Why Wallcovering Is Making a Comeback



Why Wallcovering Is Making a Comeback

David Dunston - Jun 2018

Pick up a trade magazine or look at HGTV and what do you see? Wallcovering. It’s no longer a stogy staple of design -- wallcovering has gone high concept and high tech.

Welcome to the latest edition of the Vinyl in Design podcast, hosted by Terry Murphy.

Today’s conversation is about trends in wallcovering.

Our guest today is Beth Rich, marketing director for LSI Wallcovering and the current president of the Wallcoverings Association.

In this podcast, we discuss:

  • how digital is transforming wallcovering into art for the wall
  • commercial and residential wallcovering product and color trends
  • when wallcovering isn’t your best option

Plus, discover The Well-Covered Wall and additional resources covering material section, installation, and other questions that every designer needs to know.

How Designers Are Rethinking Classrooms and Other School Spaces



How Designers Are Rethinking Classrooms and Other School Spaces

Terry Murphy - Jan 2017

Education is ripe for innovation. Whether it’s how we teach kids in K-12 or how higher education is preparing students to tackle 21st century challenges, there’s been a lot of focus in the past couple of years around education. Reform, revamp, rework – rethink.

Take for example a recent opinion piece in the Tallahassee Democrat entitled “Design and Environment Important to School Success.” The author, an educator, wrote:

“It often seems that the architecture of a public school and its surrounding environment are given very little thought, as if it really doesn’t matter. Teach in a gravel pit, teach in a barn, teach in an auditorium, teach in a warehouse, teach in a cozy room with a fireplace, it’s all the same. Well, it is not all the same.”

Which brings me to Design Connections – Education

Last month’s conference was squarely focused on the future of schools’ design. How should today’s schools be structured? What makes for an effective classroom?

Here are my top 3 takeaways from the presentations and the conversations.

New designs for new generations.

There was a lot of discussion about how the old “sit and listen” method that dominated the way that Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y were educated is obsolete. Even the Z generation coming of age now incorporated some higher-tech education (think Kahn Academy, for example) while being raised on iPads and social media.

Now comes Generation Alpha, who are practically tethered to tablets and smartphones and super-connectivity. Traditional teaching methods are just not going to cut it anymore.

The conversation at Design Connections centered around rethinking how classrooms are configured to incorporate more activities and hands-on learning experiences. Designers in the education space are also starting to think about portable classrooms (beyond the old trailers) and what kinds of spaces we want our children to learn in.

Building healthy spaces.

Much as there has been priority put on building healthy workspaces, there’s now a huge push around healthy schools. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a series of tools around creating healthy indoor air quality in schools. 

Some of the specific issues discussed at Design Connections include healthy occupancy, good ventilation, getting more light and fresh air into schools and classrooms, and looking for low VOC products that can be cleaned without extensive use of chemicals.

The role of lifelong learning.

The discussion at Design Connections about reconfiguring space wasn’t just about K-12 students but also how to design flexible enough spaces that they can be used by multiple generations at different hours of the day. This also led into some of the technology that these spaces increasingly have to support – from virtual learning to biometric security.

Budgets (and innovation) are key.

We all know that education budgets are typically tight, which means that innovation is key. A number of the firms represented at Design Connections work globally, which meant an opportunity to have conversations around reaching students in different places around the world. In the education design sector, innovation isn’t just about thinking through the “ideal” school. There’s also a critical need to identify how to build, on a budget, pleasant spaces with desks, chairs, floors, walls, and other work surfaces that are attractive and easy to clean. 

Commercial Design Trends in Interior Vinyl Products


Commercial Design Trends in Interior Vinyl Products

Jan 2017

Beyond color, pattern, and surface texture, interior designers are beginning to take a look at other attributes as they specify materials and products.

Designers are also looking at:

  • Products with life cycle data
  • Products from a multi-attribute perspective
  • Durability – keeping buildings looking better longer
  • Infection prevention




World Green Building Trends


World Green Building Trends

George Middleton - Dec 2013

In previous discussions about building products we touched on the concept of “find it, choose it and use it.” Design professionals have to find a manufacturer’s product, before they can choose it from among competitive technologies and brands. That has to occur before they can ‘use’ the product by specifying it on the project. Nothing happens to benefit the manufacturer until those things take place because only then do products get sold. For anyone involved in the building design and construction industry it will come as no surprise that the topics of green and sustainability are high on the list for building product manufacturers who are constantly trying to determine the best ways to get their products found, chosen and used.

I recently heard a powerful statistic presented by a guest speaker at Greenbuild 2013 in Philadelphia. Stuart Kaplow, an attorney and green building practitioner, said that over the last seven years, non-residential green building construction has grown from 1.4% to 44% of the construction market. He reminded the audience this represents a 3200% increase. So is green big? You bet it is. It continues to grow and it is the way most product manufacturers are using to reach out to designers.

McGraw-Hill Construction, one of the primary and valued publishers in the industry recently released a new report called World Green Building Trends. It looks at the “business benefits driving new and retrofit market opportunities in over 60 countries.” The McGraw-Hill SmartMarket Report is well worth the time required to read and can be found below:

World Green Building Tools

A few quick points to take away from this important report include:

1. A green project is defined as a project that is either certified under any recognized global green rating system, or built to qualify for certification.

2. More than half of the architects surveyed said that more than 60% of their work will be green by 2015. That is up from 28 % in 2012.

3. Reasons have shifted since 2008 when most respondents said building green was “the right thing to do” and important for “market transformation.” The latest report has respondents citing “lower operating costs” and “branding/public relations,” signifying a change in the perception of green building.

4. The analysts also noted a shift in the US market with an increased importance on “health and wellbeing benefits” as a reason to build green. Evidence of these benefits will help move markets the publisher says.

5. In the US the average green share of building is 48% and non-green is 52%. This varies slightly from Mr. Kaplow’s number but is still roughly equivalent.

6. Architects tend to be more “emotionally invested” with green than their peers, with 40% saying it’s about “doing the right thing.” That will probably come as no surprise, and neither will this; the researchers observed that building Owners do what makes business sense, and Contractors do what owners want.

7. Social reasons for going green are now about greater health and wellbeing, increased worker productivity, and supporting the domestic economy. This could reflect a growing trend toward a more mature understanding of sustainability; that is, sustainability and green must take into consideration not only environmental aspects, but also social and economic ones as well.

8. The criteria for identifying and evaluating green products were ranked in priority. They included:

  • High energy efficiency
  • Industry performance data
  • Non toxicity
  • Made of recycled content
  • Life cycle data
  • Durability
  • Certified by a third party

9. Sources of green building information were also identified and prioritized:

  • Internet
  • Conferences
  • Industry associations (exhibited the highest level of trust)
  • Magazines
  • Product manufacturers
  • Industry peers
  • Government resources
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Trade shows (showed the lowest level of trust)

10. Characteristics of Green Products and the percentage of manufacturer’s whose products included these characteristics, as reported by 105 building product manufacturers from 27 countries:

  • Highly energy efficient (73%)
  • Durable (71%)
  • Recycled content (53%)
  • Non-toxic (51%)
  • Cradle to grave, or cradle to cradle LCA data provided (31%)

The McGraw-Hill SmartMarket report contains even more valuable information on green building trends. It is worth a careful read, with an eye toward incorporating these findings into building product manufacturer marketing plans, for next year and beyond.

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