Drawing inspiration from nature, elements of biophilic design are creating calm, connecting and welcoming spaces. From the movement of wildlife to the concentric circles of wood, we saw many variations of this trend on display at HD Expo, and here we will take a further look at biophilia’s influence on hospitality design.

“My philosophy has always been involving nature,” said fashion textile designer Virginia Langley. “I love nature, I love the outdoors. For years I’ve been designing around how to bring natural elements into interior design. One of the big trends that we see coming in strongly is the biophilic design trend. I’ve just been delighted that that’s now a strong theme that people want to design with because it follows my philosophy.”

Langley’s love for the incorporation of natural elements into design is the inspiration behind Durkan’s new Biophilique collection of broadloom carpet. Designed to connect the human consciousness with its inherent desire for nature, Langley partnered with Durkan to create a collection that she hopes will encourage designers to further incorporate nature in hospitality spaces through her carpet designs and complimenting plants and greenery. 

“Trees and succulents and plants, when indoors, absorb the toxins of products used for cleaning, harsh rays from computers and light—plants actually absorb all of that, so it’s so important to me that we try to bring more of nature inside for our own wellbeing,” she said.

Durkan has also partnered with the Santa Fe Museum of Indian Arts & Culture and the Museum of International Folk Art to create a collection of broadloom carpet fit for hospitality spaces. Inspired by Native American pottery and baskets and African and Japanese ceremonial clothing, Crafted Convergence celebrates the handmade originals from these cultures, and proceeds from the collection will roll back to the museum to preserve the artifacts that inspired the collection.

The bold colors and patterns found in Durkan’s latest hospitality introductions are a testament of the times, says Elizabeth Bonner, Durkan’s creative design director of hospitality. “We are at an interesting time with a lot of unrest, which has very much affected the design world. Design has gotten very confrontational; bright colors that fall into a strong primary range because it’s more about immediacy and the emotion that goes into making the visual more than it is about the completed finished visual as a whole. So, moving in that direction, heading back to that pop art era of the 80s. The Keith Haring’s and the Basquiat’s that were doing emotional, reactionary, visceral responses on canvas. I think we’ll start seeing that playing out. Lots of pattern, lots of color, an attempt to shock the senses.”

Karndean is shocking our senses by seeing flooring differently—the company’s new brand essence that’s leading the way in how it not only sees flooring differently, but specifics, purchases and sells it differently as well. 

“The reason that we feel we see flooring differently is we are traveling the world and finding these expressive and intriguing forms that, in their natural form, would be cost prohibitive to do,” said Camron Frank, commercial channel marketing manager for Karndean.

“Design has gotten very confrontational; bright colors that fall into a strong primary range because it’s more about immediacy and the emotion that goes into making the visual more than it is about the completed finished visual as a whole. ... I think we’ll start seeing that playing out. Lots of pattern, lots of color, an attempt to shock the senses.”

– Elizabeth Bonner, Durkan

According to Frank, Karndean’s team of product managers is traveling the world seeking inspiration and prototypes for designs that are sure to standout in today’s competitive hospitality market. Venturing to places like Northern England, the design team is skillfully replicating the looks of natural elements like slate, found in Karndean’s Knight Tile Collection.

“We see flooring differently, but it’s also a challenge to anyone as they are designing and working on a project to see flooring differently, think outside of the normal constructs,” said Frank. 

By mixing materials and colors, Karndean is creating products that not only speak to design trends, but serve as practical flooring choices for hospitality applications. Mixing concrete, woodgrain and linen, Karndean’s Texum is a response to the popular choice of porcelain tile for select hospitality spaces like bathrooms and entryways, but is warmer and softer under foot. 

“When you start to mix colors, it allows the design to last a lot longer,” said Frank. “When you have a lot of different colors in the floor, you can pick up different colors in the floor, so you’re not going to have to rip out the floor if you decide to change your fixtures, or paint, or anything like that.”

By way of expansive color palettes, Tarkett is using its collections to convey what’s happening in our world.

“We come up with a trend report every year based on what’s going on in the world in terms of architecture and fashion, which influences us quite a bit, and we create these sub-segments of the trends that focus on the color,” said Hope Quintanar-Case, Tarkett’s vice president of hospitality.

From there, Tarkett’s hospitality brand, Desso, creates collections based on trends found in the report. At HD Expo, Desso displayed its Soft Silence collection, which ties to a trend the brand has coined as “Future of Betterment”.

“The Future of Betterment is wellbeing as a status symbol,” said Quintanar-Case. “It’s celebrating the air of femininity and coming across with very soft and different color palettes than what’s been used in the past.” 

Falling under Tarkett’s Neoculture umbrella, Future of Betterment is just one of four megatrends outlined by the manufacturer.

“To put it simply, Neoculture is the cultural renaissance we are living in today,” said Quintanar-Case. “It’s the way diverse cultures are coming together as never before. We’re not seeing diverse groups of people simply blend together geographically while maintaining their own individual cultures. Instead, they’re truly coming together and creating entirely new cultures with new values.”

Soft Silence’s light, soft and airy color palette evokes the feeling of being healthy, having balance and a sense of peace. And adding a modern geometric element, the collection’s origami influence can be found in the angles and folds within the collection.

“We are trying to set the trends, so in a way, we are pushing the envelope,” said Quintanar-Case. With print broadloom, print carpet tile and digital luxury vinyl tile capabilities, Desso is creating customization across both soft and hard surfaces.

Pushing the envelope on the biophilic design trend is Shaw Hospitality. While we generally think of biophilic design as greenery and plant life being brought into a space, Shaw is drawing inspiration from from movement found in nature.

This year at HD Expo, the manufacturer launched the Synchronize collection, which evokes a message of community and the impact of a group versus just a singular mind. “Our designers were inspired by murmuration: when birds instinctually flock together and create movement and in unison,” said John Crews, design manager of Lifestyle Studio at Shaw Contract. “Therefore, you’re getting biophilia through this very unexpected visual of wildlife of birds, bringing that visual inside into a space is unexpected.”

Also launched at the show was Haven, a custom carpet tile  collection designed specifically for the hospitality segment—a first for the manufacturer.

“The inspiration behind Haven is that when you think of comfort or the meaning of home, and what that feels like and looks like, we dissected that idea and thought about how that application can prevail outside of where you live. Once you apply that residential, comfortable feel to carpet tile, then that’s what makes it feel like it’s hospitality driven.”

This practice of creating a residential, comfortable feel to hospitality spaces speaks to Shaw Hospitality’s drive to  create product solutions that keep the end user in mind, says Crews.

“Hospitality is so experience and identity based, so human and customer-centric, but I feel like we are really moving towards products and solutions that are really keeping the end user in mind,” said Crews. “We have seen many years of hospitality that is based on impact and boldness, and I won’t say we are going away from that, but I definitely think at least at Shaw Hospitality, we are trying to be more mindful of the end user and thinking about how they interact in their environment and how they can be more comfortable.”

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Using top-of-the-line machinery and technology, Landmark Ceramics is creating complimenting wood and stone look products that are spot-on replicas of the real thing. In its Voyage collection, Landmark has married the look of hardwood with the durability of porcelain for hospitality spaces, and Infinity offers the look of stone for a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor applications. 

“We have products that go together and can be used together,” said Joe Danna, Landmark regional sales manager. “Natural woods and really nice stones. The right combinations that have that have that overall natural look.”

A hospitality favorite, Cali Bamboo’s Cali Vinyl was on display at the show, alongside its GeoWood Flooring, which offers end users real hardwood on stone composite backing, creating a new realm of hardwood flooring.

“With GeoWood, you get all the benefits of it being waterproof under, and a very water-resistant top,” said Tom Hume, vice president of marketing for Cali Bamboo. Expanding the GeoWood product line, Cali Bamboo has added Oak and Maple offerings to the portfolio.

And on display for the first time at a show were the company’s rugs, which are made from recycled materials and offer an environmentally-friendly touch to interiors.