From In Focus

Alternative Building Materials That Create a Luxury Look Without a Luxe Price

Marble, granite, steel, teakwood, and mahogany all are expensive to use, especially if covering a large space. But you don’t have to spend a lot to get a luxury look today. Engineered building materials are not only up to 70% less expensive than the real deal, but are often more durable. And because many use renewable sources or recycled materials, they tend to also be more eco-friendly. The result is easier maintenance and longer life of a building. What’s not to like about that?

Here are some materials that can give an elegant look for less.

1. TFL 

Alternative Building Materials TFL - Arclin TFLDesign-forward, versatile, and environmentally-friendly, TFL can match the graphic intensity and fidelity of woods, stone, metals, and abstracts without the price tag of the real thing. This resin-coated sheet of décor paper is directly applied to a substrate, such as particleboard or plywood to create a cost-effective material to build furniture, shelves and to cover walls. And now that textures are available, the options are endless.

2. Stone Veneer

Alternative Building Materials - Stone Veneer - Arclin TFLComing in a 50-60% less cost than real stone, manufactured stone veneer is an attractive option to get a stone look for fireplaces and building exteriors without the weight and construction requirements of real stone. Plus, it comes in a much wider variety of designs and colors. Since it is typically thinner than real stone, the veneer version needs less building materials to adhere it to the wall frame, making it easier and less expensive to build.

3. Bamboo

Bamboo Construction - Alternative Building Materials - Arclin TFLBamboo may seem like an acquired taste but it is actually a sustainable choice for framing buildings. It is fast-growing, lightweight, and can replace steel rebar and concrete in construction. While used for years in areas native to bamboo — think warm, humid climates — conventional construction is beginning to see the benefits.

4. Engineered Marble

Engineered Marble - Alternative Building Materials - Arclin TFLEngineered marble is just as tough (some say even tougher) and wears just as well as real marble. A composite material made of crushed stone bound together by a polymer resin or cement mix, it can give a luxe look to large buildings such as malls, hotels, and department stores. Because so much stone is required to cover the large walls and floors, it is a good choice to keep costs down.

What alternative materials are you using in your new building projects? Share with us on our Facebook page.

Retro Design, Revisited

If you had a chance to head to NeoCon last month, you would have seen that the 70’s style is alive and well. Interiors spaces are welcoming back the best of the era with brick walls, exposed wood beams, and sunken living rooms alongside furniture and decor boasting mod patterns, retro color schemes, and clean lines. Here are a few of our favorite retro-inspired picks from NeoCon that are sure to inspire some of you.

The Pâtissière Series Cafe Chairs by Leland

Today’s retro style often pairs only two colors together to mimic the printing style available in the 70s. That can be seen in Leland’s chair designs, alongside the desaturated color palette and dramatic curves.

Arclin NeoCon Chair Retro Design

 

Fern Chair by Haworth

A comfortable chair is necessary for all the hours we spend in from of computers today. But that doesn’t mean they can be fun. Haworth took 70’s inspired clean lines and muted color schemes to inspire the modern work day.

Arclin-NeoCon-Chairs Retro Design

 

Lichen Carpet by Mohawk Group

Winning the Gold Award in the Carpet: Modular category, the Lichen rug has an organic, nature-inspired feel with loads of texture, which focuses on 70’s inspired burnt orange.
Arclin NeoCon Rug Retro Design

 

Kanso Bench by HBF

Low-slung seating was a popular retro style and HBF brought it back in these playful color combination with mix-and-match pieces. How fun!

 

Arclin-NeoCon-Purple

 

And, another example of minimalist furniture we want, now.

Arclin-NeoCon-Room

 

Mod all the way. These fun fabrics fully embrace the geometric style that defined retro. Circles, starbursts, stripes, and other shape patterns lend themselves to a visual dance prominent during that time. And now, today’s walls, chairs, and couches will be ready to make the same groovy statement.

Arclin-NeoCon-Patterns

 

How do you feel about the resurgence of retro design that was seen throughout NeoCon 2017? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment on Facebook to share your opinion.

Clean & Green: Trends in Hospital Design

The game is changing when it comes to hospital design. Designers and architects are more in tune than ever about how integral design choices are for patient wellbeing. Hospitals all around the country are taking steps in a new direction by cultivating a positive atmosphere through intentional design — and we’re all for it! Here are a few trends hospitals are using to soften the sterile look of traditional facilities.

Brighten It Up

hospital design Trends Arclin TFLOut with the greys and blue, in with the light and bright. We are seeing hospital design replace traditional, more conservative tones with brighter swashes of colors as accent walls in patient rooms, common spaces, and even often-overlooked hallways. Arclin’s Angkor Root or Kinabalu Teak are two choice ideal for creating a clean, modern backdrop to whatever bright color a hospital chooses.

Green Friendly

Hospitals are going green and seeing results. Not only are they using more sustainable material like TFL because of its durability, germ-resistance, and zero-emissions, but they can reduce costs by using more TFL in more places. From furniture to built-ins, wall-coverings to shelving, the TFL can create a clean, consistent space that has minimal impact on the environment and is sensitive to patient needs.

Home Away From Home

Hospitals require a certain level of clinical functionality. However, creating an at-home feel can increase patient satisfaction by making design choices that result in reduced environmental stressors. This is being done through softer linens in sophisticated colors, sturdier and matching in-room furniture such as wardrobes and bedside tables, and accenting patient rooms with greenery and artwork. By creating a more residential feel, patients have a more positive experience.

Comfort in Chaos

Texture is showing up everywhere in commercial design right now, and hospitals are finally coming on board. While a clean and crisp style has always been a go-to in hospital design, we seeing warmth being created by adding wood tones to wall design, lighting fixtures, and ceiling coverings. In the high-stress environment of a hospital, texture can help create a more relaxed, comfortable environment.

Five Trends in Future-Proofing Retail Design

Retail is evolving and changing faster now than ever before. With so many consumers shopping online today, retail experiences should be both memorable and impactful. Not only do retailers want to make a positive impression on each consumer, but they also need to invest their design dollars as efficiently as possible. Having to re-design a retail space every six months to chase a new trend will surely cut into a business’ bottom line. Here are five trends in flexible retail design that give companies the ability to future-proof their stores and improve the overall retail experience.

Arclin TFL Future Proof Retail Design1. Flexible Shelving
Flexible store display systems give retailers an endless range of options for merchandising solutions. Many of these systems are small enough to be moved to various parts of the store with ease. The biggest benefit: shelving can be modified into many configurations or taken out altogether to accommodate a new display. That’s a win.

2. Fixtures on Wheels
Whether a display itself changes or not, you can create a fresh look in a retail space simply by moving around your offerings. Fixtures on wheels are rolling bins, clothing racks, store fixtures that you can move at will — voilà, it’s like a brand new space.

3. Movable Light Boxes
Permanent light box displays can be a pain when you need to redesign a retail space. And it adds up. Instead, future-proof the space by investing in movable light boxes that can be quickly and easily repurposed to changing needs.

4. Advances in Lighting
Arclin TFL Future Proof Retail Design lightsBoy, does lighting make a difference. Those outdated flickering fluorescent lights that can still be found in some retails stores are not only off-putting, but they tend to be unflattering. The LED revolution is well underway, so add these fixtures to your retail space to create a warmer environment and eliminate the notorious dressing room drama.

5. Personalized Shopping Experiences
Integrating technology into the retail space now gives store owners the ability to give each shopper a personalized experience. One survey found that nearly half of shoppers were willing to pay more for a personalized experience. How do you provide this? Just one example is to implement Intelligent Fitting Rooms that use RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags to recognize clothing items. These fitting rooms are integrated with a screen that might show complementing pieces and accessories as well as the availability of other sizes. Shopping is definitely evolving.

Today’s customers are now used to an endless stream of fresh information online and expect to have new engagement when they walk into a retail establishment. If they consistently see the same layout, they’re more likely to get bored and not return. These five retail design trends can help nearly any retail store create a fresh look that is economical and relevant to the current market.

For retail surfaces such as displays and shelving, Arclin TFL is a smart choice for future-proofing a space with its trend-forward designs. Now see what design trends are driving retail.

The Evolution of TFL Design

Behind Arclin’s Portfolio Changes

As you certainly know by now, we’ve made significant changes to Arclin’s decorative overlays portfolio in the last two years.

What drove our decisions? And why does (or should) it matter to you?

Let’s start with the second question — that’s easy: The changes in our portfolio reflect design shifts across many of the application industries served heavily by TFL — kitchens, closets, retail, healthcare, hospitality, office and more. The 21 new papers (12 designs) in our new Harvest Collection were selected expressly to meet growing and future trends across multiple applications.

How did we go about making our decisions on what to take out, what to add?

  1. We started by purging our portfolio of older designs that had worn out their welcome.
  2. We conducted extensive research on U.S. and worldwide trends, current and future, to find the best opportunities for our customers. (This is an ongoing effort!) Red and orange = out. Walnut, warm grays and browns, tone-on-tone and light colorations = in. Textures abound.
  3. We reviewed the entire portfolio by design structure, type of grain or other structural feature, color, application opportunities and more. We were admittedly far too heavy on the reds and oranges, light on some of the more modern features (see #2, above).
  4. We ultimately selected 12 new designs — with color options, 21 papers — for our new collection. A quick synopsis of the “why” of each:

Alexandria Walnut – probably the most traditional of the new designs, the fidelity and rich coloration of this beautiful walnut make it anything but “old.” Equally at home in traditional structures or exotic applications.

Angkor Stone & Angkor Root – rustic with a touch of elegance, with colorations that hit the trends but with slightly unique hues. These two are applicable virtually everywhere, from closets to cabinetry, hospital rooms to office settings.

Cambridge Classic & Cambridge Bronze – we’ve always said about this one: you have to see the full panel to grasp the beauty of this one. Rich and regal, this one has the potential to carry the room.

Charles Bridge – one of the more exotic designs in the collection, this seemingly in-motion wood grain has been colored for maximum dramatic effect. We can see this one at home in a modern kitchen (imagine the pairing possibilities), or in hospitality and retail settings.

The Glances (Silver, Platinum, Lead) – a brushed metallic effect, we liked this one for its suitability for garage cabinetry, retail environments and more.

Jackson Barn & Jackson Buff – warm, rustic oak with a hint of on-trend cerusing, these meet the demand for high fidelity rustics — with a bit more flexibility than most.

Kinabalu Teak – the midcentury modern resurgence brought teak back into vogue. Now the teak trend looks to have legs. We gave it extra traction, here, with a lighter, almost tone-on-tone coloration. There’s really no limit to the application possibilities here.          

Noce Moscato – rich grays, browns and blacks made this one an easy pick. Gorgeous, dramatic and a design-driver in the spaces it inhabits.

Papa’s Loft – the most popular of the collection, so far, this design proves that TFL isn’t what it used to be. That is, with improvements over the years in performance and fidelity, we can bring fresh designs to life that expand our opportunities to replace traditional veneers and other surfaces. We focused the coloration, too, on current and sustainable trends.

Skyline Dawn, Dusk & Dark – conjuring concrete or stone…even a metallic as you evolve to the darkest shade…this design was selected from among dozens of concrete-based textures we considered. Absolutely on-trend and in high demand.

Stinsons: Gray, Trail & Umber – this design captured three aspects we were looking for in our new collection: a modern lineal, on-trend colorations and extremely versatile.

Sunrise Impression – stone? marble? concrete? We’ll leave it to your impression. Which is what makes it so appealing.

Get in touch for samples, pricing information and more.

 

Close Up – Q&A with Reed Singleton

Q: You’ve been heavily involved in Arclin’s recent efforts to revamp its TFL design portfolio. Where do you see opportunity for Arclin’s customers with the new designs and approach?
A: From a design standpoint, a tremendous amount of forethought and effort — with the help of Arclin’s printer partners and Loop9 Marketing — went into the selection of the new designs. The result is a collection of designs that is both modern and relevant. They’ve been extremely well received by our customers and their downstream customers.

We’ve also shifted our marketing approach to support overall TFL market growth. It’s our hope that, with a more fine-tuned portfolio and greater tools, Arclin’s customers will be able to increase market size and share.  We think the key to growing the TFL market is in reaching downstream, to designers and specifiers, with surface designs that can replace or enhance traditional surface materials.

Read the press release where Reed Singleton talks about the introduction of The Harvest Collection.



Q: Partly under your direction, Arclin has been shifting its sales and technical support approach toward a “One Arclin” strategy — that is, enabling customers to work with one team for both its resin and surface overlay support. How is the transition going and how is it benefiting customers?
A: Arclin is the only surfaces producer in the U.S. and Canada that also produces resin. This is a tremendous advantage to our customers, as we can provide better product quality, more support and greater opportunity for innovation.  Our “One Arclin” approach is going very well, improving our communication and service both to and from Arclin’s customer base.


 

Q: You’ve been with Arclin nearly 20 years, first in Winnfield, Louisiana and now based out of its Springfield, Oregon location. What’s been the biggest change for you, making the move to the left coast?  
A: Obviously there are cultural differences that took some getting used to after moving from the deep south of Louisiana to the Pacific North West. That aside, I have made a lot of great new friends and have enjoyed the inherent beauty of that part of the country.  I’ve also really enjoyed getting to know Arclin’s customers along the West Coast and look forward to building lasting relationships there. In the short year I have lived in Oregon, I’ve developed a lasting love for the region and the people. My only real struggle is convincing folks that THEY are the ones who talk funny.

 

Meet Scot Johnson


Scot JohnsonQ: You’ve got a long history at Arclin overseeing its industrial surfaces business — everything from concrete surfacing to roof and wall sheathing. What unique perspective do you bring to decorative surfaces side of the business — how do you see influencing its growth going forward?
A: I plan to bring the same approach to decorative surfaces that we’ve long employed for industrial — that is, meshing customer and market needs with Arclin’s constant pursuit of developing new chemistries and new application opportunities. For example, we’re constantly looking at creating better-performing products we can offer at lower costs…we’re looking at several opportunities now. And I’m very focused on finding new products that can open whole new doors for Arclin and our customers. I’m excited about our possibilities in the decorative space.

Q: You’ve overseen introduction at Arclin of a number of pretty innovative industrial products. Do you see opportunity for innovation in the decorative surfaces industry? Can you tell us about anything in the works?
A: Yes! We’re working on a lower cost, higher opacity overlay…and at the possibility of an exterior-grade decorative surface — UV resistant, durable and one that can stand up to the elements. It’s in concept phase at this stage, but it’s a product with some pretty cool application possibilities (THAT part, I’ll have to keep secret for bit longer).

Q:  How does a guy who’s been used to dealing with concrete and exterior building products turn his sights to a design-focused product line? Is there a learning curve for you?
A: Hey — concrete can be decorative! Seriously, there’s not much of a learning curve on the chemistry and applications side of the business; they share many of the same characteristics. But I’ve been focused on understanding the design side of it. As we’ve been preparing this portfolio launch for next year, in fact, I’m learning that the design options can be endless and we need to make sure we’re matching our approach to the best opportunities in the market.

Learn more about Scot Johnson and Arclin Leadership here.

Meet Teong Tan

Teong TanQ:  From a quality standpoint, what is your primary focus for Arclin’s decorative surface overlays?
A: Arclin has always been known for our willingness and ability to tackle challenging products — and we have a lot of great products out there. But obviously, that is only beneficial for our customers if we can consistently deliver to our product specifications and performance. We’ve focused on reducing variation from all sources, from raw materials to our own processes to finished goods. Our aim is to deliver on spec, every time.

Q:  What has been your biggest quality improvement accomplishment so far?
A: We’re tenacious about getting to root causes when we have a quality issue. We’ve made that a hallmark of our quality culture. Most recently, we’ve tackled some issues with “blocking” — when TFL overlays absorb moisture from the environment and begin to stick together. We’re hearing from our customers now that we’re surpassing our competitors in eliminating this problem.

Q:  You’ve been with Arclin for 14 years. What has been your path to this position?
A: I started out as a resin chemist. I eventually moved to lead one of the technical teams, ultimately expanding that into a leadership role in overall quality control. I now lead the technical team for all of Arclin’s surfaces (which includes industrial overlays, in addition to decorative). This opportunity to take the TFL business to the next level has been an exciting part of the ride!

Q:  Tell us something about yourself that your coworkers might not even know.
A: I have a newborn and a 2 1/2 year old. I spend any moment I’m not working with them and my wife. Before I had kids, I was an avid watercolor artist; I’ve exhibited in some small scale shows. I love music and play the piano. I ran a couple of marathons…but now I spend my days running after my toddler.