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Designer Spotlight: Thomas Eurlings, Forbo Flooring

Mix meets Forbo Flooring’s Senior Designer Thomas Eurlings, to discuss finding inspiration, new projects and all things flooring.

05/08/2020 4 min read

Dutch product and interior designer Thomas Eurlings has been part of the renowned Forbo design team since 2012, as well as running his own studio, Thomas E Creations.  Mix sits down with Thomas to discuss finding inspiration, exciting new projects and all things flooring.

Tell us a bit about your background!

After completing my studies at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, I started my own creative studio in Amsterdam. My studio develops full interior design schemes, as well as interior products, which vary between bespoke and off the shelf items, and jewellery. Some of my better-known products are my Fading Mirror for ENO studio and the Gradient Wallpaper for NLXL.

However, since 2012 I have also been a member of the Forbo design team, working on collections (mainly vinyl) and overarching projects.

How did your relationship with Forbo begin?

In 2009, I designed the interior of an apartment for the executive board of the Design Academy Eindhoven. The apartment was used to host small meetings and lodge guests in an informal setting, which reflected Dutch Design.

At that time Forbo was “een vriend” (a friend) of the Academy and provided all of the floor coverings for the apartment. During the project I was in close contact with Josée de Pauw, who was Forbo’s Design Director at that time. A few years later, Josée approached me to participate in a research project about digital print design and I’ve been a member of the team ever since.

Where do you find inspiration generally – what’s the biggest influence on your work?

My inspiration can come from anywhere, such as a burned piece of wood that I might find on the street or an art installation at the Venice Biennale.

I think it is very important to have an open mind. It is also equally important that I have a good archiving system for all the pictures I take, as during a brainstorm session I sometimes remember things I photographed years before. And usually I can find it in my photo archive within minutes! These references really help to explain my ideas to the people around me.

What themes have shaped the Allura range?

I think the floor is getting more attention and is becoming a more important factor in higher-end projects. It is not a decision that is made at the beginning (or end) of the project design, but it is integrated and coordinated with other elements in the interior, such as wall finishings and furniture. Therefore, combinability was an important theme of the Allura range. We developed new wood designs in different sizes and shapes that would provide a lot of possibilities in terms of installation patterns. In the images in the sample books, we also show how you can combine items within the collection with other floor coverings.

What’s your personal favourite?

I have several favourites, such as the new timber design in the 50×15 plank size, which can be used for a herringbone installation. We developed this design in house with an in-register embossing to emphasise the texture of the planks for an authentic aesthetic. In the campaign image of the collection, I created a herringbone floor with this item in several colours. This might be too extreme for most projects, but it shows the possibilities of this design.

I also love the new terrazzo range, where we have combined a classic terrazzo visual with a contemporary colour palette. The terrazzo items are also available in the new circle tile, which makes it a real eye-catcher in an interior.

In your opinion, what have been the biggest changes in the world of flooring in the last 10 years?

As I said before, the floor is getting more and more important. In general, I think that there is also much more emphasis on the expression of materials and also, the use of bold colours is customary.

– and in the last 10 weeks?

With social distancing in place, there is now a huge focus on guiding people safely throughout a space.

I think in the nearby future, the improvised signs and fences currently used will be replaced with more subtle and intuitive solutions to guide people and help them to keep their distance.

There will definitely be an important role for flooring designs to play in this, as there are many possibilities in digital printed floors and installation patterns, thanks to modular products, to help create wayfinding solutions.

What are Forbo focusing on/working on at the minute?

At the moment I’m working on several overarching projects for Forbo. However, I am particularly excited about the 0.36m2 project which I initiated with my colleague Marijke Griffioen.

For this project we offered a select group of creatives a Linoleum pinboard panel of 60×60 cm (hence the name 0.36m2) with the invitation to pin whatever they want on the board. We have already received beautiful and inspirational images of the boards, offering us an exciting glimpse into their current home and work environments. These images will be posted on our social media channels this summer – keep a look out!


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