INSPIRATION AND DESIGN TRENDS
Behind the scenes
Next time you’re choosing a floor, spare a thought for all the people who made it possible. Behind the scenes there are teams of people working to ensure that you get the best new ideas and techniques to create your dream look. According to Valérie Pavard a designer at Tarkett’s Western Europe Design Centre, “Floors are a wonderful canvas for design. They offer different materials – wood, laminate, vinyl – each with their own properties and potential. As designers we have to find solutions that combine the looks that people want with the right technical performance. And with new trends and techniques developing all the time our work is constantly changing.”
Tarkett’s designers come from diverse backgrounds ranging from textile to product design, but they share a common belief that your floor can be the most important design feature in your home.
Each new collection represents a full 12 months of work. But before you get to see the new ranges, the design team are out and about identifying what’s hot and what’s not, and keeping a finger on the pulse of changing consumer tastes. Sandrine Bellavoine heads up Tarkett’s Trend Competence and Forecasts Centre which makes sure that the designers have the best possible information and inspiration for their work. “Fashions change so quickly we have to be alert for the next big thing. By traveling to trade fairs around the world and maintaining contacts with architects and designers we know that our products will reflect current trends.”
A design for every style
One of the challenges for the designers is the sheer number of choices presented by different materials – whether vinyl, laminate or wood. “For example,” says Valerie Pavard “with our vinyl floors there’s simply no limit to the designs you can use. Nature, abstract - whatever you like – you can reproduce it on vinyl. And the same is true with laminate. These modern products are so versatile they’re a pleasure to work with.”
New looks for a more traditional product
Wood has an image as a very traditional product, but new techniques are providing an enormous range of new possibilities that capitalize on its natural qualities while emphasizing or changing its appearance.
Applying different coloured lacquers, and even two lacquers, for example, will let different colours appear depending on the light. “In Salsa Ash White Pearl, we’ve taken inspiration from the jewellery and the car industry!” says Sandra Bengtsson – Design & Range manager for Wood products. “The result will remind people of the pearly look of sea shells – a completely new concept for a wooden floor.”
Design & Product innovations
Developing new products and improving existing ranges is very much a collaboration between the designers, product managers and the R&D department.. Together they use the feedback from external sources, including architects and designers, as inspiration for new developments. This year that can be seen in the launch of products such as ‘Aquastyle’. Aquastyle is our first laminate flooring suitable for kitchens and bathrooms – a development made possible by MRTech, a special treatment that stops water infiltrating the joints. As well as being very practical, it’s also available in a range of wood and stone designs that are right on trend.
Also new this year is Floor in a Box, which was a favourite project with the design team. “Trying to create something completely new is very exciting” says Hubert Dugast – Head of Vinyl Residential product design “and Floor in a Box is a real innovation. It’s a complete 2 square meter floor in the form of an adhesive roll, small enough to fit into a small box. It’s so quick to do. You simply take it home, roll it out and smooth down – and you have a new floor.
What better way to show the potential and virtues of vinyl than through an everyday activity that appeals to all the senses? “ Cooking by Tarkett” is an exhibition designed to highlight vinyl’s extraordinary range and potential in the form of food. Chocolate, fruit sweets, biscuits – all the colours and shapes of the kitchen are here. It’s an opportunity, in the words of Beatrice Mange, Tarkett’s Vice President for Design, “you can explore new sensations and take a new approach based on all the things that happen when we cook – play, pleasure, touch, imagination, contemplation…”
What’s coming in 2010 - 2011
So what has the design team produced for the 2010 – 2011 season? “There’s one theme that runs most clearly through all the trends for the coming year” says Sandrine Bellavoine “and that’s environmental values. It doesn’t matter whether the general style is natural, technological, simple or elaborate, everyone is doing their bit for the environment in different ways.”
As for the year after that, the design team is already hard at work on their next collection.