Amtico’s Modernist: A Q&A with Alice Bucklow

As part of the 2019 expansion of its popular Signature collection of Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT), Amtico has launched ‘Modernist’, a design inspired by the brutalist architecture seen around future UK City of Culture, Coventry.

‘Modernist’ was developed by Amtico’s in-house design team following two years of research into the brutalist architecture in the city of Coventry, UK, which has been home to Amtico for more than 50 years. The design’s texture is inspired by light patterns on concrete, with tonal shifts giving way to soft angles and a multitude of layers, which playfully mirrors the layered composition of LVT. The design is available in five softly-toned colourways: Atrium, Frame, Lintel, Spire, and Vault.

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Alice Bucklow is part of the in-house design team at Amtico. Alice and her colleagues created Modernist, a new Signature collection stone-effect luxury vinyl tile that takes its cues from Britain’s Brutalist architecture.

What is Modernist?

Modernist, in its simplest term, is a concrete-effect luxury vinyl tile.

Why concrete?

Concrete designs have been massively popular in recent years for their versatility and ease of use, and we can only see this trend increasing.

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Where did the idea for Modernist come from?

The texture has been inspired by the interaction of daylight with the raw concrete façades of Brutalist architecture.

Why Brutalism?

Its raw industrial surface texture and bold sculptural forms really appealed to me! Brutalist architecture is also a subject which is closely tied to Amtico’s history, in our home town of Coventry. There are many examples of this type of architecture within the city, being hurriedly rebuilt after its extensive destruction in the overnight bombing of World War II. The city’s
architecture is a constant topic of debate but, loved or loathed, it is part of our story; of a city triumphing against adversity.

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What did your research involve?

I spent a lot of time understanding and photographing the architecture. As well as the structures themselves, I became interested in the transformation of these buildings throughout the day. The position of the sun has a dramatic effect on the dominating structures, as they channel its light to create diffused angles, veiled layers and a sense of tactility. Alongside assessing Brutalist architecture at various points throughout the day, I also researched geometrics. Geometrics are a timeless interior trend, interpreted through various scales, colours, textures and finishes, but what I focussed on was the way that they can be used to impact their surroundings. My research showed how pattern, angular shapes and directional placement can be used to create movement and flow within a space.

What came next?

After the research stage we moved into artwork and design development, taking all of the information we collected and letting it pour out in to whatever form it takes. My inspiration led me to work with industrial materials. I experimented with techniques which focussed on the idea of constructing a surface through the build-up of various materials, reflecting the rugged exteriors of the buildings as they have worn and aged over time. The next stage was to develop our artwork into a physical design, which we did in-house using our digital software. After we created the initial product, we liaised with our many teams – the manufacturing team, laying pattern team, sales team, quality team, technical team and so on – as well as our regular customers, and the product evolved!

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So, the design changed along the way?

Yes, almost completely, and as such we changed its name multiple times throughout the process because it had outgrown its previous one. We needed to create a product that worked for all.

Are you surprised by the outcome?

From my starting point, there were so many things that interested me about Brutalist architecture and geometrics, so I tried to keep an open mind as to what the finished product would eventually look like. I always came back to the focus of the brief throughout the process; to create a unique, but useable product, with features that could be transformed by laying patterns and work with various tile formats.

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Talk us through the finished result:

Modernist is available in five colourways, consisting of four practical greys, each with a strong architectural aesthetic, plus an additional stained green shade which balances and lifts the palette. Its beauty is in its adaptability, as it can be manipulated by laying pattern and scale to create such different looks.

Where do you envisage Modernist working?

Combined with Amtico’s laying patterns, Modernist is the perfect solution for both commercial and residential spaces, whether flooding an area in a single colourway or working in combination with other products.directional placement can be used to create movement and flow within a space.

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Finally, what makes Modernist so unique?

Its versatility and usability! Despite its conceptual beginnings and development story, it ultimately offers five highly useable concrete shades, which work in virtually any laying pattern or tile size. We even offer it in a plank format, which interacts with the design aesthetic in a completely different way. Its refined concrete texture is evenly balanced with a multitude of layers, which playfully mirrors the layered composition of the luxury vinyl tile itself. The gradations of tone and diffused angles give it a unique aesthetic elevating it beyond more traditional concretes.

Contact Amtico through the BCFA Product Finder