Delegates at Kronospan's design event in Chirk, UK, explore proposed surface decors in virtual rooms viewed on iPads, vote on preferred finishes; data will help gauge market acceptance, determine surfaces to be included in 'Fresh' decor range

CHIRK, U.K. , December 14, 2012 (press release) – The For(u)m has made new Kronospan decors a virtual reality after stylists, designers, manufacturers and distributors were brought together to shape future surface trends.

Held annually in November and hosted by Kronospan at its Centre for Design Excellence in North Wales, the For(u)m is a design event aimed at inspiring the next generation of surface decors.

This year the For(u)m used the digital magic of an augmented reality to allow more than 60 guests over two nights to explore proposed decors across four trend concepts – Iridescent, Undone, Purist and Forager.

By viewing what were at first empty spaces using an iPad, the Forum audience discovered virtual rooms where they could change surface designs on a whim. With physical samples of each decor also available to touch and feel, the guests were then asked to vote for their preferred surfaces using the tablet.

Paul Duddle, product development and marketing manager for Kronospan, says: “It’s our third For(u)m event and arguably our most successful. We’ve had great feedback from guests about the use of virtual reality. It really seemed to help guests interact, explore, mix and choose the different decors in the context of a room environment.

“The data collected from our industry guests through the iPad software will give us a vital insight into how the market will receive these decor trends. There ‘on-the-ground’ expertise will help decide what new decors will feature in Kronospan’s FRESH range, which will give our collection an important commercial edge.”

Head of design at Impress, Daniele Merla, also addressed the For(u)m audience about sources of inspiration for the development of future trend concepts and especially emotional responses.

Daniele said: “We're not here to tell you what the next trends are. We're here to share experience, knowledge and ideas. We want to inspire our customers and inspire the market. Products should have an emotional effect and we need to discover the customer’s emotions before we get to any concepts. So, we don't talk about what you do in a kitchen, it's about how you want to feel in the kitchen.”

The leading decor designer also drew on the concept of time as an indicator of customer needs and aspirations. Where are people in their lives and experience? Time should drive design and Daniele went on to highlighting two key markets to consider in 2013/14, children growing up and the mature over 60s.

The climax to Kronospan’s design team's collective expertise, months of tireless research, thousands of air miles and the outcome of For(u)m will be seen in Kronospan's update of its FRESH collection of surface decors in the spring.

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