BUILDINGS, in partnership with interiors+sources, is proud to announce the winners of the 2020 Product Innovations Awards, including awards for three Editors’ Choice and 10 Grand Prize designations.
The annual competitive awards program for manufacturers of commercial interior building products, which went virtual for the first time in history as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, accepted submissions through multiple categories for products that support end users in commercial and institutional settings, including education, corporate, healthcare, hospitality, government and retail.
“We were truly impressed by the Product Innovations submissions this year,” says BUILDINGS Editor in Chief Janelle Penny. “This annual competition spotlights the best in interior products, and this year’s finalists wowed us with their thoughtful attention to detail and their inventive use of materials.”
Entries were judged by BUILDINGS and interiors+sources editors who selected a total of 33 Product Innovation winners for Editors’ Choice, Grand Prize and Merit Award levels. Winners receive various prizes depending on level of achievement, including an awards plaque and coverage in upcoming BUILDINGS and interiors+sources fall issues.
“One thing that really stood out about the 2020 finalists for me was wellness-centered design strategies like biophilia and attention to human health impacts,” says Penny. “Several of the finalists entered products that support occupant health in different ways, such as being free of Red List chemicals or meeting the requirements of the Living Building Challenge or WELL Building Standard.”
Here are the 2020 Product Innovation Award Winners:
1. Mohawk Group, Smart City | Flooring
The Smart City collection—a 12- by 36-inch Living Product carpet plank system—reinterprets the transit maps of major cities and urban areas into soft surfaces for commercial interiors.
The system includes Urban Model, which reflects the texture and rhythm of a metropolitan mapscape, and Urban Mobility, inspired by the subway systems of cities like Berlin, London and Paris. Mohawk Group collaborated with Gensler, serving as product design consultant, for Smart City.
Its design and development were informed by the Gensler Cities Climate Challenge (GC3) and the AIA 2030 Commitment, initiatives that call for all new buildings, developments and major renovations to be carbon neutral by 2030.
2. LEDVANCE, Sylvania Natural Series | Lighting
Deliver the benefits of natural light with the new SYLVANIA Natural Series of LED lighting products with innovative TruWave Technology from LEDVANCE.
TruWave combines unique chip, phosphor and packaging technology to offer a quality alternative to natural light by mimicking the natural light spectrum, all while saving energy. As a result, these energy-saving LED products enhance color contrasts without saturation and deliver less intense blue light to reduce eye strain, improve readability and support an improved sleep-wake cycle.
They also deliver superior flicker performance and dimmability along with lower glare when applicable which results in better visual comfort.
3. Winco Window Company, Transira Window Solutions | Materials/Technology
A new breakthrough in window systems, Transira Prime Window Solutions resolves several common problems faced by hospitals and clinics.
A high-performance shade is encased within an insulated window, thereby eliminating the possibility of allergens and airborne pathogens clinging to the shade’s fabric.
The window system can be tied into the overall building management system, offering healthcare workers or even patients the ability to control the light entering the room at the touch of a button.
1. Focal Point, Nivo Acoustic | Acoustics
Nivo Acoustic is a sound-absorbing ceiling tile intended to add dimension and color to interior spaces while providing superior sound dampening properties.
The 2-foot by 2-foot tile is intended to fit into standard 9/16-inch and 15/16-inch grid ceiling systems or in suspended clouds, letting designers express their creativity to add design impact to the ceiling while creating inviting interiors.
Paired together, Nivo architectural troffers and acoustic tiles create a ceiling system that displays a glowing elegance and helps control noise levels and reverberation issues, while providing optimal illumination.
2. Snowsound, Bow | Acoustics
BOW is a system of modular sound-absorbing elements, inspired by the shapes of the hulls of ships. The bow is the forward part of the hull of a ship or boat, the point that is usually most forward when the vessel is underway.
The two elements, made of 100% polyester with patented Snowsound technology, take a three-dimensional configuration that generates an air gap between the panel and the wall that increases the acoustic performance significantly, serving as a sound trap.
The templates, one “hourglass” and one “shield,” are modular, complementary and inter-engaging (meaning they fit into one another) and can generate mixed compositions or textures obtained by combining the same module of panels. The elements can be easily combined to create countless compositions, leaving the designer with maximum creativity and freedom of expression.
3. Interface, Brushed Lines | Flooring
Interface marked its important milestone—that all LVT products are now made with 39% pre-consumer recycled content—with the launch of its latest global resilient flooring product, Brushed Lines.
This new LVT collection includes Interface’s innovative Sound Choice backing, which provides acoustic insulation without the need for additional underlayment. Brushed Lines is also covered with a Ceramor ceramic bead coating that allows items to glide over surfaces, preventing scratches and debris from settling in.
Like every flooring product Interface offers, Brushed Lines is certified carbon neutral through the Carbon Neutral Floors program.
4. Daich Coatings, TracSafe Anti-Slip Sealer | Flooring
New TracSafe Anti-Slip Sealer performs double-duty, as both a high-performance clear coat that strengthens and protects surfaces, while also helping to protect floors where hotel guests, employees, residents and other people may walk.
Its high-performance, odorless water-based technology bonds firmly to all types of flooring materials, from concrete, masonry, stone and pavers, to tile, vinyl, linoleum and pre-painted surfaces—indoors and out.
5. SitOnIt Seating, Mavic | Furniture/Seating
Mavic was designed to offer the comfort of a full task chair in a compact body. Every element was refined to reach a level of comfort not seen in this type of chair.
This includes a flexible back that replaces the need for back adjustments and a weight-activated mechanism for easy balancing the recline tension without a dedicated lever.
Mavic also features a tilt limiter that defines how far back you want to recline and a tensioned mesh floating back eliminating the need for an adjustable lumbar support. Its seat-depth adjustment supports a large variety of body heights.
6. Space Symphony, Adagio Double Workstation | Furniture/Seating
Unlike traditional furniture products, the Adagio double workstation does not use joint fasteners or other adhesives.
As a result, the production process is simplified, cutting costs and saving time.
Adagio double workstations with “snap-i” joints apply basic physics principles to join modular furniture parts seamlessly. Additionally, the structural design consists of an interlocking sequence that creates mutual restraint between components. This ensures that each product is stabilized and therefore easier to handle and transport.
Tools are not needed to install Adagio double workstations that utilize the “snap-i” joint; it is easy enough that anyone can do it.
7. A-Light, Align | Lighting
Align is an easily specifiable and highly configurable system designed to accommodate the changing needs of any space before and after installation.
The magnetic Align system can be recessed, surface mounted or suspended. Mounting types can be combined for complex lighting designs across ceilings, walls and around corners. Its sleek, clean design seamlessly integrates into any architecture.
8. Formica, Intentek Wireless Charging Surface | Materials/Technology
As an answer to growing demand of charging stations in commercial settings, Formica introduces the Intentek Wireless Charging Surface, a laminate surface that can wirelessly charge Qi-compatible mobile phones simply by placing devices on it.
Unlike similar products, such as wireless charging pucks or pads that clutter the surface and can be easily damaged with food or water, the Intentek System is fully integrated into the durable, easy-to-clean surface.
Available in the full range of more than 300 of Formica’s laminate colors, patterns and woodgrains, it is ideally suited for applications in hotels, businesses, waiting areas, coffee shops, restaurants, airports and other high-traffic commercial areas.
9. 3M/Designtex, 3M DI-NOC | Materials/Technology
Made with a specialized adhesive component that adheres to both smooth and rough surfaces, DI-NOC is able to solve a wide range of design challenges, from renewing furniture and covering interior and exterior walls to creating interesting architectural focal points.
Because it is lightweight and self-adhering, it can be applied onsite to existing substrate, reducing labor and material cost compared to natural materials. It can be used on walls and wall panels, ceilings, fixtures, elevators, doors, columns, furniture, backlist, partitions, curved surfaces and flat surfaces with high gloss design.
10. Bradley Corporation, Next Generation WashBar | Materials/Technology
Designed to enhance all the fundamentals of handwashing, the Next Generation WashBar combines touch-free soap, water and dryer in a thin, L-shaped design that gives the feel that the all-in-one fixture is floating above the sink for a sleek aesthetic.
Its durable, chrome-plated cast alloy fixture features LED lighting to visually orient the user through the handwashing process with easy-to-identify icons on top of the bar. With only one connection point to the sink, the design provides more open space for easier cleaning.
1. Kirei, AVIO Collection
The AVIO Collection of ceiling baffles is an innovative addition to the growing Kirei EchoPanel lineup. It provides specifiers a more premium choice in elevated aesthetics and advanced sound absorption to the room’s fifth wall, the ceiling, and is available in a suite of complementary and interchangeable acoustic products.
Consisting of the A-Baffle, V-Baffle, I-Baffle and O-Baffle, AVIO is designed to ensure the ceiling can provide people with an enriched acoustic experience. AVIO is available in the same wide and varying 27-color palette, from neutral to vibrant tones, as many other Kirei products.
The acoustic baffle collection also maintains the same ease of installation, requiring only aircraft cable and commonly available hardware to hang up, with the hardware remaining unseen from the floor level.
2. Framery, Framery 2Q
Designed to accommodate four to six people, Framery 2Q provides users with a multifunctional workplace that offers a heightened sense of privacy and comfort. The pod serves as a space to brainstorm and collaborate, and its superior sound installation system ensures team huddles won’t disturb the rest of the office.
Framery 2Q is available in three furnishing configurations, allowing clients to cater the product to the needs of their space.
The pod can come equipped with a conference table that is offered in two height options and clients can also specify a pod without any furniture, giving them the option to furnish it however they wish.
A third interior furnishing option is a custom L-shaped sofa which creates a more casual environment. Further optional features include an attached display screen, two white boards and lightweight free-standing, floating tables to make for a more ergonomic work space.
3. BuzziSpace, BuzziPlanter
BuzziPlanter is a collection of planters for a range of contract environments. Minimalistic in appearance but full of personality, the planter fully embodies the methodology of biophilic design by including elements of nature in the space.
The pot is powered by a thick layer of high-density foam and finished off with an additional layer of fabric to optimally absorb excessive noise from air conditioning, speech and high-pitched sounds.
BuzziPlanter is an ideal choice to create microenvironments in communal workspaces with its acoustical properties, encouraging concentration and relaxation. BuzziPlanter comes in six different sizes and can be upholstered in a wide variety of colorways. It also has optional wheels to easily move anywhere.
4. American Biltrite, Sonata Elements
Sonata Elements provides the hygienic benefits of luxury vinyl tiles complemented with a dimensional striated textile visual inspired by modular carpet tiles. It features an aluminum oxide polyurethane surface treatment that provides superior scratch and stain resistance and a no-wax-for-life flooring that can be easily cleaned and disinfected limiting the spread of infections.
The collection allows designers to create way finding and floor patterns that can be used to help create areas for social distancing within commercial spaces.
Sonata Elements also answers the need for an LVT pattern other than wood, with a good base of neutrals and a touch of chromatic accent colors, that can easily coordinate with other finishes.
5. Armstrong Flooring, MedinPure
MedinPure is a PVC-free homogeneous sheet solution designed for healthcare environments. Its patent-pending formulation offers a solution for healthcare projects where sustainable strategies are a critical factor in overall design intent. MedinPure is free of ortho-phthalates, halogens, isocyanates and Red List Chemicals of Concern.
The flooring line also meets Health Care Without Harm’s Healthy Flooring criteria at the Silver level. A third-party certified Declare label is available, verifying Red List Free status and disclosing material ingredients to 100 parts per million.
In addition, MedinPure is a no-polish, low-maintenance solution and features Diamond 10 Technology with enhanced traction. It offers category-leading scratch, stain, scuff and slip resistance that’s vital in healthcare.
6. Ecore, Aurora
Aurora features a polyurethane reinforcement (PUR) coated calendared rubber wear layer fusion-bonded to an Ecore-vulcanized composition rubber backing. The finished two-layered rubber flooring is designed to reduce the severity of patient or resident injuries while mitigating liability for the owners of a healthcare facility.
Aurora is hygienic, quiet and offers ergonomic comfort, since it’s designed to reduce impact with every step. It can be used in healthcare or education environments and is available in 14 colors.
7. Patcraft, Linocut
Incorporating both neutral and bright hues within the collection’s 13 colorways, Linocut allows for creative installations, wayfinding and definition of space within the built environment.
The resilient flooring collection’s multidirectional, abstract pattern serves the functional purpose of hiding scratches, scuffs and dirt while disguising seams, and the flooring is polish and buff optional for hassle-free maintenance.
The 5mm product construction allows for installation alongside carpet without the need for transition, and an ExoGuard finish provides enhanced scratch and stain resistance.
8. Bentley Mills, Suitable
Suitable is an ideal fit no matter the design vision or project need: from education interiors to corporate offices, quick turnaround jobs to tight-budget projects. Its deeply textured pattern is reminiscent of tweeded plaid—classic yet contemporary.
The product’s 14 colorways are just as timeless, rich neutrals threaded with modern pops of color. Suitable is Cradle to Cradle Certified, NSF 140 certified, CRI Green Label Plus certified and produced in a LEED-EB:OM Gold-certified manufacturing facility.
Along with Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and Health Product Declarations (HPDs), Suitable also features the Declare label and has achieved LBC Compliant status through the Living Building Challenge.
9. Tradeshowdirect, Social Distancing Kiosk
Tradeshowdirect, a portable display fabricator, created a new range of Social Distancing Kiosks and Sneeze Guards for use in building lobbies, reception areas, hospitals or anywhere else visitor monitoring is required.
These streamlined, semicircular Social Distancing Kiosks are modular, easy to clean and use locking casters for on-site mobility. The kiosks can be customized to suit location or specific requirements and are fully brandable for site or function. Accessories such as hand sanitizing dispensers or shelves are available.
10. Symmetry, Tensor
Tensor is a single-table solution that is easy to install with ultimate stability that spans any surface. As a business grows and changes, the workspace should be able to keep up.
Tensor is one table that can adapt to your changing needs. It’s the only table that can expand to support multiple tops on a single base. This allows you to install and reconfigure to fit any space quickly and easily.
11. 9to5 Seating, Sol
Sol is a new task chair specifically designed to meet the needs of today’s agile workplace. It features a flexible back, adjustable arms and seat, engineered to support a range of working postures for users on cell phones, tablets or laptops.
Sol’s pivot back technology was created to enable the torso rotation and side-to-side movement necessary for sharing or reading screens beyond the desktop.
Its upwardly tapered back addresses the need for seating that allows for free movement of the shoulders and arms for users of devices of all kinds.
These innovations round out Sol’s other ergonomic design features including adjustable arms, seat, lumbar and synchro mechanism.
12. Kenall Manufacturing, SimpleSeal CSERO(I)
Kenall is expanding its offering of sealed, high-performance cleanroom luminaires with the new SimpleSeal CSERO and CSERI. These fixtures are engineered to protect the integrity of all makes of cleanrooms, creating bright, evenly diffused light to improve worker comfort and boost productivity.
The luminaires are also designed to dramatically reduce the cost of ownership via unparalleled energy efficiency and industry-leading efficacy. Exclusive, advanced optics utilize KORE technology and permit the fixtures to be spaced farther apart, while still achieving required foot-candle levels.
13. A-Light, Aloft
Aloft is a low profile, cylindrical luminaire system. With fully articulating elbows and connectors, Aloft allows designers to create unique configurations.
By manipulating a horizontal rotation of 200 degrees, Aloft can be shaped in countless ways and locked in place to create the desired design.
And a 360-degree rotation joiner enables full control of the direction of the light. Installation and on-site adjustment are simplified with an innovative plug and play connection system that clicks sections together with ease.
14. Luminis, Hollowcore
Hollowcore is a re-think of the traditional high bay pendant. With a unique circular LED light engine and an open center concept, Hollowcore is designed to optimize and deliver light evenly and where needed. It delivers up to 13,000 lumens of uniform light with a batwing distribution for minimal cave effect.
A versatile family of pendant and surface mount luminaires, Hollowcore is available with a high efficiency lens or aluminum reflector. An optional independently controlled uplight component is also available to provide additional upward illumination or to highlight ceilings.
15. Eureka Lighting, Outline
Outline is a range of modern luminaires with three different mounting types and a wide variety of head number and arrangement options.
Outline brings a modern aesthetic to a broad family of luminaires, giving lighting designers a design language that translates to a wide range of spaces.
In offices, Outline can be used in different ways to accentuate modern work environments while maintaining a commonality of design purpose. The family can craft ambience in hospitality environments like dining, bar and transitional areas in restaurants or hotels.
In retail spaces, Outline delivers a modern look to high-end establishments, with precise aimability to illuminate displays and quality ambient lighting of merchandise.
16. Trex Commercial, Equinox Railing System
The defined, clean lines of the Equinox Railing System amplify the best features of glass railing with an innovative rod-and-disc assembly that features zero visible fasteners.
Featuring the strength and sleek, modern aesthetic of premium stainless steel, the Equinox system offers a variety of post, top rail and handrail options. Further distinguishing Equinox are its stainless-steel rod-and-disc assemblies, which attach through the glass panels. The minimalist design gives the illusion of a solid system, but with the flexibility of individual component selection.
Equinox is an ideal choice for educational and healthcare settings, as it allows for maximum natural light.
17. Pure+Freeform, Atmos
Atmos sidesteps the banal by offering a fully customizable collection of aluminum surfaces featuring new twists on classic materials. Using pigment and ink technology, Pure + Freeform has recreated the patinas, shades and subtleties of familiar materials to capture their timeless beauty.
This collection, with its ability to customize any finish and contextualize any project, allows designers to connect people with places with historically and culturally significant metals in modern ways.
As with most of Pure + Freeform’s collections, there was a focus on interesting and relevant design, but this one additionally benefits from simple, green materials that are Red List free, HPD Compliant, VOC free, contain at least 20% recycled content and are 100% recyclable.
18. Sherwin-Williams, Emerald Rain Refresh Exterior Acrylic Latex
Emerald Rain Refresh Exterior Acrylic Latex with Self-Cleaning Technology is an innovative coating designed to be self-cleaning by shedding dirt upon contact with rain or water.
The new coating features self-priming application properties that help save time during the painting process and its UV and weather-resistant qualities are designed to reduce common exterior coating issues, such as blistering and peeling.
Emerald Rain Refresh can be tinted in VinylSafe paint colors, allowing customers to select from a limited number of darker colors formulated to resist warping or buckling.
19. REHAU, RAUVISIO Noir Monotonic Matte Surface
In response to today’s super matte trend, REHAU has launched RAUVISIO noir monotonic matte surface featuring the intensely rich and muted aesthetic of film noir.
Unlike basic matte surfaces, this advanced high-end, super-matte surface is distinguished by a silky finish and deep, opaque color palette that builds a refined foundation for even the most exuberant design, while providing an irresistibly soft touch that invites the senses and the spirit to linger.
RAUVISIO noir also has a deeply light-absorbent surface that, unlike lesser mattes, resists scratches and fingerprints and promotes independent healing. At a time when hygiene is at center stage, this antimicrobial surface naturally protects from germs and is offered as seamless double-sided monolithic panels with no crevices to collect impurities.
20. Distech Controls, UNIWAVE Series
UNIWAVE is the latest range of contemporary wireless interfaces that combine all comfort parameters into a single interface.
Occupants will benefit from its unique interface that can control all the comfort parameters in a building, such as temperature, ventilation, lighting and sun blinds. UNIWAVE is customizable and even allows users to activate predefined scenarios.
With options in black and white, UNIWAVE is available as a wireless wall-mounted sensor or in a remote-control version.
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