In Süddekor LLC’s 2013 line, every design tells a story.

For example the American Chestnut. Regarded as one of the most important raw materials in the country in the 1800s, native Chestnut trees were lumbered for everything from railroad ties to post-and-rail fencing. In 1904, however, the Chestnut Blight was first discovered at the Bronx Zoo; forty years later an estimated four billion trees had been destroyed, creating a concurrent economic disaster in many parts of the United States.

Süddekor has given the species a bit of a rebirth with the introduction of its Chestnut Malt pattern. It’s part of this year’s Restoration design category, which takes cues from recycled and reclaimed materials, and is one of five categories featuring an array of designs – each with stories of their own.

“Chestnut Malt is a reflection of years of exposure, weathering, and heavy wear, with a large amount of brushing to remove surface rot and bring out a more natural color,” explained Edward Way, Decorative Design Artist with Süddekor. He added that it’s just one example of a design inspired by ‘workhorse woods’ of the past; the Everett Mill design, for one, was sampled from lumber in a former New England textile mill built in 1880.

“The texture is the result of decades of traffic from factory carts, dollies, and factory workers going about their daily business,” said Way.

While many new patterns have been inspired by years of use, Way added that others occur naturally. The Foundations category of designs is reflective of both familiar and rare American patterns including Heritage species, and Distinctions offers a specific niche of designs borrowed from unusual species including Alder, a spalted Beech that Way explained acquires its speckled, multi-colored beauty as the result of decay. The Antiquities collection highlights rustic patterns such as Redemption Walnut, a midwestern species chosen for its ‘old-growth’ color and grain.

Way noted that all of these designs are being seen in myriad settings, from homes to offices to retail outfits, as part of sophisticated layouts with clean lines and a nod to natural color and pattern variations.

“Trends are leaning toward creating spaces with character – funky, materials-based designs that are less refined and more natural. There’s a definite demand for quality and a sense of meaning in our customers’ surroundings, and that criteria has become the basis for our work.”

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