November 25, 2014

Milliken Celebrates Mid-Century Design with Surf-Inspired Floor Covering

Sponsored by Milliken

Originating in Polynesia and embraced by Hawaiian culture, the act of surfing was considered a spiritual and ritualistic part of daily life, a way to connect with nature. Eventually reaching the West Coast, the surfing phenomenon became a counter culture by the post-war 1950’s in California.

Designed by Susan Fitzgerald, the Kai Collection from


pays homage to the classic American surf culture of the 1950’s and 1960’s. The series of graphic mid-century designs incorporates fluid shapes that transition from dense to dissipating, much like the incoming ocean tide. Clean and modern lines are paired with textures of Polynesian bark cloth, creating a harmony of patterns with various treatments.

Three patterns interpret iconic symbols of the surfing counter culture with a range of scale and texture. Tapa, inspired by traditional Polynesian bark cloth fabric, provides a small-scale, near solid pattern. Nalu, meaning ‘to surf,’ features a mid-scale wood grain aesthetic inspired by the woodie wagons surfers often drove to the California shore. Fin, inspired by the fin of a surfboard, offers a bold statement piece with color vibes, which allow multi-color customization in a standard collection.

The mid-century aesthetics of Kai are modernized through industry-leading sustainable qualities. A PVC-free cushion backing extends the carpet life by up to 40 percent, and the collection is carbon neutral, thanks to the carbon-negative certified Milliken family of companies. Additionally, Kai carries an Environmental Product Declaration, Health Product Declaration, Declare label, and is certified to NSF 140 and SMaRT – the most strenuous environmental achievement for a product.

“Floor covering should enhance the individual story of an interior environment,” comments Bob Hutchison, vice president of global design for the Milliken floor covering division. “Free-flowing organic patterns, such as Kai, invite those who experience it to be free in their own unique adventure.”

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