Forbo Flooring Systems reveals the results of a remarkable collaboration with visionary designer Philippe Starck
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Following successful design collaborations with icons as diverse as Sottsass, HemingwayDesign and Tibor Reich, Forbo Flooring Systems has extended its designer collection of floor coverings with Flotex By STARCK. Renowned throughout the international hotel and hospitality market for pushing the boundaries and criteria of contemporary design, Philippe Starck has created a signature range of flocked flooring designs for the manufacturer.
Despite having “absolutely no interest in a conventional carpet”, Starck was impressed by the technical construction, hygienic properties and performance characteristics of Flotex, Forbo’s unique hybrid floor covering and needed little persuasion to collaborate. “Flotex is an intelligent floor covering, an extremely technical product that meets real requirements”, says the designer. “I love those technical details. There are 70 million fibres per square metre so you are basically in levitation. It’s fantastic. This is a completely new generation of flooring with textile elements and acoustic properties, but not carpet. I was also interested by the impact that the product can have on the environment.”
Flotex By STARCK comprises three systems named Vortex, Artist and Twilight. Each system comes in a range of different colourways and features four separate elements – a central design, a left and right transitional border design and a neutral, semi-plain design. All the elements are offered in two-metre wide digitally printed sheet format, and while they can be used as standalone designs, the real beauty of each system lies in the numerous ways that two or more elements can be combined to create dramatic floor designs, as Starck explains:
“I create hotels and museums, and there are things that we need that do not exist”, says Starck. “For example, when you design a hotel, you spend a lot of money but there is never enough budget for areas like the corridors and ball room. A Flotex system like this helps to avoid a disaster. It’s a huge service for specifiers, for architects, because the design work is almost done. It is not completely done, I wouldn’t like someone to do a project for me, I guess others wouldn’t either, but it offers choice.”
Forbo has brought Starck’s Flotex designs to life on the floor using advanced high definition digital printing techniques. These deliver vibrant colour and such pin-sharp clarity that it is clear to see the artistry that underpins each system. “I wanted to bring the human element to a very technical product”, explains Starck. “The whole graphic and visual work has focused on developing a gesture, a movement. In these designs you can feel that someone’s hands applied brushstrokes, you can see that they were created by a human, not a computer. It’s quite exceptional because we can see the presence of the human hand everywhere.”
The Vortex system is designed to transform the way we look at a space, reflecting the relationship between chaos and calm, and the emergence of balance and choice. The free-flowing, almost linear pattern, is available in six distinctive highlight colourways.
Artist is a concept based on the transition of two textures that can be used individually or together, with one colour fading into another. The pattern of the floor covering reflects the distinctive marks created on an artist’s palette, providing a visually engaging and distinctive look to differentiate the interior design of a building.
Starck’s own personal favourite, Twilight, is a play on lights, shadows and colours. The design has two powerful and complementary sides: one jewel like, bright and light, and the other a shadow of deep, dark and rich shades. These representations of day and night come together in a transition element that creates energy and impact, making a bold statement that can divide and link spaces simultaneously.
Forbo gave Starck an open brief and the three new systems in the collection are very different from each other and from any other Flotex designs. “When you want to work with me, you don’t want to try to govern me because I can’t govern myself”, comments Starck. “I was never told what to do, so Forbo knew to expect something completely new and original, that would take Flotex design away from the ‘normal’ and it worked out pretty well. This system offers a multiplicity of patterns and possibilities, a multiplicity of colours and combinations. Somebody with a Flotex catalogue in their hands can, within just a few minutes, create something that is totally new, interesting, technical, at the right price.”
Flotex by Starck is available in the UK this Autumn.
Contact Details For more information on Flotex By STARCK please visit the Forbo Flooring Systems website