Breaking News: Formica’s 100th Anniversary designs include retro style counter top patterns and colors — hurray for color and pattern!

“The patterns and colors… acknowledge the brand’s past – especially with designers such as Brooks Stevens
and Raymond Loewy – but without delving into nostalgia…
— Designer Abbott Miller

Formica-100th-anniversary collectionYup, the day is finally here — Formica is announcing its much anticipated 100th Anniversary Collection. One minute after launch, we have all the new patterns ready to show to you. And, yes: Hurray! for color and pattern! — We have some great new Formica patterns for your kitchen counter tops and bathroom counter tops to add to our archive of retro-worthy laminate options. What do I like about these new designs:

  • Homeowners wanting classic cherry red counter tops will most likely be happy to see Formica’s new Ellipse design in red. It’s nice to have a tone-on-tone red again that doesn’t cost a small fortune (our current “reds” of choice are Arborite Xania, which is not tone-on-tone… and crackle ice laminate, with is highly pixelated and expensive.)
  • The patterns on the Halftone and Dotscreen designs are downright fun — and that orange in the Halftone is downright Brady Bunch. However, these are more so 1970s colors, rather than immediate postwar colors. Not that I mind, of course, but folks wanting aqua and coral and baby blue didn’ get ‘em’. Note — I’m declaring the orange is the same as my 2011 color of the year… the blue the same as my 2012 color of the year and the green, not too far off my 2013 color of the year. Let me say it again: Hurray for real color and pattern!
  • Yes, Formica gave us some real colors… not just gray. Of course, there still are lots of grays. Grays are “in” today, and to be sure, offer a neutral alternative. (If you want retro grays, there are numerous additional alternatives from Formica, and other manufacturers.) Even so, it seems like Formica is banking on the appeal of its retro heritage with all these designs — these new designs offer edgy, FUN, graphic patterns, not stone or granite, like the mass of new laminate patterns today. Hurray!

formica-100-years

Nicely done, Formica. Not to appear immediately ungrateful but now, can you give us some more!? xoxo

Formica-Anniversary-Collection-samplesDetails on how much, where to get, and when:

  • Same pricing as standard laminate.
  • Not promoted in the big box stores initially but if a consumer asked for it they would be able to order it from them.
  • Available January 31st.

Read on for the complete news release from Formica, along with ALL THE PHOTOGRAPHY from the announcement AND a slide show with the images bigger, too:

Endless-Greytone-formica-anniversary-Mint-DotscreenFormica Group Celebrates 100 Years in 2013
with the Formica
® Brand Laminate Anniversary Collection

Exclusively designed by world-renowned design firm Pentagram

Cincinnati (Jan. 22, 2013) — Formica Group, the original inventor of laminate, celebrates 100 years with a fresh take on its iconic Formica® brand laminate. The 2013 Anniversary Collection features 12 new patterns that reflect the Formica® brand and its history.

Anniversary-collection-Endless-Greytone-Mint-Dotscreen-formica

See the “natural” edge? I think this substrate is called “Appleply.” Or, that is one of the brands. Very cool – very “modern” in that it lets the “authenticity” of the material show. Must be very trendy now. I like.

“While Formica Group invented laminate, designers are credited with realizing its full potential as a stylish and desirable surfacing material,” said Renee Hytry Derrington, Group VP of Design for Fletcher Building’s Laminates & Panels Division, which includes Formica Group. “The Anniversary Collection is just one example of our commitment to continue the joint exploration with the design community to define the future of Formica Group in the next 100 years.”

Collaboration with World-Renowned Design Firm Pentagram

Pentagram, the world’s largest independent design consultancy, created the collection exclusively for Formica Group. Pentagram partner Abbott Miller designed the anniversary patterns, introducing characteristics and colors that are new to the range.

“Developing this iconic brand’s 100-year Anniversary Collection was inspiring,” Miller shared. “Formica laminate is extraordinary because of its Zelig-like nature, blurring the past, present and future while completely crossing all social and economic categories. It’s a material with distinctive tactility, a warmth and domesticity; it’s man-made, yet has attained a natural quality in our lives.”

Formica-Red-Ellipse-Anniversary-collectionRed-Ellipse-formica-anniversary-collectionnew-formica-anniversary-collection-Endless-GreytoneEndless-Greytone-formica-anniversary-Mint-DotscreenAnniversary-collection-White-Ellipse-formicaFormica-Endless-Greytone-Mint-Dotscreen_4Formica-Anniversary-Endless-GreytoneFormica-Anniversary-collection-White-EllipseFormica-Anniversary-collection-Neutral-Twill-Tangelo-DotscreenMint-Dotscreen-formica-anniversary-collectionWhite-Ellipse-Formica-AnniversaryWhite-Ellipse-Formica-Anniversary-collectionMiller’s vision for the Formica® Laminate Anniversary Collection underscores the material’s limitless design potential. “The heart and soul of Formica laminate is a printed sheet. Pattern and color are intrinsic to the culture of the company, so exploring the translucency of ink and the interaction of pattern and color was a natural area for me.”

Formica-Anniversary-Collection-White-Ellipse-close-upTwelve New Patterns in Four Collections:  Ellipse™ Collection, Endless™ Collection, Dotscreen™ Collection and Halftone™ Collection.

Ellipse and Endlessplay off the anniversary theme “Formica Forever” by utilizing innovative printing techniques that allow independent layers of pattern to randomly interact during the course of printing. The method creates seemingly infinite patterns that appear consistent due to the fluidity of the overlapping elements. Unlike most patterns that repeat every 50 inches, the pattern repeat of Ellipse and Endless only occur every 500 to 700 sheets, the equivalent to more than a mile in length.

formica-Anniversary-Collection-Chips-Ellipse

Ellipse design

  • Ellipse uses the “hidden oval” in the iconic Formica® brand logo to create a series of layered strands that ripple across the surface.
    • 6613 White Ellipse – a tonal non-color
    • 6614 Gray Ellipse – a classic gray
    • 1913 Red Ellipse – a strong red (The signature color of Formica Group features 1913, the year the company was founded, as its product code.)
Formica-Anniversary-Collection-Chips-Endless

Endless design

  • Endlesscreates a digital grain from bars that alternately layer and punch through a colored base. The result is a continuous tone-on-tone, architectural pattern that provides visual interest at close range and, from a distance, provides a geometric texture.
    • 6610 Endless Graytone – a versatile gray-on-gray
    • 6611 Endless Smoke – an ebony that recalls carbon and mica
    • 6612 Endless Indigo – a deep inky blue

Dotscreenand Halftonecelebrate Formica Group’s history of exuberant color and printing technology. Both Dotscreen and Halftone feature “solid patterns” of bright and saturated colors made more complex by undercurrents of detailed patterning. Fine dot motifs provide a second scale of interest within the optimistic hues.

Formica-Anniversary-Collection-Dotscreen

Dotscreen

  • Dotscreenfeatures luminous colors with extremely fine micro-dots in continuous ribbons.
    • 6615 Aqua Dotscreen – a distinctive sky blue
    • 6616 Mint Dotscreen – a vegetal green
    • 6617 Tangelo Dotscreen – a soft orange
Formica-Anniversary-Collection-Chips-Halftone

Halftone design

  • Halftonefeatures “near-bright” colors patterned with various sizes of toned dots, reminiscent of halftone printing screens.
    • 6618 Blueberry Halftone – a medium-toned blue
    • 6619 Citrus Halftone – a bright lemon yellow
    • 6620 Tangelo Halftone – a soft orange

Each Anniversary Collection pattern contains a subtle, tone-on-tone Formica® brand watermark embedded into the design on every sheet.

“The patterns and colors of the Anniversary Collection acknowledge the brand’s past – especially with designers such as Brooks Stevens and Raymond Loewy – but without delving into nostalgia,” Miller said. “While the collection aligns with the brand’s heritage, it offers surfacing design that is unique in the market. It also was satisfying to know that we were pushing the technical boundaries of print.”

Formica-Anniversary-Endless-Greytone-Mint-DotscreenIn addition to the Anniversary Collection, Pentagram’s Miller and partners Michael Bierut and Daniel Weil collaborated on Formica Group’s anniversary brand elements, Formica Forever book and display concept.

About Pentagram & Abbott Miller

Pentagram is the world’s largest independent design consultancy with offices in London, New York City, San Francisco, Berlin and Austin. A partner in Pentagram’s New York City office since 1999, Abbott Miller has designed award-winning identities, exhibitions, environmental graphics and multi-media projects. He has received numerous design honors and his work is included in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, SFMoMA, and the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum. He is the author of several books and numerous essays on design.

About Formica Group

Formica Group globally leads the industry in the design, manufacture and distribution of surfacing materials. Part of Fletcher Building’s Laminates & Panels Division, Formica Group is global group of companies consisting of Formica Canada, Inc., Formica Corporation, Formica de Mexico S.A. de C.V., Formica IKI Oy, Formica Limited, Formica S.A., Formica S.A.S., Formica Taiwan Corporation, Formica (Thailand) Co., Ltd., and Formica (Asia) Ltd., Homapal GmbH, among others.

 Please Note: Formica® and the Formica® Anvil Logo are registered trademarks and Formica Forever™, the Formica® Anvil Logo Forever, the Formica Forever™ ellipse logo, Ellipse™, Endless™, Dotscreen™ and Halftone™ are the trademarks of The Diller Corporation.  Ellipse and Endless designs are the protected designs of The Diller Corporation.  ©2013 The Diller Corporation.  All Rights Reserved.

A Fletcher Building Company

And: You can see all the images double size in this gallery:

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Comments

  1. Scott says

    Can’t wait – I want the Tangelo Dotscreen. I have an island that I’ve been hating because of the UGLY 80’s top. Tangelo will be perfect!!

  2. Mary Elizabeth says

    Oh, dear, just about six months too late for me! It looks like the Mint Dotscreen would have been perfect for my kitchen counters. But then, I do like the one we picked, and even if it isn’t an exact replica, it has the ’50s to ’60s feel.

    I am not surprised to hear comments about trailer renovation on this site. Since we are still working on (and camping in) our 1982 Terry Keystone trailer, we can maybe use one of these patterns there. Although last year we used the trailer at camp as a haven away from house renovation, we will probably do the opposite this summer and work on the trailer some more. It needs new kitchen and bath floors and counter-tops. Nothing like the good old gold shag carpeting in the bedroom and main living area! Do you think trailer decor is about 10 years behind home decor? It seems gold shag carpet went out of the homes after the seventies and was replaced with a lot of blue and beige and gray and mauve. During the mid eighties we ripped up the late seventies shag in our basement that looked so much like our orange tabby cat that he was camouflaged by it and we sometimes stepped on his tail when he was sleeping there in his favorite sunbeam. :-) But the gold shag is still in our trailer.

      • Mary Elizabeth says

        OMG, Pam! From that article: “Of course, Shaw’s blast-from-the-past mood board is a cacophony of: Color! For example, Emily knew I would like to hear about the team’s latest prize: A piece of multicolored burnt orange sculptured carpet from the 70s – found by accident under the filing cabinet in an employee’s office when they went to re-carpet. Yeah, baby!”

        I recognized most of the patterns in that article, but that piece of carpet in the foreground on which the other samples are displayed is most definitely the exact brand and pattern our dear departed marmelade orange tabby disappeared into in our old 1978 condo! I’m not sure I’m ready to return to it again ifthey do reproduce it, but while we were raising our three kids, it did hide more things than sleepy tabby cats. Slumber party spills, soccer team pizza fights, even the occasional stomach sickness of kids or pets, all easily cleaned up with nary a trace.

      • Jay says

        I revisited this story as I want to recarpet the living room/dining room. I didn’t remember reading the comments – ick, all that carpet in bathrooms and kitchens. Also reminded me of the shag I pulled up that was in the basement, ewh! Long past its sell-by date!

  3. says

    From Oregon’s 1957 Wright design — Evelyn Gordon’s original choice for her Frank Lloyd Wright designed “workspace” was Formica in 1963. We are ready to recreate her great selection to go with Wright’s famous red concrete floor. Looking forward to being a part of the 100-year celebration.

  4. Jackie says

    Hooray for red!! These are at least a big step forward (or is that backward?). Still holding out for colorful linen pattern, though.

  5. Stacia says

    Do you know if they intend to put the boomerang laminate back into production? Hard to believe it wasn’t popular enough to keep it as part of their stable of retro choices. These new laminates, while very nice and festive, have passed the mid-century mark (my understanding is that the officially accepted cut-off is 1965, after that it would fall into “post modern”) and look to be more ‘groovy’ than ‘atomic’. They are nice, and I’m not knocking them! But I’m more about mid 50s to early 60s aesthetic!

  6. Scott says

    I dunno, I’m seeing several different decades here, but to me the Ellipse in red and gray have a definite early to mid-1960s vibe, evoking styles in abstract art and design already that were already in full-swing as well as the earliest stirrings of the mod look. I’ll even go out on a limb and say I think the Ellipse in the white could even make a very convincing 1950s presentation.

    I think these patterns are versatile enough that if you use your imagination you’ll be able to style them into the decade of your dreams.

  7. Scott says

    The mailman just delivered my Red Ellipse swatch. I was so gung-ho on this pattern that upon delivery of the swatch I had planned on making a beeline to Home Depot to place my order, but sadly the swatch just doesn’t quite look quite like the photos. The colors and the contrast are very muted in comparision. Even the shapes in the print seem a little different somehow, slightly less elongated perhaps.

    Maybe a last minute decision was made to substantially tone the pattern and colors down? Whatever happened, its really quite a shame, I think the Red Ellipse as depicted in the photos would have been fantastic for my kitchen, and a hot seller for Formica.

    Sorry to be a downer, but I guess it’s back to the drawing board for me.

    • pam kueber says

      Scott, I reached out right away to Formica PR — they say the design is VERY VIBRANT. I have asked for large samples, 12″x12″ …. I am tending to think that you received something that was not printed correctly…. If you are really interested, I suggest asking for a larger piece. Call Customer Service – refer to this website — my sense is that they have worked very hard to get the word out and would not like to hear that their mailed samples are not representing the design effectively! Like… suggest they send you a nice sized piece so that you can reply/ update back here!

      • Scott says

        Pam, that’s a great idea, I never considered the possibility that it could have just been an issue with the swatch. I will see if they will send me a larger sample and I’ll report back as soon as I get it.

        I also used your reference guide “Where to find retro style laminate for kitchen and bathroom countertops” at

        http://retrorenovation.com/2011/09/19/8-places-to-find-retro-laminate-for-kitchen-or-bathroom-countertops-my-researchtips/

        which unlocked a few mysteries of the universe too! When I went into the Formica site as a “professional” instead of a “homeowner” I found a treasure trove of vibrant solid colors including Stop Red and Spectrum Red. I have swatches on those on the way too.

        As you can see, one way or another, I’ve become pretty committed to red countertops! :-)

        As always, thanks for all the help and ideas, Pam, you’re the greatest!

        • Scott says

          Weeeeeeeeeell, I called Formica’s 800 number and explained my dilemma, that I had received the 2″ x 3″ swatch of Red Ellipse and felt it just didn’t look as lively as the online samples or the photos. I explained that I was still interested in the pattern however and wondered if maybe there was an issue with my swatch, and could they please send a larger sample so I could compare.

          I was told they can’t send swatches on the new styles until Friday, February 1, and was I put on hold to have that verified. They were at a loss how I was able to order the sample I did get. They also told me I could call back on Friday if I wanted. :-(

          • pam kueber says

            Yes — my PR contact had told me that samples weren’t available yet. You should keep them, they are “historical” haha!

            • Scott says

              LOL, I’m thinking maybe Moderna, the Greek goddess of Cracked Ice is wielding her influences. :-)

              I will make another attempt on Friday, and let you know what happens.

              • Scott says

                Okay, now that I have a 5″ x 7″ swatch of Red Ellipse to compare, it makes perfect sense why my original 2″ x 3″ sample didn’t seem as vibrant as the photos and swatches online.

                With a design that only repeats every 500 to 700 sheets, naturally some of the swatches are going to end up coming from parts of the pattern that are more subdued than others, as I now understand was the case with my first sample. Comparing both the old and new samples side by side it’s pretty impressive that both show completely unique sections of the pattern which share no overlapping areas whatsover.

                Long story short, a bigger sample will give you a much better idea what a nice, vibrant pattern this actually is, the 2″ x 3″ really doesn’t quite do it justice.

                  • Scott says

                    Yes, the big swatch made all the difference in the world, so Red Ellipse is still definitely in the running.

                    Formica’s Stop Red is pretty fanastic too and I would have never found that without your tip about looking at the commercial/professional sections. That’s where a lot of the really fun colors are tucked away. :-)

  8. Cindy Friday says

    Pam, do you know whether rounded edges can be cut using that natural edge look? I’m not sure I totally understand how that is made, but I like the look. I have 50s cabinets that have the little shelves in them on the rounded end. I want to save the birch cabinets which are not painted, but worn. I’m pondering whether to stick with replacing the pitted tile, or going with laminate. I’m sick of grout.

  9. Sylva... says

    well ! whew what a read! PLEASE HELP> we are looking at purchasing a house which was built in 1950’s and COMPLETELY covered ALL walls in the WHOLE 5 bedroom house in 1970’s Formica. I am in New Zealand. Now; while most folk will be clamoring to rip it all off.. It is actually in excellent condition. HOWEVER I don’t really like it-yet.. but quite happy for it to stay for some time…happy to live with it BUT we are planning to offer the back attached two bedroom flat, for paying guests. HELP !!! I need some ideas to decorate this whole area so it still looks classy and very suitable for paying guests. Can you or your groups help? Thank you!!

  10. Neil says

    For the life of me, I can’t figure out why a light bulb doesn’t turn on in some company president’s thick head and let him (or her) have the bright idea of reproducing cracked-ice laminate! (In all five colors, plus pink and purple please.)There’s never been another pattern since that has the charm and character and esthetic durability that cracked-ice had, and still has in spades on all the countless vintage kitchen tables still being treasured by lucky people all over the country.
    Years ago, while shopping in a “mill-ends and job-lots” fabric store here in San Francisco I happened across a heart-stopping stash of reproduction cracked-ice vinyl, a dead-on match for the original! Oh-mamma! And not the unwieldy, $40-dollar-a-yard, glossy stuff you can buy on line these days, either. This was thinner and more pliable and a truer finish to the vintage goods. There were 4 thick rolls of gray and 4 of red, and I snatched all of them up so fast my head was swimming, never mind the outlay of cash!
    We used to sell a lot of vintage cracked-ice table sets, which we reliably found with damaged chair vinyl, natch, and having this new vinyl to recover the chairs was like manna from heaven, I can tell you. In spite of the rare, lightning-strike luck of finding gray and red, I did pine for yellow and green and blue too, of course. Never hurts to implore the Vintage Deities, however unlikely a favorable response. But I never saw another single inch, in any color, and could never track down where my precious rolls had originated. It was great while it lasted…

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