Neil Sookee, design director of Formica Group, discusses the development of the latest collection of decorative laminates
Describe the highlights of the new Formica® Collection
Formica Group continues to provide a design-focused approach in exploring new ideas through its range of High Pressure Laminates, which provides a harmonised portfolio of decorative laminate options. Collaboration with Swedish-born, New York-based designer Kristina Rastrom has seen the introduction of a new texture exclusive to Formica Group. Rigato™ is a modern interpretation of a classic pinstripe that plays on the subtle contrast between matt and gloss finishes. The tactile qualities of texture add to the visual impact of colour and pattern.
High performance, high-gloss finish AR Plus® by Formica Group has been introduced to a selection of new plain colours and fashionable woods, responding to the trend for a glossy, reflective appearance. In the Colors and Premium Colors ranges, new plain colours have been selected to reflect key trends.
Colour families feature warm and neutral, architecturally-inspired palettes. For easy reference, Formica Colors are now arranged in accordance with the NCS colour system, a colour system particularly favoured by architects and interior designers. This system was key to the basic structure and organisation of the new collection. Our woodgrain collection has been refreshed by the addition of new species and updated colourations, and we have reorganised our pattern collection to include new unique, modern synthetic abstracts.
What’s the inspiration behind the new designs and collections?
Innovation and differentiation have been guiding forces in introducing new elements. Extensive colour families and co-ordination between ranges, textures and patterns offer enhanced design options. New features, such as LED-inspired bright colours, digital pixilation, optical solids, berry tones and acidic accents, sit alongside classic looks and colours.
For instance, Strand, from the new Patterns range, is an intriguing and highly individual crossover option. Functional, familiar wood tones are incorporated into a uniquely abstracted pattern available in four colourways. Another new option, Geo, is destined to become a classic with its striking, complex organic weave in a family of six colours, all of which co-ordinate with specific hues in our Colors range.
Are there any particular challenges to consider when designing High Pressure Laminate?
The challenge is to provide high quality, long lasting, durable products without compromising on design aesthetics. Providing a visually attractive, hard wearing surface that can work within a wide range of environments is key to our success. Designers are looking for patterns and textures that are on trend and distinctive, yet also have a timeless appeal.
So we strive to work closely with architects, designers and specifiers to devise innovative designs and decors that meet these demands. For instance, Mode, one of our new patterns, was developed after research with architects highlighted a desire for scalable designs. We have introduced Mode in three scales - mini, midi and maxi - and it’s available in colour combinations based on our Colors range for co-ordination, as well as customisable patterns. Applications for the new range include offices, education, leisure, transport, healthcare, retail, hotels and residential developments.
Why harmonise the new collection across Europe?
The new collection has been specially devised for the European market following extensive research into market trends, with global trend analysis, focus groups and field surveys. Over a quarter of designs are brand new to the European market. As well as being a practical resource for European designers and architects, it offers an inspiring choice of beautiful and contemporary surface treatments.
Formica Group constantly reviews its processes to deliver customer best practice initiatives. With architects often specifying across territories, Formica Group now has a European-wide approach, backed up by a local presence to respond more effectively and directly to its customers in each market.