Q&A: Designer Robert Langstaff on Flooring Innovation
Product designer Robert Langstaff has directed design and color development at multi-national companies for over 25 years. After consulting for Metroflor Corporation to develop the Aspecta brand of resilient flooring, Langstaff joined their team as director of design in 2015. Here he discusses Metroflor’s upcoming collections and foray into biophilic design.
Tell us about new products that Aspecta by Metroflor is introducing this year.
The Aspecta One Ornamental LVT collection, being introduced at NeoCon, consists of three decorative patterns for commercial environments in need of interest and accent. Building upon the existing Aspecta One portfolio, three overlay motifs—Damask, Masquerade and Malta—offer an array of options. These overprint styles can be layered randomly on select Aspecta One plank and tile designs or all over for a more dramatic effect.
The Ornamental line builds on reclaimed materials that capture the essence of heritage. Damask nods to the worn Persian rug with a simple yet sophisticated look and rich colors. Masquerade captures the classicism of hand-carved Art Deco tiles inspired by natural forms. And Malta, when combined with wood grains, channels historic quilts that evoke age, time, patina, and nature.
Tell us about the role of biophilia in your design process.
Ornamental expresses Metroflor’s commitment to biophilia, a philosophy of humankind’s innate biological connection with the natural world. It explains why natural occurrences captivate us, enhance our creativity, and have restorative effects. When applied to the built environment, biophilia defines aspects of nature that most impact and advance occupants’ health and well-being. We’re applying many biophilic principles to extend our design vision and capability within LVT.
How do you approach the demand for customization?
Customization is important, especially for high-end hospitality projects, but it’s time-consuming and costly. Ornamental is an alternative that achieves a custom look without the hassle. Using existing sizes and colors, we created three overlay motifs that let designers customize within their time frame and budget.
How is technology playing a role in product development?
Technology has played a major role in elevating the quality of print and embossing capabilities, which make LVT products look more authentic.
What sustainability initiatives does the company follow?
Over 200 Aspecta products have been issued Declare labels, a transparency platform changing the materials marketplace. We are the first manufacturer to issue a Declare label for rigid core flooring. Metroflor has also posted Health Product Declarations, Environmental Data Sheets, and other certifications.
What new design trends are you seeing?
We are seeing more embellishment and new color combinations. Surfaces have become more dimensional with deeper bas-relief. We’re also seeing an increase in laser-cut screening materials.