Category Archives: NeoCon

Trend Spotting with Gretchen Wagner

Gretchen Wagner

This year has been filled with unexpected jet setting adventures to review design shows and I’m finally hitting my stride in knowing what to look for while on the prowl. The fundamental part of trend spotting is understanding why certain materials and concepts are being explored by more than one company at the same time. Isolated design may be unique and thrilling but it lacks context, and context is all the rage. These similarities give light to overarching themes in product design that reflect the needs and attitudes of the consumer. I like to walk into showrooms expecting the unexpected, and when I find it, I know in an instant that this is what is most special. Here are some of the trends that I found to be most special at ICFF and NeoCon this year.

Poppy, Mandarin, Sundried Tomato. Whatever you want to call it, it’s on the border of red and orange and this color has been all over the fashion industry this year. Everyone is catching onto this gorgeous hue that seems to compliment everything from matte finished woods to lustrous copper and back again. I’ve included a few of my favorite examples of this fluorescent color in action from this season.

Flat materials being converted into three dimensional form through different types of manipulations, including cutting, pleating and folding. Beautiful flat cutouts have been popular with new advances in precise laser cutting and etching, but the evolution to three dimensional objects is deriving from 3-D printers. Creative solutions for making three dimensional forms from two dimensional raw materials are exploding into a world of their own through decorative yet functional objects.

Many companies are being inspired by the Americana and Folk resurgence amongst local artisans and makers. Uniquely niche products are becoming main players as companies such as Maharam and Anthropologie bring these hand crafted goods to market while still retaining a boutique-like experience. Artists are also working alongside larger brands to create collaborative product launches, such as Bernhardt’s recent project where they applied beautifully hand rendered patterns to their jacquard technology.

Texture is everything, and throughout showrooms there was a return to sensory based elements. Including our own Interface experiential space, companies incorporated different textures that invited guests and customers to feel their way through the environment. Stemming from our constant experience within our virtual world, we were asked to awaken the mind through the sensory experience of touch. A beautiful reminder to look up from our screens and live in the reality that is all around us.

Both ICFF and NeoCon were excellent design shows to attend for spotting the new and upcoming trends in May and June. See you next year!

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Beautiful Spaces Inspire Beautiful Thinking. It’s Human Nature.

Day One of NeoCon 2014: The unveiling of our Human Nature™ Collection at our showroom in the Merchandise Mart and at our permanent Chicago showroom on North Wells Street.

In designing our showrooms, we built upon our belief that beautiful ideas are inspired by beautiful surroundings. Using our latest carpet tile collection, Human Nature, we created a space built by humans through imagination, a creative element that separates us from other species.

We believe that in these challenging times we need more creative and systemic thought applied to the biggest problems facing the globe. And while nature is a great teacher, it’s not a short-term engagement. The more we internalize the idea of natural inspiration, the more sophisticated the result becomes. We at Interface hope to stimulate such inspiration and contribute to a more sensory environment.

For those who can’t be at NeoCon with us, we want to bring you an inside look at our spaces at NeoCon 2014.

Sensory Stimulation through a high degree of tactility not only feels good, but in proper proportions is also a significant contributor to a healthier environment.

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Natural Variance is non-predictable change in an organic way. It’s more than a pile of pebbles or a field of grass. An irregular, asymmetrical path through a space clearly demonstrates a biomimetic influence. With its skinny plank format and textural shifts, the Human Nature Collection offers a multitude of design options. Use one product alone in a seamless installation or mix products and colors to create unique designs that fire the imagination.

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Man as a Part of Nature, Not Apart from Nature. How would Nature design a floor? More importantly, how should humans think about designing “floors” that mimic a natural system? Not just looking like a natural material but moving like one. At Interface we believe that working in spaces that are a designed, abstracted interpretation of nature can stimulate our senses–and thus what we create–in the same way that nature does.

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“I love how your product is always one with nature, which stays true to Ray’s vision.”
- Rose Tourje, founder and president of Anew

 

 

Learn more about Human Nature, or stop by during NeoCon June 9-11 | 9 am – 5 pm | Merchandise Mart Suite 10-136 & our permanent showroom across the street at 345 North Wells Street, 3rd Floor.

#IFinHumanNature

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What is Human Nature? A Beautiful Foundation for Beautiful Thinking.

In a world that never sleeps—where information always flows, boundaries blur, transparency reigns and the sound of silence ceases to exist—our instincts prompt us back to nature, with its subtle yet clear cues on how best to live and work.

Look around at the natural world around you and what do you see? What do you feel?

Perhaps it’s a bright beam of the sun as it rises, or the ombre-indigo hue of the sky as this same sun sets, naturally inspiring us to speed up or slow down. Or maybe it’s a rolling, open meadow as an ideal setting for groups of people to gather.

Possibly a quiet respite, or an intimate space perfect for private reflection, or the boundless ocean with views as vast as the sky where our creative imagination can soar.

 

Whatever aspect of Nature this might be, it will resonate with some inner, unseen aspect of our own human nature, allowing our internal rhythms to become in harmony with the organic environment we see, hear, smell and touch.

When seeking inspiration we always ask “how would nature create an interior floor?” We don’t believe it would be exclusively made up of hard surfaces such as wood, bamboo or stone. We also don’t believe it would be uniform in any manner. Instead, it would be variable, composed of soft, hard or mixed materials.

It wouldn’t be nature growing wild and unruly to overtake interior space, and man wouldn’t be controlling natural elements. These two must co-exist—humans and nature together. And it’s important to note there is noise in nature but also a calming silence.

It’s our nature to dream.
To build. To play.
To aspire.
To adapt.
To look toward the sky.

As our limits continually stretch in a world that seemingly becomes smaller, people working round the clock and around the globe will invariably seek a primordial sense of alignment with nature to feel at home and at ease in their environs.

Shape-shifting times call for inspired spaces that enable us to be connected, yet distinct, like colors in a rainbow. Spaces that reflect our ability to adapt and bend and flex to meet today’s constant changes assure our ability to survive and thrive.

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And if such surroundings can at once communicate the subtlety and richness of nature, yet change and evolve as we do, they bring out the very best in our complex and glorious human nature.

Want to learn more about Human Nature? Visit us during NeoCon in Chicago June 9-11 | 9 am – 5 pm | Merchandise Mart Suite 10-136 & our permanent showroom across the street at 345 North Wells Street, 3rd Floor

#IFinHumanNature 

Learn more about Human Nature.   facebook_web   instagram_web   twitter_web


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Beautiful Thinking

Mikhail Davis

Our design reveals our assumptions. 

Since the Industrial Revolution, many of our designs have assumed we live in a world of unlimited natural resources and a belief that our fate is completely independent from that of the rest of life on Earth.
It is not.

Our assumptions have consequences. 

Designing as if we’re the only species that matters and that Nature has value only as an endless source of raw materials has left us facing global challenges.

While some of us see a temporary reprieve from these consequences, an ever-growing population feels impacts every day as they struggle to make a living from our overburdened land and water.

But dwelling on disturbing trends, and concern for our collective future, will stop humanity from tapping into connected creativity. Fear may help us survive but doesn’t always encourage creativity.

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How can we create conditions for breakthrough innovations to address our world’s greatest challenges?

Being a Part of Nature. Not Apart from Nature.

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It’s inherent as a species that we seek to solve problems but first we must reconnect to the source of our creativity; the living world around us in which we first learned to invent, our ultimate mentor for sustainable design.

Biophilic design reminds us we’re more healthy, productive and creative when surrounded by Nature.

What if the power of our evolutionary connection with Nature holds the key to unlocking a new wave of human ingenuity? 

Neuroscience and architectural research are converging, informing us that we need to create spaces that tap our connection to Nature to bring out the best in humanity.

What would we design if we worked in spaces that reminded us of our connection to the living world of Nature? How would our assumptions change? What would the world look like if we were more interconnected with the vitality of all living systems on planet Earth? 

At Interface, we choose to find sustainable solutions to questions like these collaboratively amongst ourselves, and with others. We call this approach Co-Innovation—and we see it as an open invitation to all to join us in thinking beautifully.

Join us in the next month as we explore our connections to nature, and the beautiful thinking it creates.  And visit us on our social channels leading up to, during and post NeoCon. #IFinHumanNature   facebook_web   instagram_web   twitter_web

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Introducing Net Effect

The launch of the Net Effect™ collection is a poignant reminder that beautiful design goes beyond product, to the story behind it. Net Effect, and the simultaneous expansion of the Net-Works™ program, have only been possible because a tightly interwoven human network, spread around the globe, worked together to build something new. Interface’s exclusive product designer, David Oakey, owner of David Oakey Designs, along with co-innovators from around the globe, has brought forth all of the ingredients necessary for true synchronistic design – creating a beautiful product line while simultaneously empowering a community and restoring our oceans and seas.

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Net Effect One: B601, B602, B603 in Pacific; Net Effect Two: B701, B702, B703 in Atlantic

Interface: What first inspired the Net Effect Collection?

David Oakey: The whole project really came about through synchronicity. I heard Sylvia Earle on the radio. She was so passionate about the plight of the ocean. I bought her book and her concerns really clicked with me. Most of the time when we talk about sustainability we mean the land, the problems that fossil fuels have caused. But the oceans are equally important. If we don’t take care of them, all we do on the land won’t make any difference.

We were also researching colors at the same time and were finding that blue was not only one of our most popular colors globally but that it was going to be seen a lot on the fashion catwalks too. Suddenly we were connecting the dots.

Interface: How would you describe the new collection?

David Oakey: The inspiration is blue. I said to the design team ‘Be inspired by the ocean.’ When I was flying back to the US from Hawaii I was entranced by Google Earth, watching the patterns and designs that the ocean made. Any shift in the ocean bed creates straight lines and angles. I thought that was really useful for our carpet designs, because of course we have to work with the straight lines of our square and plank tiles.

Inspiration then came from all sorts of places. From seashores, and where water connects with land. We walked the ocean’s edge to see the land and water together. Walking on the beach you gravitate to the firmer part of the beach, rather than the soft sand. You can feel the different textures, and I think that’s very important. You need diversity of texture in the office. We’ve tried to look at what surface was the best cushioning for the workplace, but have found that having different surfaces is the best. As humans we have gotten used to and expect diverse textures under our feet. That’s why we’re designing everything from low profile velour to very plush carpet.

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Net Effect One: B601, B602, B603 in Pacific

Interface: How has the color blue inspired Net Effect?

David Oakey: We are hardwired as humans to respond to the colors we see in nature and blue is one of the most popular. Blue communicates calmness and tranquility. Architects continue to move towards bringing nature indoors.

For the color palette we looked at the Pacific, which is a deeper cobalt royal blue, and at the Atlantic, which is a little greener. We use these two blues, as well as all the greys and neutrals that appear with the ocean colors. The range includes everything from volcanic rock color in Hawaii to the sand of a beach.

Interface: Have you seen any trends in consumer culture changing?

Oakey: Looking at waste, the trend of bringing reclaimed materials into spaces is growing all around the world. There is an acceptance in the consumer market to seek out products that are recycled.

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Net Effect Two: B701, B702, B703 in Caspian

Interface: Is Net Effect made with recycled content?

David Oakey: As with all our collections using Aquafil fiber, Net Effect uses 100% recycled content fiber and recycled content backing. The fiber is made up of old carpet, and a small percentage of reclaimed commercial fishing nets. This is a new thing for us, of course, but it will be a growing source that we can pioneer.

Interface: How important is the connection to Net-Works?

David Oakey: With Net-Works we found even more synchronicity. It’s not just about the product any more, but it’s about the social aspect of giving something back. In this case we’re helping the fishermen of the Philippines. Researchers are calling it ‘Generation G,’ the people who give back. Generosity is embodied in the very products companies are making.

 

Be inspired to design with your Net Effect in mind

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