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September 19
IFMA World Workplace 2014

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Milliken featured three floor covering collections, Fahrenheit, Elevation and Allegory, along with our industry-leading OBEX(R) entryway matting.

IFMA World Workplace 2014 was an excellent place to connect with facility managers and discuss solutions that fit their individual needs. Milliken has been a sustaining partner of IFMA since the organization's founding in 1971, and we deeply value helping facility managers provide a safer, healthier building environment with functionally superior PVC-free modular floor covering collections and incredibly effective entryway matting. 

We hope you enjoy a few snapshots of our time during the show. 

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September 16
Visit Milliken at IFMA World Workplace 2014, Booth #235

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The Fahrenheit Collection, OBEX® Matting Solution, and Elevation Collection from Milliken will be on display at IFMA World Workplace 2014, Booth 235. 

Facility managers are challenged with the unique responsibility to provide a the best environment possible for their building's employees and visitors. This means providing a safe and healthy interior space.

Milliken is committed to helping facility managers make the best decisions for flooring solutions that address their unique needs. We're excited to attend IFMA World Workplace 2014 to discuss the benefits that Milliken floor covering provides facility managers, like ease of maintenance, a safer interior environment, and PVC-free construction to create a healthier space for building employees and visitors. 

Visit us at Booth #235. Attendees can also experience our custom floor covering solutions first hand at the New Orleans Convention Center, where IFMA World Workplace is being held. To learn more about the inspiring project, read our case study


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September 11
Gensler's Barbara Best-Santos Talks Innovative Design

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Barbara Best-Santos, leader for the Northwest region at Gensler and NEWH member, joins our guest blog series and shares her approach to innovative hospitality design.


Q: How do you approach each new design project differently?

A: By asking what the project 'wants to be.' Each project has its own unique personality and set of characteristics that need to be discovered, nurtured and brought to life. It's like a person...the right balance of nature (the given parameters) and nurture​ (what is infused through the branding, design and development process) make for a one-of-a-king experience!

Q: What are the most important elements of creating a successful interior space for a client?

A: a) Listening - The client's program and needs must be understood and honored throughout the process.

    b) Observing - Gather as much information as possible about the project.

    c) Visioning - Stretch the boundaries of the creative process, let our imagination flow.

    d) Executing - Marrying the vision with the program and collaborating with the entire team to bring them to life.

    Yes... it's a labor of love!


About Barbara Best-Santos, leader for the Northwest region at Gensler

Barbara Best-Santos directs the hospitality practice for Gensler in the Northwest region, bringing over 20 years of experience with boutique and large-scale hotels, spas, restaurants, and resorts. In addition to being actively involved in business development, Barbara leads her project teams through all stages of a project for such prominent brands as The Four Seasons, Hyatt Hotels, the Marriott, and the Westin, designing projects that elegantly suit the demands of both the client and their guests. 


Prior to Gensler​, Barbara was the owner of Best-Santos Studio, where created award-winning interiors for Kimpton, Woodside Hotels & Resorts, and Larkspur Hotels &Restaurants; along with the development of a number high profile restaurant concepts including Bing Crosby’s, Joe DiMaggio’s and Carlos Santana’s Maria Cantina. Prior to Best-Santos Studio, her work included the Hotel Bel-Air, the Claremont Resort and Spa and many large-scale projects around the world as a designer for Bent Severin and Associates. 


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September 09
Exploring New Business at Workplace Conference Bogota and Lima

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Collaborating and learning from the success of others helps move business forward worldwide. Conferences like the 3G Office Workplace Conference are a great place to share ideas and network.

This year we were thrilled to participate in the 3G Office Workplace Conferences in Bogotá and Lima, which explored the new business models and the future of corporate spaces. Discussion topics included corporate culture behind the mobile environment, cost benefits of the flexible office, and the future of the corporate workplace. 

Two of the key takeaways​:

  1. Managing change is crucial
  2. The flexible office can save companies in operational costs, even up to 30%

Workplace Conference is part of a series of international conferences, which started in 2006 and has continued throughout 2014 and 2015 in various cities of the world, including Lisbon, Bogotá, Lima, Madrid, Panama, Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile. 

Francisco Vázquez, president of 3G Office and organizer of Workplace Conference, shares, "The main objective of these conferences is to meet the expectations of current work patterns, continuous change and evolution. It's about providing solutions to companies on its commitment to flexibility to increase productivity. 

We systematically introduce the knowledge that has been applied for many years worldwide on the new way of working; design space in relation to the company and the worker; greater mobility; the fundamental technology for efficient collaborative work; knowledge management and innovation in the workplace."  

September 05
KI Shares Insight on Workplace Design Influences

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We're launching a guest blog series to discuss interior design trends and issues with designers, industry organizations, and architecture and design manufacturers​. Join us as Shawn Green, vice president of design and product marketing at KI, shares his thoughts on influencing factors of workplace design.

Q. What do you see as the biggest influences of workplace design?

A. Many people view technology as the primary driver of workplace design, while others attribute economic drivers and the compression of space due to real estate cost. I would argue the primary drivers of workplace design have been fairly constant over time. All companies, industries and market segments have three things in common:

  • Culture (How they see themselves)
  • Brand (How they want to be seen)
  • Functional Needs (How they work)

Workplace design is becoming more focused on these issues, partially due to the "Start Up" mentality, where business leaders seek to work differently. Successful workplaces and environments are those that align culture, brand and functional needs. Key to making this happen is the recognition that work has shifted from task intensive activities that are the result of individual effort to creative work that involves groups​.

The fact is, there is no single approach that can be applied in a broad or universal fashion. To achieve a space that is truly successful requires a keen understanding of the psychology drivers of individuals and groups.

About Shawn Green, vice president of design & product marketing at KI

Shawn Green is the vice president of design and product marketing at KI. He is responsible for the design, development and growth of KI's product portfolio of furniture solutions for education, healthcare, government and corporate markets. 

Prior to joining KI, Green spent several years at Knoll, where he served as the director of storage marketing and as a director of product marketing for systems furniture. He also held product management positions at Steelcase and Trendway.

Green holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Hope College in Holland, Michigan.


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September 02
Explore the color & pattern of temperature with Fahrenheit

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 From left to right: The Fahrenheit Collection in Wave, a combination of Wave and Front, and Wave.

Temperature. Is it friend or foe? Our perception depends on the day and activity pursued. 

Too cold can quickly become a heat wave with a change of wind direction. Adaptation and flexibility are key as the next weather front registers a different degree of intensity.

Explore the dynamic relationship between temperature, pattern, and color with the Fahrenheit Collection, one of our newest modular floor covering collections. Interpreted through pattern and a multicolor approach, the resulting design is textural and intriguing.

Two ​pattern scales - Wave and Front - create texture and interest for the floor plane with various degrees of sophisticated, yet playful movement. Wave, inspired by ripples often seen on outdoor surfaces during a heat wave, incorporates multiple levels of motion with a larger-scale organic overlay atop pencil-thin vertical stripes. Front, inspired by a weather front's movement as depicted on a map, offers a simpler multicolor stripe.

As degrees on the temperature scale move from absolute zero to absolute heat, the 24 multicolors​ of Fahrenheit span a broad spectrum of hues. Thoughts​ of heat evoke reds, oranges, and yellows, while cooler temperatures bring about blues and other icy tones. 

Bright coloration and severe traffic durability allow Fahrenheit to be an ideal solution for K-12 education, higher education, and corporate offices. A PVC-free construction also helps provide a healthier and safer interior environment.  

Feeling playful? Pair Fahrenheit with either the Elevation or Landmark Collections for a floor plane with cohesive texture movement.


August 28
3 Ways to Design for Collaboration

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The Athenaeum at Milliken's global headquarters features a mix of large worktables, conversation areas, and private workspaces to accommodate​ the different needs of various tasks. Photo courtesy of Eric Laignel. 

Interior designers have the unique ability to influence the corporate workplace. Overall interior aesthetics set the tone for office, whether it is bright and playful or sophisticated with neutrals, and the space layout impacts how employees might interact among one another. 

Creativity and collaboration are key factors of success for business. Here are a three design trends we have noticed that facilitate collaboration and communication in offices.

1. Open spaces designed so different groups cross paths and interact. Such design fosters impromptu meetings that normally would not occur and opens communication channels.  

2. Transitioning from assigned desks to shared desks. Not all work occurs in one spot. Moving around and working in different areas helps spur creativity and interactions with other colleagues. 

3. A variety of meeting spaces. Different projects require different types of workspaces. Offering multiple work areas, from large open tables and conversation areas to private nooks, will allow employees to tackle projects in a way that best suits the team at hand.  

Kristin Gruenefeld, senior floor covering designer at Milliken, shares "As a person who works in an open concept office, I find myself moving to large communal tables in order to gain a different perspective and complete items that do not need to be accomplished at my desk. 

"Alternate functional spaces really allow workers to interact on an informal level with their peers and upper management. There's natural collaboration and sharing, which benefits individuals and the company as a whole."

How do you design for collaboration? We would love to hear your thoughts.

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The Zendesk San Francisco office, designed by Design Blitz, features a bright and open areas for collaborative conversations and cozy booths for meetings and focused work. Photo courtesy of Bruce Damonte. 

Related articles on design and collaboration 




August 26
Creating Custom-Inspired Interiors with étage®

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Mayfair, a new addition to the Milliken étage collections (left), and Cartesian, also part of étage (right).  

Every space has an individual story to tell. 

This cannot be truer than with the hospitality industry as hotels, casinos, theaters, convention centers, and public spaces look to create unique experiences for visitors. 

Custom pieces are a great way to lend uniqueness to interiors; however, it can require more time than a standard piece. That is why we offer étage - a program that makes creating custom modular and broadloom carpet simple and easy through a kit-of-parts approach.

étage enables designers to layer existing patterns and motifs in new ways for a one-of-a-kind aesthetic. And if time allows, designers can create a custom layer that tells the unique design story of a particular space. 

Additionally, we offer a host of services ensure that custom creations are exactly what designers envision, from CAD generated Seaming Diagrams and Optimization Reports to 2D image drawings of the proposed installation. 

Click here to learn more about how you can create custom-inspired interiors. What could you create with étage?​


August 21
Fostering Creativity Even Through Adversity & Chaos

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We may live in a world where the most highly prized people to employers tend to be knowledge workers, but what sets us apart from the machines is not knowledge at all - it is creativity. Acquiring, managing, and sharing knowledge is essential, but it’s what we do with it that really matters.

It’s no surprise that creativity has become the de facto Holy Grail for many modern businesses. A recent survey of 1,500 chief executives conducted by IBM's Institute for Business Value found that business leaders believe creativity is the most important leadership competency for a successful enterprise.

So what are ways to foster creativity?

One of the surprising answers to that question is adversity. This is a difficult one for businesses to apply in practice, of course. Business leaders should not deliberately make the lives of employees more difficult, but it's an interesting phenomenon nevertheless and has important repercussions for how people deal with stress and challenges. 

In fact, psychologists now have a label for the process whereby people respond positively to serious difficulties. They call it post-traumatic growth, and it is characterized by a growing appreciation for the positive parts of our lives, greater spirituality, and increased ability to think creatively and solve problems in new ways. As artists and writers have known for centuries, serious challenges - even profound traumas and unhappiness - can prove the source of great creativity. "I create in order not to cry," as the artist Paul Klee put it.

Marie Forgeard, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, recently decided to put this idea to the test. She asked approximately 400 U.S. subjects with an average age of 40 to indicate a difficult or traumatic episode in their lives and gauge its impact on their creativity and personal growth. Research showed that the number and type of difficulties encountered by individual preceded creative growth, following a period of introspection and taking stock. 

One of the conclusions Forgeard came to was that life's challenges make for more interesting and creative art. She makes the point by contrasting Louisa M. Alcott's tale of loving sisters, Little Women, with Tennessee William's play The Glass Menagerie, which draws on the writer's difficult relationship with his mother and sister. This is not to suggest, of course, that adversity is a prerequisite for creativity. Just that the wells of creativity can meander and run very deep. 

Another surprising source of creativity can be chaos. And unlike adversity, it is something that organizations can - and increasingly do - nurture. This is also something that writers and artists have known for many years. In his 1883 novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None, the philosopher Friedrich Nietzche writes, "I tell you: one must still have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star." The idea has been expressed in many ways, but few of them quite so poetic. 

The same idea is evident in the work of people from the economist Joseph Schumpeter, famous for his idea of 'creative destruction' to the management guru Tom Peters and even Albert Einstein who once said, "If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?"

Last year, a team led by psychologist Kathleen Vohs at the Carlson School of Management published research suggesting that order and chaos are both perfectly sound ways for firms and individuals to operate, depending on what they wish to achieve.

The first part of the research explored whether an ordered workplace had any effect on the ethical aspects of individual behavior, including healthy eating and charitable giving. Subjects were made to work in either a messy or tidy office and then asked to donate to charity and choose between an unhealthy or healthy snack. The results were remarkable. Those who had worked in the ordered office donated twice as much to charity and had a greater tendency to choose healthy food.

The second part of the research sought to establish whether an untidy workplace could foster the equally desirable outcome of greater creativity. Once again, volunteers were made to work in either a messy or tidy office, followed by a test of their creative thinking.

Again the results were unequivocal. The research subjects who had worked in chaotic surroundings performed significantly better than their counterparts with tidy desks. They were more likely to display unconventional thinking and a willingness to break from tradition. 

Our goal is not to apply such research in a simplistic way. However, the main point is that this represents yet more evidence on the complex links that exist between our surroundings and how we think and act, and not least how we think creatively.

August 19
Spotted: Milliken Innovation in Schools

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With the school year back in full swing​, students are likely to come across various forms of Milliken innovation multiple times a day. Our breadth of expertise across a variety of disciplines allows us to help schools create a more colorful, creative environment conducive to effective learning.

Here are four items commonly found in schools created with Milliken innovation:

1. Washable markers. Creative Colorants from Milliken help ensure markers stay where they are wanted without limiting children's creative spirit. But don't worry, easy cleaning doesn't mean dull colors. In fact, Milliken washable colorants are bold for the brightest works of art. Learn more. 

2. Plastic containers that perhaps, organize washable markers. Our plastic clarifiers help students and teachers see through containers easily - whether it is craft supplies or their lunch. Learn more. 

3. School sports uniforms. Students can play hard in sporting uniforms made with Milliken performance fabrics that reduce odor and improve comfort. Learn more. 

4. Floor covering. Our inspiring floor covering collections help provide an effective and comfortable learning environment that sparks students' imaginations. The built-in cushion provides extra comfort for small children when playing, and anti-microbial treatment ensures a clean and safe environment. To see examples of Milliken floor covering in schools, click here.    

How else might students discover Milliken innovation in schools? 

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