John Crews confidently tells me next year will be full of rich and nostalgic color, handmade touches, and simplicity derived from nature. As the director of creative product design for upscale flooring brand Anderson Tuftex, he’s responsible for accurately predicting trends before they’ve even begun and designing flooring to meet them on their trajectory.
This year’s collection of hard and soft flooring, unified under the design theme Reawaken, embodies the idea of making home a sanctuary away from everyday chaos. The natural grain and inlays of Joinery hardwood reimagines traditional woodworking. The plush texture of Kaleidoscope carpet feels luxurious but also rises to the challenge of daily life with pets. They are united by the hope to revive the home as a personal haven. “The Reawaken collection celebrates moving forward,” says Michael Ferguson, director of creative product design – hard surfaces. “It’s about embracing the new with a sense of purpose and optimism.”
To identify these design themes the designers observe and map the present, large-scale industry and culture trends, paying particular attention to how people are living. “We see trends at a larger view, fashion, design, how homes evolve. How ways of living and how comfort and time become more attributes that are more aspirational,” John says. The Anderson Tuftex team then finds ways to interpret these using visual trends, color, and texture—like implementing the visual pattern of rock formations in the Caboodle carpet to reflect a cultural trend of finding comfort in nature.
During extensive prototyping and field-testing, what-ifs and wild concepts abound until commonalities emerge, and the designers pay close attention. “We make sense out of all of these prototypes we’re making and these trends we’re seeing that might have nothing to do with flooring,” John says. “Maybe 10% of the prototypes move forward in the next 18 months.”
Every decision is considered to incorporate elements that reflect the humans behind the design. John seeks to answer: “How do you leave a human fingerprint in large-scale manufacturing?” In details like the soft yet texturally complex all-loop construction of the Lyric carpet, Anderson Tuftex can create warmth and familiarity using tactility and organic references. John says Lyric’s precise, small-scale pattern has an innate organicism to it. The carpet was inspired by the stacked stones of pyramids. Another new design, Kit, has a herringbone pattern inspired by a fern leaf.
With the human touch, Anderson Tuftex aims to deliver the feeling of being home from the moment you see the surfaces. “If we delight the consumer, we’re hopefully hitting on something that is timeless,” John says. “Timeless design doesn’t necessarily have to be traditional.” Because at Anderson Tuftex, enduring design is often just as focused on what lies ahead.
This story originally appeared in Sixtysix Issue 09 with the title “Hand on the Future.” Subscribe today.