Best of Surfaces honors innovation, booth space design

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February 19/26, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 18

By FCNews staff


Las Vegas—Six manufacturers were voted best of class in the 2018 Best of Surfaces competition, a contest sponsored by Floor Covering News and Informa Exhibitions, which owns and operates The International Surface Event. The awards program, now in its seventh year, has become the benchmark for new product excellence and booth design at the industry’s premier trade show.

The winners, which announced on the show floor at Surfaces, are as follows:

  • Innovation: Ceramix from Raskin Industries
  • Style & Design: Emser Tile
  • Sustainability: Congoleum
  • Technology: MagneBuild from MBS
  • Best Booth Design (over 1,200 square feet): Anderson Tuftex
  • Best Booth Design (under 1,200 square feet): Arte Mundi

The judging was initially conducted by a panel of floor covering retailers who were tasked with poring over the scores of entries in each category to come up with six finalists by the start of Surfaces. Specifically, they were each asked to explore all submissions and select their top six picks that they believe best represented the category in which they were entered. The most popular selections by consensus in each category made it to the final round, which were viewed on the first day of Surfaces—in some cases by the original judges as well as select retailers who agreed to offer their time and input.

The category winners are as follows:

Raskin Industries
After taking home the Best of Surfaces award for innovation six years ago, Raskin returns to form this year with a win for Ceramix, billed as the industry’ first loose- lay LVT with built-in grout. Ceramix provides dealers with an alternative to ceramic tile and porcelain that can be installed in a day or two. While there have been other products with grout lines attached, none have achieved the level of realism that is inherent with this product line.

“Winning Best of Surfaces in the Innovation category for the second time is a great accomplishment for our entire organization,” said Michael Raskin, CEO. “It means so much to be recognized as unique in a highly competitive market.”

Raskin also paid homage to his late father, Gerald Raskin, who was an innovator in his own right. “I am honored and take great pride in knowing my father would be very proud if he was alive today,” he said. “He devoted his career to developing products since the early ’60s. As such, I think it would be appropriate to dedicate this award to my father, because he always strived to innovate with new products that had style and would stand out amongst the crowd. If it wasn’t for him I would not have had the opportunity to forge my own path in the flooring industry.”

Style & Design
Emser Tile
Emser Tile created Lakewood and Lakehouse as an ode of sorts to the beautiful biodiversity of aged trees. The realistic, head-turning products are offered in long 8 x 34 glazed porcelain planks. Lakewood is marked by distinct wooden tones that evoke rich detail and texture, while Lakehouse acts as an accent motif with bold color variation.

“It is an honor for Lakewood and Lakehouse to be recognized in the category of style and design,” said Barbara Haaksma, vice president of marketing. “Emser Tile consistently looks to bring a fresh approach to design, and these wood-look tile series defy boundaries by offering customizable installations with striking detail.”

According to Emser, Lakewood and Lakehouse offer a unique opportunity for retailers to sell and designers to specify complementary collections. “By breathing new life into wood-look designs, we believe we have created two series that will resonate with our customers in a lasting manner,” Haaksma stated.

For Congoleum, the new Cleo brand represents a new era in sustainable flooring. The mineral composite core is a truly unique, eco-forward base that combines 85% locally sourced limestone with a 100% PVC-free binder that eliminates all plasticizers and chloro-chemicals, the company stated. Every layer of the product’s construction is completed in the USA, establishing an exceptionally small carbon footprint.

But that’s just part of the story. Cleo also delivers high marks on the aesthetic front. The product offers virtually unlimited style and design visuals that have an exceptionally high number of unique and non-repeating patterns—as high as 60 in certain designs. This is accomplished through an innovative direct-to-base digital printing process that uses 100% solvent-free inks. The vibrancy of the visual is further enhanced with a ultra-clear, high-performance 100% solids urethane coating that is VOC-free and delivers uncompromising protection from scratching and fading.

“The introduction of Cleo and subsequently winning the Best of Sustainability Award at the Surfaces show is a tremendous achievement and honor,” said Chris O’Connor, president and CEO. “Cleo is truly different in every way and simply put, there is nothing like it in the market today. The patented construction features a PVC-free and waterproof mineral composite core, high-fidelity digital imaging and ultra-clear protective coating that put Cleo in a category by itself.

“Chemical embossing for sheet vinyl and the introduction of the world’s first groutable LVT are great examples of how Congoleum has delivered meaningful innovation to the flooring industry for more than 130 years,” O’Connor added. “It is this commitment to challenging the status quo that has enabled us to bring Cleo, the next generation of innovative and sustainable flooring to life, and we are grateful for the recognition.”

Magnetic Building Solutions
After generating a ton of pre-show buzz, the new MagneBuild line from Magnetic Building Solutions (MBS) lived up to its billing. The innovative magnetic installation system was created by a joint collaboration between industry leaders and experts in the field of space and military technology.

MBS pushes magnetic capabilities to new heights, providing the industry with an easily interchangeable interior surface solution. How it works: The underlayment system of MBS utilizes magnetic technology as the foundation for all types of floors. To install, users simply roll it out over any smooth and clean dry subfloor surface. A key benefit of this new technology is that it alleviates many installation issues as floors no longer need to be bonded, making seams a non-issue.

Thanks to the innovation, a larger group of cost-conscious consumers can push past the limits of the need to be neutral, allowing for more adventurous interior design options, according to the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA), which unveiled the product and conducted demonstrations at the show.

The unveiling was more than enough to inspire dealers to cast their votes for the product in the technology category. “As a newly launched product, we are thrilled to receive this award and to be recognized as the recipient in the technology category,” said Scott Humphrey, CEO of the WFCA. “MagneBuild is a game changer for our industry. There is nothing like it in the world and its applications are endless.”

Freida Staten, WFCA vice president of marketing communications, agreed. “Being recognized with the Best of Technology Award provides us with an amazing sense of validation. The experts who recognized us with this award confirmed our belief that the MBS system can, and will, make a difference. They saw an installation system that works with every flooring category and extends the reach of floors to include walls.”

Best Booth
(>1,200 square feet)
Anderson Tuftex
Combining the Anderson and Tuftex hard and soft surface brands under one banner not only makes common sense (because this is how people live in their homes, company executives explained), but it also presents a unique opportunity to double down on new ways to market and merchandise mid- to upper-end hardwood and soft surface products.

“We have reconceptualized both brands, updated the merchandising along with a new website so everything is fresh,” said Katie Ford, director of brand strategy. “It’s on trend with everything our consumer is looking for. She’s not thinking about hardwood or carpet; she’s thinking in terms of how the overall room is going to come together.”

Dealers in attendance at Surfaces recognized and appreciated this strategy, which is one of the reasons why they voted Anderson Tuftex—which made its debut in a two-story space—for Best Booth in the large category. “We were beyond thrilled to receive the award for Best Large Booth Design from the retailers that attended the Surfaces show in Vegas,” Ford said. “As we designed our booth, the words we kept in mind were: authentic, thoughtful and approachable. We knew we wanted to provide show-goers a breath of fresh air in our space and an opportunity to take in the intentionality and craft inherent in Anderson Tuftex products.”

Best Booth
(<1,200 square feet)
Arte Mundi
Arte Mundi’s booth was designed as a visual tribute to its mission, serving as a physical extension of its primary goal: to infuse life and art into living spaces. To that end, the company’s Surfaces presentation played off the modern architectural structures and shapes inspired by contemporary art museums. The intended ambience is one of minimalism to impact the attendee experience in letting its products, its art pieces, speak for themselves.

The Arte Mundi booth was compartmentalized in a way that presented the company’s full spectrum of products. This included current running lines, new products for 2018 as well as conceptual products. And let’s not forget one of the biggest highlights of the space: brilliant Swarovski crystal element floors.

John Lee, the company’s president, appreciated the honor. “Arte Mundi is humbled to say that our U.S. debut at the Surfaces show was honored to win the Best Booth award. The intended inspiration for our exhibit was for it to be a direct reflection of our company mission and our corporate beliefs. Both our marketing and design teams worked tirelessly to demonstrate the capabilities of Arte Mundi. We are beyond grateful to be recognized by the panel of judges, some of the most respected professionals in the industry, and in turn are motivated and encouraged to continue to pursue this standard of greatness.”

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