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Over the last couple of years there have


been a lot of ‘touchy feely’ and three-dimensional surface treatments produced, creating more of an interactive shopping experience for customers. The amount of abuse that surfaces take on a day-to-day basis within retail environments is huge, so durability is key whilst still maintaining a good appearance. Neil Sookee, design director Europe and


Asia, Formica Group, says the surface industry is constantly evolving with new technologies and innovations. ‘We are finding a greater demand for realism in surfaces, which drives surface texture proliferation. It is not just about the pattern, but how texture is combined with pattern to deliver the desired effect. ‘There is a growing interest in emulating


natural marble and stone in surfaces, formerly the province of residential worktops. The use of architectural scale is attracting interest for commercial


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areas,’ says Sookee. ‘Surfaces, whether used as display units, counter tops, furniture, fittings or changing facilities, play an important role in the retail environment.’ He believes that sustainability is an


increasingly important consideration in today’s specification process. ‘We use paper from recycled sources and managed forests with around one quarter from recycled, reused and rapidly renewable sources.’ Sookee says store interiors must look


good, communicate brand values and entice customers into stores: • Aesthetics are an important consideration when it comes to surface design in a retail environment. They should complement the merchandise and brand and create a harmonious blend with other materials.


• Surface colour can support the identity of the brand. The retail experience can often call for dramatic colours and/or


contrasts. Surfaces with special effects such as highly reflective/refractive properties and ornately textured finishes are used.


• Functionality is extremely important in high traffic retail environments where regular impact and general wear are inevitable. High Pressure Laminate is able to resist intensive wear whilst keeping its appearance.


Usually, specifiers are looking for good


quality, sustainable products that not only look great, but offer performance and value too. Daniel Nevitt, group marketing director at Armourcoat, has seen a desire for certain global clients to create a true signature look for flagship stores, and the ability to custom design is a lead criteria. The company’s design team, headed by Armourcoat creative director (and company founder) Duncan MacKellar, works closely with designers to get inside the client's brand, and present exciting, fresh and innovative


www.a1retailmagazine.com


The use of different surface treatments can have a major impact on the look and feel of a store.


Keeping up


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