Chicago's Fulton Market District will soon be buzzing with creative energy as more than 40,000 people from across the global design community gather in the city June 12-14 for Design Days, an annual showcase of the latest in commercial products and design. As part of the event, Tarkett, a worldwide leader in innovative and sustainable flooring solutions, will welcome design professionals into its Chicago Fulton Market showroom at 215 N. Peoria Street, Floor 10, for a firsthand look at how the company is redefining its approach to design.
In recent years, we've had the opportunity to rethink culture, how communities engage, and how to support an inspiring environment, wherever that may be. At the foundation of culture is connectivity, the driving factor in returning to a shared workspace and an important influence on overall well-being. The unique process of collaboration with all its facets remains at the core of creating and producing as a team. It was this process of coming together as individuals to build and create that inspired Tarkett's Collaborative collection, which will be introduced at Design Days.
The new collection emerged from a collaborative mark-making process led by Tarkett's vice president of design for its commercial business, Omoleye Simmons, who joined the company in September. As a former art educator, Simmons has experience coaching designers in technology and concept development, translating art to product. That process is evident in the collection's design patterns, which were created by layering the marks of different team members, integrating and transforming them into something much greater than the sum of its parts.
"In creating this collection, our goal was to celebrate hyper collaboration through cooperative artwork," said Simmons. "We embarked on a hands-on exploration that included mark-making, spraying and brushing watercolor paint, and layering paper. We experimented across design studios, sharing steps in the design process—selecting each others' creations to merge with our own and offering feedback along the way."
All this experiential, shared effort culminated in the Collaborative collection, which includes a variety of LVT and soft-surface options. The collection's mix of patterns and platforms—spanning carpet tile, Powerbond and LVT—provides spaces with agility to meet changing demands. The collection offers solutions for busy, collaborative areas as well as quiet, heads-down zones, enabling an environment that embraces neurodiverse work styles.
Like all Tarkett flooring, the Collaborative collection contributes to safe, healthy interiors and supports better indoor air quality; in fact, Powerbond RS is the first soft-surface flooring with the asthma & allergy friendly certification. As further evidence of the company's holistic commitment to optimizing materials and minimizing climate impact, Tarkett's near-term science-based emissions reduction targets were validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in January.
"As passionate advocates of the circular economy, we know that driving change for a better future is a collective effort," said Paul Young, senior vice president, product, innovation, design & sustainability, Tarkett North America. "With the Collaborative collection, we explore this process through creativity and inclusivity—because the only way to create the future we want is by building it together."
Tarkett Co. Lab Encourages Collaboration and Community
During Design Days, Tarkett's showroom will become the Co. Lab, emphasizing the power of collaboration and community through a series of educational sessions, hands-on artistic activities and panel discussions with some of the leading voices from the design industry. Here is a schedule of what will be available to Design Days attendees:
Monday, June 12
12-1 p.m. – Partnering to Build a Circular Economy
Shifting from a linear economy to a circular economy, where waste is treated as a precious resource, is a complex proposition that requires change and innovation across the value chain. Roxane Spears, vice president of sustainability for Tarkett North America, will moderate a panel discussion on the opportunities, intricacies and logistics involved in deconstruction, take-back and recycling.
- Eric Nelson, Executive Vice President, Sales and Business Development, Aquafil
- Michael Orbank, Sustainability Manager, Northeast, STO Building Group
- Rachel Palopoli, Director of Circular Economy, Tarkett North America
2-3 p.m. – Elevating Design Through Creative Collaboration
Tarkett's vice president of design, Omoleye Simmons, will give an interactive presentation showcasing the ways her team collaborates in design thought and creative process. Attendees will participate in a series of hands-on exercises that reflect the process Tarkett's design team used when developing the Collaborative collection, and participants will receive a canvas featuring art created by Tarkett designers during their own collaborative design explorations.
3:30-6:30 p.m. – Rooftop Cocktail Reception
After a long day of taking in the sights and sounds of Design Days, Tarkett invites guests to attend a rooftop cocktail reception, where guests can enjoy 360° views of the city skyline while sipping signature drinks and listening to a curated playlist of songs that include some of the most noteworthy musical collaborations of all time.
Tuesday, June 13
12-1 p.m. – The Impact of Materials on Social Equity and the Health of Communities
While respiratory illness is on the rise among all Americans, research shows it disproportionately affects vulnerable and disadvantaged populations. Since Americans typically spend 90% of their time indoors, good indoor air quality is a critical part of asthma and allergy management. But not everyone has equal or equitable access to healthy air. Roxane Spears, vice president of sustainability for Tarkett North America, will moderate a panel discussion on the imperative of a holistic approach to product selection for a positive impact not just on the planet, but on social equity as well.
- Ren DeCherney, Lead, Built Environment, North America and Australia, Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute
- Benjamin Holsinger, Global Director of Resilience, Product Development, Gensler
- Dr. John McKeon, Chief Executive Officer, Allergy Standards Ltd.
2-3 p.m. – Creating Space for All: How Design Can Be the Catalyst Towards Helping our Neurodiverse Population Thrive
The world has awakened to the unique talents and challenges of our neurodiverse community, and the conversation is finally moving from the margins to becoming a key component of the inclusive design ecosystem. This brings new awareness to the complexities of creating environments that help everyone feel supported and welcome. This panel of experts, who've worked across sectors, will explore how designing well for neurodiverse individuals leads to better outcomes for everyone.
- Kay Sargent, Director, Global WorkPlace Practice, HOK
- Sarah Oppenhuizen, Director of Interiors, HOK San Francisco Studio
- Dr. Traci Callandrillo, Assistant VP of Campus Life, American University
Everyone who registers and attends the "Partnering to Build a Circular Economy" or "The Impact of Materials on Social Equity and the Health of Communities" events will receive a pair of Allbirds Tree Pipers shoes as a special thank you and a reminder that Tarkett demonstrates Proof in Every Step of its sustainability journey.
Wednesday, June 14
11 a.m.-12 p.m. – Student Edition: The Creative's Journey
Tarkett's design team invites student designers to join them for a discussion of the many personal and professional opportunities along the creative's journey. Each team member will share a candid conversation about their experiences in art, design, and how their creative paths led them to a rewarding career in flooring design.
To simplify transportation between Fulton Market and the Merchandise Mart, where the NeoCon show will simultaneously be taking place, a complimentary roundtrip shuttle is being offered between the two sites. For more information visit FultonMarketDesignDays.com.
For more information on Tarkett and its Design Days activities, visit contract.tarkett.com/colab.
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