Category Archives: NeoCon 2013

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.

B601-B602-B603-B701-B702-B703_Pacific and Atlantic1

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.


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.


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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The Ripple Effect


Creating A Restorative Loop with the Net-Works™ Program

At Interface, recycling isn’t exactly news. For 18 years, we have deepened our pledge to close the loop and use only recycled or bio-based materials in our products. This includes challenging suppliers to find ways of recycling fibers from our own products and those of our competitors to bring the polymers back into new products – making beauty from waste. The use of 100% recycled content type 6 nylon yarn in many of our products is bringing us another step closer towards our Mission Zero® goal: to eliminate any negative impact Interface may have on the environment by 2020.

To achieve Mission Zero, we strive to only work with partners who have that same level of commitment to building a restorative loop. Our trusted yarn supplier and partner, Aquafil, has pioneered ways to supply Interface with recycled nylon fibers since 2011 – re-purposing waste nylon from many sources, including yarn reclaimed through our own ReEntry® program and end of life fishing nets recovered from the fishing industry supply chain.

1107fWith at least 660 million people around the globe relying on the ocean for their livelihoods, and many living on the poverty line, Miriam Turner, Interface’s Assistant VP, Co-Innovation, saw an opportunity. Inspired by Aquafil’s recycling strides, she asked “Could we take this down to the community level and benefit some of the poorest people in the world? What if we could build a truly inclusive business model – buying discarded nets from local fishermen – giving them extra income – and cleaning up the beaches and oceans at the same time?”

Scoping a project of this magnitude requires a lot of hands, hearts and minds – so in 2011 the Co-innovation Team began assembling an army of collaborators, including the Zoological Society of London™ and marine biologist, Dr. Nick Hill. After intensive research and planning, they decided to focus the Net-Works pilot program within the 7,000 Philippine islands, on the Danajon Bank – in one of only six double reefs in the world.

And thus, Net-Works was born. The effects of clearing the beaches of nets isn’t just aesthetic. “In an eco-system as delicate as the Danajon Bank,” Hill states, “discarded nets are incredibly destructive. The nets take centuries to degrade, and with a nylon density greater than that of water, the nets lie on the ocean floor where they do untold damage to marine life.”

1004_fAlong with helping the villagers clean, sort and sell back the waste nets, Interface and the Net-Works partners have established community banking systems for the residents – supporting and strengthening the local, developing economy, and providing new financial opportunities for residents. Community banking empowers village members to establish forms of micro-insurance, savings and loans for the benefit of both individuals and the community.

Inclusive business is not philanthropy. It means profitable core business activities that take unconventional forms of partnership, expanding opportunities for poor and disadvantaged communities. It means building new models of materials sourcing to ensure the health and safety of our environment. It means beautifully designed products, crafted with care and purpose. And it means another step closer to achieving Mission Zero.

Posted in Category NeoCon 2013, Net Works | 1 Comment