February 19/26, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 18
By Steven Feldman
This issue celebrates the Best of Surfaces winners, the awards competition co-sponsored by Floor Covering News and Informa Exhibitions, owners and operators of The International Surface Event, for the past seven years. The competition highlights innovation, technology, sustainability, style and design, and best large and small booths on display at the industry’s premier event.
It is structured in such a way where only the judges’ consensus choices are featured. But that doesn’t mean other products and companies were any less deserving. With no honorable mentions or runners-up, the competition fails to acknowledge products that almost made it, in the judges’ conversations to the very end. In fact, in some cases, more than one judge may have chosen a product that did not win because of a 5-3-1 scoring system. So I thought it would be appropriate to pay homage to some of those products here.
In the style and design category, won by Emser Tile’s Lakewood and Lakehouse, Mannington’s AduraMax Apex generated much consideration. The judges were deliberating over the waterproof product’s on-trend looks, contemporary colors, natural wood grains and finely detailed surface textures. The planks offer multiple widths with a visual not seen anywhere else on the show floor.
In the technology category, captured this year by Magnetic Building Solutions’ MagneBuild, Mohawk’s Omnify was discussed in depth. Omnify is said to be the flooring industry’s only omni-channel solution that connects online, in-store and product experience. The idea is to give retailers the content, tools and reporting to take their digital marketing to new levels with integrated social search, reputation management, website optimization and lead management.
The other product discussed heavily here was a room visualizer called Roomvo. How it works: A shopper can upload a photo of her room through her phone and see her flooring choice in high quality without the need for an app to download. Customers interact with the visualizer intuitively in seconds. Manufacturers and retailers integrate Roomvo with their existing websites, enabling it for desktop, tablet and mobile phone shoppers. While it may take room visualizers to another level, the judges felt it was not new compared to an innovation such as magnetic flooring.
Mohawk was also discussed in the innovation category, won by Raskin Industries’ Ceramix, a product billed as the industry’s first loose-lay LVT with built-in, authentic grout lines. Mohawk’s RevWood, its rebranding of its laminate collection, was the product, and one judge called it “laminate on steroids.” Mohawk calls it revolutionary laminate wood because of its waterproof nature. RevWood is also scratch and dent resistant, and features All Pet Protection. A few of the judges felt it was more about marketing than product, but the waterproof claim almost put it over the top.
In the sustainability category, won by Congoleum’s Cleo Home, a couple of other products caught the judges’ attention. First Marmoleum Click CinchLOC from Forbo was obviously discussed as linoleum is arguably the most sustainable product out there. Linoleum is naturally healthy, water resistant and made primarily from renewable resources, including linseed oil, wood flour and pine rosins. These natural ingredients provide Marmoleum Click CinchLOC with inherent anti-static properties to repel dust and dirt, making it easy to clean, thereby reducing exposure to allergens and contributing to better indoor air quality.
The judges also talked about Air.o, Mohawk’s 100% recyclable carpet. Air.o’s fibers are made from 100% polyester and don’t absorb moisture, helping to prevent the growth of allergens. It’s latex-free, odor free and produces no VOCs. A worthy candidate indeed, and a Best of Surfaces winner in 2017 for Innovation.
This year boasted a most deserving group of entries, providing the judges with a tough task indeed.