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More than 30 manufacturers from all over Europe came to the first “Interprint Flooring Days” over three days to see how flooring décors are developed and made suitable for the market. Starting with the diverse inspiration sources and the craftsmanship know-how in the processing of the material and going on to the presentation of design trends and new laying patterns. A process that one cannot experience every day.
The idea behind the event is the early involvement of industry partners in order to jointly develop successful flooring products with great market potential. Salvatore Figliuzzi, Décor Development & Marketing Manager, Daniel Heitkamm, Guido Kuhlmann and Maurizio Burrato from the Interprint Design Team started the tour on the basis of the facts. The history of flooring, from the ancient Egyptians to the Palace of Versailles and until today served a brief introduction to the topic. The antique laying patterns are still used today. If one also thinks about religious aspects, such as for example that the Pope “kisses the ground” as greeting or Moslems praying on carpets, it becomes clear what great cultural meaning flooring has. Last but not least – or better said first of all – flooring is the basis of interior design. It creates atmosphere. Flooring is what makes a room. In accordance with Interprint’s current design motto: Into Spaces.
Colour and Look are Decisive
What should consumers consider when buying flooring? A current survey gives the answer: 9 out of 10 consumers choose flooring on the basis of colour and look. The wood type of the material only plays an important role for one out of ten consumers. Interprint’s conclusion: The wood type is not decisive for the success of a flooring design; decisive are the colour and the type of surface treatment. The overall look is what counts.
Behind the Scenes
Before the participants of the Flooring Days reached the atrium of the Design Centre, they had to go through Interprint’s “holy hall“: In the Repro department, the creative team keep their décor ideas hidden until marketability. This is where experiments are done and materials are processed with great craftsmanship – first with hardware in the carpentry section and then with software on the computer monitor. A deeper insight into the inspiration sources of the décor maker was given at the end. The team did deliberately not show any finished solutions but instead involved the audience in the exciting décor development process.
Each Décor Idea has a Story
Inspiration sources cannot be unusual enough. That was apparent from the presented décor examples: a pile of book spines from which the covers had been removed became a new flooring design. Or a décor that looked very restless on a small area showed its far-reaching and harmonious effect in a closed mirrored space.
“Respect and sensitivity are important for décor development,” said Salvatore Figliuzzi. Guido Kuhlmann demonstrated how much patience a good design sometimes requires, using an example of a 2300-year-old bog oak. “Wood must be read and carefully handled so that its structure and character are not destroyed,” emphasised Guido Kuhlmann. The weathered wood of a water tank, as can still be found today on the rooftops of New York City, is translated into a “Vintage Look“ and an apparently boring piece of pressure-treated construction timber is turned into a “Scandinavian Style“, which has no longer anything in common with the original material, by means of a surface treatment. Fashion Trends can also be translated into room atmospheres. In the case of the “Total Look”, the entire outfit has only one colour. For space simulation, Interprint uses the successful “Iconic” décor – on the floor, on the wall and on a piece of furniture to create a very independent design-orientated atmosphere. A further experiment happened “live and in colour”. Daniel Heitkamm from the design team demonstrated to the participants of the Flooring Days that one can also use common objects for other purposes and as a creative tool for décor development.
Flooring Trends of the Future
It does not always have to be an original wood colour and new laying patterns will play a greater role. Many wood types and looks are conceivable. Trendy colours and new surface looks will dominate. In line with the “Scandinavian Design“ furnishing trend that was already shown during the “Interprint Furniture Days 2014“, predominantly light colours and medium, warm colours with a slight grey touch will appeal to consumers. The laying patterns will be more diverse: regardless of whether herringbone or panel look, graphic variations or new differently sized long-strip formats – the range of options is growing.
Flooring Tells Stories
The Interprint team had replicated a “Japanese zen garden” in the centre of the production area. Professor Christian Tagsold, Japanologist at the Heinrich-Heine University in Düsseldorf, explained that the very famous Japanese zen garden is actually based on a Chinese legend. The sandy ground raked graphically in waves symbolises “water” and the arranged stones lying on it symbolise “a Tiger mother that is bringing her children across a river”. An interesting analogy that illustrates that Interprint’s flooring décors also communicate with their viewers – each one tells its own story.
Salvatore Figliuzzi summed up after three eventful days: “We will not stop discovering something new again and again. The appreciation of flooring and our desire to design drive us to develop special looks. We have been very open to our visitors during the Flooring Days and given them an insight into our diverse inspiration sources and our craftsmanship skills. The visitors reflected that with enthusiasm. We greatly enjoyed the exchange of ideas and information about future trends and developments. And these talks are certainly a good basis for the joint development of successful flooring products with our partners.”