Formica Group celebrates 100 years in 2013with the Formica laminate anniversary collection

Formica Group, the original inventor of laminate, celebrates 100 years with a fresh take on its iconic Formica® laminate. Unveiled around the world throughout 2013, 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,” said Renee Hytry Derrington, Group VP of Design for 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.”

See a video here.

Collaboration with World-Renowned Design Firm Pentagram

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,” Miller shared. “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.”

Miller’s vision for the Formica® Laminate Anniversary Collection underscores the material’s limitless design potential. “The heart and soul of Formica laminate is a printed sheet. Pattern and color 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.”

Twelve New Patterns in Four Collections: Ellipse™ Collection, Endless™ Collection, Dotscreen™ Collection and Halftone™ Collection.

Ellipse™ and Endless™ play off the anniversary theme “Formica® Forever” by utilising innovative printing techniques that allow independent layers of pattern to randomly interact during the course of printing. The 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.

  • 6613 White Ellipse – a tonal non-colour
  • 6614 Gray Ellipse – a classic grey
  • 1913 Red Ellipse – a strong red (The signature colour of Formica Group features 1913, the year the company was founded, as its product code.)

Endless™ 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.

  • 6610 Endless Graytone – a versatile grey-on-grey
  • 6611 Endless Smoke – an ebony that recalls carbon and mica
  • 6612 Endless Indigo – a deep inky blue

Dotscreen™ and Halftone™ celebrate Formica Group’s history of exuberant colour and printing technology. Both Dotscreen™ and Halftone™ feature “solid patterns” of bright and saturated colors made more complex by undercurrents of detailed patterning. Fine dot motifs provide a second scale of interest within the optimistic hues.

  • Dotscreen™ features luminous colors with extremely fine micro-dots in continuous ribbons.
  • 6615 Aqua Dotscreen – a distinctive sky blue
  • 6616 Mint Dotscreen – a vegetal green
  • 6617 Tangelo Dotscreen – a soft orange

Halftone™ features “near-bright” colours patterned with various sizes of toned dots, reminiscent of halftone printing screens.

  • 6618 Blueberry Halftone – a medium-toned blue
  • 6619 Citrus Halftone – a bright lemon yellow
  • 6620 Tangelo Halftone – a soft orange

Each Anniversary Collection pattern contains a subtle, tone-on-tone Formica brand watermark embedded into the design on every sheet.

“The patterns and colours of the Anniversary Collection acknowledge the brand’s past – especially with designers such as Brooks Stevens and Raymond Loewy – but without delving into nostalgia,” Miller said. “While the collection aligns with the brand’s heritage, it offers surfacing design that is unique in the market. It also was satisfying to know that we were pushing the technical boundaries of print.”

In addition to the Anniversary Collection, Pentagram’s Miller and partners Michael Bierut and Daniel Weil collaborated on Formica Group’s anniversary brand elements, Formica® Forever book and display concept.