Lighting up the Floor
Innovations in fiber dying technology bring new color possibilities to commercial carpet.
Once a designers’ afterthought, commercial carpeting is having a moment. And two new lines from Bentley Mills—Night Vision and After Dark—are showing us why. Full of bold color and luster, they’re breaking the mold and bringing commercial floor coverings into some well-deserved spotlight.
With a design process that starts at the molecular composition of the thread, to the way the yarn refracts light, to the inspiration for the carpet’s pattern and different colorways, the design team at Bentley is creating carpet that is turning interior designers’ heads.
For a deeper look at how the underlying nylon technology produced such stunning and innovative effects, and what it might offer to the interior design community, Metropolis caught up with Bentley’s textile specialist Holly Lester and senior director of product development operations Libby Cook.
Metropolis (M): How are you thinking about color when you are developing your products?
Holly Lester (HL): Color is always product specific. For each product, we look at color trends, existing products, specifics of the yarn, and the technology we have available. For example, with Night Vision and After Dark, the sense of community found in the handcrafted movement and gastronomy movement inspired some of the earth tones we used.
M: What was the inspiration behind the pattern for Night Vision?
HL: It was the effect of light in photography. Either naturally or with manipulation of the exposure or print, light can sometimes create rays or lines of light that start in a corner and spread out, distorting the image.
M: How did color play into your design process when it came to developing the pattern for both Night Vision and After Dark?
Libby Cook (LC): We started our process by looking at various grays. We developed a set of warm grays and cool grays, and soon moved into developing a middle gray. Then we branched out by developing other neutrals. Right now, we see a trend toward navy, and with these two products, we’ve created a really interesting blue. Finally, we incorporated some fun colors for added whimsy, one of which has a yellow and gray palette.
M: You recently featured Night Vision at NeoCon this year. What were designers’ responses to the product?
LC: Designers loved it. We installed both broadloom and tile of Night Vision in our showroom, and we were thrilled by the positive response. We were also honored to have Night Vision receive a Best of NeoCon Editor’s Choice Award.
M: You have a new custom color program called Colorcast™. Explain how that works.
HL: A designer can take any of our carpet patterns and match it to any color they provide. We start out with a white carpet, formulate the colors to match the designer’s request, and then utilize our state-of-the-art continuous dye range, which has the ability to dye up to 18,000 yards of carpet in the same dye lot. A standard order size of 50 square yards (no up charges), and you’re in the Colorcast™ game.
M: How have designers responded to using the Colorcast™ program?
LC: Designers are very responsive to Colorcast™. The ability to match a color to anything—be it an old shoe or a Pantone Color swatch—and incorporate it into one of our patterns has been very successful.
M: What’s the technology that enables you to execute your vision?
HL: For Night Vision and After Dark, we worked with Ultron® nylon and its new fiber technology, allowing us to mimic a space-dyed stria effect in our carpet designs. For these two lines in particular, we went with an Ultron® nylon because of the technological capabilities, specifically with incorporating low- and high-luster yarns.
M: What is the one thing you want designers and architects to know about the way that Bentley approaches color in your carpet lines?
LC: We are always thinking about how each design will be used in the real world. When we offer two or more products in a book, we look at how they can be paired together and with other products in our line. Often, we’ll select a large, bold pattern and a subtle pattern. For example, in this book, Night Vision is our bold offering. After Dark is a Colorcast™ version of our popular solution-dyed Shapeshifter product (from nylon that’s dyed before it is extruded into fiber). We knew they would work well together and could be paired with other styles.
M: How did incorporating the low and high luster yarns change the way that you designed with color?
LC: We originally tried the patterns in lower luster yarns, but they were flat. They seemed faded and needed a spark. We frequently mix lusters in our products and historically that is very successful.
HL: When we added the bright luster to Night Vision and After Dark, they came to life!
To see more innovations in commercial carpet, check out the gallery below: