Has the role of carpeting in commercial projects changed over the past few years? Are designers specifying carpeting in different ways and is the demand for carpeting growing or shrinking? FLOORS in Africa magazine spoke to some of the leading carpeting manufacturers in South Africa to answer these questions and to find out how customisation is changing the sector as well as which trends we should take note of.

The role of carpeting
According to the feedback we received, the role of carpeting has definitely changed over the past five years. Carpeting offers specifiers products that support environmental awareness, are innovative in terms of colour and texture, and ones that allow for more creativity in terms of tile size. Specifiers are also increasingly looking for carpeting that supports the unique needs of their clients, which means that the customisation trend continues to grow.

Let’s see what the various manufacturers had to say:

“The way that designers are specifying carpets is different to a few years ago. One current trend is the increasing need for different textures and colour inlays to demarcate areas within a space. When acoustics are an important part of the specification, carpeting is still one of the most specified types of flooring for commercial projects,” says Nickey Pringle from FloorworX.

According to Top Carpets, carpets are certainly the most practical application for the actual working areas within a work environment – this doesn’t mean that an innovation hub or brainstorming area within the same office can’t have a more ‘trendy’ approach. Mixing of different types of flooring is also becoming increasing popular and is used to change the overall feel and experience of a space. We are seeing LVT (luxury vinyl tiles) combined with carpet tiles and more luxury carpeting being used in combination with screeded concrete or even engineered flooring. However, this kind of experimentation will only be successfully executed if it forms an important part of the overall design and planning process.

Is the demand for carpeting growing or shrinking?
While hard flooring is replacing carpets in certain commercial projects, there is still a space for soft floor coverings. When carpeting is replaced by hard flooring, designers will often specify rugs in certain areas to enhance the design and ambiance in a room. Carpeting companies who invest in unique rug designs will continue to see this part of their business grow.

One carpeting manufacturer pointed out that the market isn’t necessarily shrinking, but that the spaces where carpets are being specified is changing.

“A reception area of a commercial building will usually have a hard floor covering, but offices, meeting rooms and bedrooms in a hotel, for example, still receive carpeting. The comfort, warmth and acoustic benefits that carpeting provides are still much-needed elements within commercial spaces,” says Marcus Nouwens from MONN Carpets.

What are the game changers and disrupters in the market at the moment?
The possibilities of carpet design are endless. Manufacturers who don’t have access to carpets in different tile sizes, bright inlay colours and customisation manufacturing equipment will continue to lose market share.

With all of the new options regarding size, design and style, carpet manufacturers have to continue to up their game to stay on top of digital advances and changes in the industry.

“Colour and texture are becoming disruptors in the commercial market. There is a wide variety of choice available both locally and imported. Different carpet tile sizes are also becoming popular and hexagon tiles tufted in varying colours with a fading look provide a multitude of fitting options in any commercial installation,” says Olivia Munchin from Nouwens Carpets.

How is customisation changing the carpeting industry?
Customisation is becoming prevalent in the commercial market. The option to have your corporate colours in an array of installation options makes for a very attractive interior décor and designers are continuing to push the envelope in terms of what they are able to offer clients.

“For some carpet manufacturers, customisation is a disruptor, while for others it is a complete game changer. If you are able to customise anything from designs and colours to sizes and textures, you are at a huge advantage,” says Nickey.

“Manufacturers are also making it increasingly easier for designers and specifiers by offering lower minimum order requirements, more flexibility in terms of new colours being developed for specific projects, interchangeable ranges, fast turnaround times and products that can meet even the tightest budgets,” adds Marcus.

What are the latest trends?
The demand for grey tones continues to outperform any other colour option, with everything from neutral greys and still grey tones continuing to be popular. “There is also a trend towards brighter accent colours as well as more natural and nature-inspired looks in decor and flooring, products inspired by natural materials such as raw wood and concrete,” says Noluthando Lamula from Belgotex.

Clare Topham from Topham Interior Design advises on not being afraid to go bold with your carpeting.

“Carpets have come a long way since the obligatory cream option. Don’t be afraid to being bold by adding a stripe to the carpet or pattern. A check or textured finish can really add an extra element of interest,” says Clare.

Specialised tip: Carpeting offers specifiers products that support environmental awareness, are innovative in terms of colour and texture, and products that allow for more creativity in terms of tile size.

Thanks and acknowledgement are given to www.nouwens.co.za, www.monn.co.za, www.oceanflooring.co.uk, www.topcarpetsandfloors.co.za, www.belgotex.co.za and www.floorworx.co.za for some of the information contained in this article.

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