October 10, 2016

Q&A: Mohawk Group’s Michel Vermette Shares a Vision for Better

Contract flooring manufacturer Mohawk Group consistently stays on the forefront of design innovation. The brand draws inspiration everywhere—Moonscapes, one of their latest collections revealed at NeoCon, goes so far as to recreate the moon’s textured landscape on a modular broadloom rug.

The company launched a brand-new campaign, “Believe in Better,” at this year’s GreenBuild. Michel Vermette, President of Mohawk Group, discusses the revamped philosophy, how the brand will strive for consistent improvement across five distinct pillars, and what to expect from Mohawk in the future.

Interior Design: What is “Believe in Better” and how did the idea originate?

Michel Vermette: Constantly working toward a better version of ourselves has always been part of Mohawk’s DNA. This idea fuels our breakthroughs across our five pillars: design, innovation, sustainability, project solutions, and operational excellence. From the design studio to our manufacturing plants, we understand and embrace that better is always possible. We reflected upon that guiding principle and organized it so our community can join us in this journey.

Designed in collaboration with 13&9 Design, Mohawk Group’s Moonscapes Collection was debuted at NeoCon 2016.

ID: How is Mohawk starting to implement the philosophy’s five pillars?

MV: Our new Light Lab Design Center in Northwest Georgia, which was completed earlier this year, is a true embodiment of these five pillars. Designed in collaboration with SCAD, Light Lab is an environment that not only brings together all of our different design disciplines, but is a creative hub for our design teams, customers, and community at large. The Living Building Challenge Petal Certified project incorporates biophilic design elements and serves as an inspiring workspace for our associates.

ID: What are some sustainability challenges currently facing the contract flooring sector?

MV: We spend about 90% of our time inside, so we have a responsibility to make sure our products are contributing to healthy spaces. One of the biggest challenges is product ingredient transparency and agreeing upon a common language to evaluate the health impacts of our products. We encourage all manufacturers to embrace transparency, a necessary prerequisite for informed decisions related to selecting the right materials for every project.

Mohawk Group’s Light Lab Design Center in Dalton, Georgia serves as the creative hub for the company’s design teams and received Living Building Challenge Petal certification earlier this year.

ID: What other sustainability measures is Mohawk taking to lead the industry?

MV: We’re supporting third-party platforms like Living Product Challenge that strengthen our ability to provide healthier products. Additionally, our recent renovation of the Mohawk Flooring Center in Northwest Georgia achieved LEED Gold certification, and soon we will work toward WELL Building Certification for our Manhattan showroom.

ID: What topics or trends is Mohawk paying attention to right now?

MV: We are focusing on the maker movement and ways of humanizing technology, how design should help balance a changing world, increasing acceptance and tolerance amid blurring cultural boundaries, and testing limits of humankind and nature.

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