May 28/June 4, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 25
By Steven Feldman
Architects and designers have known the Sunbrella brand for decades. After all, Sunbrella enjoys the reputation of being a best-in-class manufacturer of fabrics in terms of performance, durability and design. While the company has a foothold in a variety of industries, upholstery fabric for both indoor and outdoor applications is probably what resonates most with the A&D community. Resistance to mildew as well as fading and degradation from sunlight are just a couple of its products’ hallmarks that allow for a premium that can often be double the price of its competitors.
Family owned by parent company Glen Raven, the 57-year-old brand in the late 1990s purchased a France-based competitor to its European business called Dickson. Then, about five years ago, Dickson created a woven textile for the floor. Its success in Europe and Asia fueled the decision to bring the product to the U.S. and enter what can be best described as a somewhat crowded woven textile flooring market.
Dickson Woven Flooring by Sunbrella made its debut at the Starnet spring meeting in Orlando earlier this year, which was followed by additional exposure at HD Expo in Las Vegas. Now it comes to the big stage this month at NeoCon. Industry veterans Natalie Jones (Mannington Commercial) and Catherine Minervini (Bentley) are two of the three A&D regional managers handling the line.
Architects and designers are quite familiar with the woven textile flooring category having specified similar products from Chilewich, Bolon, Tandus Centiva (Powerbond), J+J (Kinetics) and Armstrong (Fitnice) to name a few. These products provide warmth and comfort underfoot like a soft surface but offer the cleanability and durability of a hard surface. This makes it an ideal choice for high-traffic applications where great acoustical properties are needed as well as comfort for the people who are standing and walking on it. But according to Jones, that’s where the similarities end—especially with regard to construction and performance.
How it’s made
One of the unique things about Dickson Woven Flooring is the fibers are thermo-soldered together as well as into the phthalate-free backing itself so it’s not an open weave; it’s more of a flatweave. Things aren’t going to ground down and get trapped into the flooring as they may with similar products, according to Jones. Furthermore, soldering the fibers together also results in a beautiful aesthetic of a textile, she added.
There is also an optical effect unique to Dickson with the higher contrast colors that allows the same color to appear differently. Depending on the reflection of light off the fiber, it projects ever-changing color compositions within a space. This striking effect is produced by reflected light on bicolor fabric threads and further intensified through the texture and placement of patterns on the covering. The result is a product with eye-catching 3-D and holographic effects created within the space. The collection offers four different broadloom fabric textures in 30 color shades.
Dickson is also FloorScore certified to promote good indoor air quality. Furthermore, the product installs easily due to what the company claims is the only no-fray system available in the U.S. market. Enhancing the product’s longevity is the high-performance backing engineered to withstand the heaviest of foot traffic.
From a technical standpoint, a condensed cushion gives Dickson Woven Flooring optimal acoustical ratings related to sound transmissions and ambient noise, Jones said. The product also boasts an ease of maintenance story; it can be vacuumed, hot water extracted or you can simply take a wet cloth to it.
Jones sees Dickson Woven Flooring being specified in multiple applications. “Fitness centers should be a prime market because it offers a better aesthetic than rubber and doesn’t have that rubber smell. We also are seeing opportunity in retail as operators look at performance from a hard surface that also offers comfort underfoot. In hospitality, we are seeing more hard surface in hotel rooms because of the maintenance and durability concerns.”