Every LVT design begins with an idea, a flash of inspiration, from which the Gerflor teams squeeze every drop of potential to create a unique product. But do you know all the various different stages each type of flooring has to go through before finally hitting the shelves? It’s an exciting journey – one that takes from 12 to 18 months each time new product is launched!
The “big idea” is a concept generally used in the marketing world to define a highly original creative idea that breaks away from everything that’s gone before. In the flooring world, the “big idea” can be aesthetic or technical. Be it a new design or an innovative installation system, with a dash of ingenuity and plenty of hard work any idea can spark a revolution!
Extensive brainstorming sessions
Any new flooring project is first and foremost underpinned by teamwork, with the Marketing and design teams working hand-in-hand to come up with tomorrow’s interiors.
Our designers glean their inspiration from a variety of sources, including interior design exhibitions and trade shows, design colleges or discussions with their architect peers. On the marketing side of things, ideas come from reviewing the sector’s latest trends, examining projects being developed overseas or, indeed, general market demand.
“Ideas germinate from a variety of different sources, explains a member of the Gerflor Design Centre. The Design Centre and the Marketing Division pool their respective findings to identify emerging styles and trends. Based on these findings, the creative team then develops new designs and gives them the Gerflor look and feel.”
Little by little, the product is fine-tuned…
Once reworked by the creative team, the designs are initially presented to the Marketing team before embarking on a lengthy journey that sees them being submitted to customer panels or making an appearance at international meetings to be critiqued by Gerflor’s overseas subsidiaries. A veritable beauty contest!
“Little by little, the designs are whittled down until only the very best remain – those liked by our customers and that meet our subsidiaries’ demands. It is at this stage that we start to think about the format: roll or LVT… This decision is governed by the type of design, the product category and the manufacturing process.”
That’s the aesthetics covered. Now it’s time to get technical…
Designs that pass through the selection process with flying colours, winning the hearts of customers and subsidiaries alike, are then worked on further in pro- ject mode. We begin by rolling them out in several colourways (this is what we call building the range), then the full range is once again submitted to cus- tomers and our subsidiaries for approval. Once the design has been finalized and the range has been built, it’s time to launch production, albeit in small quantities. “We produce samples to enable the Research & Development team to test the product. These samples are totally identical to the end-product: they have all their different layers, their installation system is operational and their surface is grained!”.
Feasibility tests, resistance exercises, analyses of the types of subfloor on which the flooring could be laid, installation plans… This is when the product’s qua- lity and all its technical features are truly put through their paces.
“We quite literally torture the product to ascertain its limits. But the testing doesn’t stop at the laboratory door: we install the flooring in real-life situations to see the end-product in action and check it responds correctly when being installed and then used.”
This phase alone lasts at least 8 months!
At long last: the green light
A stringent selection process, marketing approvals, technical testing, laboratory torture: each type of flooring has to overcome a whole host of hurdles before finally making it into the Gerflor catalogue. But all with good reason: by following this process, when the “green light” is finally given and production is launched, it is safe in the knowledge that the end result will be a product that offers the perfect combination of aesthetics, technical prowess and quality. Even after months of use!