Learn more about global materials and design from the companies whose support made this article possible.
Print surfaces allow for the creation of virtually any design imaginable,” says Roland Sirois, senior vice president of surfaces at paper saturator Arclin. “We work with printers to constantly innovate to customers’ and markets’ moods and needs. Exotic woods, the latest maples, cherries and oaks, even non-wood patterns—there really is no limit to what we can create. That kind of flexibility is changing the face of everything from furniture and flooring to cabinetry, fixtures and retail interiors.
“From an industry standpoint, it’s been exciting to watch the evolution of the marriage between technology and design. Increasingly intricate designs and textures combine with our high-performance resins to make TFL surfaces both highly realistic and incredibly durable. They’ll stand up to scratching, moisture, light and staining. Plus, they provide a tremendous environmental benefit, as they expertly replicate wood grains, protecting endangered and slow growth trees.
“TFL really is the perfect alternative to traditional solid woods and veneers. It is attainable, flexible, durable and environmentally sustainable.”
For more information, please visit www.arclin.com.
Not all trends are global,” says Peter Garlington, design manager for decor printer Interprint Inc. “A good design that has the capacity to become global can originate anywhere.”
“We see designers striving to recapture their own unique design heritage and redefine it, not unlike the local food or slow food movements. The broader trends, designs that resonate throughout the world, are just good global design, ‘pure’ design. Apple is a good example of a company that markets pure design.
“Many American designers study and work abroad before returning to the States to explore how to apply their ideas to classic American design. So even though the internet and the media have shrunk the globe, there will always be regional differences that drive local design. We work closely with designers to help them create the colors and visual structures that will appeal to their markets.”
For more information, please visit www.interprint.com.
Kings Mountain International
Without a doubt, the most popular finish at the moment is a linear matte-gloss texture, inspired by natural tree bark,” says Martin Endert, design manager for press plate manufacturer Kings Mountain International. “This kind of finish has a beautiful natural feel, and is a great finish for a wide variety of wood species. The matte gloss contrast shows perfectly on a dark or espresso-colored wood.
“Colors are trending toward a bleached appearance, which is enhanced by a matte surface finish. The resulting ‘dry’ natural veneer feel of the surface is so realistic that you literally feel like you have sawdust on your fingertips.
“In general, textures are engineered to be compatible with their applications. Some are relatively flat for table tops, others show a deep mix of valleys and peaks in gorgeous contrast; some of these textures are evenly distributed, almost like a wallpaper, where the shiny area has the same width as the matte area, and others have a more natural, uneven spacing.”
For more information, please visit www.kmiinc.net.
It’s interesting how global trends often have a lineage that you can follow back to certain
places and points in time,” says Mark Smith, senior design manager for decor printer Schattdecor Inc.
“Last year at the Milan fair we saw a lot of fumed woods, where ammonia gas reacts with the natural tannin in the wood to darken and weather it, much like a patina on metal. Fumed woods started with the American arts and crafts movement and create some great colors, which we and our Germany-based designers are adapting for laminates.
“And the ‘Mad Men’ style that we saw at NeoCon last year—the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic—actually comes from Bauhaus designers that left Germany and came to America during the war. That’s leading to a softer look for office furniture, and extending into healthcare and hospitality.
“So we’re watching the rustic look of fumed woods trending in retail design; at the same time the softer Mid-Century designs are being specified elsewhere in commercial. It’s fascinating to see these trends evolve—it’s our job to adapt them for laminates in different markets around the world.”
For more information, please visit www.schattdecor.de/en/.
The role texture plays in finished materials goes far beyond how a surface feels,” says Marco Santori, CEO of the Milan-based press mould manufacturer SESA. “Of course, designers can specify woodgrain ticking and gloss variations that are perfectly aligned with the woodgrain print, or a soft veneer feel.
“Texture also plays a role in your subconscious perception of a surface. If you catch the light hitting a surface out of the corner of your eye, and the texture and gloss-matte variations ‘feel’ like they belong with that wood print, you might not think anything more than, ‘That is a beautiful reception desk.’ But if the glare reveals a generic ‘laminate’ surface, at a subliminal level your brain can’t help but stumble over the disconnect between the texture and the print. With the newest generations of decorative surfaces, we’ve removed that disconnect.”
For more information, please visit www.sesaplates.com.
We’re finding that reclaimed woods are still a huge trend in contract design,” says Marcel Albert, director of design at Suddekor LLC. “American chestnut, in particular, is receiving a lot of interest.
“American chestnut trees are pretty much gone from the planet, thanks to blight, but in the 18th and 19th centuries it was widely used for the massive beams in barns and factories in the Northeast. Lots of that historical chestnut has been reclaimed and can be found in lumber yards, but it’s very, very expensive.
“Our sourcing expert, Edward Way, is also a high-end furniture maker, and knows his woods. He’s purchased some of the best samples he could find, cut and sanded them to enhance the grain, and captured them on our 4 by 5-foot scanning bed. With careful creation of the separations we’re able to recreate the detail, color play and emotion of this wood in the printing process. Now, everyone has access to this amazing, very rare wood.”
For more information, please visit www.suddekorllc.com.
For more information on TFL and other decorative surfaces, please visit www.materialintelligence.com.