I just returned from the Hospitality Design Expo in Las Vegas, and judging from the high quality wood products that were on the display at the event, it is safe to say that wood is a trend in the North American design community. From sculpted wall panels, to interior flooring, furniture, millwork, and accessories, the number of manufacturers exhibiting wood products was higher than I have ever seen in the 8 years that I have been attending this event.
For background, the Hospitality Design Expo (HD 2010) is the national conference and trade event for the interior designer and architect communities. This group including purchasing agents and other professionals attend if they target the hotel, resort, hospitality and contract sectors. HD Expo provides a great selection of decorative and finished products that you commonly find in hotels, restaurants, and corporate buildings. What you won’t find is construction or building products at this event.
I was impressed with a number of suppliers who were exhibiting high quality and innovative wood products at HD Expo. In particular, architectural wall panel manufacturer “Interlam” showcased a new line of real wood veneer decorative wall panels in a variety of North American and exotic species .They have introduced a new finishing technique that creates a textured or embossed finish on the surface of the panel rather than on the veneer itself that was very well received. These panels would be commonly used in a decorative application on interior surfaces such as wall and elevator panels, cabinetry and store fixtures. Check out their website at www.interlam-design.com.
Also been showcased was a wide variety of high quality wood flooring both in engineered and solid styles. Of interest here was the number of large multinational companies that are now offering wood flooring. Take for example the world’s largest tile manufacturer and distributor Daltile, who now distributes a wide assortment of engineered wood flooring for the commercial and contract market. Also new to the wood flooring market is Stone Source who also happens to be one of the largest stone and tile supplier and distributor in North America. How these big players will affect the market remains to be seen, but it is safe to say, their reach into the contract market is impressive.
Finally wood furniture showed a strong comeback this year after been overshadowed by for a number of years by plastics, resins, and other products. Numerous suppliers promoted that their product was made in North America and that the service quality and design would therefore be higher than lower-cost Asian suppliers. One Seattle based designer Owen Adam showcased a unique line of tables and occasional furniture utilizing western Red Cedar heavy timber tops combined with solid steel bases. Their product offerings, along with glass and stone works, were a good example of how a small manufacturer can have impact and gain market share in the contract and hospitality market.
While the Hospitality market is still recovering from the market downturn, there was a sense of positivity at this year’s event and the worst was behind us. The use of wood as a sustainable, beautiful, and innovative material is a trend that the hospitality market is embracing; a trend that I believe our industry can take advantage of over the next year.
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