July 6/13; Volume 30/Number 2
By Jenna Lippin
Chicago—The 47th edition of NeoCon, held June 15-17 at the Merchandise Mart here, was record breaking, drawing more than 50,000 attendees from around the world. Byron Morton, vice president of leasing for Merchandise Mart, said the show’s pre-registration numbers were up 20% from last year, the highest the show has ever seen.
To meet the demand of the massive crowd of showgoers, flooring manufacturers in every category stepped up their game. Following are some standout products from companies that exhibited at the show.
Aquafil’s space highlighted the latest from its collection of products comprised of Econyl fiber, made from 100% regenerated nylon 6. There are now 138 Econyl colors to choose from, ranging from neutral, earthy tones to bright options that provide the perfect pop of color to any space.
The company has recycled 10.5 million pounds of material to date, and projects the number to be at 30 million by next year.
Winner of IIDA’s Best of Competition award for NeoCon Showroom and Booth Design, Bentley stole the show with its latest collections presented in a 1980’s punk rock-themed format, dubbed Born & Raised. The launch is said to bring the company back to its L.A. roots.
Highlighted in the new offerings are Trance and Magnetism, which are the latest additions to the Curio Collection. Trance is available in both broadloom and carpet tile with mixed denier yarns and luster level to create a boucle style loop texture. Magnetism is offered in modular only, combining a wide stripe of Trance with a lower profile companion stripe of a darker tone to create added dimension.
Bolyü unveiled several product lines at NeoCon, including Elevate LVT, which answers the call for the increasingly popular WPC category. Elevate is a solid vinyl plank with a thin top layer of real wood. The product also includes a non ortho-phthalate (DOTP–non-phthalate) vinyl core and is available in nine natural wood visuals in 6 x 36 planks with a 3mm thickness.
Thread Count, part of the Level Collection, was created to mimic the design of close-knot fabrics. The shaded, gradient tones create an ombré effect. These 24 x 24 modular tiles include a minimum of 70% post-consumer recycled PET and are 100% recyclable.
On display for CBC was Halo Woods LVT, created as a complement to the Halo Free line. Halo Woods was designed for end users who want something at a lower cost and do not require a PVC-free product, explained Chip Braulick, director of flooring. Halo Woods is available in approximately 30 SKUs.
Previewing at NeoCon was a revamp of the Mature sheet vinyl line under the Toli brand. “It’s the first time Toli has changed its construction in 25 years,” Braulick said. Mature is described as a “true no-wax product, a high performance commercial sheet vinyl” with “scuff resistance that is far superior to anything we’ve ever had or what is on the market.” It will launch during the first quarter of 2016.
Groove Glass and Gotham were the main attractions at Crossville’s space, two collections that were not on display at other shows this year. Groove Glass is a large-format glass ranging in sizes from 2- and 4-inches wide by
16, 12 and 8 inches long. Colors and shapes within the collection were inspired by the landscape of the United States, specifically the Southwest and the Salt Lake areas; blues, oranges, browns and grays reflect the natural scenery and sunsets in the regions. The product is expected to launch by mid-summer.
The other new line, Gotham, is a value collection like Crossville’s Ready to Wear and Basalat lines. Gotham is available in 2 x 6 and 12 x 24 tiles in six colors with some trims offered. The range features a minimal, concrete look with names inspired by elements of metropolitan areas and architectural movements.
Interface is now in its fourth year of its evolution of biophilic design, focusing on how the natural environment can affect human life indoors with this year seeing particular focus on creating a healthy workspace.
New from the company are Equal Measure and Near and Far. Equal Measure mimics a cobblestone street; it encompasses three textures that move in four directions, creating a sophisticated, plush finish. The line is offered in skinny planks of 25 cm x 1 m (about 1 yard by 1⁄4 yard) and is made with 100% recycled nylon.
Near and Far is a highly textural plank product, with a more organic look and feel that encourages designers to mix and match the two different selections from the collection—NF400 addresses varying shades in striations across the planks while NF401 provides additional depth and carving. This new line is also made from 100% recycled nylon.
J+J Flooring Group
Prevalent in J+J’s space was a photography theme, used to illustrate its new Filtered Effects collection. The line ranges from 18 x 36 planks and 12 x 48 demi planks to a 12-foot broadloom. The five products within Filtered Effects are inspired by photography filters, which are more popular today thanks to Instagram.
Also new are Umbra and Umbra Stripe, the latest addition to J+J’s notable Kinetex product, which won the Best of NeoCon Silver award in the Flooring: Hard Surface, Tile & Stone category. The ombré pattern of the 18 x 36 planks creates varying effects that lend to limitless design and installation options. Umbra consists of the first-ever planks from the Kinetex line, a textile composite flooring made from knitted polyester fabric with cushioned polyester felt backing.
Mannington highlighted the Connected collection, designed in collaboration with Corgan and Associates, a leading design firm that caters to the corporate segment. With a grid pattern, Connected is an 18 x 18 product offered in nine base tones with accent colors that complement pieces. Available is a 9 x 18 that can be “dropped in to create visual dimension and interest,” explained David Sheehan, vice president, commercial hard surface.
Also on display was Anthology from the Amtico brand. The company considers it a “game-changer” in LVT as the series allows a myriad of custom design capabilities. “It’s an abstract visual that is becoming very popular in the market,” Sheehan said. “We utilize a skeletal print technology at Amtico where film is actually transparent. So, we can change the color based on a face ply.” The Anthology collection offers five basic patterns that can be used across a 30-color palette.
The latest from Metroflor’s Aspecta brand, Aspecta 10 LVT, was unveiled at NeoCon. Aspecta 10 serves as the company’s entrance into the WPC category, yet it is a bit of a misnomer as Aspecta does not contain any wood. The collection utilizes a new technology called Isocore, an extruded, closed-cell PVC core that provides rigidity and strength. Selections from Aspecta 10 will be offered at varying gauges with different wear layers and embossing characteristics, with options that include a pre-attached polyethylene underlayment.
Aspecta 10 includes 30 new designs—20 planks that are 8.5-inches wide by 60-inches long, all with registered embossing to create authenticity, and 10 tiles in an 18 x 36 format, explained Russ Rogg, Metroflor’s president and CEO. “We’re using the Unilin locking system on the long joints and Valinge’s 5G on the in joints for easy, fast installation.”
Aspecta 10 is expected to launch in its entirety in the fall.
Bold colors were the main attraction at the Milliken space, which featured a number of introductions that had the NeoCon crowd buzzing early at the show.
Naturally Drawn modular carpet includes four designs inspired by artists’ drawings with eight coordinating colors that allow users to “expand and contract with transition patterns to move from light to dark or dark to light and back out again,” explained Stacy Walker, global director of customer experience.
Color Field is inspired by large swaths of colors used in the abstract expressionism style of color field painting. The collection includes 64 colors that can create endless design possibilities. The modular PVC-free planks offer more organic, graduated patterns thanks to precise color placement.
Winner of the Best of NeoCon Gold award for the Carpet: Modular category, Mohawk Group stole the show with its new Moving Floors modular collection. Designed in collaboration with Innocad’s 13&9 Design, a focus on texture and a fourth dimension brings new design possibilities to life with Moving Floors. Five styles help create movement and a sort of optical illusion based on where the end user is standing when viewing the floor. The collection is available in 24 x 24 carpet tiles made from Mohawk Group’s Duracolor premium nylon fiber.
The Lakir Collection by the Durkan brand brought home Best of NeoCon Silver for Broadloom. With 15 patterns, Lakir illustrates the depth of design possible with Durkan’s Definity manufacturing technology, which helps replicate Axminster products.
Procedo’s Loom is a second-generation product branching off of Summa, introduced a few years ago. A commercial-grade LVT backing with a woven vinyl top layer and UV-cured finish helps make the product visually appealing while exceptionally durable. The line installs like traditional LVT and is maintained the same way, so re-training for installers and end users is unnecessary. In terms of pricing, Jeremy Whipple, sales and marketing manager, said Loom is a “very budget conscious” option vs. higher-end LVT floors. He noted seeing a crossover with this particular product, observing more use in education, health care and corporate.
Shannon Specialty Floors
Also highlighting product innovations at NeoCon was Shannon Specialty Floors, specifically touting its Teknofloor and Tuf Stuf brands. Teknofloor is a wood visual sheet vinyl dubbed the “no wax, no buff” commercial sheet product of choice. Its embossed surface is said to make the floor more difficult to scuff or scratch, and the 2.3mm thickness helps Teknofloor stand up to heavy traffic in various commercial applications, including health care, senior living, retail, corporate, education and hospitality.
Tuf Stuf includes five collections of vinyl sheet, tiles and planks, also with a “no wax, no buff” finish, built to withstand wear and tear in most commercial environments. Nano-Silver technology make Tuf Stuf floors antifungal and antibacterial, and “no buff” keeps away dust and wax particles.
The Park was a major focus for Shaw Contract at the show, which includes resilient, carpet tile and broadloom options. With natural, muted tones such as grays with earthy accents, The Park reflects elements of the outdoors for indoor applications in hospitality, corporate, education and more.
EcoWorx resilient—featured in The Park—is a sustainable flooring option that is phthalate- and PVC-free with a wear layer to protect against scratches, scuffs and stains. The company considers it to be a vinyl alternative, with better performance than traditional resilient options.
Noble Materials is Shaw Contract’s new solution dyed collection with a metallic sheen for an aesthetically appealing luster. The collection includes four 24 x 24 modular tile options, two traditional broadloom offerings and two woven. With nine colors to choose from, options within Noble Materials are designed to coordinate.
Tandus Centiva took home three Best of NeoCon awards this year: Gold in the Broadloom category for Indent; Silver in the Modular Carpet category for Avant and Gold in Hard Surface, Tile & Stone for Asymmetric.
Indent is a Suzanne Tick-designed woven broadloom offering that incorporates yarns used for backing into the entire carpet design. The product is 100% recyclable in the ReStart program and is CRI Green Label Plus certified.
Avant is available in modular tile format and a Powerbond 6-foot roll good, in addition to the company’s FreeForm modular plank selection. Available in six colors, Avant’s options make it ideal for creating custom designs.
Asymmetric, also designed by Suzanne Tick, was developed to coordinate with the company’s successful Substrate product, an LVT collection launched last year that brings the design skrim to the top of the flooring material.
Winner of Best of NeoCon silver in Healthcare Flooring for Acczent Flourish, Tarkett: Johnsonite had the heterogeneous sheet product prominently on display in its space. Designs from the collection were created to coordinate with homogeneous products, and are offered in three visuals available in 10 colors. Acczent Flourish includes a UV-cured polyurethane surface treatment and 32 mil wear layer, making it ideal for commercial use in areas where hygiene is a concern.
Previewed at the show was the Safe-T-First (STF) system, which uses photoluminescent technology to create an “escape routing system through emergency egress stairwells and hallways that may go dark in the event of a fire or other unexpected power outage,” the company explained. STF integrates photoluminescent technology into resilient flooring offered in 36 colors and varying designs, creating an aesthetically pleasing and safe space.