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Continuing on with the products and companies I discovered on BlogTourVegas, we visited with sponsor Formica – celebrating their … 101st year.

Formica at KBIS 2014

Okay first, that. According to a reliable source, “This year was actually tame compared to last year’s Show. Last year, Formica kicked off its 100th anniversary celebration and unveiled an Anniversary Collection of laminates.” (At least one of which we did eye in the booth this year.) “The booth was essentially one large sample chain and it was really quite remarkable,” they said.

Formica Red Ellipse

Red Ellipse from the Anniversary Collection

Now, since I didn’t attend last year’s show, I had to settle for second best. That is – one of my favorite gifts, okay – bits of swag, that came in my BlogTour swag-bag was the book – Formica Forever (available on Amazon) and with it, I got the chance to briefly explore that one hundred year history.

formica forever book

image courtesy of Formica

While of course I wouldn’t be able to do this book the justice of a full review here – it is still interesting to note (via a quick page-through) the company’s roots as an “electrical insulation” company as well as the account of its explosion in popularity, powering them straight through the atomic age. The book contains a brief overview on the manufacturing of laminate, traces the product’s place in the “Wipe Clean World,” and in full, provides a snapshot of the American kitchen (with it, American advertising, too) in 20th Century. It all folds neatly into a “tear out” section containing more than 100 pages of the most popular colors and patterns that were found along the way.

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Does this book contain the limit of Formica’s contribution to innovation? Well, of course not.

Lapidus Brown 180fx _ Lava Flow HPL 1

Fast forward to KBIS 2014, where Formica adds four new granite patterns to their best-selling 180fx line and seven additional patterns, specifically targeting three surfacing trends the company identifies ― Soft Stones, White Stones and Non-Traditional Materials.

First, new in the 2014

180fx® Collection:

3546-46 River Gold in Etchings™ Finish:

An inviting creamy-white granite with linear veins of gold and gray highlighted by chocolate-brown crystals. One of the most desirable granites, it reflects the trend toward light and white sophisticated stone. The Etchings™ finish is said to enhance the “river-like” quality of the pattern with light linear movement.

River Gold 180fx from Formica

3547-RD Lapidus Brown in Radiance® Finish:

Vibrant gold tones and rich iron veining highlighted by creamy white crystals and gray and black pebbles. The Radiance® finish highlights the crystalline structure.

Lapidus Brown 180fx Formica

3548-RD Magma Black in Radiance® Finish:

As if liquid lava poured over it, rivers of gold, gray and rust. The Radiance® finish deepens the black background and accents the pebbles and crystals.

Magma Black 180fx Formica

3549-RD Red Dragon in Radiance® Finish:

An exotic and alluring rich red with dramatic veining and gray crystals. The Radiance® finish intensifies the color and complements the crystalline structure.

Red Dragon 180fx Formica

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Making Materials Obtainable

If you were wondering about some of the tech behind 180fx – it is a digital replication technology that for the first time ever allowed a laminate manufacturer to apply patterns over a 5-foot printing span.

But that’s only one part of the story. Combined, the 180fx large-scale patterns, the textured finishes (like the Etchings & Radiance finishes), as well as the IdealEdge treatments – eliminate the brown line and allow Formica to offer the look of the hottest surfacing materials at a price point accessible to the average homeowner.

Black Walnut Timber Formica

It is part of what Amy Gath, Vice President of Marketing, called – Formica’s mission to “make materials obtainable.”

Gath continues, “Although granite continues to be popular, homeowners are expanding their material preferences to include new stone variations. Our latest laminate patterns are fresh, affordable and maintenance-free alternatives, making design trends available for all.”

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This year also saw the launch seven new patterns with Premiumfx™ finishes. These, as mentioned above, hope to speak to three major trends in the residential market ― Soft Stones, White Stones and Non-Traditional Materials

Trend 1:  Soft Stones

Soft Stones feature subtle veining and lyrical movement down the length of the surface. The new Flow patterns ― 6699-46 Sand Flow and 6700-46 Lava Flow ― reflect this trend by featuring a fine granular sandstone design.

Lava Flow Formica

Lava Flow via Formica

Trend 2:  White Stones

Exotic and large scale. White Stones are commonly featured on kitchen islands, backsplashes and countertops. Often paired with other materials for a layered look. Two new laminate patterns address the White Stones trend: 6696-46 Carrara Bianco, an elegant white marble influenced by the popular 180fx® pattern Calacatta Marble, and 6697-46 Argento Romano, a light, gray-based neutral with taupe and beige accents that provides an alternative to pure white stone.

Carrara Bianco Formica

Carrara Bianco via Formica

Trend 3:  Non-Traditional Materials

As Millennials start to invest in kitchen and bath upgrades, they demonstrate individuality by experimenting with non-traditional materials such as wood, concrete and engineered stone.  The new Paloma series ― 6366-46 Paloma Dark Gray, 6729-46 Paloma Bisque and 6698-46 Paloma Polar ― provides clean, modern quartz-inspired looks ideal for any space.

Paloma Dark Grey Formica

Paloma Dark Grey via Formica

These seven new laminates feature the softly polished Etchings™ Premiumfx™ finish. It is etched and dappled with highlights from tiny fissures reminiscent of those found in real granite and stone.

All Formica® Laminate, including the 180fx® patterns mentioned at the top are available with IdealEdge™ laminate edge profiles. Suitable for curved, clipped or 90-degree corner installations, IdealEdge™ decorative edges transcend the customary limitations of laminate. They eliminate flat edges and brown seams.

Formica® Laminate patterns with Premiumfx™ finishes are approximately $18 per square foot installed. (Price varies based on geographic location and edge treatment option.) They are available through national home centers, such as Lowe’s® Home Improvement and The Home Depot, as well as independent kitchen and bath retailers. The 2014 180fx® patterns start at $21 per square foot installed.

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The UnderMount Sink Solution

I’ll briefly mention that also on display in the booth was an installation containing an undermount sink. This installation was achieved via a partnership with Karran USA (also exhibiting at KBIS).

Undermount Sink Formica Laminate

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@FormicaGroup was a sponsor of #BlogTourVegas, of which I was a part.

Amy Gath introducing 2014 180fx

Amy Gath introducing 2014 180fx, KBIS 2014

Design and remodeling enthusiasts can follow BlogTour Vegas on Twitter using hashtag #BlogTourVegas and view all the latest posts on Modenus.com. Information about the entire group of bloggers can be found here.

Sponsors of BlogTour Vegas include: KBISBlancoPoggenpohlSub-ZeroCosentinoMr SteamTop KnobsWood-ModeFormica GroupWalker Zanger and TOTO USA. For all of our posts from BlogTour Vegas, please click find them here.