Admit it: the floor is not typically thought of as a hotbed of innovation. But a trip to Domotex, the preeminent European carpet and floor coverings fair, is a sure-fire way to change those perceptions. In January at the Hannover Exhibition Centre, 1,350 companies from 57 nations showcased products and collections in a dizzying variety: natural materials and look is always big, but so is sophisticated minimalism and even sensuous opulence; and of course resilience, ease of installation and maintenance; and environmental sensitivity is key, proving that holistic interior concepts go beyond just picking a pretty carpet.
1—Following nature’s path
Curvy planks aren’t exactly new, but Bolefloor thinks its new Curv8 edge wood flooring is the closest match to a tree’s natural growth. According to the Amsterdam-based firm, the eight patterns derived from its scan data of more than 100,000 trees preserve the forms most true to the way they grow in nature. For every Curv8 floor, raw boards (never cut from straight boards) are selected to fit one of these eight forms, and match perfectly with every other Curv8 module, making an endless pattern possible without noticeable repetition. bolefloor.com
2—Bamboo’s new future
An ecological and long-lasting alternative to floorboards made of ever-scarcer tropical woods is offered by Moso with its Bamboo X-treme. Moso treats bamboo stalks with a patented process that gives both indoor and outdoor floorboards a level of hardness, shape stability and resistance that exceeds that of even the best tropical hardwoods. But like other tropical woods, these boards still change colour over time to acquire a typical silver-grey weathered appearance. moso-bambus.de
1—A new way
Classen has combined the advantages of design and laminate flooring in its Neo line. This new generation of flooring
is completely free of PVC and softeners, contains no chlorine or phthalates, and is 100-per-cent recyclable. The foundation for the new floor covering is composite solid fibreboard, a homogeneous wood-fibre base in which the natural fibres are bound together with a polymer. classen.de
2—From porcelain to flooring
Most people are familiar with the name Villeroy & Boch when it comes to fine dishes or bath fixtures; but for floor coverings, not so much. Nevertheless, the company presented its first premium flooring line at Domotex, developed in collaboration with Swiss Krono Group, which includes 22 interpretations of oak divided into four collections: Contemporary (shown) Cosmopolitan, Country and Heritage. These range from designs evocative of nature to more urban motifs. floors.villeroy-boch.com
3—Getting in step
A particularly effective approach to conserving resources is evident in PURstep Eco Balance by Parador. PURstep Eco Balance has a similar structure to conventional laminate flooring, but its particularly thin, 0.5mm top layer of high-quality polyurethane means that 75 per cent less material is needed compared to vinyl. Additionally, PURstep has excellent acoustic properties and is so durable that the manufacturer can offer a 15-year guarantee for domestic use. parador.de
4—Keep it simple
The German company Objectflor used the floor of its booth at the show as the place to debut its new SimpleLay Design Vinyl system. It’s designed with a new honeycombed support structure on the back; tiles and strips stay in position thanks to their own weight, making them ideal for heavily trafficked surfaces like shops, hotels and trade-show stands. objectflor.de
1—Flooring that calls for help
Many seniors face a similar fear: that a fall could leave them lying alone and helpless in their home. The Dutch group Edel has a solution for this with its new ESP detection floor. Special tiles that generate a weak electrical field are laid under the floor covering – whether carpet, vinyl or wood – and sensors detect movement in the room and transmit this data to a control system for interpretation. Regular walking elicits no reaction, but if someone trips or falls motionless to the floor the system, which integrates into existing security systems, sets off an alarm. edel.nl
2—It’s a party!
The Toronto-based custom-rug design house Creative Matters launched a fair-trade hand-woven rug collection
called XXV at Domotex to mark the firm’s 25th anniversary. Designed by Ana Cunningham, the collection is dominated by gold and silver hues inspired by the roaring ‘20s and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. creativemattersinc.com
3—New spin for old yarns
Nothing is set in stone: not even tried-and-tested classics are immune to experimentation. This applies to art, architecture and fashion, so why not to hand-knotted carpets? Jan Kath, self-professed couturier for floors, is an enthusiastic proponent of this approach. His new Riot collection breaks from the classic rectangular format in favour of gentle curves, frayed edges, and shapes that appear to have grown organically, akin to handmade paper. jan-kath.de
4—Carpeting that clicks
Parador offers professionals and DIYers new possibilities for creative floor design with its new ClickTex, which premiered at Domotex. Now carpeting can be brought on site in the form of boards and laid with a familiar click mechanism used for laminate, and different designs from the range can be combined to make an individual flooring pattern. For this new product, Parador combined the properties of textile surfaces with the benefits of a dimensionally stable core board. parador.de
5—A floor in serene motion
Inspired by the purity and chaos in nature, India-based Jaipur’s latest collection Chaos Theory, designed by Kavi, traces the beauty in nature’s seemingly cluttered patterns. Natural forms in transition were studied for inspiration, then recreated on unexplored mediums with the help of batik to create unrestrained artwork. Every Chaos Theory rug comes with nearly 100,000 Persian knots of hand-processed wool and bamboo silk in every square metre.
NOT FROM DOMOTEX - BUT STILL GOOD ON FLOORS
1—Looking out their back door
All the New Hampshire–based Carlisle Wide Plank Floors had to do was look at its own surroundings to find inspiration for new flooring lines. Oyster Bay (shown) and Sunapee Lake, named after nearby lakes, are designed to both imitate and induce the tranquility of nature, and represent the company’s first luxury- flooring collections for consumers. Both collections use minimal sheen and finishes that allow the natural grains of the wood to come through. wideplankflooring.com
Porcelain tiles are always trying to replicate the look of ancient stones, beaten wood and terra cotta, and the ones that have figured out how can truly impress. In terms of the shabby-wood look, the Old Wood series by Italian porcelain stoneware firm Fioranese is full of character and colour variation, with rustic-wood looks in three plank sizes and 3D mosaics in an unusual brick pattern. fioranese.it
Reclamation is Crossville’s first digitally produced line. Employing an “industrial chic” look featuring 16 different facings – which mimic wood (shown), concrete and steel – the collection comes in four colour ranges with names straight out of a country & western song: Whiskey Lullaby, Cotton Exchange, Steel City and Tobacco Road. crossvilleinc.com
4—Takes a lickin’
Nora Systems has released a flooring system ideal for highly impacted and trafficked workspaces. The 3.5mm tiles
of Norament XP are ultra-durable with enhanced stain and slip resistance thanks to a hammered surface in a confetti design, so expect to see it in healthcare settings and other places where floors often come into contact with heavy equipment (Nora showed off the system’s resilience by installing 61,000 square feet of it throughout many of Sochi’s Olympic venues).
5—The meaning of…
Coming this spring, a new stoneware tile series called Life by Montreal-based Céragrès draws inspiration from nature and brings soft, neutral tones into the home by recreating the veins and warm colours of authentic wood floors. ceragres.ca
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