Las Vegas—Six manufacturers were voted top of their class in the 2022 Best of Surfaces competition, a contest cosponsored by Floor Covering News and Informa Exhibitions, which owns and operates The International Surface Event (TISE). The awards program, now in its 11th year, has become the benchmark for new product excellence and booth design at the industry’s premier trade show.
The winners, announced on the show floor, are as follows:
- Innovation: AHF Products
- Style & Design: Daltile
- Sustainability: Inhaus
- Technology: Mannington
- Best Booth Design (over 1,200 square feet): Shaw Industries
- Best Booth Design (under 1,200 square feet): Parkay Floors
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.
- Dogwood Densified Wood
Dogwood Densified Engineered Flooring is a new innovation that uses a patent-pending process to significantly increase the density of the face veneer by using heat and pressure. It has a dent- and scratch-resistant surface. What takes nature millions of years to do AHF Products can do in a matter of minutes, transforming real hardwood into even harder wood. This process opens up the possibility for the use of non-traditional wood species, such as sycamore or walnut.
The proof is in the pudding, according to AHF, which cited the product’s demonstrated performance in four key tests:
• Janka scale (hardness)
• 2-inch steel ball drop indentation test (hardness)
• Taber abrasion (coating performance)
• Martindale microscratch resistance (coating performance)
“We are tremendously honored to be awarded the Best of Surfaces Innovation award for our game-changing Dogwood Densified Wood technology,” said Brian Carson, CEO. “This award means a lot to all of us. This Innovation award validates AHF’s success in developing new technologies and solutions that improve not only our product line and enhance the consumer experience, but also how we serve our customers and build lasting value for everyone.”
Indeed, Dogwood aims to give traditional hardwood enthusiasts a reason to embrace the category in the midst of all the competing wood “look-alike” products on the market. Hence the reason why AHF Products thought the judges voted for the product in this category. “Dogwood is an opportunity to bring consumers squarely back into the hardwood category while giving our channel partners an opportunity to grow their sales and margins,” Carson explained. “Retailers will now have a terrific competitive edge with the real hardwood floor consumers want and with the performance attributes they need. We’re really proud of this win, and I’d like to thank the entire AHF team for their hard work and dedication and our customers for their com- mitment to AHF.”
Pictured here are Travis Bjorkman, AHF’s senior research scientist who developed the process; Brian Parker, AHF; Steven Feldman, FCNews; Brian Carson, AHF; Dustin Aaronson, FCNews; and Wendy Booker, AHF.
- CraftedEdge bevel technology
The next-generation bevel technology, CraftedEdge, makes LVT look more like real hardwood. The technology creates a chiseled, hand-crafted bevel found
on today’s most luxurious floors. It is featured on Regency and Calico in Adura Max and Adura Rigid.
“We’re extremely honored and pleased to win the award,” said David Sheehan, vice president, residential hard surface, Mannington Mills. “For us, it’s validation for a kind of strategy that we are getting back to in residential hard surface, to what Mannington is known for with a little nuance. Historically, we have been known for style and design and always been an innovative company. We’re trying to get back to the innovative side with a nuance of meaningful innovation that matters to the consumer.”
And that bodes well for retail sales associates and consumers alike. “The aesthetic is most important to the consumer and we think CraftedEdge delivers a more realistic visual,” Sheehan added. “With this strategy everyone wins. The RSA has a product that is easy to sell, and the consumer is getting a product that is in line with her demands.”
Mannington said the judges scored the innovation based on its uniqueness. “The reason we won is it is perceptibly different,” Sheehan explained. “Winning this award makes us want to work even harder to deliver meaningful innovation.”
Pictured from left are: Steven Feldman, FCNews; Mannington’s David Sheehan and Terry Marchetta; and Dustin Aaronson, FCNews.
Style and Design
- Saphire Status
Sapphire Status is the Daltile brand’s newest addition to its Panoramic Porcelain Couture Collection. This new product offers the visual and style of natural stone with the durability, cleanability and attractive price point of porcelain. Sapphire Status is a bold, deep, energizing blue marble design that can add drama to a space or access the popular design trend of connecting with nature. The deep sapphire blue and black marble background is accented by prominent white and gold veining in a 10’6” x 5’3” slab.
“We are thrilled to have our Daltile Sapphire Status recognized for its beauty,” said Amber Leigh Martinson, senior director of marketing, Dal-Tile Corp. “Daltile is a fashion-based brand and an industry leader in style and design. Our product designers are some of the very best in the industry, always abreast on the latest trends in the worlds of fashion and interior design, allowing us to be the first to market with the hottest looks.”
Dal-Tile said the judges were simply awestruck by Sapphire’s visual characteristics. “Who doesn’t love a giant blue sapphire?” said Roy Viana, director of natural stone and slab, Dal-Tile Corp. “From a design perspective, Sapphire Status is both a striking color and a dramatic visual pattern inspired by the classic natural stone Sodalite Blue. From a specification and application perspective, deep blues are rare in most slab/large-format product categories and costly. Consequently, Sapphire Status helps get over those hurdles. Sapphire Status provides customers a beautiful and practical option that is considered limited or unattainable. It’s also the ‘wow’ factor customers are looking for in any application or design space and at a price that nicely fits into their budget.”
Pictured, from left, are: Steven Feldman, FCNews; Dal-Tile’s Scott Maslowski, Paij Thorn-Brooks and Amber Leigh Martinson; and Dustin Aaronson, FCNews.
- Sono Eclipse and Elandura
Inhaus’ new proprietary technology for rigid core flooring offers recyclability and recycled content, which makes for a truly sustainable product. When done right, it’s a circular journey for the material. As an example, yesterday’s yogurt cup is today’s Inhaus flooring and tomorrow’s piece of lawn furniture.
Inhaus’ new German-engineered, proprietary rigid core flooring technology was invented to create the most durable, beautiful and functional flooring in the industry and to be manufactured in a sustainable way.
“Receiving the Best of Surfaces Award for Sustainability was a meaningful acknowledgment of the many years of work and investment we have made in our new technology, Ceramin,” said Derek Welbourn, Inhaus CEO. “To discuss economical and sustainable production processes is one thing; to accomplish it is something very different, as we found out. However, to actually see the collection of yogurt cups and plastic forks, for example, become a world-class finished floor is pretty motivating. Doing more with less, without compromise, is most certainly the future.”
Pictured, from left, are: Derek Welbourn, Inhaus; FCNews’ Steven Feldman and Dustin Aaronson; and Daniel Lang, Inhaus.
Best Booth Design (under 1,200 square feet)
Big things often come is small packages. Just ask Parkay Floors, which took home the Best Booth award in the under-1,200-square-foot category. “It’s an amazing achievement for us after eight years showing at Surfaces and 15 years in business,” said Juan Molina, CEO. “To be recognized for the job we have done feels exhilarating. We’ve worked so hard to get to this point.” Parkay said the judges were drawn to not only the open concept of the booth but also the array of products presented. “We had a good focal point on the samples we are displaying,” Molina explained. “The combination of colors and textures from our different categories—not only indoor but outdoor—impressed retailers as being innovative.”
Pictured, from left, are: Dustin Aaronson, FCNews; Parkay Floors’ Juan Molina and Andres Abad; and Steven Feldman, FCNews.
Best Booth Design (over 1,200 square feet)
If you’re going to mount a comeback in a return to the Surfaces show floor after a 15-year hiatus, you may as well go big. That’s precisely what Shaw Floors did with its massive, modern booth presentation—a space that not only encompassed its flagship brand but also its family of brands serving the residential and Main Street markets.
“Shaw’s return to Surfaces as a united force, with all our residential and Main Street brands, was a huge success,” said Nina LoCicero, vice president of marketing and digital commerce, Shaw Residential. “It was so great connecting with customers and media in-person, and the response to our interactive, immersive space was overwhelmingly positive—as evidenced by our award for Best Large Booth Design.”
Shaw Floors said the judges likely took into account the promotional lead up to Surfaces in their decision-making process. “Face time and the ability to touch/feel products are paramount in this industry, and I think the anticipation of Shaw’s collective return generated a lot of excitement with show attendees and judges alike,” LoCicero added.
Pictured above are: Shaw Floors’ Nina LoCicero, second from left, and Scott Sandlin, second from right, flanked by FCNews’ Steven Feldman and Dustin Aaronson.