The Top 250 Design Survey: Architects and designers discuss the flooring business - Oct 2018
By Darius Helm
It’s an exciting time for architects and designers, with so many traditional paradigms giving way to new models based on technologies, the needs of younger generations, evidence-based design boosting wellness and productivity, better chemistries and greener products. But whether the market is strong enough to support these ambitious trends remains to be seen.
By all appearances, the commercial market seems healthy, especially when you factor in multifamily new construction. There’s an appetite for change that’s hard to suppress. At NeoCon earlier this year, and reflected in this survey, was a search for clear, strong colors to counter-or at least act as counterpoints to-the seas of grey. And another major trend is biophilia, expressed in a range of forms, from more literal options, like hardwood visuals, to abstractions, both organic and geometric.
Yet another important trend, evolving from the plank formats of wood-look products and from hexagonal porcelain tile, is installation patterns. Chevrons, herringbones, basketweave designs, large- and small-scale polygons, both regular and irregular-designers are increasingly embracing the unique opportunities offered by floor patterns, and manufacturers have been responsive, experimenting with a range of compelling options. And it also fits well with the drive to add functionality to elements of the built environment-installation patterns can delineate everything from seating areas to centerpieces to foot-traffic flows.
Looking at the whole commercial market, the most significant development is the mixed-use environments-and, within the spaces, the mixed use of materials. In today’s commercial environments, the goal is to meet all the needs of the occupants, from multifamily and senior living complexes with elements of retail, recreation, education, healthcare and hospitality to office spaces where a conference room gives way to collaborative spaces, to Ping Pong and pool tables, to quiet sheltered alcoves warmed with cozy rugs and sunlit cafeterias.
For the complete Design Survey results, see the October 2018 issue of Floor Focus Magazine.
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