and VCT, does not have a printed visual and therefore cannot come close to creating real wood or stone looks.

Minerality comes in tile and plank formats (12”x12”, 12”x24” and 24”x24”) and no two designs are alike. And it can be custom colored, further adding to its design potential.

Johnsonite also introduced GemStone to its solid vinyl tile offering. With its finely crackled surface and its metallic and pearlescent chips, GemStone is reminiscent of luxury terrazzo. It’s a high performance, low maintenance product that can be specified in heavy commercial traffic areas, and it comes in 12 visuals—six neutral field colors with either metallic chips or translucent glass-like chips.

Johnsonite also showcased a pigment-free linoleum called Natural Clay, which is cradle to cradle certified (Gold with its acrylic finish and Silver with its polyurethane coating). And for its compression molded rubber tiles, it added three textures: leather, rustic concrete and brushed.

• Tandus Centiva, Tarkett’s other commercial brand, makes both LVT and carpet. It won a NeoCon Gold in the Hard Surface category with Substrate, with an open, loose grid of yarn lines inspired by the scrim in carpet tile backings. The line comes in brights and neutrals, including a black. 

The firm also introduced NuGrain, a collection of planks in a stylized wood design. NuGrain comes in a handful of neutrals, including a grey and a dry medium brown, and it also comes in a saturated red, a vibrant blue and a black.

On the carpet side, the firm introduced FreeForm acoustical Powerbond panels reinforced with the firm’s Flex-Aire technology. FreeForm is designed for installation without adhesive, making it well suited to the trend toward flexible office space.

On the showroom floor, a FreeForm display that included 9”x90” panels—though there’s no limit to the different sizes that can be cut from the 6’ wide product—showcased a new collection called Interconnected. The collection, which uses Antron nylon 6,6, is available in both carpet tile and Powerbond six-foot goods. And the larger pattern from which tiles and planks are cut features a shifting pattern across its width—including structured striations in paired grooves, accent bands and a dynamic irregular linear using space-dyed yarns—and along its length, with the overall striated design shifting to a medium-scale geometric pattern.

Also new was the Code series, a soft design of subtly shifting blocks that looks like a close-up of pixelation. The carpet tile collection features both brights and neutrals, as well as transition tiles that gently shift from one to the other.

Also noteworthy was a woven broadloom called CrossWeave that comes in two designs, Replay and Reprise, in a palette of greys. The precision striated pattern is enhanced with the use of both space-dyed and solution-dyed Dynex nylon 6 yarns, mixing matte and high luster. And Thin Lines is a collection of three designs that experiment with mixing neutral fields with vividly colored lines that run at angles to form various geometrical shapes. The collection includes High Fidelity, a vividly striped product that acts as a bold transition between designs. Thin Lines uses Aquafil’s Econyl recycled nylon fiber, with 50% of its content from post-consumer nylon.

• Mohawk Group came to NeoCon with a wide range of highly patterned commercial broadloom and carpet tile, and it also introduced a substantial luxury vinyl program. 

In carpet, the firm introduced Breaking Form, a carpet tile collection created in collaboration with industrial designer Mac Stopa, founder of Massive Design. What stands out about Breaking Form, which comes in 12”x36” planks in three designs, is the dimensionality of its designs and the strength of movement within them. 

For instance, Hexagonal Infusion features a design of linearly elongated hexagons, with darkened shifts across the width that represent the three-dimensional perspective of angled hexagonal tiles. Because there’s essentially no repeat in the tiles, a wide variety in movement and appearance comes from the installation itself, and even more options can be achieved through herringbone installations and other plank designs. In Spherical Infusion, the hexagon design is rounded and softened, but the shifts, rather than linear, skew in different directions and also subtly change scale, as though seen through a carnival mirror. And Dotted Infusion, a smaller scale design, features similar pattern shifts. The collection, which uses the firm’s DuraColor nylon 6, comes in three brights (orange-red, blue and green colorways) and six neutrals, including three greys.

Mohawk also unveiled New Vintage, another DuraColor 12”x36” carpet tile line. New Vintage is a complex, layered look inspired by the trend of overdyed antique handmade rugs. It comes in two designs. Reawakened is a linear design of striations that shift from foreground to field across an organic pattern. And Rediscovered is focused on shifts between geometric, organic and botanical designs. When installed, its shifting visuals look like sections of old rugs patched together and overdyed. The collection comes in 15 colorways, including about ten neutrals and a handful of brights.

Mohawk’s Karastan returned to its roots with a woven broadloom collection from Lauren Rottet, the well known interior architect. Simply Tailored offers the crisp ribbing and small-scale patterning that only woven carpet can achieve. The designs include a pin dot tweed, a structured medium scale geometric, and a more delicate design of etched horizontal and vertical lines over a ribbed field.

Mohawk Group used NeoCon to showcase its first full launch of luxury vinyl—six styles for a total of 115 SKUs. The program included a line by Mac Stopa, who created the Breaking Form carpet tile. The collection is called Why Y, and the answer is that it’s a shape that can be combined in several different ways to create a wide range of patterns with all sorts of different movement. The 18” square tiles feature a modified Y shape, carefully designed to lend itself to various installation orientations, over a field pattern of small scale intersecting lines. The bold design currently comes in several colorations, including white on black, black on white, red on grey and grey on grey. The tiles feature a base using soy-based plasticizers for bio-based content up to 24%.

The firm also came out with another LVT called Hot & Heavy, featuring 9”x59” planks and 36”x36” tiles. The planks are wood looks with a textured surface, and the tiles feature a concrete look, and both are designed for loose lay installation. The products are 5mm thick and feature 59% recycled content (37% post-industrial and 22% post-consumer).

• Mannington’s showroom drew big crowds with edgy new collections from both its carpet and resilient offerings. In the last decade or so, the firm’s team has also built a strong design reputation for fresh looks by creating a variety of wonderful collaborative collections with designers from across the country. This year was no exception.

Designer Mary Bledsoe from the Lauckgroup in Austin presented Stylist, a fashion-inspired tile and broadloom collection of classic textile looks with a unique twist. There are eight patterns, which include nubby tweeds, linen weave grids, cabled stripes, mohairs and sweatery knitted looks, all subtly overlaid with an organic patterning created by tip shearing (engineered on the Infinity tufting machine). The effect is a smoky, random motif that sweeps across the floor, which not only adds personality but also integrates the overall design.

Stylist has 12 colorways, mostly classic neutrals, with a sprinkling of some new brighter blues, greens and fuchsia. This luxurious collection (up to 55 ounces) is targeted to corporate, upper end retail and boutique hotels, with a reasonable installed price, ranging from about $38 to $42.

Also new and exciting: Mannington’s latest Collaborative Collection from its Design Local program. The firm’s team asked 18 designers from Seattle, Philadelphia and Nashville to photograph inspiring local visuals around their respective cities and translate them into carpet tile patterns. The results are three interesting linear, grid and organic variations, based on architectural, natural and detailed surface elements in striking 18”x36” planks that work in any number of random formats.

Against the Grain, another new carpet plank collection, translates wood visuals into carpet. The collection features four dramatic large-scale random patterns based on rough hewn wood, primarily in rich earth tones and neutrals, but the showroom display was in a fun fuchsia, which showed the versatility of the pattern.

From Mannington’s Amtico line: Intersected, one of the most interesting LVT intros at the show, features a dramatic combo of bold 36” square preassembled tiles with sharply defined diagonal patterning in an elegantly low gloss, textile-like surface that resembles fine suede. There are eight different patterns and the tiles can be arranged in any number of random designs. The diagonal cuts are highlighted by inlaid feature strips with a metallic look, and the lovely sleek surface is protected by a factory finish. The line, designed in collaboration with Corgan Associates, will launch early next year.

SOFT SURFACE SPECIALISTS
• Interface Flooring truly marches to the beat of its own drum. Case in point: Human Nature, the firm’s latest carpet tile collection. Human Nature is not only one of the most striking tile collections we saw at NeoCon 2014, it’s a lush 30-ounce weight, at a time when most tiles are 20 ounces or less.

When designer David Oakey created Human Nature, his intent was to make a carpet surface that not only mimicked the many textures of the earth—sandy beaches, pebbles in a stream, fresh cut grass—but also drew inspiration from manmade surfaces, such as stone and wood flooring. Then he put all his creations in five 25cm x 1m planks (which translates to approximately 10”x39”). Motifs on the five planks include multi-textured, multi-toned greys and neutrals inspired by slate, shale, limestone, nickel and flint. The final plank is a solid shag texture in a range of today’s trendy brights that works great as an accent or border. The result: a field day for designers who want to create an endless variety of looks and textures on their floors.

Not only is Human Nature a unique design concept, but it also has an impressive sustainability story: it’s made with 100% recycled nylon yarn from Aquafil. While recycled content traditionally comes from used carpet, one of the waste streams in the 10th gauge Aquafil yarn comes from fishing nets recovered in the Philippines and Cameroon. A few years ago, inspired by Aquafil’s reuse of commercial fishing nets to make nylon fiber, Miriam Turner, who works in Interface’s European sustainability group, developed the idea of recovering some of the thousands and thousands of fishing nets that become caught on reefs every year. Today, working with the Zoological Society of London, a group of fishing communities is learning how to collect and bale these nets for return to Aquafil for recycling. The expanding project has not only collected many tons of destructive fishnet, but has also has provided much-needed income for thousands of poor people.

• Atlas Carpet Mills always draws attention at NeoCon because of its reputation for distinctive high-end designs, and this year it moved down to the tenth floor closer to the other Dixie Group brands. Being part of Dixie (Dixie acquired Atlas four months ago) comes with certain advantages, like bringing carpet tile production in-house and consolidating West Coast dyehouse operations. Atlas, already equipped with extensive specialized equipment to create its sophisticated textures and patterns, recently added to its arsenal with new CMC machines.

This year the firm came out with five new collections, all using Antron Legacy nylon 6,6, fiber. One of the most captivating was Botaniche, a collection of patterned broadloom and tile with such precise textural definition that it looks carved. The collection uses true cut and loop construction to create six looks, one of which is an organic design with an even, velvety cut pile surface and a distressed look from random lower loop patterns. Another is an intricate debossed botanical design, also with hints of antiquity, and yet another uses lush cut pile textures to create complex but largely linear banding patterns, fractured here and there for a timeworn feel.

The Terra Nuovo collection has an entirely different feel, with none of the carved looks of Botaniche and instead focusing more on the play of colors and textures. It also comes in carpet tile and broadloom, and it features five tip-sheared patterns. The collection, which is inspired by the colors, textures and shades of everything from ancient cities to abstract art, includes a design that evokes stained stone and another that looks like the primitive art version of a grid.

• This year Aquafil USA won the Gold award in Carpet Fiber with Econyl, and the firm felt that the award validated the value of this innovative and sustainable product to the design community. The amount of post-consumer recycled content in Econyl, currently at 50%, is determined by waste material available, not by technical constraints. The process is also third party certified.

Aquafil works in collaboration with the Healthy Seas Initiative, which funds charter boats and purchases tanks of oxygen in order to retrieve the fishing nets from both open seas and fish farms. The divers involved donate their time. The Healthy Seas Initiative was originally formed by three companies—the Aquafil Group, ECNC Land & Sea Group, and Star Sock—and continues to grow. In the U.S., Interface has joined the collaborative. In addition, the Net-Works program, which pays subsistence fishing communities for the used nets reclaimed from reefs, channels the recycled nets to Aquafil for depolymerization to make new nylon 6 fiber.

Another exciting development is the upcoming expansion of Aquafil USA’s Cartersville, Georgia production facilities, adding the capability to shear “fluff” or face fiber from carpet. This will provide mills that already have reclamation in place with an outlet for the recycling of their used carpet. After purchasing the used carpet from the mills, the face fiber will be sheared at the new facility in Cartersville, and then shipped to Slovenia to be converted into caprolactam and made into nylon chips. The nylon will be returned to Georgia and extruded into carpet fiber. The move will add capacity to U.S. operations for a total of 35 million pounds a year of processed yarn. Extrusion capacity will expand 50% to a total of 50 million pounds a year.

Examples of new products using the full range of Aquafil fibers were displayed in the large windows ringing the showroom, including diverse styles from Interface, Milliken, Tandus, Desso, Northwest and others.

• Bentley Mills is continuing its journey to recapture the magic and allure historically associated with the Bentley brand, now that it’s no longer an Interface division. In addition to shoring up its brand promise, the product line is being broadened to include appropriate carpet for the flooring needs of the whole building. The expanded portfolio offers a broader range of price points as well.

Bentley’s feature at NeoCon this year, the New Bohemian Collection, was quasi-autobiographical as it celebrated the journey back to its roots. The firm looked at a range of nomadic cultures, asking the question: for a traveling people, what are the materials that they would want to pack up and move with them? Which materials would ground them? The answer to that question was memories, heirlooms, vintage materials that have a story to tell. On the practical (contract interiors) side, this trend dovetails into the desire for a warmer, more grounded and balanced environment by corporations and high tech companies.

Overall, the products have a distressed aged look, with a lovely ebb and flow between the patterns when they are used together. Troubadour has a soft, intermittent linear visual. Wanderlust looks like a scratched tabletop, with pieces of letters and shapes etched in. And Vagabond has the most literal reference to the Bohemian theme, with deconstructed floral and decorative elements. Although the color featured both in Bentley’s Mart showroom and print ads has a psychedelic feel with bold shades of purple, the full color line is rich and sophisticated, neutral and highly useable. New Bohemia is created with solution-dyed Antron Lumena. 

The Light Play Collection, on the opposite end of the design spectrum from New Bohemian, was designed in collaboration with architect Robert A.M. Stern, within a coordinated collection of carpet tile and upholstery for the CD Stinson line. The two design teams worked in tandem to coordinate pattern and color between the two materials. Light Play, inspired by the play of light and shadow on architectural elements, has a stunning and dramatic visual that is at the same time very quiet, with soft squares that appear to be glowing with light from different angles. Both collections are offered in 18” x 36” planks and 24” square tile.

• There are many exciting developments at Masland, including product collections and a new partnership with European mill Desso. On the hospitality front, the two companies are jointly going to market with Masland carpet for rooms and Desso woven products for public space. On the contract side, the two companies have a distribution agreement that adds Desso’s carpet tiles to Masland’s sales portfolio, offering the market additional products with a European low-density tailored aesthetic.

These contract products have some unique characteristics, such as the AirMaster system and LED Master carpet. Desso’s Air-Master products incorporate a unique scrubber yarn that cleans the air by trapping soil and keep it from becoming airborne. 

Another technical achievement, LED Master carpet by Desso (co-developed by Phillips) is a product that lights up from below due to its patented translucent backing design. This innovation was listed in one key survey as the “coolest product at NeoCon that went quietly under the radar.”

Separately, Masland introduced three major product groupings. Under the universal platform of the Speak collection, Articulate, the next generation of a group of products started by Jhane Bharnes, features blocks of color flow from neutrals to pops of color, with an overlay of a perforated grid design. Pep Talk, Lingo and Inside Scoop round out this collection with plank shapes and square tiles built to work together. 

The Milestone Collection for senior living includes six products of different scales, four of which are available in tile. This collection includes designs with the subdued look of Chinese textiles, subtly colored. Although all are tufted of solution-dyed yarns—key for a senior living facility—their complex thread-ups soften the visual and simulate the look of a soft space dye. These products should also successfully cross over into the hospitality market.

The Street Level Series is an interesting collection of walk-off tiles, with four styles: Positive Traction, a planted stripe; Get a Grip, a more typical quarter-turned texture; the abstract geometric, Rough Around the Edges; and Rough & Tumble, a design created by circular rings.

Masland’s area rug program is unique to the industry, with luscious textures. Elevate, a standard program of featured rug textures displayed in a simple box, is being introduced specifically for flooring contractors to use as area rugs in conjunction with hard surface floors. 

• J+J/Invision’s showroom was a huge change from years past, with the entire main space colorfully devoted to its new product collection, Bespoke. Within the space, the wall display resembled a giant bespoke stripe, with columns of varying sizes and colors—some running line and some custom colors, such as the pink, for accent. It was a very effective space where the visitor could actually see and understand the product. A give-away drawing for some beautiful vintage telephones added a fun activity.

The Bespoke collection consists of three products with an overall boucle-like texture: Seville, a tweedy, dimensional texture that creates a subtle tiny plaid, in both tile and broadloom; Trivero, a thick ribbed construction offered in broadloom only; and Kowloon, named for the district in Hong Kong known for bespoke tailoring. All are piece dyed products with an unusual yarn—the natural yarn pops with light and dark accents, giving the color a different appearance based on the contrast between field and accent colors. 

The focus on this collection underlines Invision’s belief that the corporate market is coming back, and that there is demand and use for higher end product.

A second new product introduction, Inception, was visible in an open conference room to the side of the showroom. Inception is a plank product built of thin stripes; it has a subtle color flow and an iridescent shimmer, created with both color and luster contrast. 

• Next door, J+J/Kinetex also showed a concise new product offering with the Counterbalance Collection. Constructed of knitted polyester fabric and cushioned polyester felt backing, the hybrid Kinetex structure is an extremely durable material that still has a warm look and feel.

Propel offers a tweed-like visual, a heather base created by combination colors in knitted yarn construction. These yarns then create the larger knitted structure, looking like thick and thin “yarns” woven into a highly dimensional twill pattern. 

Propel is offered in eight neutral colors, while Pop, a similar structure, comes in eight accent colors. And Flash combines the Propel base with one thin accent stripe from the Pop color palette. Kinetex is low and dense, and it feels as if it would wear like iron. Key end-use markets for this product type are education and healthcare, with increasing interest coming from the corporate sector.

• Last year, Bolyu introduced its Level category of hybrid flooring tiles with Svelte, and this year it added a companion product, Monogram. Where the original Svelte line is made up of 14 colors, about half neutral and half brights, Monogram takes the neutral palette and literally stitches over it with accent colors, creating an appealing textile-like structure. Both products are non-wovens, using PET fiber, which has 70% recycled content and is fully recyclable. Interestingly, Bolyu is introducing a line extension called Svelte Unbacked, for wall covering application.

Bolyu is providing continuity and design flexibility to the product line with The Brights, a core palette of bright colors that cross over into Svelte, in addition to accent colors within all of its new products. 

Intermix is a striking style featuring a gradient pinstripe effect with glowing colors. In addition to its rich visual, another interesting aspect of this style is that it uses various colors of reclaimed yarn for the highlight colors. Yarns are mixed through a proprietary randomized fiber manufacturing process, making each tile unique in color. 

Bolyu also featured two new styles: Inner Circle, a design of interlocking circles with a shadow effect; and High Line, a rectilinear geometric design that resembles its namesake. Both are multi-dimensional and piece dyed, and are offered in tile and broadloom.

Suit and Tie, another new carpet tile offering, is simple and elegant—two tailored carpet tile styles with a woven wool aesthetic. Suit is the more basic and tweedy of the two, while Tie punctuates the neutral field with pinstripes of a single accent color. Fluid and Fractured round out Bolyu’s tile product introductions with coordinated designs inspired by the pixelated images seen on a computer screen. 

• Chilewich is one of the more unique players in the commercial floorcovering world. The New York company makes woven vinyl sheet and tile floorcoverings, wallcoverings and a variety of other woven vinyl products for commercial projects, spas and fitness centers, casinos, hotels, restaurants, schools and retail stores worldwide.

At NeoCon 2014, Chilewich introduced two new flooring styles, both based on textile looks. Stripe, which is aptly named, is a multicolored stripe pattern using nine related colors. The line is offered in three color families: earth tones (Earth); multibrights (Gemstone); and grey tones with a touch of metallic (Silver Grey) It comes in both 18” square tiles and sheets, which can be staggered for a random stripe effect. Also new, Reed is a refined mini-weave that combines actual metallic threads with greys and neutrals for a trendy textile look on the floor. It resembles a closely woven, hip chambray often seen in upholstery, and it comes in six colors, ranging from taupes and deep browns to steely greys.

• California-based PacifiCrest, which is part of Royalty Carpet Mills, is in the process of rounding out its product line with a range of nature-inspired textures and a cohesive color palette. This nimble boutique mill, which hasn’t been to NeoCon in eight years, has come back with new vitality after having made major investments in its infrastructure under the new leadership of Andrea Greenleaf. And while PacifiCrest serves multiple markets, its core focus is the corporate market. Fast turnaround and dexterity with customs also position PacifiCrest well for the hospitality market.

Designer Julie Baird was inspired by “hot nature”—specifically Devils Postpile, a national monument in the Sierra Nevada range that is made of cooled basalt lava—as she explored texture for the new styles, Molten, Lava and Ember. The Ultron Ombre yarns with dark, medium and light tones support the gradient visual and highly tactile effect. 

A new core palette was shown, which will become a toolbox for working with PacifiCrest’s entire product offering. The sample vehicle showcases a 72-color line with four textures, including a 42-ounce cut pile, a ribbed loop, a sisal-look tip shear and a lush 60-ounce tip-sheared loop. The color line is comprehensive and usable with rich warm and cool neutrals as well as a fresh range of accent colors.

Also previewed were six new textures, Café Royal, Oxford and Mayfair compose a prismatic over-dye grouping, while Theory, Hypothesis and Axiom make up a low weight value package with maximum color and luster.

• Universal Fibers’ booth on the eighth floor was colorful, exciting and, more importantly, full of designers. Designed by Gensler Chicago Brand Studio, Universal’s space won Best of Show in the large booth space category. Titled “Create Your Own Palette,” Universal provided hundreds of inspirational photos and a color wall full of samples from the Universal 2.0 color palette. Designers put together small groupings of color across the walls, which were shared via social media.

The Universal 2.0 color palette was also recently refreshed. In the color rationalization process, which drew input from partner mills across the globe, some redundancies have been removed and gaps in color space have been eliminated, though existing customer colors are always available. Universal is looking to incorporate additional colors to meet requirements for end-use segments such as hospitality and the growing senior living market.

A new development on the fiber side is the recent agreement with DuPont to extrude the Sorona fiber under the product name Rise. “Customers are excited about the color breadth that will be available with Rise,“ commented Joe Parry, marketing director for the Universal team. Rise will begin with a palette of 50 core colors; proprietary colors may be added for specific mills. The color bank will top out at 120 colors.

• Milliken won the NeoCon Silver broadloom award this year with its Dissemblage collection, a distinctive coarsely woven carpet that is overprinted with large and small scale patterns. Due to the 3D construction of the substrate, these patterns reveal themselves differently depending on where you are standing on the product. The yarn used in the ribbed woven flatweave construction is recycled Econyl nylon 6 from Aquafil. The dark on dark patterns that come and go, coupled with the ribbed textured surface, work together to make this product one of the standout introductions at NeoCon this year.

Milliken’s flooring business continues to evolve now that Jim McCallum has taken the helm. Just prior to NeoCon, Jim hired Bob Hutchison and appointed him vice president of product design. Hutchison was McCallum’s lead product guy first at Lees and then at Mohawk, so it will be interesting to see what they come up with as they collaborate at Milliken. 

• Bolon, a high-end Swedish textile manufacturer created in 1949, is a predominantly commercial company, focusing on the retail and hospitality sectors. The firm started after World War II in Stockholm, Sweden as the Bolon sisters’ grandparents re-purposed textile waste into rag rugs to sell. Today, Bolon makes woven vinyl flooring, and as of this year, has announced that all of its flooring will be 100% phthalate-free.

Bolon introduced a new line called Silence, so named because it is intended to create a sense of quiet, with its deeply texturized patterns playing up its 3D appearance in the light. The Silence line comes in rolls, tiles and planks. The Create line was also on display, with light-reflecting qualities that create patterns in an optical illusion effect, offered in rolls in ten colors and tiles in five colors. The firm’s Now line includes vibrant, bright colors, and the three most popular are Carnation, Tangerine, and Cerulean—the firm can’t keep them on the shelves, and explains that in fashion as well as in design, those three colors are trendy right now. 

• Totally Carpet celebrated its first anniversary with a range of new products at NeoCon. The firm is the latest venture by Bob Weiner, who also formed Harbinger, Prince Street and Constantine and is well known in the industry as much for his designs as for his innovative technologies. His latest patented technology, T3, which stands for Total Transition Technology, allows for carpet patterns to be changed right in the tufting process, so a solid piece of broadloom transitions mid-stream into another product. 

For instance, on the showroom floor Totally Carpet installed a new design called Switch that transitions from a Bargello flame stitch motif (called Giant) to a smaller scale zigzig pattern (Riata) to a more subdued striated design (Rock). According to Weiner, “Not only can T3 echo the same color or pattern themes in different patterns in the same room or suite, but also throughout the entire project.”

Switch also uses the firm’s Cortex technology, which twists and heatsets multiple solution-dyed yarns, resulting in broader color ranges and denser carpet construction.

Totally Carpet came out with several other new designs at NeoCon, including Brilliance, a broadloom and carpet tile collection highlighted by its organic texture. The collection, ranging from 52 to 56 ounces, is made up of Brilliance, Herringbone and Plaid, and it comes in 18 colorways.

• Avant is a relatively new brand under the Dixie Group umbrella, led in collaboration with industry veteran Dave Caples. The products are designed with interior architecture in mind; each group is made up of building blocks that have multiple ways to function in a space. The system includes planks as well as two sizes of square tiles, which will all work together.

Eos, named for the Greek goddess of dawn, is the standout product. An elegant horizontal striae texture mixing yarn of different luster levels, Eos creates an unusual visual on the floor. When mixed together, the planks and tiles create a complex color tonality, due to intentional variations in pile lay.

The Stijl collection was inspired by architect Tadeo Ando’s work. Designer Angie English explained, “Ando is a Japanese architect whose work is clean, stark, yet lets the light in. We tried to capture the look of raw concrete with light flowing over it, creating a glowing effect.” Products in Stijl are Glitz (12” x 36” plank) and Glow (24” square). Glimmer is a coordinating style incorporating a large-scale curved architectural grid overlay, with shading and modulation within the curved grid that one would expect to be bold and dominant but instead is subtle and workable.

Entourage, a solid color tip-sheared loop, ties all products together and is available in 40 colors that have a sparkle effect from mixed fiber lusters. Entourage is offered in both 24” and 12” square tiles. All products are piece-dyed Invista fiber.

Other new products include Miter, a style with an ombre effect that references wood inlays in furniture; Nouve, the “little black dress” of the product line; and the Boardwalk collection. Boardwalk is made of two styles: Strut, a thin plank look with a 3D effect that mimics the curl of old barn wood planks; and Stroll, a thinner, bamboo-inspired texture. 

• Dickson, a two-year-old producer of woven vinyl flooring, made its NeoCon debut with a range of tile and sheet goods. Dickson’s flooring is manufactured in France and stocked in Georgia, and it offers about 30 SKUs in several woven constructions and in mostly neutral colorways, with an emphasis on earth tones. 

The products feature a PVC acoustical foam backing. Rolls are 6’7” wide and tiles are 20”x20”. According to the firm, its Frayguard technology, with woven vinyl wrapped around a monofilament and the woven layer fused to the first backing layer, minimizes the fraying that can occur when woven vinyl flooring is cut for installation.

• DuPont was at the show to talk about its various programs, including its Sorona polymer, which is heavily used in the residential market by Mohawk as SmartStrand. It hasn’t gained a lot of traction in the commercial market so far, though the firm has a number of licenses, including one with Pharr Yarns and another with Universal Fibers. Universal recently came out with Rise featuring DuPont Sorona, with an initial offering of 50 solution-dyed colors.

DuPont also has partnerships with mills in Europe and Asia, including China’s Voxflor. Its product was used in the construction of the Shanghai offices of Glumac, an engineering services firm. The project was designed by Gensler, and it is the first LEED v4 certified new building in Asia, and it’s also the first Living Building Challenge new building in the region.

• Representatives from Zeftron were visiting customers and watching trends at NeoCon along with the rest of the industry, and they had some of their own developments to report. Zeftron is currently expanding the resources targeted for the hospitality market and is bringing on new field marketing representatives in key cities where hospitality projects are on the rise, such as New York and Dallas. In conjunction with growing the marketing staff, Zeftron’s color palette is being once again upgraded in order to accommodate additional bright, metallic and neutral colors needed for hospitality projects.

• Infinity Fabrics was one of at least four firms showcasing woven vinyl products. The firm, which is headquartered in Dalton, Georgia, serves not only the commercial and residential markets, but also the recreational vehicle and marine markets with a range of woven vinyl products. This year, the firm introduced a line of woven vinyl floor tiles in a range of complex, dynamic designs. Infinity also touts the green qualities of its woven vinyl products, including long lifecycle, its percentage of non-petroleum-based content (57%) and its thermoplastic properties, enabling it to be recycled.

HARD SURFACE SPECIALISTS
• Crossville, which is now the second largest porcelain tile manufacturer in the commercial market, had its new website on display and set up for exploration. The site is designed to meet the needs of the A&D community with tools like high-resolution photos and case studies about the products. The firm also featured a new line in its Americano collection called Basalt, made to look like hardened magma, textured with a subtle sheen. Basalt comes in three sizes and five colors. 

Yin + Yang, part of Crossville’s Design Solutions collection, will be released in July, and is inspired by Eastern art’s representations of balance and harmony. Yin + Yang, a low key natural stone look, is offered in eight different styles, with names like Koi Pond and Tea Garden to emphasize its Eastern influence. Each style has a unique pattern and color, including a warm mottled beige, a linear sandstone look, a quiet white marble and a moody charcoal. Despite the contrasts in color and design, the styles are designed to work together, balancing each other—hence, the name of the collection. Yin + Yang can be used as an interior floor tile or for wall tile applications.

• Designers who visited the Forbo Flooring Systems booth at NeoCon this year discovered that with floorcovering the modular look works as well in hard surface as it does in soft surface. To accentuate this, Marmoleum’s new Modular collection comes in a 10” x 20” plank format in addition to two square formats. The new rectangular shape opens the door for inspiring patterns that extend beyond checkerboards into layouts that include chevron, basketweave, brick and herringbone patterns. And when you add the 44 colors, the design options expand even more.

With all the recent hype on LVT flooring, it’s interesting to hear Forbo’s Marmoleum message, especially given the firm’s perspective from manufacturing both linoleum and vinyl flooring products. Forbo, which commands roughly 85% of the linoleum business here in the U.S., continues to preach the durable, natural, sustainable and hygienic (naturally antimicrobial) bio-based message of linoleum floorcovering.

Forbo has also chosen to update the graphics and colors in its Flotex line of cushion-backed, water-impervious, textile floorcovering products. Flotex is now available in two new collections, Cirrus and Stratus, featuring modern graphics.

• Roppe came out with the Health & Learning collection of vinyl tile and rubber tile and tread. What makes the tone-on-tone design unique is that Roppe successfully matched the colors and gloss levels between the vinyl and rubber. This is a big problem solver for designers doing projects requiring both vinyl and rubber, who in the past have had to hunt around among manufacturers for products that are close in color. 

The 15 colors—including earth tones from deep brown to pale wheat, two blues, a red, a green and an orange—were carefully selected to maximize the options of designers and work well with trending colors. The 12”x24” tiles feature a 28 mil wearlayer.

• Imola came to the show with eight new porcelain tile collections for both floor and wall across its three brands—Imola, LaFaenza and Leonardo. For the floor, new products include Imola’s Creative Concrete, in five neutral colors and sizes including 12”x24” and squares up to 36”x36”, and even a hexagon. New to Leonardo this year are Hidden and Word Up, both for floor and wall, and under the LaFaenza brand are Lamiera and Lastra. 

The firm also showcased a great looking wall tile called Cento Per Cento under the Imola brand, with soft pillowed bevels and a high gloss finish that should be loud but instead feels lush and warm. It’s also available in a matte finish, and it comes in ten colors including soft neutrals and some higher chroma hues like aquamarine, yellow and purple.

• Florim USA showed at NeoCon for the first time this year, and its introductions included a 6x36” wood look called Pier. The glazed porcelain design comes in four colors: an off-white grey, a pale brown and two medium browns.

The firm also came out with a new format, 18”x36”, for Stratos, its vein-cut travertine look. And it came out with a new travertine design, a blend of cross-cut and vein-cut looks within each box, in a range of sizes. All of Florim’s products were low gloss.

• Finland based Upofloor, which was acquired by the Kährs Group two years ago, came to NeoCon this year as part of its new approach to U.S. business, which includes going direct to market. Before this year, Upofloor was private labeled in North America.

One of the things that makes Upofloor unique is that it offers resilient products that are PVC free; they’re made of polyolefin. On display at the booth was its line of Xpression polyolefin luxury planks and tiles, featuring mostly wood looks with bold graining. 

The surface of the product features an infused wearlayer of a material equivalent to Surlyn, the polymer used to coat golf balls. Xpressions comes in 7”x48” planks and 20”x20” tiles in a total of 29 styles.

The firm also showcased Zero, a homogeneous polyolefin sheet product that offers high performance and comes in 52 colors, also featuring the Surlyn-like surface.

• Metroflor was decidedly in celebration mode, as it launched Aspecta, a 100-SKU LVT line that includes 50 wood looks and 50 stone and tile looks. This is the first dedicated commercial LVT line the firm has created from the ground up. Metroflor worked with two designers on the line, including Judy Wolgast for the stone and tile visuals and Robert Langstaff for the wood looks. 

Metroflor Corporation was given NSF/ANSI 332 Platinum Certification on its Aspecta line, a cradle to grave assessment of product sustainability. Platinum is the highest of the four levels available. 

• Daltile, along with the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) announced the winner of the 3rd annual Daltile Interior Design Scholarship. This scholarship awards a grand prize of $10,000 to a student to continue their education in the field of interior design. This year’s grand prize winner was Jessica Sapinoso. The theme of this year’s contest was “Operation Renovation,” which challenged students to transform an outdated space of their choice into a high functioning environment. Entries were judged on functional design, aesthetic design and the creative use of Daltile products. Three additional students were awarded scholarships in the amount of $2,500 dollars and ten merit winners received $1,000 scholarships.

• LVT producer Karndean is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. In the U.K., where the firm was founded, it’s more of a household name, and Karndean hopes to generate similar attention in the U.S. with its three showrooms in Pittsburgh, Dallas and Vegas. Its products are used in both residential and commercial. 

The firm’s booth was set up in four sections, each one a different pattern created with six LVT lines to create effects that showcased the design ability of the products. The products displayed included a loose-lay LVT named Country Oak; Terra, a stone look product; Black Oak Parquet from the Art Select line; Vintage Pine; Opus Vita, a stone inspired tile; Grano Wood, a gray tone wood look tile; Atra Wood, with a dark wood look; and Art Select’s Cajun Maple.

• Parterre’s booth was striking, with its new LVT line, Vertu, in a muted gray on the floor, accented by bright red foot stools and red roses on a white coffee table. The firm was focused on creating a scene that exemplified the simple beauty of using a neutral foundation for color accents. A Jackson Pollock-esque painting combining neutrals and primary colors against a white canvas tied the vignette together. 

• CBC Flooring was at the show, discussing its new messaging and brand positioning. The firm recently brought Kim Lombardozzi on board as its sustainability manager as CBC focuses on transparency and sustainability. The firm’s goals include achieving HPDs first, followed by EPDs. CBC is also uploading its products into the Green Wizard database for the A&D community, offering a sort and find technology for projects. A new line of Sequoia, one of the firm’s PVC-free lines, made with reclaimed PET, is launching around the third quarter of this year.

• American Biltrite showcased new resilient programs at NeoCon, including Sonata LVT and Stonescape composition tile. The Sonata line comes in 36 colors and is made for high traffic commercial areas in a larger format, 6”x48”. The Stonescape line is mineral based with recycled glass and is VOC- and PVC-free polyolefin composition tile, available in four color families, including neutrals, transitions—which incorporate color chips into the neutral shades—chromatics and brights. The Stonescape line is used in the K-12, higher education and healthcare sectors. The firm also revisited the way samples are displayed, with larger sample sizes to show colors and textures.

• Continent and Maltese were two new entry-level collections being shown by Florida Tile. Both products feature 40% recycled content and are produced and stocked at the firm’s Kentucky operation. Maltese is a sleek minimalistic limestone look available in natural earthy colors. Another new collection from Florida Tile is Tides, a high definition porcelain. Tides has the look of vein-cut travertine and is available in natural, realistic travertine colors as well as in modern color combinations that would not actually be found in nature, giving designers contemporary choices in a classic pattern. Both Maltese and Tides are available in both floor and wall tiles and have coordinating decorative accent pieces. 

• StonePeak had several new products, all made in its factory in Crossville, Tennessee. The Area 3D collection, a through-body porcelain available in six contemporary colors and three sizes, has a minimalistic, modern look and comes in either a polished or honed finish. The City 2.0 collection has a contemporary look, almost like a textured cement. It is available in three sizes—24”x48”, 12”x 48” and 8”x48”. Adding to the contemporary flair of the City 2.0 collection are three coordinating porcelain art murals for wall application. StonePeak’s Palazzo collection is a modern take on an Old World look. Available in three colors, the tiles have a worn look with some distress on the edges, and the coordinating accent pieces are replicas from Italian palazzos. 

• LSI Floors’ had a booth resembling a beach, with LVT floor tiles that imitated the waves and undulations of sand. The Beach line is a new addition to the LSI Imagination series, which seeks to offer genuine creativity and whimsy—along with performance—to a space. Beach is offered in 24” squares in either a glue-down or loose-lay format.

LSI specializes in utilizing high-quality photography of real-life scenes to create an eclectic, fun floor space. Other tiles on display, all from the Imagination collection, included Ice, which imitated the look of a hockey rink after a game; Pacific Water, echoing the ocean; and River Rock.

• Lonseal came to the show with a new sheet vinyl collection called Londante Topseal, featuring a small-scale intricate design of random intersecting etched lines reminiscent of handmade paper. The line comes in seven colors, including neutrals like an antiqued white, a medium grey and a light earth tone, along with a pale, dusty blue, a ruddy orange, an earthy green and a burgundy. Topseal refers to the firm’s proprietary urethane finish designed to protect the floor and reduce maintenance.

• USF Contract won the Silver award in Hard Surface Flooring this year for new Stratum XL locking luxury vinyl tile. The firm had on display the Stratum XL line, the XL referring to its 9”x72” size, along with Stratum ELV (engineered luxury vinyl). Both Stratum products can be installed right out of the box—no acclimation time necessary. 

The Stratum products have a waterproof core made of recycled wood, bamboo dust, limestone and virgin PVC. The product also offers great sound reduction and reduces air quality issues with its glueless locking installation. 

The firm was also displaying Brio EL, a bamboo floor with a high-density fiberboard, or HDF, core. The core allows the bamboo to keep its stability in extremely dry climates. Brio EL is offered in six different styles, including some handscraped options. Opus, also a bamboo, comes in a plank with eight color options, or a strip with two color options, for more installation possibilities. The firm has also recently added two new finishes to its Cork Décor line, which won Best of NeoCon in 2013.

• FreeFit Floors introduced two new LVT products including Intaglio RW, a barnwood look in five wood colors, and Rectangulo, a marble or stone look, in seven colors, ranging from light and dark neutrals to terra cotta and red shades. All of FreeFit’s LVT is made of 100% virgin vinyl. 

The firm was also showcasing its Gecko tape, which adheres the loose lay flooring on the wall side only—according to the firm, the rest of the tiles don’t require any sort of adhesive. It developed the tape in response to a need for a straight wall for its loose-lay surfaces.

• Spain’s Apavisa Porcelanico had a space at Neocon to showcase some of its latest collections. Metal 2.0 is a contemporary look mimicking the appearance of weathered and oxidized metal in rustic green, grey-white and industrial brown in large format tiles and variety of planks sizes. Apavisa also displayed its Hydraulic collection, a modern interpretation of a historical look. The collection was inspired by the patterned cement tile manufacturing developed in the south of France in the mid 19th century. The Hydraulic Patchwork series has 27 different patterns in neutral colorways. There is also Hydraulic Black, Grey and Blue, each of which features a single pattern in the specific colorways.

• Raised access flooring manufacturer Tate unveiled its new Tate Signatures line. Thanks to a new base structure, the firm is now able to produce custom high-end finishes on raised access flooring in different sizes, making it possible to create raised flooring with ceramic or wood. In the past, if a space required raised access flooring and designers wanted to combine that with another flooring surface, it would mean that once the raised flooring was installed a contractor would have to come along and install a substrate and the other flooring structure so that the floor would all be on the same level. Now, Tate has the capability to custom create different high end flooring types in variable sizes on raised access, which eliminates the need for the additional contractor and also gives access to the space below. 

• DuChateau was featuring its Vintage Remains hardwood collection at Neocon 2014. The eight-color collection looks like antique timbers full of texture and character. The collection features hard wax oil finish. The firm also showcased its LVT line, designed to closely resemble its hardwood offering.

Copyright 2014 Floor Focus 


Related Topics:Roppe, American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), Crossville, Mohawk Industries, Florim USA, Coverings, Parterre Flooring Systems, Stonepeak Ceramics, Interface, Rottet Studio, Karastan, Beaulieu International Group, The Dixie Group, Mannington Mills, Metroflor Luxury Vinyl Tile, Daltile, Tarkett, Shaw Industries Group, Inc., Masland Carpets & Rugs