The global per­spec­tive

VM&RD - - SPECIAL FEATURE – FLOORING - In­puts by Chanda Kumar

VMRD con­nected with GLOBAL RE­TAIL DE­SIGN CON­SUL­TANTS to un­der­stand the pri­or­i­ties of retailers and de­sign­ers in se­lect­ing re­tail floor­ing ma­te­ri­als. De­sign, dura­bil­ity and green build­ing ini­tia­tives im­pact the trends in floor­ing ma­te­rial. Here’s what some in­ter­na­tional renowned de­sign con­sul­tants say about lat­est trends in floor cov­er­ing and the im­por­tance of this silent yet strong el­e­ment in de­sign :

Ken Nisch, Cha­ri­man – JGA

Gen­er­ally, retailers pre­fer hard sur­face to­day, mov­ing away from soft, high main­te­nance and short-wear­ing ma­te­ri­als. Ma­te­ri­als such as pol­ished con­crete, some­times stained, sand blasted or embellished in some way is be­com­ing an in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar floor­ing op­tion from trendy youth ori­ented brands to fash­ion and de­signer brands. Eco-friendly retailers are look­ing at ma­te­ri­als not only as be­ing sus­tain­able in terms of ini­tial source, but also re­us­able and re­cy­clable in terms of sec­ond life use. Tra­di­tional ma­te­ri­als such as cork, new bam­boo, com­pos­ite ma­te­ri­als, and floor­ing prod­ucts made out of crushed and re­cy­cled glass, met­als, etc. are gain­ing in­ter­est. In many parts of the world, clean­ing is done by the store per­son­nel, and the abil­ity to have it eas­ily cleaned is a con­sid­er­a­tion while choos­ing floor­ing ma­te­ri­als. Mar­ket con­di­tions such as dust and dirt, in­clement weather, and even the na­ture of the prod­ucts that might be sold within the en­vi­ron­ment, are the fac­tors which should be con­sid­ered while choos­ing the floor­ing ma­te­rial.

An­gela Kreutz, CEO, Blocher Blocher In­dia Pvt. Ltd

Flex­i­bil­ity has be­come very im­por­tant for retailers and the wish for a quick and easy floor in­stal­la­tion goes along with this trend. Also, the pos­si­bil­ity to just re­place in­di­vid­ual ar­eas is not only eco­nom­i­cally rea­son­able but also in an eco­log­i­cal sense be­cause less waste is pro­duced. We have seen that the world­wide sup­ply for sus­tain­able ma­te­rial is in­creas­ing con­stantly. This in­cludes nat­u­ral ma­te­rial like wood or stone as much as syn­thetic floor cov­er­ings which are re­cy­clable. When you look at the plan­ning process, it is of ut­most im­por­tance to find the right ma­te­rial for the dif­fer­ent ar­eas. Pri­vate spa­ces, for ex­am­ple, should con­trast with the street or the out­door ar­eas and con­vey nat­u­ral­ness. For ex­am­ple, by us­ing warm wooden floor­ing on which we then lay down a real wool car­pet. For the re­tail sec­tor it’s im­por­tant that the floors are durable and fit to the su­pe­rior con­cept and brand.

Alas­tair Kean, Group Di­rec­tor, Dalziel & Pow

We have been ad­vo­cat­ing the use of floor­ing as a back­drop to the prod­ucts and dis­play, a more mono­lithic ap­proach, which al­lows de­part­men­tal flex­i­bil­ity and fu­ture proof­ing. This does not stop a more rad­i­cal ap­proach wher­ever ap­pro­pri­ate. For ex­am­ple, we have seen the use of me­tal floor tiles and the jux­ta­po­si­tion of tra­di­tional tim­ber in­layed pat­terns into a con­crete screed. As for sus­tain­able floor cov­er­ing ma­te­ri­als, we do en­counter prob­lems of sup­ply and not just from an en­vi­ron­men­tal per­spec­tive. We are spoilt for choice in Western Europe and go­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally cre­ates is­sues.

Mary Klie, Ma­te­ri­als Spe­cial­ist, Chute Gerde­man

Clients and con­sumers will al­ways want high per­for­mance in the ar­eas of dura­bil­ity, stain re­sis­tance, low main­te­nance as well as low cost. But huge trends both na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally are sus­tain­abil­ity fac­tors and hard sur­faces. We have seen car­pet man­u­fac­tur­ers take on new lines of Lux­ury Vinyl Tile in ev­ery­thing from wood looks to con­crete and ab­stract and, as man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses evolve the abil­ity to weave in sus­tain­able properties to any floor­ing prod­uct are more ob­tain­able. Some sus­tain­able op­tions that are avail­able world-wide in­clude en­gi­neered wood planks, spe­cialty and re­claimed wood floor­ing, re­cy­cled con­tent porce­lain tiles, ter­razzo mixed with earthly ag­gre­gates, even re­silient vinyl sheet floor­ing is sus­tain­able, and we can't ig­nore the earth friendly cork op­tion. Most is­sues with floor­ing come from the prod­uct not be­ing in­stalled cor­rectly. A lot of floor­ing needs to ac­cli­mate to in­te­rior en­vi­ron­ments, and re­quire spe­cial ad­he­sives, spe­cial sealants and cur­ing times al­ways vary. It is a very com­pet­i­tive mar­ket; my big­gest piece of ad­vice would be not to be fooled by green wash­ing. Make sure to do your home­work as a de­signer and spec­i­fier and make sure the prod­uct is as qual­ity and as sus­tain­able as it claims to be. Learn­ing from the global de­sign fra­ter­nity in­di­cates a lot of com­mon­al­ity in the cri­te­ria for in­vest­ment in floor­ing across the globe. Also is­sues that brands, retailers, de­sign­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers are deal­ing with over­seas and lo­cally are fairly sim­i­lar hence mak­ing it eas­ier for all to find so­lu­tions. Fi­nally, it's heart­en­ing to learn that all the stake­hold­ers are col­lab­o­rat­ing to de­liver cus­tomer cen­tric de­sign, prod­ucts and in­stal­la­tions that jointly make it pos­si­ble for cus­tomers to ex­pe­ri­ence world class brand and store ex­pe­ri­ence in any part of the world!

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