Bentley Prince Street’s Living On the Edge.

The 2009 NeoCon World’s Trade Fair, held in Chicago June 15-17, drew a range of design professionals seeking the latest and greatest in green flooring products. And this year’s exhibitors didn’t let them down!

Global architectural firm HOK and Mannington Commercial teamed up to introduce a collection of both carpet and hard surface floorcoverings. The Spectrum Collection unites HOK design with Mannington performance in modular carpet and premium rubber flooring tiles.

Mannington Commercial’s ColorPoint and SolidPoint collections.

Mannington also offered a variety of carpet products as well as premium tile products (that contain post-consumer content). According to Mannington Commercial, its initiative to reclaim and recycle post-consumer vinyl composition tile (VCT) is helping to reduce the more than 1 billion pounds of VCT disposed of in America’s landfills each year.

Like Mannington, flooring exhibitors emphasized sustainability more than ever this year, including new green products and company environmental initiatives, such as recycling programs and carbon emission reductions. Many flooring products were also newly labeled with environmental certifications and standards, such as FloorScore (for indoor air quality emissions requirements), NSF 140 (Sustainable Carpet Assessment Standard) and LEED, just to name a few. 

Corboo flooring from USFloors.

Roppe Corp., for example, introduced Impact, a rubber products recycling program. Roppe has put together a program that meets the strictest requirements for sustainability while encouraging building professionals to consider the equation: Rethink + Reuse + Recycle = Responsibility.

“We hope this program will encourage the use of rubber flooring products among designers who have not considered rubber in the past due to the environmental concerns at the end of the product’s life cycle,” said Dee Dee Brickner, marketing coordinator for Roppe Corp. 

Ceres’ PVC-free WELS Sheet.

Expanded Resilient and Natural Flooring Choices

During the show, manufacturers expanded current lines and launched new looks in a range of floor coverings including sustainable linoleum, vinyl, rubber, cork and tile.

Amtico International’s Composite is a resilient flooring collection inspired by clean, streamlined urban looks and blends particles to offer the look of a poured resin or ceramic tile, in three colorations. The design features beveled edges and can be installed with Amtico’s feature strips or Easy Grout for a natural grout appearance. Available in a variety of sizes, Composite tiles include a 100 percent post-industrial recycled content backing, and is GREENGUARD and FloorScore certified. Amtico also introduced a new fiber collection and a water-based, pressure-sensitive adhesive for the Stratica product line.

Shaw Contract Group’s Wool collection.

Armstrong’s linoleum collection was expanded with a new palette of colors taken from Continuum, the company’s new tonal step system for five of its product lines, and available in 126 colors. The collection was introduced to coincide with Armstrong’s 100th anniversary year of linoleum in North America. Armstrong said its linoleum is certified as a low-emitting product under the FloorScore program and is compliant with California Section 01350 for low VOC emissions.

CBC (AMERICA) introduced a redesigned, technologically advanced WELS Sheet, under the Ceres PVC-free flooring line. Responding to growing demand for durable PVC-free flooring products, the new line is a non-porous, cross-linked reinforced polyurethane wear surface. 

Ultimetal Porcelain Stone tile from Crossville.

Gerflor announced the addition of cork to the back of its new vinyl tile line, Saga². The addition of cork to its vinyl backing is designed to increase comfort and warmth, while also offering superior sealing properties, low acoustic conductivity, true compressibility, resistance to liquid penetration and low environmental impact, the company noted. Both the vinyl and cork that comprise the backing are recyclable.

Capri introduced AND/OR, a rubber cork collection made with 34.9 percent post-industrial recycled content, which is suitable for floor application and/or wall application. AND/OR has a predominately neutral color line of 11 standard colors with custom colors also available, offered in rolls or tiles.

Introductions from USFloors included strand woven bamboo and Corboo, a strand woven bamboo product infused with cork. According to Piet Dossche, USFloors’ president and CEO, USFloors is the only flooring manufacturer that offers a natural oil finish on a strand woven bamboo product. The company is also pursuing LEED-EB certification for its Dalton, Ga., manufacturing facility.

Forbo’s new flooring Installation Accessories is a collection of rubber transitions. Available in 16 profiles, Installation Accessories offers precision fit, meets all of the market’s IAQ standards, features no lead or heavy metals, and can contribute to LEED credits.

Lees Carpets’ Sixth Sense collection includes five patterns and colorways.

A highlight of the Tile of Spain booth was Roca Ceramica’s Pret-A-Porter, an innovative and exclusive system for dry laying floor tiles. Without the use of mortar or grout, Pret-A-Porter flooring can be used immediately after installation and is also ideal for temporary spaces, as well as radiant flooring. It can be installed directly over an existing floor and each piece is reusable.

In addition to a new tile take-back program, Crossville showcased new products, including Ultimetal Porcelain Stone tile with a metalized glaze that is both scratch- and acid-resistant, available in five solid metallic finishes with a subtle texture.

New Carpet Fibers and Collections

Invista showcased Antron Bio_Legacy nylon, part of the Bio_Antron carpet fiber family. The dyeable carpet fiber with bio-based content derived from the castor bean is designed specifically for commercial market applications. Additionally, the company’s Antron Lumena solution dyed nylon is now available with 25 percent pre- and post-consumer recycled content.

DuPont’s Sorona fiber, made with a renewably sourced material derived from corn sugar, was also showcased in new designs for the commercial carpet market.

J+J/Invision introduced Shetland and Herdwick carpet, both made using 100% natural, non-dyed wool. The luxurious collection includes loop rib and tip shear designs in broadloom, and modules with eKo backing or woven synthetic backing with recycled content.

Wool, a new collection from Shaw Contract Group, emulates the luxury and versatility of a natural wool carpet using Shaw’s Eco Solution Q nylon. The Wool collection, which features three tile and three broadloom patterns, also uses EcoWorx recycled-content backings for performance and recyclability.

“Wool brings the look of natural wool and combines it with metallic, high luster accents inspired by metal studs and beads used during the prototype phase,” said Reesie Duncan, director of product development for Shaw Contract Group. “The result is a contrast of the natural with the industrial.”

More Carpet Collections

Milliken launched more new products in the company’s LEED-CI showroom than ever before. Intrigued by the work of inner city street artists, Milliken Contract designer Todd Van Der Kruik created the new Paste Up collection, six modular carpet designs in a combination of tip shear and textured loop constructions. SMART certified and an NSF 140 Gold product, the carpet tiles are produced using solution dyed nylon from Universal Fibers, and can also include the bio-based TractionBack adhesive free installation system.

Sashay and Strut are two new broadloom styles from Bolyu Contract and Zeftron nylon. These styles are made with MBDC Cradle to Cradle certified Zeftron nylon and come standard with the Enviro6ix designation, which guarantees a minimum of 25 percent recycled content, the company reported.

Bentley Prince Street delivered its take on the urban scene in its product collections for NeoCon 2009. Living On The Edge was designed to capture the moods, emotions and resilience of American cities. Unique to the collection is a diversity of construction and color in both broadloom and carpet tile, offering coordinated solutions, Bentley Prince Street said New Gotham, Suburban Fringe & Satellite City and Edge City coordinate to offer a range of mix and match combinations.

Lees Carpets, a brand of The Mohawk Group, introduced an eye-catching pattern named Sixth Sense, which explores organic color and pattern. Offered in five transcendent patterns and a prism of colorways accented by metallic yarns, this modular collection is CRI Green Label Plus certified and products can be reclaimed and recycled through The Mohawk Group’s ReCover program.

Frame of Reference is the debut collection from Tai Ping Contract. Inspired by shakkei, an ancient principle native to Asian architecture and landscape design, Frame of Reference is comprised of three patterns - Portal, Threshold, and Transom - in 12 shared colorways.

InterfaceFLOR said its new Convert design collections are meant to evoke a sense of ‘surrealism and safety.’

InterfaceFLOR focused on post-consumer carpet content styles, using the company’s Convert design platform. Nine Convert products/collections were introduced and the company now has more than 60 styles within the Convert design platform, each with a minimum 32 percent post-consumer carpet content and a minimum 64 percent total recycled content. The products range from colorful stripes to organic-inspired designs to far-out color and patterns inspired by the whimsical fantasy world from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Steve Arbaugh, Interface’s vp Brand Marketing and Experience, said in addition to sustainability, the products are meant to evoke a strong sense of “surrealism and safety.”

Patcraft Commercial and Designweave launched Entice is Nice, an NSF 140 certified product, which is priced affordably and constructed using Eco Solution Q nylon and EcoWorx Broadloom backing, according to the companies.

NeoCon 2010 is scheduled for June 14-16 at the Chicago Merchandise Mart. Visitwww.neocon.comfor more information.