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.
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.
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.
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.