In the world of interior design, there are few things – let alone styles – from the 1970s that we revisit these days. Shag carpets, harvest gold appliances, avocado-coloured powder room sinks, burnt-orange anything. The list goes on; just Google it. Retro from that decade can be overrated.
But there is perhaps one thing from this best-to-forget era that has come a long way, baby: the product known as Formica. Yes, that beigy-brown countertop laminate made popular in the 1970s is not so much back, but rather it has re-emerged, with many new looks, and in new places.
Think fireplace surrounds, walls, panelling, desk surfaces, entrances, kitchen cabinetry. If you have a vertical or horizontal surface, you may want to consider Formica.
Just ask Christelle Locat-Rainville. She is the national marketing manager for Formica Group, [for Maison Montréal: Groupe Formica] the company producing the laminate that was created more than a century ago. Company headquarters in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec [remove for Montreal editions] manufactures a vast array of laminate products, including the new spring line: 11 new designs in the Living Impressions collection.
Among the new line are four 180-FX products. These new products don’t belong in your grandmother’s kitchen. They include Quartzite Bianco, an elegant stone-like surface that features a white background with dark veined detailing that can cover a wall in a bathroom to give the space a rich, stately finish.
“We’re talking about new, impressive designs,” Locat-Rainville explains.
Also in the new 180-FX line this spring is Formica Group’s first man-made quartz composite, which is engineered from a mix of concrete and recycled glass. With its true-to-scale pattern, it makes any surface look like stone for a fraction of the cost.
Stormy Night Granite is also in the 2018 product lineup. This dark grey stone-finished look can be used to create a feature wall in a living room or den that is simply stunning. Sea Pearl rounds out the list of 180-FX offerings this year with its granite-like finish in warm, natural tones.
Using Formica in innovative applications and settings – such as in entrances, on feature walls, and in kitchen cabinetry – is gaining traction with homeowners. “Every time we do research, all the people say they are impressed with laminate,” Locat-Rainville says. After seeing what the new designs look like and how they are being used, “everyone leaves the room with a new opinion of laminate,” she adds.
Locat-Rainville says the true magic is found when homeowners take the time to discover the new ways Formica is being used in all rooms of the house, including, for example, both on the exterior and interior of kitchen cabinets. She says installing one of their Writable Surfaces inside a cabinet offers family members the ability to keep and update grocery lists, leave notes to one another, and post general reminders in a fun, functional, and easily-wiped-clean fashion.
Putting this type of surface within a frame at an entrance is another idea that busy families have come to appreciate. Whatever the location, function and style combine in one convenient product.