‘Echo Deco’ – Moving Toward Simple Luxuries
What is design? For that matter, what is a designer? We start with the second question first.
Omnova Solutions creates a range of decorative surface materials, including 3D laminates – laminates that can be pressed over edges, into shapes and intricate details machined into MDF panels. These materials are used in a growing number of commercial and residential furniture and interiors – markets that require suppliers to anticipate the varied and sometimes mysterious currents and climates of interior and product design.
“In the end, what we really do is personal and intimate,” says Jane Suchla, creative manager for Omnova. “Our product is a surface, an aesthetic of color, pattern and touch. We are occupying and impact someone’s environment. The places we work, we live, we heal, we eat or shop – our world,” says Suchla.
“As a designer this is a cool place to be, because it’s where true design work happens. You use your creative talents in an informed way to deliver something to an audience knowing that it will become part of their lives. We have to put together something that’s creative and beautiful, enjoyable and pleasing.”
“It’s a much broader responsibility than putting something together that you personally think is beautiful. Yes, it has to be beautiful, but it also has to be real…it has to work.
“I have great pride and passion in the work that designers of laminates do. There is an integrity to it, and a level of ingenuity to create something as real and imagined. As a creative person, I find it very satisfying, very fulfilling.”
Given the boundless level of potential laminate designers have over color, pattern and texture, how on earth do designers zero in on the creation of a single surface…not to mention creating a new collection?
“Designers are visual,” says Suchla, “so a lot of our inspiration comes from just keeping our eyes open to what people are drawn to. Paying attention to all markets, fashion, architecture, home furniture, in social media, art, theater.”
“My team travels a lot, domestically and internationally, to gather and understand. What are these emerging interests? What materials are showing up, and why? Materials themselves can become an aesthetic. Is this going to be a niche look in a single market, or is there a potential for it to jump out and become a stronger movement?”
“Laminates are inspired by natural and man-made materials and can become those materials. Consider the popularity of concrete. It is not only a material but a design. The look, the effect, the texture, the color - becomes the desired ‘design’. Randomness and variables look refined, even a bit better than the real thing”
“Laminate delivers good design at the functional level, to be just as striking as something that costs more, and often with a much lower impact on the environment,” says Suchla.
One of the standout designs is Calacutta Oro, a beautiful white Italian marble with open, deeply dimensional veins whose character really opens up when used in large format applications.
“Calacutta Oro is influenced by statuary marble. A highly distinguished, highly desirable stone that is a recognized classic, and has been growing in popularity as style choices trend toward more luxurious surfaces,” says Suchla. “As we developed this design we were influenced by the digital visuals we were seeing in the market. Characterized by over scaled bold veins. But we understand our laminates are often used in smaller formats.”
The team’s solution was to add the larger veins found in digital interpretations and edit the original veining just enough that you would never have a smaller piece that is void of character.
“What we did was create a combination of true veins, and added an amped up version of the wider, bolder, larger scale veins that have been popularized by digital printing, blending them together for a very real for a look that would satisfy demand for both of those visuals,” she says.
“This design is one of the biggest successes of our launch this year. Inspired in unison by a new printing technology and real marble. This is how we create. This is how we find ways to make it impactful to our customers and markets.”
The movement toward surfaces with luxurious undertones became a topic of conversation amongst Suchla’s team.
“We were seeing a return to a sense of luxury. People want a little bit of decadence, just a little elegance. That’s trickling into products with warming metals, rich woods. A little more sophistication, a little more indulgence. It’s not that different from the Jazz Age. After the first world war people wanted to be bold again, to have something good, something fun and sophisticated that’s just a bit rich and sparkly in their life.”
As Suchla’s team shared their observations, this movement toward indulgence began to crystalize into inspiration for a collection.
“Connections oftentimes are organic, they reveal themselves. Because it’s such a blended world. In this case distinct trends actually harmonize together very well, some quieter, some louder, but all in the same composition. Like music. And that was our little ‘aha’ moment,” she says.
Omnova’s 2018 Insights Collection, Movement, has three parts: Dissonance, Echo Deco, and Sounds of Silence.
“Calacutta Oro is found in Echo Deco, mingling with warm wood, metal and silk designs, like you might find in an opulent ballroom of time past,” concludes Suchla.
Omnova designs and manufactures decorative laminates for residential and commercial interior environments. Our laminates provide innovative, long lasting, and cost effective surfacing for a wide range of applications from cabinetry and shower surrounds to store fixtures and operatory cabinetry.
“We were seeing a return to a sense of luxury. People want a little bit of decadence, just a little elegance. That’s trickling into products with warming metals, rich woods. A little more sophistication, a little more indulgence.
It’s not that different from the Jazz Age. After the first world war people wanted to be bold again, to have something good, something fun and sophisticated that’s just a bit rich and sparkly in their life.”
– Jane Suchla, creative manager for Omnova Solutions.
Jane’s ideas align with “Embrace Indulgence,” one of the five main design themes at this year’s Heimtextil fair.