Category Archives: Products & Services

Marsala: 2015’s Pantone Color of the Year

Gretchen Wagner

We are all well on our way to an extra fabulous 2015. All those pesky, unfinished projects from 2014 are finally wrapping up, leaving bright space in the new year. And what better way to bring about some change than our annual Pantone Color of the Year feature?

2015’s color of the year is Marsala. Marsala isn’t quite red, and it isn’t burgundy or maroon either. It’s best described as a dusty shade of wine. But we can forego the color analysis and get right down to how you can incorporate it into your new year—other than as the perfect color scheme for your best friend’s wedding.

Marsala situates itself neatly between light and dark on the color wheel with just the right amount of saturation to pair beautifully with smoky, warm neutrals or livened with rich blue-violets and a vivid orchid accent. I look at Marsala the same way I do the perfect navy. When used correctly, it falls into that category of neutral sophistication that just about everyone is trying to achieve. But when paired with some vibrancy, Marsala can pack quite the punch of energy to get you riled up for 2015.


For the mindful self-care approach, wrap yourself in that cashmere blanket you’ve had on your wishlist since 2012 and pair with lush Marsala velvet throw pillows. Think about Marsala more as an accent to your otherwise neutral wardrobe and find subtle ways to incorporate it into your ensemble. Maybe it’s a new nail color at the salon or a fresh pair of pumps. For the color enthusiast, Marsala is your starting point. Begin with a staple item in the color (i.e. a gorgeous chiffon dress or wide leg pant) and layer with saturated accents.

Whether you’re more subdued or over-hued, Marsala can work for you if you work with it.

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License to Chill

Sarah Pelham

Happiness is that first December morning when you wake up to a blanket of snow covering the ground. Screams of joy echo through the house: “School is closed!” Grab the mittens, boots and all the makings for the best snowman ever. It is WINTER!

Where will this season take you? Will winter bring you inside to the warmth of a cozy cabin with a warm, glowing fire, or will it take you outside to find adventure on snow-covered trails? Whichever path you choose, rejoice in the change in seasons.

As the seasons change, the lighting around us shifts, providing fresh perspectives of the spaces we occupy. The colors around us also shift from summer’s bright, emerald green lawns to winter’s blue grey skies—prompting a change in mood, clothes and even a time to refresh our interior surroundings.

By nature people are drawn to the outdoors and the changes it offers throughout the year. Think of visiting a hotel property that has transformed from winter to summer, allowing returning guests a fresh perspective with different seasonal visits. Likewise, the modularity of certain products makes it easy to change our interiors to reflect the seasons. Cotton coverlets give way to faux fur throws, bright, floral pillows are exchanged for ones with rich, textural patterns—even area rugs can be changed to create complementary moods.

Interface Hospitality makes it easy to achieve a seasonal shift in your space with our modular carpet products. Accent rugs are a simple, cost effective way to refresh your interior’s seasonal mood. All components are easy to store and install, allowing rugs to be switched out in a matter of minutes.

Below is the latest winter palette from Interface Hospitality. It includes a variety of textural products that borrow forms found in nature. Whether you’re looking for a snow covered pebble path, sea foam hitting a shoreline or interwoven tree branches, this palette offers a cool winter retreat.

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Top Row (left to right): Net Effect B602, Over the Edge, Lofty M0980, Urban Retreat UR101
Bottom Row (left to right): Human Nature, HN840, HN850, HN810 in Limestone, HN830 in Black, RMS607, Chenille Charade in Frost

Featured products are from our collections of Human Nature™, Urban Retreat™, Net Effect™ and Over the Edge™, as well as two stand alone products, RMS 607™ and Chenille Charade™ from FLOR.

Human Nature, Urban Retreat and Net Effect each consist of multiple products with varied colors and textures that can be combined to create seamless organic movement. These products form inspirational, free flowing floors that allow guests to meander on a natural interior path. FLOR’s Chenille Charade and Lofty™ from Over the Edge both deliver a figurative, textural effect reminiscent of a luxurious, hand carved rug while RMS 607 carries you into the guest room with a plush, monolithic sisal pattern.

So, bundle up for winter and fill your corridors with textural neutrals while bringing in a punch of seasonal fun with interchangeable rugs of cool winter greys and bright summer kiwis.


(Left) Net Effect B601 and B602 in Black Sea; (Right) Chenille Charade in Frost

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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.


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Go Play

Gretchen Wagner

At Interface we love to inspire you with endless modular design possibilities. Whether it be through the photography and tile configurations on our website or the brand spanking new Workbook 2.0, you always experience the clean, perfect as we intended. Today, I’m going to bring you inside our messy creative studio where we get down and dirty with our carpet tiles and show you how we take an idea for a floor from inspiration to installation. We’re pulling back the metaphorical curtain and showing you how Interface designs with our own products.

Over the past year, Interface has been exploring the concept of composite rugs where not only colors, but also textures, from different products are mixed together in a single installation. Having recently completed a few different rugs with this concept, I was feeling inspired to take it to a larger scale and a more refined color palette. I started finding inspirational imagery of transparent glass that formed new colors and depths of shading when pieces overlapped.


Since our IT department had just moved into a new space and needed new carpet, I decided to see if it was possible to create the same effect by changing the color or texture of the carpet when shapes on the floor overlapped. A design plan slowly began to emerge featuring large, triangular shapes that overlapped and subtly changed color from one end of the office to the other. I wanted to have a wide range of textures and colors in the floor, so I sought a handful of products from our consumer brand, FLOR, which brought shaggy and chunky textures into the mix.


The floor quickly developed into a beautiful, prismatic flow of colors, but I had to develop a plan that our installers could easily follow. The result is a highly contrasted grid where the product was identified by a numeric and color key for easy interpretation. As soon as the installers arrived with the product on site, they cross-referenced the tile boxes with the numbers on the installation plan and got started cutting tiles on the diagonal to create the triangles.


I don’t want to glaze over the nitty gritty details, but a plan like this requires extra attention on the front end of the design. If you adequately provide installation plans that are both visual and informational, you’ll be good to go developing a truly unique floor for your space.

Interface provides you with the building blocks to design an exceptional floor whether you’re working with squares, planks, FLOR or cut tiles. All you need is to find your inspiration and go play.


1. Raw Color:
2. Prism Rug:
3. Colored Triangles:
4. Photograph of Pool Room rug at Catawba

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Acoustics in Senior Living Environments

Amy Milshtein
Debra Harris_web2

Dr. Debra Harris, PH.D., CEO RAD Consultants

It’s a must to create restful home-like spaces for residents of senior living facilities. So, absorbing disturbing sounds is very important. What can be done to turn down the volume in senior living environments? Dr. Debra Harris, a leading expert in evidence-based design, has toured the country with Interface, offering CEU sessions that review the research on noise and acoustics, and identify evidence-based strategies for mitigating noise in environments that straddle the line between a healthcare and residential setting, including using carpet tile as a solution.

Senior living facilities can be noisy for two reasons: loud sounds and hard surfaces. Equipment and machinery noise from roller carts, walkers and wheelchairs mix with footsteps, bustling corridor traffic and the voices of staff, visitors, and roommates, spread down corridors and into resident rooms. The noise echoes, overlaps, and reverberates, adding to the stress of workers and residents alike. More than just an annoyance, this stress causes serious repercussions, from resident care errors to lowered resident satisfaction to a reduction in performance standards in the senior living facility. Dr. Debra Harris, CEO, RAD Research + Design (, investigates the problem and comes up with some surprising findings.

“The biggest surprise is that while everyone agrees flooring materials play a part in noise control, no one ever studied flooring as an independent variable in patient or healthcare worker stress which is quite parallel to resident care in senior living,” she says. “It’s a missed opportunity.”

To prove her point, Dr. Harris points to several different studies and articles about noise, stress, and satisfaction. In one study cited in the Wall Street Journal, she notes, hospital administrators ranked noise reduction as a top priority for the second time since 2011. Patients also agree that hospitals are too noisy, with only 60% of those surveyed in June 2012 saying that the area outside their room was quiet at night. This is the lowest satisfaction score among 27 questions about the hospital experience.

More than just an annoyance, noise pollution causes serious consequences like high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and increased medical errors. Noise has also been linked to staff attrition, sleep disruption, and stress, all of which impact staff performance, patient outcomes and satisfaction. While everyone wants satisfied customers, hospitals need them as Medicare reimbursement is tied to patient satisfaction.

That’s right. Medicare bases a portion of hospital reimbursement on quality measurements, and one of the quality questions they ask is: How often was the area around a patient’s room quiet at night? But nighttime isn’t the only consideration when it comes to noise control. A 2006 study measuring sources of satisfaction among hospital patients found that environmental satisfaction like interior design, architecture, housekeeping, privacy, and ambient environment proved a significant predictor of overall satisfaction. In fact, it came in second behind perceived quality of nursing and clinical care. Noise, however, constantly receives the worst marks in patient surveys.


Carpeting resident rooms not only provides a great design aesthetic, but also plays a major part in minimizing noise.

Just how loud are senior living and healthcare facilities? That depends on where you look. Dr. Harris found in the FGI Guidelines 2010 that the typical dBA (A-weighted decibels, or the relative loudness of sounds in air as perceived by the human ear) in different rooms almost always exceeded the recommended dBA. Some spaces like the NICU, corridors, and public spaces were exceedingly loud, with typical dBA reaching between 65-80 for NICU and 70-90 for corridors and public spaces. (Recommended dBA for NICU is 30-40 while corridors and public spaces should be between 40-50 dBA.)

Patient rooms fared better, but not by much. The recommended dBA here is 35-45 but the typical room clocked in somewhere between 55-65. These loud sounds can be detrimental to patient’s rest as proven by a sleep study at Harvard Medical School Affiliated Sleep Lab. No wonder patients consistently complain about noise.

Senior living and healthcare workers also suffer from environments that are too loud. Most studies show that healthcare facility noise exceeds OSHA and WHO recommendations, though Dr. Harris notes that current studies of healthcare workers and hospital noise are limited. They generally focus on interference with communication, distraction, effect on cognitive performance, and concentration and contribution to stress and fatigue.

“There is a study that used ceiling tiles as a variable,” she says, “and it found that improving room acoustics can influence positive gains in psychosocial work environments. But further research could explore the possible effects of acoustics on staff turnover, quality of care, and medical errors.”


Ecumen Bethany Community, Alexandria, MN
Pope Architects
Nathan Bolster Photography

Several studies also recommend using carpet or carpet tile in high traffic areas to reduce noise. To explore this idea further, RAD is investigating comfort and noise levels using flooring materials as the independent variable. “We compared terrazzo, rubber flooring, and carpet tile,” says Dr. Harris. “The analysis portion of the study is being finished up right now.”

Dr. Harris admits that carpet and carpet tile have perception problem, despite the prevailing research. “People think that it’s dirtier than smooth flooring options or they don’t trust their cleaning staff with it,” she says. “Yet every study since 1982 does not indicate that carpet can transfer illness. Sheet vinyl, however can carry pathogens from shoes or mops.”

“Some senior living and healthcare facilities and architects who work in these areas will not allow carpet anywhere, some will only put it in the corridors,” she continues. “But a few are busting out, reading the research, listening to experts and putting carpet in resident and patient rooms. It will be interesting to watch.”

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