30 September 2010

Find the Future of Flooring at DOMOTEX!

Jim Gould, founder of The Floor Covering Institute and respected Industry Consultant, contributes this post about Finding the Future of Flooring at DOMOTEX.

With over 40 years of industry experience, Jim shares his observations of the DOMOTEX brand of events and how he considers it a "Treasure Hunt into North America's Floor Covering Future". Products and trends that were first seen at DOMOTEX continue to influence the US market and he is eager to see what new experiences he will be exposed to at future DOMOTEX events.

[Click here for links to previous posts that Jim has contributed to this blog.]

Thank you, Jim!

~ Katherine

Jim Gould, Floor Covering Institute, Find the Future of Flooring at Domotex

DOMOTEX: A Treasure Hunt Into North America's Floor Covering Future

By Jim Gould

I love attending Domotex. Why? Because it's like a treasure hunt into the future of floor covering.  A visit to Domotex allows you to observe European trends and that's like gazing into a flooring crystal ball for North America: always inspiring and sometimes life changing. Every time I go, I find something new and exciting that inevitably challenges what we consider to be flooring norms in North America.

I'll share with you a few of my personal experiences.

Pergo Laminate Flooring

Many people in the floor covering industry associate me with bringing Pergo to America. How that happened is that in 1992 Paul Murfin (now an executive at Armstrong) and I were walking through the Domotex Hannover show looking for a unique wood supplier when we stumbled upon the Pergo exhibit. It caught our attention! Laminate had been sold in Europe for a while; in the States, we had never heard of it. Even the people at Armstrong had no idea what I was talking about. In 1993 my company, Misco Shawnee, brought Pergo to the U.S.

Glueless Laminate Flooring

Since then, every journey to Hannover has yielded at least one idea or discovery that has made the trip worthwhile. I first saw glueless laminate at Domotex. A demonstration of Alloc’s aluminum locking system at Domotex inspired Unilin to profile tongue and groove to lock together.

Flooring Color, Design & Display Ideas

While America is the largest consuming market for floor covering in the world, we certainly don’t have a lock on innovation, product advancements or fashion trends. Innovation and inspiration in flooring come from all over.

Colors and design trends vary around the world and nowhere is that more evident than at Domotex. Bolder European colors may not sell in the US. However, they do spark the imagination of those attending.

Sometimes, just the way products are displayed shows a creative flare that can help retailers, distributors and manufacturers. Take carpet for example. While Americans were stuck displaying carpet on waterfall fixtures, I noticed that Europeans were using sophisticated lighting and design to showcase carpet as fashion.

Robotic, Laser Driven Wood Floor Sanding Machine

Manufacturers keep product innovations secret before unveiling them in front of over 40,000 floor covering professionals at Domotex. There’s always treasure to be found - and it’s not always the large manufacturer that has the most interesting innovations. A couple of years ago I found a robotic, laser driven wood floor sanding machine.

Click LVT, Wood Veneer on HDF Core, High Gloss Laminate Flooring

Several years ago I saw the first “click” LVT by a German company. I expect that at this year’s show at least 15 new manufacturers will introduce their variation of this hot product. Meister showed wood veneer attached to an HDF core at Domotex long before Shaw introduced Epic. High gloss laminate was displayed years before Armstrong introduced Grand Illusions.

Over 1,400 manufacturers exhibit in Hannover in January and over 1,000 in Shanghai in March at Domotex Asia. Many of these manufacturers you may not recognize, but then at one time American’s didn’t know Pergo or Unilin either. For a guy who loves flooring it doesn’t get better than this!

Exposure to new things is the key to recognizing how coming changes in flooring may impact your business and it gives you an edge to capitalize on those changes. If I missed a Domotex show I wouldn’t feel like I knew what was happening in floor covering. For me it’s a must.

If you are interested in finding the future of floor covering spend just a few days at one of these flooring shows and you’ll feel like you’re on a treasure hunt and gazing into a flooring crystal ball. Domotex Hannover runs January 15-18, 2011 and Domotex Asia runs March 21- 24, 2011. Both shows are worth the trip and I hope to see you there. Feel free to contact me if you have questions about attending as either a visitor or an exhibitor.


Jim Gould is President of the Floor Covering Institute

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