The 2018 Decorative Surfaces Conference, held December 4-6 at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida, offered attendees a look at the latest trends in design and surfacing technology. 
The two-day event, organized by TCM North America, featured presentations from a number of global leaders in the industry who touched on a variety of topics from lightweight decorative surfaces, 3D laminates, sustainability, digital scanning and printing and much more.
 
The event opened December 4 with an optional golf outing and an evening reception on the back patio of the famed Biltmore Hotel with views overlooking the golf course.
 
After an evening of mingling with industry professionals, the conference kicked the next day with its slate of educational sessions.
 
Following are a few of the presentations:
Mark Danner, senior designer, Tarkett Flooring, who discussed innovations in laminates starting with a brief overview of the product’s history from vinyl composition tile, a common commercial product, to DIY peel-and-stick products that became popular in the 80s to solid plastic core (SPC) laminated tile allowing printing directly on the core with easier handling and waterproof features and a higher load limit, he says. It’s rising in popularity as well as luxury vinyl tile (LVT), which is in demand because of its adaptability to design aesthetics and because of its price point. 
 
Julian Schultz, sales manager, Schattedecor, gave an overview of the finish foils industry, providing a definition and ranking of the various types of foils from HPL and TFL to 3DL and 2DL. He discussed the standard manufacturing processes and product compositions for each as well as the finishes and effects – tactile, optical and technical.
 
Peter Stasiowski, Interprint and John Lyons, Tagleef, presented on “Bi-oriented Polypropylenes film for next generation and decorative surfaces. Stasiowski said that what’s next in innovation which includes maximizing core skills of design and color matching and machining. 
 
Jane Schula, Omnova, discussed the process designers go through emphasizing that design creativity is a very thoughtful and intentional process. She noted several trends and movements:
Trends – 1) White everything; 2) Edison bulbs (industrial look) and 3) Iconic mid-century.
 
Movements – 1) Minimalist (essence of simplicity); 2) Authentic (use of raw and rustic materials with textures that contrast; and 3) Maximalism (dense detail and color and mixing styles and periods).
Schula also touched on the importance of narrative to designers including the following: 1) Wellness – light and natural images and bringing the outdoors in; 2) Nostalgia – recreating heritage with something familiar like painted surfaces, worn wood and matte finishes; and 3) Engagement – transparency that involves having a deeper connection with the surrounding environment.
Stefan Wirtz, Cruse, discussed scanner technology and new innovations in shading effects on texturing and 3D surface scanning.
 
Dr. Alessandra Fusi, Sustainability specialist with Trespa and Arpa, defined sustainability in industry terms with an in-depth look at available options and how to measure success. 
 
Her session was followed by a presentation from Kenn Busch, TCM North, on the importance of the industry creating an effective sustainability message.
 
For information about future conferences, visit surfacesconference.com.
 

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