NeoCon 2023: This year’s commercial show had plenty to offer in design and innovation, but there were fewer exhibiting flooring brands - July 2023

By Darius Helm and Jennifer Bardoner

Flooring producers introduced a slew of new design directions and colorways at this year’s NeoCon, the biggest stage for commercial interior design, and there was also plenty of innovation, including a growing number of resilient and hybrid products that are PVC-free, high performance and more green than ever. And it seemed that just about everything offered, particularly by the big mills, was carbon-neutral, using carbon credits to close the gap.

The permanent showroom floors (3, 10 and 11) of Chicago’s Merchandise Mart Plaza (The Mart), which are dominated by office furnishings, textiles and about half a dozen remaining flooring firms, focused mostly on the modern workspace with new design directions and colorways as the industry tries to figure out how to make these commercial spaces appealing and effective environments that will draw people back to the workplace. The seventh floor, which houses temporary exhibits, was filled with smaller vendors covering all types of interior products-altogether too many chairs-and there were also some key flooring players exhibiting there, including AHF Products, Novalis’ Ava and Välinge’s Bjelin. Mohawk is now the only firm on the third floor, and the tenth floor is now only Shaw Contract, Patcraft and Mannington. On the 11th are Aquafil and HMTX.

A decade ago, at NeoCon 2013, Floor Focus covered 37 firms, and that wasn’t even all of them. This year, there were less than a dozen flooring firms exhibiting in the hallowed halls of The Mart, and beyond that, there were two that are Mart-adjacent (Interface and Bentley) and two with showrooms in the Fulton Market area (J+J Flooring and Tarkett), which is over a mile to the west, on the other side of the river. A handful of others made arrangements to show their products through other businesses or in rented spaces, often right around The Mart.

None of the medium-sized and smaller firms that showcased their products on the seventh floor in recent years were present at The Mart-firms like Roppe, Karndean, Crossville, Lonseal, Kährs, Chilewich, Flexco, American Biltrite, Florida Tile, Universal Fibers and Ascend, to name just a few. The math simply does not seem to be working for these and many other firms that are otherwise healthy and successful. For major players like Shaw Contract, whose showroom is busy year-round, the equation makes sense.

Fulton Market has been growing quickly, creating a mini design neighborhood in Chicago. It has an eclectic vibe, kind of like Manhattan’s meat-packing district but more gentrified. Fulton was also originally a meat-packing district, and its transformation into a trendy locus of entertainment and design is largely due to Google moving into the neighborhood in 2015. Various showrooms are scattered around the 74-acre district, including Allsteel, Herman Miller, Knoll, Tarkett, J+J Flooring and Teknion. And to further attract businesses to the area during the NeoCon show dates, it also has pop-ups. HBF Textiles and Humanscale were among the firms that did pop-ups in Fulton Market this year.

The showrooms are large and filled with natural light, and they’re column-free with tall ceilings, but they’re also very spread out. In the time it takes to visit, say, five showrooms in Fulton, you could walk through 15 or 20 at The Mart, or visit every booth on the seventh floor. In fact, not only was there a shuttle between The Mart and Fulton Market, but there was also another mini-shuttle just to help folks get around Fulton Market itself. It’s not small. And if it’s raining, you’re going to get wet.

Ultimately, Fulton works better for single-site visits than for tours of what’s new in commercial interior design. Specifiers who want to get a comprehensive sense of what the market has to offer will have to adjust to a more measured pace and may not be able to see the full extent of it in just a couple of days. It will get a lot more interesting if dozens more firms make the switch, but it still won’t be able to offer what The Mart offers, continuous lines of showrooms, one after another, floor after floor after floor.

Despite the dearth of flooring firms, The Mart was still bustling this year with over 50,000 design industry professionals in attendance. The NeoCon presentation center was busy all three days with keynotes from several industry leaders, including Michael Ford, also known as the Hip Hop Architect, who created an award-winning collection for Shaw Contract that debuted at NeoCon, and Amy Webb, founder and CEO of the Future Today Institute.

WORKPLACE OUTLOOK
While suppliers aim to offer products that work well in various commercial environments, there was a lot of discussion this year around workplace as the world adjusts to life after the pandemic.
“Cultura started with internal conversations about, ‘How do we get people back to the office?’” said Shaw Contract marketing director Natalie Jones, referencing one of the company’s new releases. “We recognized that a lot of our clients were having the same conversation.”

As employers and designers work to distill what Mannington Commercial marketing vice president Cindy Kaufman refers to as ROC-return on commute-the hospitality sector is becoming a greater source of inspiration.

“We are seeing hospitality in office,” reported Interface director of product and learning experience Mindy O’Gara. “I think part of what is going to draw people back is that change of venue. When they come back, they want these destinations to feel inviting and invigorating. Bringing in an experience can do that, whatever that experience may be.”

Many manufacturers chose to draw inspiration from the American Southwest for their new releases, though the interpretations felt different. Some, like Interface, debuted dramatic patterns that could just as easily be transferred to a hotel lobby. Others, like Shaw Contract, opted for more familiar designs that could’ve been pulled from a residential living room, though it is worth noting that Shaw’s Cultura collection won the HiP Award for Hospitality Flooring, further blurring the lines between segments as started by the resimercial design trend.

Other companies turned to more luxe offerings, with Mannington, Bentley Mills, J+J and others debuting wool rug collections. 

“You would think with the current economic uncertainty, people would be driving down prices, but it’s almost like luxe is more needed to pull people back to the commercial space,” said Bentley vice president of sales Brian Ostrow.

And the increasing concentration of hard surface in such environments, along with new floorplans that favor flexible open spaces, has led to a proliferation in the use of area rugs. In addition to helping zone for a variety of uses and provide a comfortable environment, rugs also aid with sound control.

Vicki deVuono, vice president of product and marketing for Bentley, noted the relative cost versus impact a wool rug provides compared to, say, furniture. And rugs allow spaces to be easily changed out and updated in the future without a major investment.

TRENDS AT THE SHOW
Mid-century modern remains the driving aesthetic in the commercial market, particularly in the corporate workplace. It’s been a major design influence for several years, and it continues to be relevant because it suits the modern sensibility and the resimercial and hospitality influences. It’s stripped down, it’s quiet, it favors wood over metal. But today’s sensibilities also require energy, so there’s a dynamism in the design, generally conveyed through textiles and flooring-it’s kinetic mid-century modern. The furniture, lighting and casegoods are static, and the flooring brings energy and movement.

There was little in the way of rustic, rough-hewn or industrial aesthetics. Everything looks finished, purposeful. Even the luxe trend we’re seeing right now is so much more restrained and balanced than the luxe trends of old. There’s no appetite for excess.

In terms of workplace design, there were a lot of curves, especially in terms of configurable serpentine seating. The corporate environment is all about zones-quiet spaces, collaborative spaces, workstations-but modular elements like moveable partitions allow for spaces to be easily reconfigured.

When it comes to colors, including for flooring, a lot of what was on display revolved around sandy beige colorways, complex and patterned rather than monolithic, calling to mind rocky shorelines rather than expanses of beach. Organic designs were everywhere, in a range of expressions: mountains, shorelines, forests. Two firms, Mohawk Group and HMTX, were all about fungi and mycelium.

Field colors were warm but not that warm-pattern colors and accents added the heat. While there were still plenty of blues and greens, hotter hues like terra cotta were a clear trend, along with some dusty olive and sage colors.

Carpet designs were largely organic, but constrained by subtle pattern, conveying structure and dynamism. Luxe elements were conveyed more through metallic yarns or the use of wool than through lush, chunky constructions. Multilevel loop constructions were generally tight and precise. And this contrasted greatly with the area rugs, which came in every shape and size and color and were either handmade or had handmade looks and were frequently wool, often with a range of textures in a single rug. Rugs were the most luxurious floorcovering elements at this year’s show.

LVT designs were more expressive than ever. While there were still plenty of wood looks, manufacturers also introduced compelling stone visuals, terrazzo looks, textile designs, abstracts and even patterning reminiscent of carpet.

BEST OF NEOCON AWARDS
Carpet-Broadloom
Gold: Mohawk Group’s Mycotopia
Silver: Shaw Contract’s Cultura

Carpet-Modular
Gold: Shaw Contract’s Cultura
Silver & Innovation: Patcraft’s Material Edit Soft Surface

Carpet-Area Rugs
Gold & Innovation: Shaw Contract’s Mike Ford +
Shaw Contract
Silver: Shaw Contract’s Cultura

Hard Surface Flooring-Vinyl/LVT
Gold & Sustainability: Mohawk Group’s Taking Root
Silver: Shaw Contract’s Cultura LVT
Innovation: Patcraft’s Material Edit Hard Surface

Hard Surface Flooring-Natural Materials
Silver: Bjelin’s Hardened Wood

Specialty Flooring
Sustainability: HMTX’s Mycelium collection of SRP

Healthcare: Flooring
Silver & Sustainability: Shaw Contract’s Dappled Light

NEOCON HIGHLIGHTS
Shaw Contract dominated the Best of NeoCon awards, with its new Cultura collection garnering four of the company’s seven honors. Inspired by the culture of Oaxaca, Mexico and internal conversations around the importance of building culture in the workplace-be it corporate, education, healthcare or retail, said marketing director Natalie Jones-the collection features abstract Southwestern designs in a warm and inviting color palette of rich earth tones. Comprising broadloom, carpet tile, area rugs and resilient flooring, the collection seeks to mimic the cozy atmosphere of home, furthering the ongoing resimercial trend.

However, as such conversations and spaces evolve following the Covid-19 pandemic, it was interesting to note the divergent approaches that emerged at this year’s show as employers seek ways to lure people back to, particularly, office environments.

Shaw’s collaboration with “hip hop architect” Michael Ford was distinct among the new releases across The Mart. Emanating the urban influences of America’s hip hop subculture, the bold designs earned the collection the Best of NeoCon Innovation award for soft surface flooring, in addition to Gold in the area rug category. Hovering between genres, the visuals felt fresh yet familiar, again tying the viewer to the people-centric inspiration, a seemingly wider-spread theme that perhaps marks an emerging influence in the quest to create spaces that foster a sense of connectedness.

A portion of the proceeds from sales of the Michael Ford + Shaw Contract collection will be donated to Ford’s Hip Hop Architecture Camp for underrepresented youth, and Jones said showroom visitors were drawn to the messaging, as well as the designs.

Shaw also debuted a bio-based resilient line made of rapeseed and castor oils harvested from fill-in crops (as opposed to food supply). Designed in partnership with healthcare specialist Eric Koffler, Dappled Light offers both tile and sheet options meant to not only promote healing through their warm, biophilic designs, but also be more efficient on the front end. The product’s organic finish will stand up to harsh cleaning agents, requires no waxing and is extremely lightfast. Additionally, the tile format’s size, 20”x40”, allows for minimal waste, since most corridors are 8’ wide.

The theme at this year’s Mohawk Group showroom on the third floor of The Mart was Emergent Thinking, relating to the grown world, built world and meta world. The designs inspired by the grown world in the Above and Below carpet tile collection, in this case by mushrooms and mycelia, stood out on the show floor. The “above” (mushroom) concept, MycoBiome, is an organic large-scale design of flaring patterns strewn across the face, reminiscent of the gills on the underside of mushroom caps. The style comes in dynamic earthy neutrals with subtle infusions of accent colors. The “below” (mycelium) design, Biotope, is an organic design anchored by occasional thin lines rising and falling across its length and elevated by scattered spots of accents.

Also part of the fungal theme was Mycotopia, a carpet collection introduced at HD Expo, which won a Best of NeoCon Gold award in the broadloom category. The sample on the show floor, created using the firm’s Definity technology, is a riveting dimensional design of mushroom-related visuals expressed in different scales and points of view.

The firm also showcased some alluring LVT designs, including the Taking Root collection of three styles, which won a Best of NeoCon Gold in the LVT category. Transfiguration and Mycotexture (with a pattern arrayed in crisp banding) focus on fungi forms, and Zone Lines is a fashion-forward interpretation of spalted maple, with colorways that range from earthy to soft and smoky blues and greens to charcoal.

Wild Dyer, which won an Environmental Impact HiP award, is a carpet tile collection with a neutral, linear-organic design in a bouclé texture that, up close, reveals some unexpected highlights like oranges and blues, celebrating the dyes that are derived from mushrooms.

Mohawk Group also previewed Chromatic Cadence, a richly colored carpet tile line using the firm’s proprietary PDI digital printing technology.

This year, Mohawk continued its collaboration with ArtLifting, a nonprofit that promotes artists with disabilities. This time around, the selected artists-Lindsay Holcomb, Laria Saunders, Michael Van Huffel, Connie Avery and Yvette-created works inspired by Mohawk’s design that were displayed on a showroom wall.

Delivering on clients’ request for color, Mannington Commercial’s New Composition collection won the HiP award for education/government/institutional flooring. Its broad color palette offers 12 color options plus six neutrals, including richer jewel tones that remain invigorating but become approachable in the multicolor constructions, anchored by greys.

The broad range of colors makes matching school or brand colors fairly easy, but director of commercial design Roby Isaac-who brought home the HiP award for creative director in the manufacturer category-said the collection was designed with even more versatility in mind. “How we make spaces that don’t feel cold and sterile is through color,” he said.

The three-look collection was inspired by the abstract art of Wassily Kandinsky and creates unexpected geometrics when combined in scale. Available as broadloom carpet tile, it is made of solution-dyed 6,6 nylon and is 100% recyclable. Additionally, Mannington Commercial announced last summer that all of its products moving forward would be 105% carbon offset from cradle to gate, and the company’s new marketing vice president, Cindy Kaufman, noted that it is partnering with the Appalachian Carbon Exchange to do so.

Similar to the focus on color to create inviting spaces, there was also a trend toward luxe touches through some of Mannington’s other new releases, in order to entice people back into communal environments. “The thing we heard over and over from all our customers, whether in healthcare, workplace or otherwise, is the idea of hospitality and the warm, welcoming spaces they want to create,” said Isaac. However, he noted, “Resimercial is not going anywhere.”

The Captivate collection features undyed and hand-tufted 100% New Zealand wool rugs and broadloom in eight neutral colors and two styles: one that capitalizes on the material’s organic texture, and a subtly striated companion.

Meanwhile, the Natural Optimist collection of LVT incorporates a low-key pearlescence that gives the Gemma design an almost abalone effect, amplified by its seashell-reminiscent aesthetic. Its abstract visual stood out amid the wood and terrazzo looks.

Patcraft took home several awards at this year’s show, including NeoCon Silver and Innovation awards in carpet tile and an Innovation award in LVT for its Material Edit hard and soft surface collection. The LVT also won a HiP award for workplace hard surface flooring, and an additional HiP award for health and wellness flooring went to the Meaning II, EcoSystem collection.

According to the Patcraft team in the tenth-floor showroom, the biggest hit was the LVT in Material Edit, which was on the floor as you entered the space. Designed by Patcraft’s Erin Helm, it comes in a wood design called Woodtone, a stone look called Kiln with a small-scale linear texture running across its width, and Curved, which has both looks on every plank, transitioning from one look to the other in crisp and precise quarter curves. And it’s that transition design that elevates the whole collection, creating a Bauhaus feel across the floor.

The carpet tile collection, which comes in five styles, is a “multi-priced solution with a tiered approach,” according to the firm. It’s inspired by the reflections on ‘lost art’ by Patcraft’s Amanda Hopkins, who referenced various paint techniques to layer shapes and textures for the product designs. The showcase piece, Visionary, is a bold high-contrast pattern of geometrical shapes laid on each other in a random, non-linear design.

AHF Products came to NeoCon with a robust new portfolio, thanks largely to its acquisition of Armstrong Flooring assets a year ago. Its seventh-floor space at the show included three commercial brands-AHF Contract, Parterre and Armstrong Flooring-with the focus on Armstrong products.

One standout was Natralis, a high-performance homogeneous sheet vinyl that uses colored chips in an open, scattered pattern like a small-terrazzo and also features the small-scale fossilation visuals seen on rubber flooring, and it has a subtle textured embossing rather than a flat finish. The 2mm collection comes in both cool and warm neutral field colors, along with some richer hues like an earthy orange and soft smoky green, making Natralis a good fit for both healthcare and education applications.

The firm also came out with a refreshed Medintone 2mm homogeneous sheet in 31 new colorways. Medintone has a strong position in the healthcare market, particularly for sterile settings. In neutral colorways, the product looks almost like some sort of tumbled rock aggregate, but in the richer hues, of which there are many-including several soft greens and blues and a hot red-it resembles linoleum.

With the inclusion of Armstrong Flooring, AHF is now the leading VCT producer, and according to the firm, it can’t make enough to keep up, thanks in part to demand from educational facilities that switched out to LVT to reduce costs and found that, under the rigors of the environment, it quickly uglies out compared to VCT-and unlike VCT, a homogeneous product, the visual can’t be renewed.

The firm also came out with new LVT under the Armstrong Flooring brand, including a dynamic textile visual called Exchange that comes in both cool and warm neutrals and higher chroma colors. And it introduced a quick-ship LVT, Unify, that ships in ten days or less anywhere in the country with a 20,000-square-foot minimum.

Novalis’ commercial AVA brand hosted a temporary space on the seventh floor of The Mart for the fourth year. Focused on LVT, AVA has been building this sustainably focused global brand for 39 years. New for 2023 are chevron and herringbone styles that enable designers to create a distinctive wood tone visual in both gluedown and click formats for a wide range of applications. According to John Wu, CEO, demand within the commercial market remains steady, and the firm plans to exhibit at the BDNY show in New York in November.

HMTX landed its first-ever sustainability honor at the show, bringing home the Best of NeoCon award for sustainability in the Specialty Flooring group for its Mycelium collection. Composed of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) derived from recycled water bottles, and free of plasticizers and stabilizers, the collection represents a new category that the company has dubbed SRP.

The product features a PET top layer, a TPU core layer-the equivalent of just over two plastic bottles per square foot-and a cross-linked polyurethane foam back layer. A circular product, the flooring can be ground up and turned into new planks, and the company will offer a takeback program for installation waste and post-use material so that it can be transformed into TPU for new SRP flooring.

Ellie Priester, senior director of public affairs and brand strategy, said TPU is inherently stronger than vinyl, and the product has been proven to maintain its integrity through at least ten recycles. The Mycelium collection is offered in a rigid core format, but a homogenous sheet version is planned for later this year under HMTX’s Teknoflor brand.

The Mycelium collection features 20 digitally printed designs, drawing on its namesake for visuals that range from colored planks mottled with fungus to washed-out woodgrains that mimic fungus’s decomposition effect on the material. There are also interesting melds of wood and stone visuals in single planks.

HMTX CEO Harlan Stone expects to open up SRP for custom digital print designs, and, noting TPU’s “buttery” feel underfoot (the polymer is also used in sneakers and mattresses), he anticipates extending the platform to include residential flooring options in the future. The new SRP rigid core products’ price falls somewhere between traditional rigid core and PVC-free LVT, he reported.

Teknoflor introduced 40 new SKUs of sheet products geared at offering designers compelling non-wood visuals. “Post-Covid, people are craving color and dimension,” said senior vice president of sales Nicolette Grieco-Sweet.

Elevated Classics is a curated offering of some of Teknoflor’s top sellers, featuring textile-inspired designs, while Symphony represents the American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers’ top picks from a selection of patterned and woven looks the brand shared with them.

Aquafil held a press conference in its permanent showroom on the 11th floor of The Mart to highlight the development of a recycled nylon 6 filament especially formulated for 3D printers. Developed in partnership with Ultimaker, a Dutch-based manufacturer of 3D printers, the machinery heats and extrudes the recycled nylon filament into shapes designated by the printer to form art or prototype parts out of recycled nylon.

The floors within Aquafil’s showroom displayed colorful examples of carpets and rugs produced by Aquafil’s mill customers from around the world using Econyl, the firm’s 100% post-consumer recycled nylon 6. On hand for the show was Aquafil’s CEO and primary shareholder, Giulio Bonazzi.

Now that Invista has exited the market, Aquafil is the largest independent supplier of nylon to the carpet industry. Recognized as a leader in the circular economy, Aquafil released its 2022 sustainability report just prior to the show.

Bjelin, Välinge’s flooring brand, made its NeoCon debut this year to showcase its new commercial wood flooring line. The Hardened Wood program uses the firm’s Woodura technology, which essentially fuses a 0.6mm compressed wood veneer to a high-performance HDF core with a resin of melamine and wood dust that penetrates into the wood grain for an ultra-hard finish. According to the firm, the Class 33 finish on Bjelin’s products enables their use in “areas rated for heavy commercial use.”

The commercial offering, which features a thicker wearlayer, was introduced through three collections. Oak Nature is a rustic European white oak offering in six colors; Oak Select offers more refined European white oak looks, also in six colors; and Exclusive comprises white oak in darker, smoked colors, along with two light ashes and two darker walnuts. According to the firm, the walnut is in high demand because it’s a unique visual but too soft a wood for commercial applications, until now.

This was the second year for Küberit, the German transition and profile producer, to exhibit at NeoCon on the seventh floor. This year, the firm was debuting a versatile design “clip system” made up of a metal base track with three optional top systems: a reducer transition, an edge trim and a flat transition.

Küberit, which is sold exclusively here in the U.S. by Thomas Trissl’s TMT America, has been increasing its visibility among A&D specifiers and expanding its distribution base. This year, the firm started powder coating its profiles in Florence, Alabama to offer custom colors for its design customers. Küberit is the marketshare leader of profiles in Germany.

Schluter Systems showcased new pre-lit niches for showers in various sizes and shapes. These pre-fabricated components are made of Schluter’s Kerdi-Board and feature the firm’s Liprotec LED lighting. The niche sets have a “plug & play” technology, making them simple to install, and are available with either white or colored lighting.

BEYOND THE MART
Interface’s new Lost Palms collection, featuring nine carpet tile products across the Interface and Flor brands, is “monumental” for the company, said Mindy O’Gara, Interface’s director of product and learning experience. The collection features two different aesthetics: five foundational designs reminiscent of rock formations and meandering crevices, and four highly decorative patterns with an eclectic mid-century modern feel. Renowned industry designer David Oakey drew inspiration from the American Southwest, which O’Gara said is big in design right now, especially what she calls “the Palm Springs vibe.”

Most of the stone-inspired designs are overtly representative, offering a sense of movement and biophilia that O’Gara expects to work well in multiple environments. While she recognizes that the decorative complements may represent a more personal aesthetic, she said Flor’s residentially geared designs have become popular with Interface’s commercial customers. Additionally, incorporating different patterns and materials can help zone spaces, and “creating anchor destinations turns a space into a place,” which is much more important in the modern workplace, said O’Gara.

The foundational color scheme features a variety of greys, and the incorporated earth tones are subdued, a palette that both grounds and accentuates the designs. The products come in a range of formats, but the more abstract landscape visuals are 1m x 1m. All are tufted using solution-dyed nylon in a patterned loop that looks like cut pile.

Interface also debuted a new LVT line, Silk Complex, that offers a fresh visual for the category. Two of the three styles feature dappled metallic neutrals that offer gradience when paired. The other (Shantung) is subtly striated and airy, its 12 colors appearing like a muted rainbow when seen in tandem. O’Gara noted that she is seeing more of a hospitality feel in workplace environments as employers attempt to draw people back to the office.

The 4.5mm products contain 39% pre-consumer recycled material and are carbon neutral across their lifecycle through additional offsets. The Interface Design Studio can now help designers easily track embodied carbon for all of the company’s flooring products across a project.

Bentley Mills’ new Culinary collection bucks this year’s trend toward Southwestern influence, instead drawing inspiration from a chef’s creative process. This is especially evident in On the Block, which embodies the random hatch marks left on a cutting board. Though not biophilic-an overriding theme coming out of Covid-the dynamic print still manages to feel organic. It also feels familiar, linking the viewer to Bentley’s running-line patterns, as well as Culinary’s distinctly human inspiration.

While offering pops of color through plum, olive green and steel blue accents, the Culinary collection’s colorway is muted and predominantly neutral, in keeping with widespread trends; though, when seen in scale, the design can shift the overall palette to a bolder aesthetic. Metallic hints, another notable trend this year, enhance the dimensionality.

On the Block and Serve it Up, the latter of which offers a smaller-scale and more deliberate crosshatch pattern, can be specified as broadloom, as well as carpet tile. With offices subjected to less foot traffic these days, commercial strategy vice president Christi Hitch said higher-end broadloom is seeing an uptick in such environments. The collection uses nylon 6,6.

Later this year, Bentley plans to update its wool broadloom collection as people seek ways to lure employees back to the office. Soft launched earlier this year, Bentley’s Prima Vista bespoke handmade wool rug program has garnered widespread interest and specifications, said Hitch.

Tarkett’s Fulton Market showroom was devoted to its sprawling new Collaborative collection, led by Omoleye Simmons, who came on as vice president of design last September after a long tenure with Shaw. “In creating this collection, our goal was to celebrate hyper collaboration through cooperative artwork,” said Simmons. The design team collaboration included everything from brushing watercolor paint and layering paper to mark making, and there was a station in the showroom for visitors to do their own mark making on cards that were then displayed on the wall. The collection of carpet tile, Powerbond 6’ carpet and LVT, targeting the corporate segment, will launch in the fourth quarter of this year.

The showroom was divided into four vignettes with LVT on the floor and carpet as greige goods hanging like heavy throw rugs for a sumptuous tactile experience. Many of the products had a handcrafted look. The carpets were a range of organic designs. Create Balance, for instance, is a lush, nubby style with hints of grid patterns rising and falling across a textured organic field, and its matching Create Together LVT, which comes in several earthy hues, looks like a handmade pattern achieved through layering of tonal hues with palette knives.

Tarkett also came out with several other new collections, including two carpet additions to the Renewal series, Veiled Grove and Ebbing Waves, both nature-inspired designs that balance intricate details with a quiet overall vibe. And Event+, an LVT with Techtonic protection, comes in Woods, Stones and Abstracts in earthy and more saturated hues.

J+J Flooring debuted its new Fulton Market showroom with a raft of new collections in Kinetex, carpet tile, LVT and area rugs. The new Kinetex collection, Digital, is complex and eye-catching with strong color stories. “The pattern and overall design for Digital was inspired by the speed at which data is moving today,” said Marie Moore, design manager. The small-scale pattern has the look of digital camo. Kinetex, which is made of PET from the face to the backing, has a strong position in the education market, and is starting to see more penetration in the corporate and retail markets. Some of the more neutral colorways would work well in corporate applications.

The firm, which is part of Engineered Floors, also came out with some memorable LVTs, including an on-trend terrazzo look with an open grainy field randomly populated by ‘stone’ chips in both natural hues and medium-chroma colors like smoky blue and burnt orange.

However, the biggest surprise was the new rug program. J+J Rugs now offers a stock program and a custom offering made of hand-tufted New Zealand wool. The stock program, which also has some wool/nylon blends, offers seven 8”x10” styles in several color choices for an offering of 17 rugs. The custom program, which is all wool, comes in 67 patterns in custom colors and sizes. Colors are coordinated with the solution-dyed colors in J+J’s Encore nylon 6, and Pantone colors can also be used.

Historically rooted in engineered hardwood flooring for the residential market, Kährs is rolling out a new hybrid offering that marries the visual with a sustainability story, and U.S. residential division president and CCO Sean Brennan said such eco-friendly hybrid products will become a growing category for the company. In 2012, the Swedish manufacturer bought Upofloor, one of the leading providers of PVC-free resilient flooring, which opened up the commercial market for Kährs.

The new Aware collection utilizes natural fibers and cork for its core, which is topped with a direct-print wood visual and a Class 33-rated wearlayer. For dimensional stability, it features an HDF layer made, in part, from scrap wood. The cork backing, composed of material reclaimed from wine cork production, furthers the sustainability aspect, as well as the product’s performance, providing additional comfort and acoustic mitigation. The click-together wood-look planks-mostly midtone browns, which are re-entering the spotlight as color palettes warm up-are 100% PVC-free.

Brennan noted that many architects and designers, especially those on the West Coast, won’t add products to their library unless they’re PVC-free, and he expects that “will trickle across the rest of the country.”

Kährs also added new colors to its Quartz line of homogeneous tile. The newly released colors are available in all formats, including a new 12”x24” version. While 12”x12” has been the most popular as of late, Brennan said, “In a year or two from now, I expect 12”x24” will be the predominant format.”

INTERIOR DESIGN'S HIP AWARDS
Hospitality: Flooring
Shaw Contract’s Cultura Custom

Workplace: Carpet
Shaw Contract’s Michael Ford + Shaw Contract

Workplace: Hard Flooring
Patcraft’s Material Edit Hard Surface

Education/Government/Institutional: Flooring
Mannington Commercial’s New Composition

Health & Wellness: Flooring
Patcraft’s Meaning II, EcoSystem Collection

Environmental Impact
Mohawk Group’s Wild Dyer

Copyright 2023 Floor Focus 


Related Topics:Roppe, Engineered Floors, LLC, Schluter®-Systems, Armstrong Flooring, Mannington Mills, Shaw Industries Group, Inc., AHF Products, Novalis Innovative Flooring, Parterre Flooring Systems, Tarkett, Interface, HMTX, Mohawk Industries, HD Expo, Crossville