Formica Group is celebrating 100 years with a fresh take on its iconic Formica laminate. Unveiled around the world throughout this year, the Anniversary Collection features 12 new patterns that reflect the Formica brand and its history.
“While Formica Group invented laminate, designers are credited with realising its full potential as a stylish and desirable surfacing material,” comments Renee Hytry Derrington, group vice-president of design at Fletcher Building’s Laminates & Panels Division, which includes Formica Group. “The Anniversary Collection is just one example of our commitment to continue the joint exploration with the design community, to define the future of Formica Group in the next 100 years.”
Pentagram, the world’s largest independent design consultancy, created the collection exclusively for Formica Group. Pentagram partner, Abbott Miller, designed the anniversary patterns, introducing characteristics and colours that are new to the range. “Developing this iconic brand’s 100-year Anniversary Collection was inspiring,” says Abbott.
“Formica laminate is extraordinary because of its chameleon-like qualities – it has a stealthy presence and an ability to adapt to different environments. Because of its adaptability, it manages to embody the past, present and future. It’s a material with distinctive tactility, a warmth and domesticity – it’s man-made, yet has attained a natural quality in our lives.”
Abbott’s vision for the Anniversary Collection underscores the material’s unlimited design potential. “The heart and soul of Formica laminate is a printed sheet. Pattern and colour are intrinsic to the culture of the company, so exploring the translucency of ink and the interaction of pattern and colour was a natural area for me.”
The 12 new patterns feature in four collections: Ellipse, Endless, Dotscreen and Halftone. Ellipse and Endless utilise innovative printing techniques that allow independent layers of pattern to randomly interact during the course of printing.
This method creates seemingly infinite patterns that appear consistent due to the fluidity of the overlapping elements. Unlike most patterns that repeat every 50 inches, the pattern repeat of Ellipse and Endless only occur every 500 to 700 sheets – the equivalent to more than a mile in length.
Ellipse uses the hidden oval in the iconic Formica brand logo to create a series of layered strands that ripple across the surface. Endless, on the other hand, creates a digital grain from bars that alternately layer and punch through a coloured base. The result is a continuous tone-on-tone, architectural pattern that provides visual interest at close range and, from a distance, provides a geometric texture.
Dotscreen and Halftone celebrate Formica Group’s history of exuberant colour and printing technology. Both ranges feature solid patterns of bright and saturated colours, which are made more complex by undercurrents of detailed patterning. Fine dot motifs provide a second scale of interest within the optimistic hues.
Each Anniversary Collection pattern contains a subtle, tone-on-tone Formica brand watermark embedded into the design on every sheet.
In addition to the Anniversary Collection, Pentagram’s Abbott Miller, Michael Bierut and Daniel Weil collaborated on Formica Group’s anniversary brand elements, the Formica Forever book and display concept.