Behind the Scenes with Tandus Centiva at NeoCon 2015

The Tandus Centiva showroom was among the most buzzed about spaces at NeoCon 2015. Here, go behind the scenes with our SmithGroupJJR correspondents for images and exclusive insights from Terry Mowers, Tandus Centiva’s creative director.

The entrance to the Tandus Centiva showroom. Photo by Meghan O’Malley.

Form, texture, juxtaposition, landscape, light, mass, presence, and scale: these adjectives not only describe the design approach in this year’s Tandus Centiva showroom at NeoCon, but also how their product relates to the end-user through craftsmanship and authenticity of materials.

This year and this collection is about celebrating a functionalist approach to design. It comes down to the elements and the art of creating something: the construction, the method and the materials. To Terry Mowers, the creative director of Tandus Centiva, the collection “honor[s] the renewed self-confidence in the 1950s and ‘60s architectural movement, where ‘beton brut’, or raw concrete, took center stage and the world was a ‘Brutiful’ place.”

Arranged like a gallery, the showroom, an overlapping blend of concrete-inspired LVT mixed with the textures of the carpet, embodies this Brutalist approach described by Mowers. The product becomes the context for display and rumination, creating an almost monastic environment. This year, Tandus Centiva showcased the drive behind the concept for reuse and repurpose with its raw and unpretentious honesty of materials.

“It’s time to recognize and honor those who came before us—celebrate the old bones, the craft of workmanship and the realness in the time-tested, aged materials,” said Mowers.

Terry Mowers, Tandus Centiva’s creative director, shows off the Cartography collection. Photo by Anna Dineen.

Inspired by the skill of ancient map making, the first thing we saw in the showroom was the Cartography collection. Grounded in geometry, lines, dots, land masses, and points of interest are infused throughout this design creating a beautifully free flowing organic collection. The principles of geography are extracted to create this collection, which embodies the patterns and movement of the maps.

Ancient maps that inspired the Cartography collection. Photo by Anna Dineen.
Ancient maps that inspired the Cartography collection. Photo by Anna Dineen.

Through trial and error, Cartography became what is it by applying design with materials and reworking the colorways until it was just right. When the studio first saw the collection, they were enthralled by the beauty of the line work and pattern, but knew it needed something more. In response, they went back to the look of yarn, examining the ways in which it could be twisted, the colors and the luster levels. This “provid[ed] a new, fresh take on organics for interiors with a textural surface of cut and uncut pile, [and] matte and lustrous fiber add depth while warm and cool neutrals ground this product,” said Mowers.

Ultimately, the success of Cartography comes from the contrast of color and materiality. The bright, rich colors pop on the neutral fields defining the line weights and organic patterns, reflecting that ancient art of mapmaking.

Another shot of the Cartography collection. Photo by Anna Dineen.
Another shot of the Cartography collection. Photo by Anna Dineen.

Moving along this formation of geometry, color, and technique, the second collection they introduced is Avant. Mowers described it as “culturally and stylistically advanced.” He said that it was designed to “evoke the physical idea of movement and vitality. Pushing the boundaries, Avant radically restructures the way we view the floor. Avant gives the illusion of movement against a plane.”

Mowers shows off the Avant collection. Photo by Anna Dineen.
Mowers shows off the Avant collection. Photo by Anna Dineen.

The concept for Avant is rooted in the weathering of materials. Avant applies color in the same way that stone and sculpture oxidize — unevenly with a heaviness skewing to one side that creates the illusion of movement. This is what gives Avant its unique character and versatility. The layers of neutrals with an accent of color create a soft palette and easy application.

Yet, the most profound and exciting element of the Avant collection is the Freeform planks. “The Freeform modular product line consists of a full range of styles that combine a nylon wear layer and closed cell cushion in a heterogeneous construction,” said Mowers. “The nylon and closed-cell cushion are fused together through heat and pressure to form an integral and inseparable construction that provides excellent performance, durability and comfort underfoot.”

The Avant collection shown here in various Freeform plank sizes, along with the Llano Firma II collection. Photo by Anna Dineen.

Shown above in a mix of 9” x 90” or 18” x 45” size Freeform planks, the product becomes versatile, because now, the floor becomes yet again a reused and repurposed domain for innovation and creativity. “The high and low pile of yarns and the newly offered sizes can now create new textural and defined elements within a space, giving designers the opportunity to create new and different ways of defining space, all through flooring applications,” said Mowers.

Another collection, Linewave, designed by Suzanne Tick, explores the movement of data and information through circuitry. According to Mowers, “the pattern’s orientation builds upon the idea of that digital connection and transformation. Linewave — inspired by the evolution of technology and raw materials — has a wide-width thread up with a mix of sophisticated brights and neutral-on-neutral combinations.”

Linewave, a Suzanne Tick design for Tandus Centiva. Photo by Anna Dineen.

The Dot Matrix, a coordinate collection for Linewave, is described by Mowers as “a mixture of sophisticated brights and neutral-on-neutral combinations informed by rare earth metals, which are essential to the evolution of technology.”

Mowers talking about the Dot Matrix collection. Photo by Anna Dineen.
Mowers talking about the Dot Matrix collection. Photo by Anna Dineen.

The final collection we saw was Indent, the company’s woven platform. An ode to the celebration of making things, this collection draws upon Tick’s expertise in textiles exerting how the traditional weave structures can be innovated and repurposed to create a high-tech flooring aesthetic application. “Indent pushes woven floorcovering to new heights by incorporating the technology of applying the backing of yarns to the overall carpet design. Indent utilizes voided dents in the warp to create its architectural, three dimensional patterning,” said Mowers. The exposed elements of the raw materials in this line and the weave draft are what creates its truly unique forms.

The Indent collection. Photo by Anna Dineen.
The Indent collection. Photo by Anna Dineen.

In our interview, Mowers stated, “the true revolution is bringing products together that work. We are not the first nor will we be the last, but the true evolution comes in putting what we know together.” This year, Tandus Centiva not only focused on what they know, but also examined those who have done it before them, and were able to creatively tap into a new way of working with materials and color to bring forth this year’s cohesive and enticingly rich collection.

 This post was sponsored by Tandus Centiva.

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