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NeoCon turns 50: Design, innovation take center stage at milestone event

By Lindsay Baillie

Chicago—NeoCon, one of the largest commercial interior design shows in North America, concluded its 50th edition last month, drawing in more than 50,000 attendees—a 5% increase from 2017. The Mart in Chicago was bursting with 140 showrooms, where roughly 350 exhibitors showcased the latest and greatest in corporate, hospitality, healthcare, education and retail design.

According to show management, the show floor was completely occupied, which was in keeping with NeoCon trends seen over the past 10 years. What’s more, flooring was the second highest represented commercial industry. “The fact that this was our 50th edition added a lot of buzz and energy,” said Byron Morton, vice president of leasing, NeoCon.

The scores of A&D professionals in attendance echoed those sentiments. “We could tell from the energetic crowds at The Mart that the excitement of NeoCon was at an all-time high this year,” said John Hopkins, principal and design director, IA Interiors Architects’ Chicago office. “We loved that there was such a focus on acoustic solutions—it’s an undervalued component when it comes to privacy, workplaces and open environments. We also noticed there were a lot of natural materials and finishes, a welcome return after the influx of the cold, industrial materials of the past few years.”

Angie Lee, AIA, IIDA, principal, design director-interiors, FXCollaborative Architects LLP, New York, agreed. “I have attended NeoCon for the last three years and continue to be impressed by the immense energy and creativity of the manufacturers, designers and associations. I saw a range of products implementing unexpected, thought-provoking uses of color, pattern and texture.”

Vendors attributed much of that enthusiasm to three primary factors—the strength of key end-use market sectors, the bevy of new products that provide both aesthetic and performance solutions, and positive trends in non-residential construction spending.

“Traditional hard surface markets like retail and healthcare still are very strong, and non-traditional markets such as offices and hospitality are shifting toward hard surfaces in many areas they did not consider before,” Robert Brockman, segment marketing manager, commercial, Armstrong Flooring, told FCNews.

LVT in particular is driving commercial flooring consumption across several end-use markets as it continues to exceed the growth of the once-dominant broadloom sector. This is especially the case in hotels. “Most hospitality end users are also looking to make a change to something more timeless in terms of pattern and color,” noted Al Boulogne, vice president, commercial resilient business, Mannington Commercial. “That, coupled with the easier maintenance requirements, make it an ideal product for these environments.”

But it’s not just hospitality that’s driving LVT specifications. Observers say healthcare holds the biggest growth potential for LVT, especially in areas such as hotel lobbies, hospital corridors and senior living spaces. “Slip/fall issues help LVT vs. other hard surface options,” said Paul Eanes, vice president of new business development, Metroflor.

Product trends
The vast array of innovative new products on display at the show reflected diverse requirements of architects, specifiers and designers. To keep up with demand, flooring manufacturers are developing new products across both hard and soft surface arenas that appeal to multiple commercial sectors at a time. In addition to developing products that fulfill “resi-mercial” demands, manufacturers are incorporating more pops of color to assist designers in creating unique, productive spaces.

In terms of hard surfaces, manufacturers continue to incorporate sustainable, biophilic design, with resilient flooring mimicking stone, cement, wood and other natural looks. Armstrong Flooring, for example, rolled out a heterogeneous sheet product called Mixers, which was inspired by the vibrant colors of different cocktails. Focused on its heterogeneous and homogeneous sheet lines, Armstrong presented attendees with new products that boast equal performance. “The update there is two fold,” Brockman stated, adding that designers can specify both sheet lines together without performance issues. “It’s not only new designs and patterns, but Diamond 10 technology has been added to the heterogeneous line.”

New to NeoCon, Cleo Contract—a Congoleum brand—highlighted its non-vinyl, non-PVC product. Made up of 85% limestone, Cleo has an ultra-low VOC, high-performance clear coating for durability and performance. What’s more, its visuals are digitally printed, which allows the company to produce custom looks. To help designers show what the product looks like after a complete install, Cleo Contract developed digitally printed papers that can be updated in real time with the current SKUs, according to Kurt Denman, chief marketing officer and executive vice president, sales, Congoleum.

Also riding the non-vinyl train is Mannington Commercial with its latest non-vinyl alternative resilient tile, Cirro. Offered in 20 visuals and four different sizes in tile and plank formats, Cirro can be installed using traditional resilient adhesives.

Also new from Mannington is Northern Wonders, which was inspired by a designer’s visit to see the Northern Lights. “Its colors and design are a culmination of ideas developed during the trip,” said Whitney LeGate, business manager, commercial LVT, Mannington. The product is available in nine colorways.

Over at the Karndean Designflooring space, the emphasis was on designer education as well as the seemingly endless options available through its Korlok, glue-down and loose-lay products. The company’s grout strips, available in 16 colors, were installed in the booth to show how to incorporate fake grout lines as well as pops of color to a SKU. “We’ve expanded our solid color offering to allow for both bold, saturated pops of colors and pastels to align with 2019 color forecasts, great for projects that require an elevated brand identity or to add a bit of whimsy,” said Jenne Ross, director of marketing. “We’re excited that these custom colors will be available on-demand and custom cut at our Pittsburgh facility.”

One of the products Raskin Industries showcased was Ceramix, a resilient tile with built-in grout lines that’s available in a variety of visuals, including stone, marble and concrete. “We have 36 x 36 tiles that give you a really clean smooth concrete look,” said Ted Rocha, vice president of sales. “It would be something that you’d see in an Apple store, for instance.”

Aspecta released its Aspecta 10 line, a premium multi-layer flooring with Isocore technology. The new offering features a 28mil wear layer and can be installed floating corner to corner—thanks in part to its innovative vertical locking system. “This is the Rolls Royce of multi-layer flooring,” said Marcel Kies, global CEO, Aspecta. “What we’ve tried to create is a good, better, best product.”

Shannon Specialty Floors displayed its new Naturescapes line, which was designed with the help of Jason McLennan, author, founder and creator of the Living Building Challenge. Naturescapes, he explained, is a resilient flooring product made with organic polymers. “It’s not vinyl, it’s free of all Red List chemicals and it’s the first Living Product Certified resilient flooring in the industry. This product class is highly sought after.”

Roppe highlighted multiple products at the show, including its Northern Parallels Chevron LVT planks available in a 9¼ x 59¼ format in three color ranges. According to Dee Dee Brickner, marketing manager, the line reflects strong demand for one of the most popular patterns—a directional pattern that’s often seen in real hardwood installations. “By offering a left and right design, these floors can also be laid in the same direction to create another unique look by using only one side.”

Looking beyond LVT, manufacturers in the rubber segment also looked to generate some buzz by showcasing products in on-trend, vibrant colors. Suitable for multiple applications, these manufacturers have developed customer cut and base profile programs to provide designers with greater options.

Then there was American Biltrite’s AB Pure, which features its signature Nfuse technology (Here, the coating that is applied directly into the flooring.) “Normally you would take [a rubber floor] out of the box, glue it down and then you’d scrub and clean it to release the mold agent,” Mark Tickle, director of marketing, explained. “With AB Pure, once you lay it down you use a damp mop on the surface. Then as soon as the adhesive has cured you can have people on it.”

Flexco is incorporating different wood-look visuals as well as new rubber plank sizes to its portfolio. “We’re also going to be launching some of our new base profiles, which is catching a lot of people’s interest,” said Haley Plank, marketing manager. “We’re also working on sustainability for our products. We have two new HPDs coming out for our rubber tile and treads.”

Procedo Flooring’s new Maxime rubber flooring line—available in eight colors in a 24 x 24 tile format—was designed to be installed across multiple settings, including educational facilities, sports facilities and retail areas. “We also started doing water jet cuts on the product for greater design options,” said Pierre Lefort, national sales manager.

All shapes and sizes
“Some of the coolest things in floor covering,” noted NeoCon’s Morton, “has to be the different shapes and textures” on display at the show. To that end, Tarkett showcased several products ranging from Pentagonals, which won a Best of NeoCon Gold, and Woven Fringe, a Best of NeoCon Platinum winner.

According to Terry Mowers, vice president chief creative officer, Pentagonals features rubber in a way that highlights a wide range of design possibilities. “You can get whatever color palettes you want within the system and a variety of shapes.”

Woven Fringe complements Tarkett’s rubber offering by providing a resi-mercial solution that is part of the company’s area rug program. According to Mowers, the product’s neutral color palette fits right in with current trends. “We’re seeing grays moving to healthcare in combination with other colorings. We’re also seeing grays getting warmer but we’re not seeing them move that far away.”

As hard surfaces continue to gain more share across various commercial markets, end users are incorporating more area rugs in their designs. At the same time, carpet tile is also gaining steam. New soft surfaces continue to follow sustainable, biophilic design while brightening up spaces with hints of color.

Case in point: Aquafil’s booth displayed clothing and carpet featuring Econyl fiber. According to Kathy Long, brand communications manager, the booth was designed to show how fashion and carpet flow together. “We’re trying to show the endless possibilities of Econyl,” Long said. “We have 28 new colors to the Econyl collection—new neutrals and pops.”

Patcraft highlighted Dichroic, a PET carpet tile made from recycled plastic bottles. “We’ve worked on two products to pull plastic waste out of the environment,” said Kieren Corcoran, director of performance markets. “We’ve taken the bottle chip that can’t be recycled and turned it into fibers. We can then recycle it again at the end of its life back into pellets.”

EF Contract, which made its NeoCon debut, highlighted several carpet collections, including Rust Dye. “What we did was take metals and went through the process of rust dying them and capturing what they leave behind as they decay,” Susan Curtis, vice president, design and marketing, explained. “We’re all about tile, skinny planks and giving the designer flexible to design their own patterns.”

New to Mannington’s broadloom products is Moire, a carpet tile offering developed in conjunction with installation artist Gabriel Dawe. Moire mimics an installation Dawe completed in The Mart, which featured 30 miles of colorful fiber organized in prism format. Interestingly, the installation changed its colors as attendees passed by.

Mohawk put the spotlight on several new soft surface offerings, including Sunweave, a collection of woven broadloom and rug products featuring Heathered Hues Duracolor premium nylon, and Crafted Convergence, which draws on influence from Native American pottery and baskets to everyday Japanese and African garments. “With Crafted Convergence, we’re starting to transfer more hospitality looks into the workplace,” said Mark Oliver, vice president, workplace and retail. “The other beauty is it’s broadloom, but we’re also offering it as a rug.”

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Aspecta 10 Tilt & Tones receives Grand Product Innovations award

Norwalk, Conn.—Aspecta North America’s new Aspecta 10 Tilt & Tones LVT flooring has received a Grand Product Innovations award from Buildings Media. Introduced at NeoCon 2018, the latest LVT design breakthrough, pairs four geometrically inspired Tilt tiles with the neutral Tones tile palette to achieve custom looks.

“The Buildings Product Innovations awards are an important gauge of technical superiority for contract facility managers and owners,” said Marcel Kies, Aspecta Global CEO. “We are proud that Aspecta 10 Tilt & Tones impressed the Buildings editorial staff with its flexibility in design, durable quality and simple installation.”

The 24 x 24 Aspecta 10 Tilt & Tones tiles are presented in four color groups, each consisting of four unique Tilt tile designs that can be paired with two companion Tones tiles. Together they create a random, intriguing and playful motif—a neutral background and foil for accent textiles, paint colors, furniture and office systems.

The Buildings editorial staff evaluated submissions in terms of their innovation and contribution to productive workplaces. The staff then evaluated finalists in person at the NeoCon 2018 show in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. Aspecta 10 Tilt & Tones is a member of this elite group of products, which will be showcased in the August 2018 issue of Buildings and online at BUILDINGS.com.

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Aspecta reorganizes sales team

Norwalk, Conn.—Aspecta has promoted and made role changes in its sales organization. “We are implementing these changes to grow our business, provide our distributors with better service and achieve a more concentrated focus on our Aspecta commercial business,” said Harlan Stone, group CEO.

Marcel Kies

Kies, managing director of Aspecta’s European branch—Aspecta B.V.—for the past three years, has been named the global CEO of Aspecta. “Marcel has done a remarkable job establishing the Aspecta brand throughout Europe and other parts of the world,” said Russ Rogg, president and CEO, Metroflor Corporation. “Aspecta is a global brand that requires global leadership coupled with local management. With that goal in mind, Kies will work closely with me and our newly appointed director of sales, Alan Rowell, to leverage the scale of the brand while tailoring our sales and marketing approach to the North American market.”

Kies is a respected international sales and marketing business manager with over 30 years of experience in the flooring industry for both B2B and B2C business environments. His leadership thrives working with geographically diverse and multicultural teams.

Alan Rowell, formerly Southeast district sales manager for Metroflor, has been appointed to Aspecta director of sales for North America. Rowell will lead the commercial sales manager team, working in concert with Aspecta distributors to focus on the right customers and ensure that salesforce.com and Reed Construction Data are used to their fullest capabilities. “Alan has shown a keen instinct for our commercial business,” said Rogg. “Beyond sales, he will focus on ‘train the trainer’ initiatives to make sure that the specification and commercial sales teams are fully equipped to be effective ambassadors of the Aspecta brand.” 

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LVT, carpet tile make the (commercial) grade

May 28/June 4, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 25

By Ken Ryan

 

Flooring executives say there are several reasons why LVT and carpet tile—two modular options—represent the fastest growth and most popular flooring types for commercial interiors.

Modular flooring categories offer numerous options, enough to address virtually any budget, performance need or design requirement, according to Quentin Quathamer, commercial brand and marketing manager for Philadelphia Commercial, a division of Shaw Industries. “Modular flooring offers flexible design options via installation pattern. Combined with style, color and shape selection, a distinctive design can be easily achieved. They also mitigate less-than-perfect site conditions where less than smooth or dry subfloors exist, which can be budget-restricting hurdles or delay the use of the space you just designed or renovated.”

Others say carpet tile lends itself to enhanced design because designers can use the modularity of the tile to create spaces within a space and help with wayfinding. Nathan Stevenson, vice president of product management, Mohawk Group, noted that carpet tile is a good choice “for when you are renovating a commercial space with pre-existing furniture where you can essentially lift the case goods in the area an installer is working, replace the flooring underneath, lower the furniture, move to the next tile and keep the process moving along. Carpet tile’s benefits and flexibility help specifiers and end users meet many of their goals for commercial environments.”

In recent years, traditional LVT emerged as a versatile and durable product offering myriad design options to provide an excellent value proposition. “The traditional LVT market continues to evolve with modification that impart various performance attributes,” said Kurt Denman, chief marketing officer/executive vice president, sales, Congoleum. “Modifications to the base can deliver improvements in sound rating, indentation or installation options. Changes to the thickness of the wear layer can be made based on the type of space, the maintenance schedule and anticipated level of foot traffic to ensure optimal performance. Combine performance options with an array of design options, relative ease of installation and competitive price point, and you have a strong value proposition.”

Many flooring observers also agree that LVT is the smart choice for commercial applications because it offers a bevy of benefits other flooring surfaces cannot. “From a design standpoint,” said Alan Rowell, director of sales for Aspecta by Metroflor, “LVT fits in with the more European contemporary look that is gaining popularity in commercial settings.”

Flexibility and versatility are two other attributes in LVT’s favor in the commercial segment. “We often think about our tile products as building blocks, and our customer has the ability to control how the floor defines their space, regardless of whether it is carpet or LVT,” said John Crews, manager of Lifestyle Studio, Shaw Contract.

Amanda O’Neill, senior product manager for Armstrong, said that because LVT’s composition includes PVC, the product is much more resistant to damages in addition to being water and scratch resistant. “LVT’s flexibility in terms of modular shapes and sizes, broad palette of colors, durable long-lasting performance and easy maintenance make it idea for many commercial spaces. Plus, improved embossing techniques give LVT a much more realistic look than laminate.”

For Mannington’s Al Boulogne, vice president of commercial resilient business, LVT’s success in the commercial arena is all about versatility, as it can solve many installation-related issues. “Floating versions and more traditional glue-down versions of LVT, coupled with specialty adhesives, solve moisture issues from the subfloor,” Boulogne said. “Solid core products can also go over existing subfloors helping the end user avoid the high cost of ripping up tiles. Plank and tile formats in LVT also help to make repairs of damages much easier.”

Mark Tickle, director of marketing, American Biltrite, said the nearly unlimited visuals and colors differentiate this waterproof vinyl product in a commercial setting. “Simple maintenance, no stripping and waxing [needed]; then there is the much lower cost for installation and maintenance with a simple damp mop. Finally, better technologies have made it more durable to commercial traffic use.”

Applications for every segment

The question is not which commercial segments favor carpet tile/LVT but rather which commercial segments don’t? Indeed, markets like education, corporate, healthcare, government, hospitality, student housing and retail all are thriving with LVT and carpet tile applications.

The general consensus is the two big commercial growth segments are hospitality and workplace. Both are relatively new segments for LVT. “Having the right design for the workplace has been the challenge in such a legacy, carpet-oriented segment,” Boulogne said. “By coordinating design with what works on the soft surface side, we can make the transition a comfortable one for designers.”

Hospitality’s acceptance of LVT over soft surface products has grown lately due to health/hygiene concerns and LVT’s longer life cycle. By the same token, VCT is losing ground within education because LVT is easier to maintain and does not have an institutional look and feel. Milton Goodwin, vice president of commercial sales for Karndean Designflooring, allowed that the hospitality segment is turning away from carpet and hard tile because it is difficult to keep the grout clean. “The cleanability of LVT is a big thing. LVT doesn’t harbor dust and allergens; there is softness underfoot; it is hygienic and offers upscale looks without the costs.”

Cali Bamboo has seen significant growth among its hospitality, multi-unit housing, gym and retail storefront clients. These sectors are looking for flooring that can be installed easily and won’t have to be maintained or replaced as often. “Our customers also like the improvements in the luxury vinyl look that Cali Vinyl’s HiFi Imaging allows,” said Tom Hume, vice president of marketing. “The introduction of improved LVT has opened doors to clients who tend to shy away from hardwood or carpet.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HD Expo: Hospitality takes its cues from residential design

May 14/21, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 24

By Steven Feldman

Las Vegas—Things are changing in hospitality. Guest rooms are moving more to hard service. Select service hotels—the 2- and 3-star properties—are growing and garnering more attention than luxury hotels. And technology is yielding better performing hardwood for public spaces.

“We are seeing a lot more mid-scale hotels, what they are calling select service, and a lot less of the 4- and 5-star hotels with the huge ballrooms and lobbies,” said John Reader, general manager, Desso Hospitality, a division of Tarkett. “That means there is a lot more emphasis on guest rooms, where the hotels make the money, and a lot less emphasis on the public space.”

As such, while the company is seeing much more traction in public spaces with hard surface and modular than, say, five years ago, the real growth is in select service. To that end, Desso showcased a patterned LVT to almost identically match a carpet tile. Collection Infinies by Tarkett is a high-definition LVT that invites users to customize four innovative designs with its proprietary co-creation tool. The technology allows users to select colors from a predetermined palette and personalize the patterns to their liking.

Talk to LVT suppliers, and they will attribute their increasing success in the hospitality segment to the product’s ability to provide solutions—whether it’s installation, maintenance or design flexibility. Take Karndean Designflooring, for example, which at HD Expo put the spotlight on Korlok, its entry into the rigid core arena. “It is increasing in popularity because of the fact it can go over imperfect subfloors,” Emil Mellow, director of public relations, told FCNews. “Someone just came by seeking to replace a ceramic tile floor with grout but didn’t want to rip it up. Korlok is a perfect solution because it will go right over it.”

Shaw Hospitality prides itself on offering different types of solutions for various types of spaces, according to John Crews, design manager, Lifestyles Studio, which includes the hospitality business. Among its centerpieces at HD Expo was Natural Choreography, a collaboration with Rockwell Group. Natural Choreography utilizes custom, end-cut block wood and sheared marble floor surfaces, which are signature interior elements for high-end hospitality projects. The patterns mimic natural stone and wood with “metal” inlay by creating high-definition scans of real lumber and stone. The idea is to bring these exclusive materials to mass hospitality as a unique, cost-effective solution. “We are taking natural elements and adding a twist,” Crews said. “It’s something a little different for public spaces and guest rooms.”

Republic Floors made its HD Expo debut with its patented Pure SPC, which the company claims is a step above what’s currently on the market. As Rotem Eylor, founder and CEO, explained, “Pure SPC offers a density of anywhere from 1200 psi to 2400 psi. It is made from four different stone powders with special polymers inside to make the material stable. Our claims ratio is less than 0.01%. The product is good in heat or cold, and it doesn’t need acclimation. It doesn’t expand and contract. For hospitality, it can go anywhere—public areas, guest rooms, even in the shower.”

Metroflor featured its Aspecta brand, which is finding favor in hotel guest rooms. Its Aspecta Ornamental line allows flexibility of design with a custom print overlay on a 2.5mm vinyl body. “It’s more of customized feel without a customized budget,” said Alan Rowell, director of sales, Aspecta. It allows a designer to create something beyond a monolithic design.”

Bringing past to present

Personalization of space and the need for a tactile experience—that’s what some of the carpet mills sought to address via their HD Expo introductions. “People are still craving the texture and experience to be able to connect with the product,” noted Jackie Detmer, vice president of design and product development, Mohawk Group, which features the Durkan brand for this segment. “Our new Crafted Convergence was inspired by a collaboration with the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture and the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, N.M. The carpet is modern but inspired by patterns that have been in [existence] for thousands of years.”

It was a similar story at Mannington Commercial, where Amanda Swindall, marketing director, talked about the continuation of personalization in design as well as what she called “resi-mercial” (making hospitality settings feel more like the comforts of home). In response to that trend, a new carpet tile called Heirloom, based on an old Czechoslovakian wedding dress, was previewed for a summer debut. “Look how the yarn comes in and out and how the color plays. It’s a handcrafted look that’s based on disintegration over time.”

Wood-strong

Hospitality is traditionally a segment that utilizes hardwood primarily in public spaces, but given the demands of the application, the wood must perform. In fact, hospitality is the No. 1 market for Nydree Flooring, whose products are acrylic infused, making them three to four times harder than regular wood, according to Jason Brubaker, vice president of sales and marketing. “Depending on the level of the property, our products could go in common areas, lobbies, restaurants and, in some cases, the guest rooms.”

Monarch came to HD Expo featuring its two main brands: Monarch Plank Hardwood Flooring, which is its quick-ship stocking collection, and Royal Custom Plank and Parquet, a wide array of unfinished offerings. According to Danny Harrington, vice president of marketing, Monarch’s products are suitable for hospitality applications due to a very heavy commercial finish, which features UV-cured oil.

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Aspecta's website puts spotlight on Biophilic Design

Norwalk, Conn.—Aspecta by Metroflor encourages architects, designers and end users to take a deep dive into Biophilic Design as they visit the newly enhanced aspectaflooring.com and explore how this emerging discipline is reflected in products throughout the entire Aspecta portfolio of commercial LVT floors.

At Metroflor, Biophilic Design is not an afterthought, it is an integral approach inherent to the company’s culture of supporting design that truly promotes wellness and fosters meaningful connections between people and nature. Metroflor is guiding the industry of Biophilic Design forward, inspiring designers to create environments for both human and ecological health and well-being.

“At Aspecta, we are taking a leadership position in the flooring industry in promoting Biophilic Design,” said Gary Keeble, director of marketing.

Strong interest in the company’s Biophilic Design & Resilient Flooring CEU motivated the integration of the Biophilic Design story and its influence upon its product design throughout the new Aspecta website. “The architect and design community clearly is hungry for information about the biophilia story and its potential for positive impact—within the built environment in general and flooring in particular,” said Keeble.

The new Biophilic Design features include: a Biophilic Design page that defines the philosophy and explains how it enhances the indoor environment through its multiple benefits along with in-depth information on all the biophilic elements and patterns; biophilic elements and patterns added to the product filter to search for products using biophilic criteria; an Aspecta product matrix that identifies which elements apply to each of Aspecta’s 200+ flooring products, with links to product pages, and a downloadable PDF for offline reference; on individual Aspecta product pages, the ability to mouse over each Biophilic Design element and pattern for a brief description with link back to the Biophilic Design page for deeper content; an invitation to request a presentation of the Biophilic Design CEU by an Aspecta representative, which is also available on AEC Daily.

Aspecta is on the leading edge of advocating Biophilic Design not only in LVT flooring, but the flooring industry at large. Its trade show exhibits have been thoroughly influenced by biophilia at Neocon, Greenbuild, GlobalShop and HD Expo, and will be evident in the space at Neocon 2018.

Visit Aspectaflooring.com for more information.

 

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Aspecta achieves JUST label for Chinese manufacturing facility

Norwalk, Conn.—The Elegant Home-Tech facility in Zhangjiagang, China, which manufactures Metroflor’s Aspecta commercial LVT product, has received a JUST label. To receive the label, the company had to provide numerous policies for public review and be rated on a wide range of metrics including safety, diversity, worker benefits and community engagement.

The JUST platform was created by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) as an innovative way for organizations to be transparent about their entire operations beyond product ingredients. Rather than a certification program, JUST is essentially a nutrition label for socially just and equitable organizations. The program requires reporting and documentation on a range of organization- and employee-related indicators, each requiring specific and measurable accountabilities recognized on a one-, two- or three-star level, which are published on the JUST label.

“The idea of pursuing a JUST label for a Chinese factory is courageous and profound,” said Rochelle Routman, Aspecta’s chief sustainability officer. “By accomplishing this, we have created a benchmark for our factory as well as the entire U.S. manufacturing sector sourcing from factories in Asia. The world is moving past the stigma of ‘Made in China’ because modern factories such as Elegant Home-Tech have made great strides in worker experience, quality control, and product and social transparency. It is Aspecta that is leading this movement to take transparency beyond U.S. borders.”

CEO of Elegant Home-Tech, Jin Song, fully supports the JUST effort and understands the need for transparency at the large flooring factory, which employs over 1,000 people. Additionally, Metroflor is fortunate to have Simon Xia, its general manager for China and liaison to Elegant Home-Tech, who assisted the team in overcoming the language barrier and setting the documentation process of existing policies in motion. Xia worked with Francis Janes, ILFI’s JUST manager, who walked him through the JUST parameters. This enabled Xia to evaluate and document transparency and social equity practices enabling the company to achieve the coveted label.

For more information, visit: justorganizations.com/just-profile/aspecta

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Aspecta by Metroflor to sponsor keynote at NeoCon

Norwalk, Conn.—For the second consecutive year, Aspecta by Metroflor will sponsor one of the keynote presentations at NeoCon, the world’s leading platform and annual event for the commercial design industry, June 11-13, at The Mart in Chicago. Among the banner lineup of programming from some of the preeminent, influential names in design and beyond, Aspecta will sponsor the keynote presentation on opening day featuring Art Gensler, founder of Gensler.

Registration is now open for the Aspecta-sponsored presentation, “Unanticipated Opportunities: A Conversation between Art Gensler and Cheryl Durst, IIDA executive vice president and CEO,” which will take place June 11 at 8 a.m., in the NeoCon Theater, 19th floor, The Mart. Metroflor’s director of design Robert Langstaff will introduce the keynote presentation with opening remarks.

“Aspecta by Metroflor is honored to be introducing one of the most important trailblazers in the A & D community,” Langstaff said. “The conversation about risk-taking and seizing opportunities is very synergistic with our company’s culture. We constantly seek new ways to develop innovative products and design possibilities to keep competitive and stay fresh in this challenging, yet exhilarating, marketplace.”

To register, visit neocon.martreg.com

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Aspecta by Metroflor launches revamped website

Norwalk, Conn.—Metroflor launched a new, improved website for its Aspecta range of commercial LVT flooring during Domotex Hannover. New graphics, a revitalized look and feel, and improved navigation were developed to appeal to the architect/designer and contract audience. The global brand’s website is available in six languages: English (UK and USA), German, Italian, French, Spanish and Dutch.

“The Aspecta website was ready for an aesthetic update and more streamlined navigation,” said Gary Keeble, Metroflor’s director of marketing. “A key objective in phase one development of the new site was to minimize the number of clicks to get to the desired products and technical information. Products can be easily located using the improved search tool, and we’ve added thumbnails to the product menus to easily browse the product line. All technical documents have been added to the product pages for easy access with the option to download in a single click. These enhancements will vastly improve the user experience.”

Additional improvements and updates include:

  • The complete line of the new Aspecta One Ornamental collection
  • Enhanced product filtering to drill down to collections, segments or various product specifications
  • Suggested similar products on each product page
  • Online requests for Metroflor’s two CEU courses—Biophilic Design and Resilient Flooring, and Sustainable Attributes of LVT
  • A thorough sustainability section spotlighting the many product transparency standards and declarations achieved for the entire Aspecta range, available for download

The second phase of the redesign is underway and will feature expanded functionality including, the capability for users to set up profiles and project folders, a quick view option for products a new blog called Aspectives, enhanced case studies and project profiles, and an enhanced newsroom/press archive—to name a few.

“Ultimately we intend to create a destination website for the A&D community that caters to their needs and respects their time,” Keeble said. “What we have begun will continue and evolve with new functionality that transforms aspectaflooring.com into a useful which not only improves the web experience, but ultimately the overall customer experience. This is just the first step in the journey.”

 

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Aspecta by Metroflor translates Declare labels

Norwalk, Conn.—Metroflor has published all the Declare labels for its Aspecta LVT commercial range in five languages: Spanish, French, Italian, German and Dutch.

Rochelle Routman, Metroflor chief sustainability officer, who spearheaded the initiative in tandem with the company’s product authority team, explained the rationale for the translation: “Our purpose was twofold: to help the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) continue to spread its word about Declare throughout the world, and to empower our customers in European countries to immediately identify in their own language the ingredients of the flooring they purchase from us.”

Because the ILFI did not have a system in place to accommodate Declare label translations, it took on the challenge and developed a formal protocol for label translations moving forward to ensure the rigor of the Declare program is maintained in every language.

The ILFI named Aspecta by Metroflor a “Declare Thought Leader” and encourages other manufacturers to follow the company’s example to share the transparency message worldwide. “To see Declare expand across the globe through Metroflor’s translated labels is validation to the product transparency movement,” said James Connelly, vice president, products and strategic growth, ILFI. “We are excited to see it grow further.”