By Reginald Tucker
Salem, N.J.—Long before the curtain goes up at Surfaces every year, manufacturers are busy at work conceptualizing, testing, prototyping and, ultimately, producing the products that will eventually grace the showroom floors of dealers around the country. Anyone who has been at this game long enough will tell you it’s a daunting task—attempting to forecast future trends as accurately as possible while ensuring products make it into dealers’ and distributors’ hands on a timely basis.
Mannington has proven to be particularly adept at this tricky balancing act, demonstrating year after year why it remains one of the style leaders in the flooring industry. In advance of TISE 2020, FCNews got an opportunity to go behind the scenes to meet with members of the company’s design teams as well as product managers to get a birds-eye view of the complex design process. More importantly, to learn about the various factors and trends that influence design development.
Following is an overview of some of the considerations that inspired the company’s latest resilient, hardwood and laminate introductions for 2020.
Developing looks that are still trendy but yet gravitate toward the past. That was Mannington’s goal in developing new products for the 2020 selling season. Enter Mannington’s new LVS (luxury vinyl sheet) offerings, which are getting a shot in the arm with new (actually retro) looks. Case in point is the Revive collection.
“The Revive collection has taken off across all the designs, especially the hexaganols,” said Terry Marchetta, senior director, residential styling. “The consumer likes the sense of personality with that look—it’s not a straightforward visual. It has dimensions and movement. It goes back to this whole retro trend that’s resurging—for example, the colors of the ’70s with the furniture of the Mid-century ’50s with the shapes of the ’20s. Shapes are coming back. Designers are using the old geometrics in a fresh, new way.”
Mannington is also adding one new panel to sheet vinyl and updated existing patterns in new colors. One of those is Penny Lane, which now has a black and white pattern. “It’s a big difference from the beige and black in Penny Lane,” Marchetta said.
Mannington also announced the rebrand of Apex. The goal was to set itself apart from the competition by adding new concepts, shapes and technologies that help with the realism as well as the installation.
Jim Tuley, vice president of Mannington’s residential resilient business, took the wraps off Realta, a value-focused line designed for the consumer on a budget who still wants high style. “It fits her style, but she doesn’t have to sacrifice the details,” he explained. “We’re also offering this collection with our Simple Stairs, which is proprietary to us. We make the tread out of actual product so it coordinates with the floor. LVT is so easy to cut, so you can do so many different things with it.”
Mannington is also planning to unveil a new SPC line that incorporates a digitally imprinted image on the surface of the board as opposed to a traditional film.
With the new Park City wood line, Mannington wanted to address consumer demand for incremental shifts in color. In keeping with the Scandinavian/Nordic design trends, the company sought looks that celebrate natural wood, leather and sisal but in a lighter palette.
“We do a lot of color research around products in the market, and we noticed the lighter palettes were something we were missing from our lines,” said Cristen Del Bove, director of residential styling. “We added four colors to fill in the gaps.”
Park City, according to Dan Natkin, vice president of hardwood and laminate, was designed to service as a complement to a product the company launched last year called Prospect Park, a 1⁄2-inch thick x 7 1⁄2-inch wide sliced white oak finished in the company’s plant in High Point, N.C. Mannington also offers a corresponding herringbone pattern. “When you combine the six colors we put in this year with the four colors in Prospect Park last year, you’ve got 10 total colors in the line that the consumer can choose from,” he said.
Other additions include expansions of the Normandy Oak offering in two new colors, Brandy and Brioche. For these new looks, Mannington removed some of the saw chatter marks that are in the other SKUs to convey a more refined and elegant visual.
Lastly, Mannington launches Sanctuary, billed as “premium hardwood to the extreme.” It’s 5⁄8-inch thick x 10-inch-wide format with a 4mm sawn-faced product is available in light, elegant colors. “It really goes along with the refined glamour trend,” Del Bove said.
One brand new pattern in Restoration is based on Mannington’s Triumph line from its wood collection. This offering combines three species in one board—oak, maple and hickory.
“We digitally scanned the wood plank and shaped it so there are 20 planks embossed in register (as opposed to 10 in the old days),” Del Bove said. “Not only do you get the variety, but it gets you much closer to the natural wood look because you have the right embossing with the right type of wood; 50 square feet before you see a repeat.”
The goal, according to Del Bove, was to develop new colors for Restoration by taking all those high-end looks in wood and make them more realistic in laminate. “The Restoration collection has always been influenced by the farmhouse trend, and that trend has evolved from heavy scraped to farmhouse glam,” she said. “Digital printing capabilities have really evolved.”