Fairytales and fantasies

Ana Seixas.

Ana Seixas, director of marketing, Middle East, Africa and India, InterfaceFLOR speaks about trends and sustainability

2011 is the year of the fairytales. Feature films, social events and design trends have been influenced by mystical and surreal atmospheres of fables and fantasies. And so too has the ‘Once Upon A Tile’ campaign, the latest collection of InterfaceFLOR, launched in the Middle East.

Inspired by the vintage revival and a return to natural, organic shapes, we worked with photographer, Michael Woolley and theatrical costume designer and stylist, Ameena Kara Callender to create a stunning ad campaign.

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But at the heart of this is the challenge that modular flooring needs to keep its designs fresh, innovative and aspirational to stay ahead of the current fashions.

Reflecting the trends of the moment, while evoking nostalgia for all things past, the collection includes a variety of colours, textures and installation techniques, allowing customers to create an ultra-modern interior with a timeless quality.

Any office or commercial space is a white canvas from a designer’s perspective, so it is great to see more and more designers who start designing a space from the floor up. The whole ‘office concept’ has changed so much from the 21st century cubicle standard.

More and more, companies realise that innovation strives from collaboration and are reflecting that mantra in their office environment. Employees are no longer confined to small enclosed areas – open spaces and collaborative areas along the hallways, for casual conversations, are becoming the trend. At the same time, conference rooms are becoming brighter, permeable and see-through.

The whole idea is that the office is not the only place you come to work in, but, a place to socialise, especially at a time when the wireless internet, Blackberry phone and i-Pads allow you to work literally from anywhere.

Companies are starting to realise collaboration in the work space means employees need to feel comfortable – the new worker is a ‘thinker’, that feeds from interaction with other people and it is the designer’s role to create a space which fosters these interactions.

The Once Upon a Tile campaign addresses exactly that – it is not only about a new carpet tile but a whole set of stories/fairytales which can influence design ideas, helping them to recreate different atmospheres/interiors, by mixing and matching different patterns and colours, some conservative, while some are contemporary.

The visual look and feel of the campaign is influenced by the Brothers Grimm and Stanley Kubrick, with the final result a range of imagery that depicts tales such as Cinderella, Rapunzel and Hansel & Gretel, with a modern twist.

On the other hand, let’s not forget how sustainability is playing a bigger role when it comes to office planning and design.

The Middle East is booming with sustainable certified buildings and spaces and Dubai and Abu Dhabi are encouraging companies to go for LEED certification. We have sustainable features in our new collection, including recycled content in the pile yarn and backing, random installation to minimise waste, Microtuft construction which uses less yarn and Cool Carpet, which means the product’s carbon emissions are offset during its entire lifecycle. (You have to compare the environmental impact of different products over their full life-cycle to know how sustainable it is).Design and sustainability should go hand in hand and it’s good to see this ‘reality’ adopted in the region.

Ana Seixas, director of marketing, Middle East, Africa & India, InterfaceFLOR

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