Inside Shapes : when Creativity meets Technology

Carpet tiles, also known as carpet squares or modular carpet, are a modern and stylish alternative to standard carpet rolls. They are often used in commercial settings and they are becoming more and more popular in residential spaces because they are much easier for a do-it-yourselfer to install on their own.

I only became aware of this kind of carpet a few days back when I attended the event hosted by Shaw Contract, a design leader in commercial flooring solutions and surfaces. The company introduced Inside Shapes, a flexible toolkit that inspires creativity.

Inside Shapes is the product of the company's first collaboration with Stockholm based design studio, Form Us With Love. They were challenged how the standard 24"X24" carpet tile might be approached in a new unique way. With inside shapes, a floor becomes a canvas for creative expression-unlimited shape and color combinations can be both simple and abstract. Designers can create the perfect solution for any environment.

"Inside Shapes is a genuinely groundbreaking product, that has deep layers of design thinking at play", explains Resee Duncan, vice president of Product Design for Shaw Contract. "It's the result of a very considered and intentional method of working with different talents to constantly innovate."
Inside Shapes is the result of the shared expertise and imagination between Shaw Contract and Form Us With Love. Rather than designing a new collection, the creative collaboration between the two organizations opned up opportunities to think differently about what a carpet tile could be - beyond variations of pattern and color. The simple re framing of the tile as an object, not a surface, created new possibilities for an innovative toolkit that allows designers the freedom to design, and not just specify.

"Shaw's work ethic didn't feel all that different from how things work at FormUsWith Love", said Form Us With Love co-founder John Lofgren. Despite the enormous scale of the company, we worked with a tight knit team, with whom we could really hone in on the details. We had an intense level of dialogue, iterated endlessly and went to the farthest reaches of our imaginations to then concentrate our mutual findings and push the process forward."


The mission was to design a creative response to enhance how commercial environments feel and function today. With four distinct geometric shapes - square, diagonal, point and curve - and 12 color options, each in light and dark shades can be chosen in 17 pre-mixed options or curated individually for a completely custom solution. Utilizing a CNC machine to cut each shape that makes up a 24"X24" carpet tile, Inside Shapes is full of personality just waiting to be brought to life.

"The shapes themselves become characters in an overall narrative that allows each designer to tell a singular story.", explains Oriana Reich, Brand Director at Shaw Contract. This is not just a new collection - it's actually an entirely new system that in part derives from the product design language that Form Us With Love is known for. At the same time, it's an entirely new way of thinking about floor design."

Along with the launch of Inside Shapes, shaw Contract will also provide a digital tool that allows architects and designers to visualize all of the possibilities Inside Shapes allows. Users can begin with a blank canvas, easily change colors or re-arrange tiles from a series of idea starters, or use a pre-mix option seamlessly produce a dynamic layout. This interactive tool will enable the creation of compelling designs that express a particular vision.

From offices to schools, retail to hospitality interiors, today's architects and designers are seeking ways to enliven the human  experience in commercial spaces. Inside Shapes turns a passive product into an active decision, allowing for a variety of intentions and feelings in public areas. Debuting at NeoCon, June 11th - 13th, 2018 at Merchandise Mart in Chicago, IL, Inside Shapes is poised to change the way designers approach the creative process and elevate the way end-users experience the built environment.

Shaw Contract believes that the ground beneath your feet should have a positive impact on how you live, learn, work, heal and play. The company strives for design excellence in everything they do - from conception to production to installation, it's what sets them apart. They make flooring that delivers a purposeful blend of design elements, materiality, sustainability, and performance. Every day, they take on creative challenges to research, design and innovate flooring solutions that transform spaces across the globe.

Form Us With Love, is an international design studio founded in 2005. Since its conception, the studio has burned with passion for design and its democratic potential. Its belief is that we all have a right to meaningful design. At the studio's core lies a process that blends traditional creative practices with a lean, strategic application. The central intention is to evolve with the needs of each project, its place in the market and the ever-changing needs of real people.

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