Learning is earning
The show itself, touting more than 700 showrooms and temporary spaces, also offered 190 speakers conducting 150 CEU-accredited seminars and association forums. Enrollment in the education program was double last year, Falanga said. “Seminars reveal things about the mindset of the community. Green-related, sustainability related seminars are very popular. Also, those that focused on diversifying a skill set and acquiring new business were well attended.
Green strategies were at the forefront of most manufacturers’ messages. For example, InterfaceFLOR’s claim to achieve a zero carbon footprint and be off oil completely by 2020 was declared by the sponsoring of a life-sized elephant constructed of recycled truck tires and placed in the front of the Merchandise Mart. “Nomkhubulwane (named for the Zulu goddess regarded as Mother Earth) symbolizes our commitment to sustainability and talking about oil, the proverbial elephant in the room,” said David Hobbs, president, InterfaceFLOR.
As expected, environmental attributes dominated new products.
- Karastan Contract, one of The Mohawk Group’s four brands, showcased Tuscany Fields, the first product line from The Mohawk Group to be manufactured with SmartStrand Contract, an innovative new fiber made with up to 37% bio-based renewable resources. The products are CRI Green Label Plus and NSF 140 certified with their recommended adhesives meeting the most stringent rules for VOC emissions.
- Invista introduced the Antron brand’s new platform for redefining sustainability with its “Getting it Right in Its First Life” platform. Antron is seeking more comprehensive under- standing of a product’s effect on our lives and the environment. First Life is defined as the time frame from when a new carpet is installed until it needs to be removed due to unacceptable appearance and/or performance. This approach supports existing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) models but expands upon them to incorporate performance testing, customer use and maintenance through the first use of the product.
- Tandus introduced Genesis, the first flooring fiber to encase a biopolymer in a nylon outer layer. The biopolymer is derived 100% from annually renewable plant sugars from non-food stock and emits 86% fewer greenhouse gas emissions and uses 65% less nonrenewable energy than nylon.
- Expanko announced its recycled rubber flooring, Reztec, was awarded SCS certification for containing recycled materials that can help meet the criteria for LEED MR 4.1 and/or 4.2 as specified by the USGBC.
In carpet, the balance continues to shift toward modular tile at the expense of broadloom. In fact, some estimate modular now commands a greater share of volume although broadloom still represents around 55% of dollars. Among the many introductions:
- Bentley Prince Street partnered with Robert A.M. Stern Architects to launch Modern Block, inspired by natural materials such as brick, slate, limestone, sisal and linen. Available in 12 colorways and constructed of Antron Lumena 6,6 nylon, the product is applicable in healthcare, hospitality, education and multi-family residential settings.
- Lees Carpets, a brand of The Mohawk Group, took the wraps off Sixth Sense, which explores organic color and design. Offered in five transcendent patterns and a spectrum of colors accented by metallic yarns, the collection was inspired by elements of nature.
- J+J/Invisions showcased its Magnify and Collection of Light groupings, inspired by everyday surroundings such as carpet strappings, the natural formation of rust and reflection of light. J+J visually expresses these elements into products that offer versatile, unique, high-performing options, according to Jenny Rogers, director of marketing.
- Shaw Contract Group unveiled a large-format, rectangular carpet tile aptly called 18 x 36. Targeted toward corporate settings, the product features five patterns on EcoWorx backing. “New methods of installation shift the shape of design beyond the traditional square,” said John Stephens, vice president of marketing.