Autumn is officially here! As we watch the leaves fall and colours warm to hazel hues we welcome October with our new Member of the Month, Amtico. We had the absolute delight of speaking with Lorna Williams, Head of Product Design and Visual Creation, about their holistic approach to design, the inspiration behind Amtico’s award winning Signature Collection and the team of innovative creators and designers who make it all happen.
Tell our readers about Amtico
Amtico is a British manufacturer and pioneer of luxury vinyl tile (LVT) flooring, which has been made in our Coventry factory since 1964. We have brought true innovation in flooring design and manufacture to the world – our collaborative creativity and unrivalled expertise have enabled us to become respected industry leaders. Dedication to creating beautiful, high-quality and sustainable flooring is at the heart of what we do, helping our global clients to design exceptional projects with stunning results.
Please introduce yourself and the design team
My name is Lorna Williams and I head up the in-house design team at Amtico, which comprises nine product designers. We’re responsible for developing Amtico’s collections – from product design and laying patterns, through to bespoke floors for customers. We also create the commercial imagery for the collections and marketing to ensure we represent the original design intent, as well as to support designers in visualising how the products can be used.
What is your design process?
We favour a much more holistic approach and like to bring in individuals whose skills are going to add flair to whichever project is coming up. While we’re all fluent in the various design methods, including surface pattern, we also have team members from a variety of other disciplines, which really helps provide another dimension; for instance, an automotive designer, who will look at a product from a 3D perspective. This really sparks a lot of interesting discussions during the collection development process.
What inspires you and the design team when creating new products?
Everything and anything really – we’re like magpies when we go out and always have a camera with us! Before COVID, we would travel abroad to design shows and visit suppliers, immersing ourselves in lots of different cultures and design experiences.
However, as we haven’t been able to travel, we’ve taken the opportunity to work more closely with customers, gaining more insights into how they utilise space, the practicalities of a project and what the flooring needs to accomplish. It’s important all our products are versatile and respond to trends with longevity, so you’ve got to find a balance between cutting-edge and simple, authentic design.
Outside of work, everyone has their own creative outlets, which also plays a part in our design discussions; whether it’s going to a museum or event, it sparks conversation – and that’s often all it takes to send us down an exciting, new design path.
How do you approach sustainability through design and manufacturing?
Manufacturing plays a huge part in our approach to sustainability as we run trials of our products before a collection is launched, to ensure we’re not being wasteful. We are very mindful of our responsibilities and have a young team who are incredibly passionate about sustainability. For instance, we have recycling bins in the studio for any samples and trial products that are made, ensuring they are incorporated back into the LVT process.
It’s a massive consideration for us and we’re always looking for alternative ways to reduce waste, some of the team here have even arranged for local charities to use our flooring from photo shoots.
Can you tell us a bit about Amtico’s Signature collection?
Signature, Amtico’s premium collection of LVT flooring, was expanded to 217 products in 2019, adding 92 Woods, 74 Stones and 51 Abstracts. The breadth of the palette enables architects, designers and specifiers create truly inspirational spaces. Amtico Signature, which is designed and manufactured at our Coventry factory, can be laid in traditional simple patterns, such as Uniform Block or Stripwood, or in one of the collection’s 23 pre-designed laying patterns. These patterns are only available in our Signature collection and span traditional marquetry all the way through to contemporary abstract shapes, allowing them to add a high level of design across multiple sectors.
What was the inspiration behind the Signature collection’s Colour Edit palette?
As part of the 2019 launch, we chose to add to the Signature collection, rather than revamp the whole range. It was the perfect opportunity for us to create a unique, usable palette that customers could easily use to identify which colours are available to work with. Colour Edit is a sophisticated palette of 25 coloured products across four distinctive designs. Specifiers can use them within our laying patterns, or they have the choice of using our beautiful patterns with multiple colours. We realise it can be quite difficult to choose designs and colours that go together from a large folder, so developing Colour Edit enabled our customers to see them all and know that they will work well together in any scheme.
Trace is a hybrid wood and ceramic design – what inspired this?
We were seeing shuttered concrete being used on different surfaces within commercial environments, and it was really exciting to think about incorporating that mix of materials into an LVT product. Trace works beautifully as a wood as well as a ceramic look, so it was vital to take this versatility and complement it with an urban colour palette to create a specific, standalone design. We wanted to do something different to what everyone else was doing, which could also complement other products, such as Colour Edit, to add texture. It works beautifully in both tiles and planks, with each one creating either a more ceramic or wood aesthetic.
Who was involved in the creation of the Signature collection?
We like to encourage a collaborative approach, so I create a unique grouping of designers for each project. Our focus for Signature was very much on the patterns, as this was prominent within interiors, and how we could transform a space – whether via soft and subtle, beautiful and authentic, or eye catching and bold statements. So, we started with the end goal in mind, thinking about patterns at the same time we were looking at the new design types and curating the palette. We wanted to ensure the colours and patterns worked well together. For instance, Tempus is a very subtle, beautiful design – but in a laying pattern using multiple colours, the subtlety of movement across the floor is outstanding. With Signature, it was about working on the products and laying patterns in conjunction with one another, in order to create the impact or level of subtlety desired, as well as equally beautiful designs that can be used on their own in a plank or tile.
How has the use of the Signature collection evolved?
The Signature patterns have certainly been used in really beautiful ways by designers and specifiers, who are really embracing colour and pattern. Equally, we are also seeing them going back to grassroots and using patterns simply to illustrate the realism of the design and subtly maintain their authenticity, such as our Castel Weave and French Weave laying patterns.
Contact Amtico through BCFA Product Finder.
The BCFA Product Finder is a unique search engine created especially for interior designers to source contract furnishing companies. Utilising this platform will support your findings for upcoming projects, with over 200 members profiles showcasing the latest product launches, new materials available, industry news and design trends.