Designing a wood floor
From an idea to a prototype
A Kährs wood floor is made to last for generations. According to Emanuel Lidberg this is an important reason why Kährs focus on classic designs that enhance the natural beauty of wood.
"Wood should look like wood"
“I usually say that we have approximately 500 people working with design at Kährs. Ideas for new products and embryos for new designs can come from virtually anyone in the company. This is a reflection of the pride among our co-workers for our products, as well as their passion for wood and great knowledge about the raw material”, says Emanuel Lidberg, head of design at Kährs.
A Kährs wood floor is made to last for generations. According to Emanuel Lidberg this is an important reason why Kährs focus on classic designs that enhance the natural beauty of wood – a look that will never go out of fashion, he says. Meanwhile, new floors are continuously introduced.
– There is a strong design tradition in the company. For decades, the company has been exploring new ways to bring out the best of the natural material. Increased knowledge of wood and how different wood species react in different environments, combined with new technology and surface treatments provide us with tools to continuously develop new floors, says Emanuel Lidberg – A great example is our new ultra-matt lacquer, which features a light absorbing finish that makes the floors feel and look like newly sawn timber.
Strong daylight from big windows can create shiny reflections on a floor and confuse our sense of colour, but this treatment eliminates that effect.
From an idea to a prototype
Just like with all other Kährs products, there was an extensive process of testing and evaluating before the ultra-matt floors were introduced. – Ideas for new products can originate from anywhere, but we always try to focus on the end user when we start the development process of new products. In the case of the ultra-matt floors, recent trends in architecture with bigger windows created a need to develop new surface treatment technologies Emanuel Lidberg explains.
The process began by a design brief being drawn up that explained the vision for the new product, but also how it addresses future trends and end user needs. The design brief typically includes mood boards where things that can provide inspiration are collected – it can be anything, from fashion, interiors and electronics to pieces of textiles, textures
– There is a strong design tradition in the company. For decades, the company has been exploring new ways to bring out the best of the natural raw material and colour samples.
A team consisting of specialists in different areas of wood floor production then worked closely together to deliver a number of prototype floors.
– We always compare the prototypes to the original vision of the product. It is a constant search for ways to improve, striving towards perfection. How does the floor look, feel, smell and sound? It’s important how it is perceived by all senses – it shouldn’t only be beautiful to look at, but also be pleasant to walk on.
Follow your heart
For the final step of the evaluation process, a mock-up, room size floor is produced and installed in the huge attic of Kährs’ Nybro production plant. Daylight from big windows and skylights allows for a thorough scrutiny of how the floor is perceived at different times of the day and in different light conditions.
– When people ask me how they should choose a wood floor, I usually respond: “pick the one that makes your heart tick”. The same goes for us when we evaluate our new designs, they must be able to trigger positive emotions. But regardless of the design attributes we build into the product, our basic philosophy is that wood should look like wood, Emanuel Lidberg says.