There are some big changes heralded for the ‘fifth wall’ in 2019. Zara Horner gets the low-down on carpet trends coming up.

One of the highlights of my profession, and in particular specialising in the hospitality sector, is the chance to talk to people who are really passionate about their product. For example, few would realise that it is entirely possible to interview someone for three hours… about carpets!

Aspects of hospitality properties such as domestic equipment, lighting, aromas, floral displays, and the so-called ‘fifth wall’ – flooring coverage – are an integral part of the success, or failure of a space.

Patrons and guests rarely, if ever, realise exactly ‘why’ they feel comfortable, or invigorated, or relaxed, or energised by a space, but those in the know realise it’s the finer details that make all the difference.

“There are more dimensions to consider about what goes on the floor, than on walls,” according to Jirawat Srila-ied, export director at The Carpet Maker.

The bespoke carpet manufacturing company was established in Thailand more than 30 years ago and has been dedicated to sustainability from the start.

“Flooring has to be resilient, fire retardant, anti-static, anti-stain, and dense enough to undergo high traffic,” Srila-ied says.

“In the case of carved designs in carpets, the dense pile will render higher definition and a more dimensional look.”

“Handtufted carpets such as the ones available from Axminster, are quite literally pieces of art on the floor.”

In Srila-ied’s opinion in Asia the preference is for delicate patterns in soft tone colours, “one or two levels maximum, and not much texturing.”

While in the US it’s a different thing: “more textured and earth tones,” says Srila-ied; while the Europeans like “strong or darker colours and more geometric looks.”

As with other products in this sector, the eco-friendly criteria has yet to really catch on though Srila-ied notes that encouragement from regional governments is having an impact, as are global campaigns. “Though the sector in Asia is waking up to the need for environmentally-friendly products the push forward needs to continue.”

With that in mind, in 2019 Srila-ied says the exciting big trend will be “up-cycling ocean waste which is turned into up-cycled yarn and in turn up-cycled carpets.”

Alternate view

Susanna Fong business development manager, Brintons Carpets Singapore says, “Sustainable and eco-friendly products and practices are becoming the norm in hospitality – and hotel guests expect it.”

Wool rich woven carpets from Brintons offer a sustainable flooring choice. Wool is natural, renewable, biodegradable, recyclable and can be produced organically.

As the largest surface, flooring can be influential in a property’s interior design vision. Making the right decision about this ‘fifth design wall’ is key, according to Fong.

“It has to work with the hotel’s branding and interior scheme, be functional, perform in high traffic areas, meet budget and age well over time.

“Beautiful floors can attract guests’ attention and create a sense of comfort, which in turn can improve guest satisfaction, a hotel’s review scores, its reputation and occupancy rates.”

While design and selection can be a complex choice, “Carpet is a versatile and flexible flooring option,” Fong says. “Not only does it offer comfort underfoot, reduce noise, improve indoor air quality, offer safety against slips and falls, the design opportunities are endless.”

Axminster carpets’ hardwearing construction – achieved by weaving cut tufts of yarn into backing yarns to form one integrated structure – are particularly useful in areas of heavy footfall.

“The use of fully dyed, wool rich yarns versus surface printing ensures the carpet will feel and look great for years,” Fong says. A replacement cycle of six years or more means cost-effiency.

Carpet weaving technologieshave also come a long way. “It’s now possible to produce high definition, 3D-effect, photo realistic carpets using up to 32 colours compared with the traditional eight. This high definition carpet technology has been embraced by hospitality designers across Asia,” Fong says.

Trends

In 2019 hospitality interiors will have more minimalist, natural design elements, according to Fong.

“Clean lines and warmer colour palettes will create a sense of calm and a home-from-home feeling. The latest design trends suggest a move away from large-scale patterning in favour of textures and layering. Florals will give way to abstract patterns and colour wash layers.

“Warmer beige tones, nudes, caramels and honeys will replace the cooler grey palette, creating a sense of comfort and warmth for hotel guests. Deep blue sea colours is also a strong trend coming through in 2019. Scallops, scales and waves are set to be on trend, with soft blue tones offering a neutral base.”

In 2019 Brintons’ new design collection features Capsule for customers with projects less than 500sqm. This bespoke Axminster service, previously limited to larger projects has more than 190 production-ready designs and a 12-colour bank. Composite – a collaboration between Australian design house Studio Elke and Brintons, “pushes the boundaries of originality and explores unique materials, experimental fabrications and new forms. Each design can be customised to meet a project brief.”