Trends I’ve Been Seeing: Part I
Our Aspecta Director of Design Robert Langstaff returned from London Design Week (a venue for emerging designers and companies to show new and innovative products) and the Cersaie International Ceramic Tile Exhibition in Bologna, Italy, with these trend observations.
European Trends: Part I
Hygge is a Danish term for a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of content and wellbeing – a defining characteristic of the country’s culture. Hygge is quickly gaining a foothold in the interior design world. It’s all about getting comfortable and cozy - similar to the emerging Grandmillenial Style in the US. It fills a void created by information overload from social media and a general over-involvement with technology. It’s an organic extension of Biophilic Design, bringing natural elements/materials and a lot of light and views into an interior, whether residential or commercial. Hygge can help create a more personal connection to one’s living and working environment for a sense of contentment, retreat and security.
How can Hygge be expressed through flooring? LVT can be a welcoming platform for the designer to start the process. I’m seeing more wood grains being installed than ever before – “nature’s neutrals” – with light or mid-range colors and authentic embossings. This doesn’t exclude dark colors for contrast or accent. The goal is the look of an untreated floor - not rough luxe, but more subtle, with cleaner, fewer knots subdued by glazing.
Flooring needs to work with this new approach to color and texture with either lighter or darker natural/neutrals and finishes - even Espresso can be considered neutral. Greys are becoming weathered grey to reflect hints of other colors, such as a tint of green or blue, but still neutral.
The new refreshed Aspecta Ten line will be able to contribute to incorporating a Hygge vibe in commercial settings with new trend colors – lighter, more natural looks allowing designers to have an even wider range of colors to explore and use.
Trends I’ve Been Seeing: Part II
European Trends: Part II
Our Aspecta Director of Design Robert Langstaff continues his trend commentary with observations noted from London Design Week (a venue for emerging designers and companies to show new and innovative products) and the Cersaie International Ceramic Tile Exhibition in Bologna, Italy.
At Cersaie, I observed a lot of three-dimensional texture from the ceramic tile companies, particularly for decorative wall finishes. Wall coverings are becoming larger scale, even mural-like, such as dramatic natural stone designs for feature walls around fireplaces.
In London, there was much inventive exploration of materials by emerging designers. I noticed the use and reuse of existing natural materials reconstituted/recycled, in a wide range of applications. There was mixing recycled rubbers with different compounds to hold the material in new solid forms. Exploration of natural materials from developing regions such as Africa and Southeast Asia has created truly sustainable new surfaces that can be used in multiple applications - flooring, basketry, wall coverings. While not new, this exploration of reusing different materials continues to evolve in novel ways.
Finally, I am observing that time frames for “the next big thing” in interiors are more compressed than ever, making trend spotting a more complicated endeavor. If you want to be a a trend setter, you have to differentiate between a transitory fad and a trend that will stand the test of time, then determine how to adapt it for your market.
THE trendiest trend?
During Interzum in Cologne, a trade show for furniture and interiors, I had a typical exchange with designer and marketing friends about the latest trends. A discussion, not serious at all, on “the trendiest trend” started and my fantasy broke free: A superior trend? One which rules all the others? The leader of all trends?
Maybe “concrete”, freshly revived by 100 years Bauhaus, simplistic in various, endless interpretations of grey, perfect base for modern interior and exterior architecture? Or the ones that seemed to have disappeared, but survived in the underground, resistant, waiting for their colourful come-back like “Marble”, “Terrazzo” or “Terracotta”? Or maybe a proclaimed color trend, set by an influential color trend agency, reflecting the desire of people for unspoiled nature, such as coral reefs like the Pantone Colour of the Year 2019 “Living Coral”?
Then, while I continued to walk the halls and later through the city, I recognized an old friend. “Metal” was everywhere, hidden in details, accessories or as a powerful statement on product and interiors. Always around, for years, even before Tom Dixon discovered it for hanging lights - can such a material still be considered as a trend?
Beyond Heavy Metal
I think it can. Because it’s so versatile, changing its character during the time. Metal can be industrial, masculine steel or soft, feminine non-ferrous metal like copper, brass and bronze. One time it comes rusty and weathered, then polished and elegant. It is furniture, fashion and feature: a statement or the final touch. You find metallic textiles on the catwalks in Paris and New York. Or on walls, floors or accessories in trend shows in Milan or Stockholm. There are no trends like the “Retro”, “Wabi Sabi” or “Hygge” without metals.
Metal is THE all-rounder of the interior materials. But it also has a comprehensive power, that helps to link the other trends to something bigger.
Sure, metallic colours need expertise in printing and production, a strong coating to avoid scratches and fingerprints. But they are worth these efforts. I consider metals as part of any contemporary LVT range. Either as a stand-alone design or as a pigment, accentuating pores and veins, they add interest and spirit of a time.
Coming soon: a relaunch of our Aspecta Ten range and a new Aspecta collection, in which we are experimenting with metallic colors. The results are exciting, and we can’t wait to present them to you at Domotex 2020 in Hanover!
Why Dryback? Learn why and where to specify Aspecta One
Aspecta One dryback flooring is a wonderful solution for commercial projects with 46 trendsetting tiles and planks in colors to suit every type of space. A range of embossings creates authentic, eye-catching textures that enhance the natural details of the designs. And it’s compatible with a wide range of applications. Here’s why and where you should consider it:
Designers and architects will discover fewer layout limitations compared to most floating floors, thereby enabling more design possibilities. With traditional clic floors, pattern choices are limited because it only installs one way. But with Aspecta One dryback, you can create Herringbone, Brick and other bold and intricate layouts easily and quickly.
Dryback is suitable for environments where heavy and/or rolling loads are common, rather than a floating floor, where these can break the locking mechanism. Think grocery stores, retail stores both large or small with moving displays and palette lifts, and education settings such as classrooms and cafeterias. Once glued down, Aspecta One will not expand or contract, so there is no need for expansion joints, and there is no crimping when something heavy is set upon it. It is also suitable for high-traffic public areas in hospitality installations. For guest rooms, a better choice would be a rigid core product with a sound-abating underlayment, such as Aspecta Ten. Aspecta One works well in Corporate environments as well. For Multifamily installations, it is recommended for high traffic public areas, while a sound-abating floating or rigid core floor might be more appropriate for residences.
Dryback also offers easy maintenance – just sweep, vacuum, dry mop or use a neutral cleaning product such as Aspecta’s Prevail – and it is extremely water resistant.
What are the drawbacks of dryback? First, it’s not recommended for areas like hair dying or shampooing in beauty salons. Second, it’s more time-consuming and therefore more costly to install than a clic or floating floor. It also is more labor intensive and costly to take out and replace with new flooring. However its longevity is a factor (Aspecta One has a 20-year commercial warranty). Aspecta One will perform well and look fantastic for many years to come.
Be sure you choose the right setting for dryback flooring. And be sure to consider Aspecta One.
Aspecta Tilts Forward With New Biophilic Inspired Designs
At Aspecta, we've built a reputation for some of the best styled commercial LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile) floors engineered specifically for the contract commerical interiors market. Building on this reputation and furthering our committment to biophilically-driven designs, Aspecta will introduce the new Aspecta Tilt & Tones Collection for a planned launch in March 2019. Available in ISOCORE or dryback (glue down) construction, the latest LVT design breakthrough pairs four new geometrically and biophilically inspired Tilt tiles with the neutral Tones tile palette to achieve custom looks without the added cost and extended lead times normally associated with custom products.
Aspecta's Director of Design, Robert Langstaff, provides some insight into Aspecta Tilt & Tones, “The 24” x 24” tiles in this new collection are presented in four color groups, each consisting of 4 unique Tilt tile designs that can be paired with 2 companion Tones tiles. Together they create a random, intriguing and playful motif suitable for Hospitality/Restaurant, Retail, Workplace, and Education/Institutional environments.”
Elaborating on the dual design inspiration, Robert goes further, “Tilt was inspired by hard-edged angles and lines -- geometric shapes created in shadows that the sun casts on outdoor surfaces such as rocks, beaches and manicured lawns -- as well as the fractal patterning also found in nature. Tones evolved from the look of fabric-embossed ceramics and natural stone-based colors, expressed in neutral colorways. The range reflects Aspecta’s immersion in Biophilic Design as an influence in the creation of our ever-evolving product lines.”
TILT & TONES COLOR GROUPS: Variety of compatible neutral palettes
Designers and architects can choose from 4 different Tilt tiles and 2 Tones tiles in four separate color groups. By mixing and matching Tilt designs and Tones colors, contrast and impact can be easily achieved: creating seating areas, wayfinding, borders, or unique combinations of “field tile” all-over color (Tones) and with the graphic tiles (Tilt). Either stay within one color group, or create new combinations by intermixing Tones colors and Tilt patterns from other groups.
- GRANITE – A grey-taupe range captures the visual sensation of softly marbled stone
- PUTTY – Classic neutral earth tones evoke comfort and security
- PEARL – A blend of neutral grey undertones suit a wide range of applications in color and texture
- VELLUM – The Antiquarian look evokes the sense of time and place in old books and manuscripts
Robert cross-referenced the profile colors used by contract office manufacturers to develop the Tilt and Tones flooring as a neutral background and foil for accent textiles, paint colors, furniture and office systems. The stone quality of the design makes a versatile palette to achieve balance in a wide range of interiors.
DESIGN MEETS PERFORMANCE
Beyond good looks and versatility, this exciting new collection delivers all the benefits of Aspecta's new high performance proprietary finish, Duraspect extreme surface protectant for the ultimate in abrasion resistance and stain repellency.
VERSATILE CONSTRUCTION OPTIONS: ISOCORE TECHNOLOGY® OR DRY BACK
Aspecta Tilt & Tones has been developed on two popular construction platforms, dry back and ISOCORE, to allow specifiers to choose the right construction for the application and to help meet budget requirements. Aspecta's multilayer expanded polymer core construction called ISOCORE Technology® is an extruded, closed-cell vinyl structural core that delivers rigidity and strength to the floating floor platform. Aspecta Tilt & Tones with ISOCORE Technology is 100% waterproof and provides sound insulating characteristics through its pre-attached acoustical underlayment. Aspecta Tilt & Tones in the dry back construction allows the floor to be glued down in situations where a floating floor is a not suitable option.
Aspecta Tilt & Tones with ISOCORE Technology integrates the new DropLock 400™ technology brings installation design flexibility previously unavailable on multilayer floating floors. DropLock 400™ enables a corner-to-corner installation of 24 x 24 Tilt and Tone square tiles to create a more traditional tile installation or to install a checkerboard pattern using 2 or more colors for more design flexibility. The fold down locking technology of DropLock 400™ facilitates a fast floating-floor installation, thereby reducing costs.
Aspecta Tilt & Tones features a durable, heavy commercial 22 mil wear layer. Aspecta Tilt & Tones in dry back construction has an overall gauge of 2.5mm, while the ISOCORE version has a 7.0mm overall gauge. Both versions are backed by a 25-year non-prorated commercial warranty. ASPECTA Tilt & Tones will feature Declare and JUST labels as well as Health Product Declarations (HPDs) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). All sustainability, transparency, technical specifications and biophilic design information will be available at aspectaflooring.com upon the launch of Aspecta Tilt & Tones in March 2019.
Aspecta® Publishes Product Specific Environmental Product Declarations
Aspecta® has published our first product-specific Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) on the entire portfolio of the Aspecta® family of products (Aspecta® One, Five and Ten). This is an important accomplishment and one worth pursuing for many reasons. For one, these EPDs further our Company’s commitment to transparency at all levels. We have fully embraced the idea of disclosing our product ingredients thru both Declare and the HPD Collaborative; we were the first flooring manufacturer to obtain a JUST label for our China factory, so it simply made sense for us to begin the journey of publishing EPDs for our products.
Industries across the globe are striving to become more sustainable in all aspects of the manufacturing process and we are no exception. EPDs help us to become much more aware of our own processes and allow us to share that information to the marketplace in one concise document, a marketplace which is becoming increasingly interested in the full extent of a product's environmental impact. How can we truly reduce our environmental impact if we don’t know what our impacts are? Working closely with our consultant, WAP Sustainability, this effort helped us to define our baseline and identify our hotspots. Looking into the future this will help us to truly think about environmental impacts and how minor changes can potentially make a big impact.
Aspecta® is a global brand so we wanted to ensure that these EPDs were created following rules that are recognized globally. This started with following ISO 14040/44 for our Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) and EN 15804 for our EPDs. Both standards are seen throughout the globe as the protocols for completing LCAs and EPDs. Additionally, we elected to utilize a unique mutual recognition program between UL Environment and IBU. This approach allowed us to create a globally accepted document for a true global brand. We are currently in the process of translating these EPDs into German where they will be made available on the IBU (https://ibu-epd.com/en/) website in the near future. This marks the beginning of our journey into the world of EPDs with more to come in the future.
The Aspecta® EPD’s are now available on the following websites:
Take a Deep Dive into Biophilic Design with Aspecta
Aspecta invites you to take a deep dive into Biophilic Design as you visit aspectaflooring.com and explore how this emerging design discipline is reflected in products throughout the entire Aspecta portfolio of commercial LVT floors. We think you will find it educational and allow you to view the design of the built environment from an entirely new perspective.
If you are new to biophilia, here’s a bit of a primer…
The concept of biophilia was introduced and hypothesized by Edward O. Wilson in his 1984 book “Biophilia” and further popularized by the late Stephen R. Kellert. The basis of Biophilic Design is founded upon the innate desire of humans to be connected with nature, and evidence shows that there are resulting psychological and physiological effects that support healing, learning, cognitive skills, and creativity.
In the business world there are tangible positive benefits that impact the bottom line including improvements in staff retention, job performance, job satisfaction and reduction of absenteeism, use of sick days, and workplace stress and violence. In general, employees are simply happier at work when elements and patterns of biophilia are incorporated into the design of their workspace.
Our journey into the realm of Biophilic Design began in December of 2016 when our Rochelle Routman, Metroflor's Chief Sustainability Officer introduced us to Sonja Bochart (pictured at right), a principal at Shepley + Bullfinch, and a leading advocate and expert in biophilia. Since then, Sonja has been our teacher and guide as we immerse our Aspecta brands and products, as well as our human assets, me included, into biophilia and Biophilic Design.
With Sonja’s help, Aspecta is on the leading edge of advocating Biophilic Design in not only LVT flooring, but the flooring industry at large. Our trade show exhibits have been thoroughly influenced by biophilia at Neocon, Greenbuild (pictured left), and GlobalShop, and will be evident in our spaces at HD Expo and at Neocon 2018.
Earlier this year we released a CEU course, “Biophilic Design and Resilient Flooring”. Aspecta reps and our distributor reps can be scheduled to present the CEU on site by making a request on aspectaflooring.com. The CEU can also be taken online at AEC Daily. The hunger for information on Biophilic Design is evident by the 500+ professionals who have taken the CEU either in person or online in less than 3 months since the CEU was released.
And most recently, we have infused Biophilic Design into the Aspecta story on aspectaflooring.com. Throughout the site you will find the influence of biophilia. Explore the Biophilic Design page where you can learn about the 7 elements of Biophilic Design and and the multitude of associated Biophilic Design patterns. Here we identify and detail the elements and patterns reflected in the designs of Aspecta products. As you navigate our product pages, you’ll find the biophilic elements and patterns that are identified for each product. For those looking for products with specific biophilic elements or patterns, you can drill down and pin point those products using the site’s product filter.
At Aspecta we are taking a leadership position the flooring industry in promoting Biophilic Design. No other flooring manufacturer has embraced Biophilic Design in the same manner, or provided the design community with the tools to specify flooring using the elements and patterns of Biophilic Design as top level criteria. Our immersion in to this exciting discipline truly lays product authority claim for Aspecta as “THE Biophilic Design Specialists”.