September 20, 2012
by Canadian Architect
Urban Retreat™, the groundbreaking modular carpet tile collection developed by Interface, explores man’s connection with natural elements and the intersection of nature and manmade materials. The collection, the first ever from the company to be made available globally and produced locally on four continents, merges seemingly opposite worlds that inspire beautiful, coexisting and functional design in interior spaces. And, at IIDEX, which recently took place from September 20-21, 2012 at Toronto’s Direct Energy Centre, Interface provided an exclusive preview of UR501, the first addition to the core Urban Retreat collection that debuted earlier this year. On display along with the other patterns in the series will be the skinny plank style, which officially launches later this fall.
Urban Retreat reflects a worldview that includes nature as an appreciated source and reminder of true inspiration. Its nine 50cm x 50cm styles and the new 25cm x 1m skinny plank style are sorted into pattern studies — Urban Retreat One, Two and Three — that range from refined textures to broad organic forms. All are offered in a complementary colour palette of earthy neutrals and lush greens that reference lichen, grass, ivy and moss, informed by an emerging area of science called “biophilia.” Interface’s lead designer David Oakey linked the Urban Retreat product collection, in part, to biophilia and to related global trends.
“Research shows that the percentage of people who prefer living in urban environments has risen significantly. This is supported by the increasing numbers of individuals and businesses who have migrated to the hearts of cities in recent years,” Oakey said. “As our cities are invigorated, we are seeing more evidence of biophilia. Urban Retreat builds on this trend by offering a series of designs inspired by the natural world.”
Man’s happiness and comfort from connecting with nature are a product of biological evolution, according to biophilia. Today, flora, fauna and other forms of nature have been integrated into exterior and interior spaces such as railways, rooftops, warehouses, skyscrapers and offices. A recent study called “The Economics of Biophilia,” conducted by Terrapin Bright Green, points out the financial benefits of biophilic design. By introducing nature into urban environments, biophilia helps support benefits such as improved workplace productivity, wellbeing, healing, stress reduction and more.
Bringing the Outside In UR501 is a long, narrow plank style with a carved texture reminiscent of roughhewn hardwood. It blends beautifully with the existing styles in the collection, sharing the same lovely palette of eight colour choices and attention to detail. Its unique shape and an additional eight bright colour options create additional design opportunities, whether paired with 50cm x 1m tiles or utilized in long, lean ashlar installations and elegant herringbone patterns. Moreover, UR501 is designed with a distinctive Interface technique that provides enough textural complexity to fully mask the seams side to side — when installed in brick or ashlar methods, they simply disappear. Urban Retreat One explores the contrasts of modern cities; sharp and blurred, classic and futuristic, eclectic and austere. When grouped together, UR101, UR102 and UR103 create the look of moss growing on stone, with veins of green running across the floor and blending subtly on either edge into a neutral ground for a soft ombre effect. Urban Retreat Two combines the orderly and the organic in an exquisitely restrained palette, with references as diverse as Modernist architecture and ancient tree bark. In fact, bark is recreated to incredible effect in UR201, utilizing Interface’s advances in tufting to create a carved, weathered design with shifts in height and texture that are at once edgy and ethereal. The grouping shares a neutral colour palette with Urban Retreat Three, which offers toneontone textural complements to Urban Retreat One and Two. Patterns that call to mind soft, smooth French limestone and shimmering linen create subtle, elegant contrast.
The collection’s reverence for the natural world is evident below the face of the tile as well. Urban Retreat exemplifies Interface’s abiding Mission Zero promise to eliminate any negative impact it may have on the environment by 2020. Urban Retreat contains up to 81 percent recycled content including 100 percent recycled content fibre and high recycled content backing. Content yarn is derived from salvaged fishing nets with reclaimed carpet fibre processed within Interface’s ReEntry network. Since 1995, the ReEntry program has processed more than 253 million pounds of used carpet tile and broadloom globally. Multinational and local customers will have access to the same products with efficient regional manufacturing. Products are manufactured within continental North America, Europe, Asia and Australia to serve regional markets. Urban Retreat debuted at NeoCon 2012 in Chicago and has been introduced throughout other parts of the world. It was rolled out last month in Australia at Saturday in Design; and for European markets was at Maison & Objet in Paris earlier this month and will be at Orgatec next month in Cologne.
Interface Canada, Inc. is a subsidiary of Interface, Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial carpet tile. In 2012, Interface Canada celebrates its 30th anniversary, marking three decades of leadership and innovation in sustainability and design in Canada. Interface, Inc., now in its 39th year, is setting the pace for development of modular carpet using materials and processes that take less from the environment, and is well along the path to “Mission Zero®,” the company’s promise to eliminate any negative impact it has on the environment by the year 2020. Interface’s worldwide carpet manufacturing facilities maintain third party registration to the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System standard, and the company obtained the firstever Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for the commercial floor covering industry in North America. The company is recognized globally for its commitment to build environmental considerations into its business decisions. For additional information, please visit www.interface.com and www.interfaceflorblog.com
interface urban retreat UR501 in stone