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. ashley minter says

    o.m.g.! we are redoing our 1949 camper and i need new countertops/tabletop. i have been so bummed because they quit producing the boomerang. any idea when these will be available for order?

    • 75Heather says

      I’m really digging the grays, too – the Ellipse and Endless patterns are my favorites! I love color, too, but I really like gray as a neutral base so the colors can really pop against it. Plus, I go through phases with my favorite colors. For the last few years, it’s been aqua. Before that, it was smoky blue or deep red or teal…. If I based my countertop choice on my color-of-the-moment, I’d likely regret it within a couple of years. IMO, gray gives you the versatility to change your accessories, your paint colors, your artwork, etc., with less expense.

      My home was built in ’64 but the countertops were replaced in probably the 80’s, judging by the poopy brown marbley formica that was put on the countertops. It’s falling apart and really needs to be replaced. Due to budgetary reasons, I’ve been considering butcher block, but with these new formica patterns, I might actually rethink that! Just might go with gray Endless, with aluminum trim. That would look pretty sharp. :)

  2. says

    oh my – i had just decided to give up on buying countertops and make my own of wood…but maybe i should reconsider! i love the ellipses pattern (and i love red counters).

  3. Marta says

    Pretty, pretty colors! I’m particularly enamored with the green, which is the exact color of the gingham apron I made in 7th grade home-ec waaaaaaaaay back when.

    Speaking of color forecasts, Pam, you did a piece awhile back on white appliances making a come back. I want to give ya’ll a heads up; we put white appliances in when we remodeled 12 years ago. The problem is that most have plastic parts on the front, and the plastic DOES NOT stay white, and in contrast with the enamel/glass white parts, it looks particularly bad. The control panel/vent area of the dishwasher and handles on the fridge all are yellowed. The oven vents are stained horribly and nothing on earth gets them white again. Nobody smokes here, either, and we have hot-water baseboard heat. So, if anyone’s thinking white, you might want to go for options that have the least amount of plastic on the front, or stick with the vintage appliances ;)

    • jay says

      I too have a 12 yr white dishwasher – gift with purchase (it came with the house) and it looks skuzzy. I can’t get the plastic white again – it’s gray looking. The next one will be stainless which will go with the original to house stainless wall oven.

        • Marta says

          Savannah, the biggest problem is that the plastic itself yellows. It’s not a stain that can be removed. I haven’t tried the magic eraser on my oven vents which are yellow AND stained. It’s a textured surface, but I’m going to give it a try anyway. Thanks for the tip!

    • Peggy says

      I also have white appliances with some plastic pieces that had yellowed over the past 10 years. I recently used Cook Top Cleaning Creme for Smooth top Ranges on the plastic and it cleaned up beautifully. I bought the creme at Sears to clean my glass smooth top range.

    • Joe Felice says

      Did you try bleaching them? I guess the problem is that plastics do tend to discolor/yellow vis-a-vis the metal enamel-painted appliances themselves. My issue is that the handles are often bumpy, instead of smooth, which makes them hard to clean. Nonetheless, I did go with white for my kitchen re-do. I am sooooooooooo sick & tired of stainless steel and granite. To me, they are just plain boring, because everybody thinks they have to have them. Shame on HGTV for continuing to push them on us. I have noticed that the plastic on Kenmore appliances seems to yellow faster and more than the plastic on other makers’ machines. And by the way, did you see the new colors GE has? The new Adora washer & dryer are now the Cadillac of the industry. I fell in love when I saw them.

      • Marta says

        We don’t use bleach because of the septic system (and the wood floor under the wall ovens and my clutzyness, lol). Kenmore doesn’t actually make any appliances. My double oven is a Kenmore-branded GE, and has so many design defects that GE and I are no longer speaking. But, I wonder if the specs are different depending on what name is going on it?

    • Tom says

      I’ve seen in a few web pages that hydrogen peroxide can un-yellow some plastics. Some of the before-and-after pix are pretty impressive. A web search would give you some procedures to try if you’re game to give it a shot!

  4. Robin, NV says

    Oh dear, just when I was sure I’d picked the countertops I wanted for my kitchen. But as much as I dig these patterns, I’ll likely stick with the one I picked – Nevamar California (very similar to the Citrus Halftone but without any patterning). The Formica patterns are maybe a little too cool for my granny ranch. Although I really like the grey Endless, especially in the photos with the green contrast.

    If only Formica would rerelease the “falling leaf” pattern on my original countertops.

    • wendy says

      Robin, I don’t know if you’ll see this, but I may have found your falling leaf countertops! email me here: (spelling it out to avoid web bots) weed dot 30 at charter dot net

  5. amanda says

    I love th patterns, but I’m disappointed in the color choices. I wish they had more 1950s type color options like pink, aqua, light yellow. All of the blues are too dark and not a fan of the shades of yellow and green they are offering. Seems like these would make the kitchen look dated rather than retro. I love the grays though.

    • jay says

      Not to be a party pooper but I agree. I am not seeing retro in these colors unless you want to go back to the 70s. My first reaction this morning was the patterns were too trendy and hip. I also think these colors are too dark for a small kitchen.

      • Robin, NV says

        I tend to agree with you about the colors but geez at least they’re vibrant and not greigy or icky faux stone.

        My first thought was that they were odd colors and patterns to celebrate 100 years of Formica but they do look snazzy and in the right venue would look super cool. Unfortunately, that venue isn’t my birchwood kitchen. Still hoping for some nice soft pastels.

    • pam kueber says

      amanda, we like “dated” looking here, if it’s in synch with the original design of the house. We don’t recognize this as a bad word. The colors, as I mention, are 70s — great if you have 70s house, or like the 70s — which I do!

      • Laura H. says

        I have a 50s house, with a “modernized” 70s kitchen, so those colours are just what I need to replace the icky, broken tile counter. That orange is calling my name!

        • Jay says

          I am so glad a previous owner in the 70s decided the only redecoration the kitchen needed was a vinyl floor and an avocado green fridge. The floor was replaced before moving into the house and the fridge a year later – it was failing.

      • Robin, NV says

        It’s taken a while but I’m finally on board with 70s retro. After seeing Jon and Trixi’s avocado kitchen, I’m even seeing the delight in that much panned color.

        One of my college professors liked to talk about “perspective distance,” which, simply put, means “the older something is, the more interesting it seems.” We will eventually develop nostalgia for everything. I’m bracing myself for the 80s nostlagia that’s coming. I’m not sure I can survive art prints of the Golden Gate Bridge and birds of paradise again.

  6. Kevin says

    I am all over the red~!
    Our Shasta camper needs a pop of color for the table and kitchen counter.. That red will do it!

  7. Janice says

    OMG! Just in time for my master bathroom re-do! I was going to go with the Wilsonart charcoal boomerang, but was concernced that the dark grey would become a cleaning headache since this is the bathroom that gets used hard every single day. I’m now intrigued with the Ellipse in the light grey. My accent color (both with accent tile and decorating pieces) will be orange so that light grey will be a perfect base. Thanks Pam – you did it again!

  8. Janice says

    On a similar topic, Pam do you have a favored bathroom sink that you would recommend for a retro re-do? Our current sink in the master bathroom is one of those all one piece, molded in with the hard surface countertop numbers so I need a new sink and was just curious if you had a favorite. I was going to go vintage but I think I better go with brand new, vintage looking.

  9. Tom says

    Frankly, I’m rather nonplussed by the whole collection. As for that “but without delving into nostalgia” comment, I’d just point out to that there are quite a few of us out here that would be thrilled to see them re-release mother-of-pearl/”cracked ice” or authentic linen type patterns in original colors (and hopefully without the grainy digitized look). And we would be willing to pay a premium for it too. Oh well, at least Miller was honest about its lack of retro-authenticity. New designs are fine if that’s what you want, but for those of us who don’t want that – we’re still waiting!

      • jay says

        Seems like the post -war 40s, 50s and 60’s (Formica’s greatest era of popularity) were skipped over for inspiration – color wise and pattern wise. Why didn’t they just dive into the vaults?

        • pam kueber says

          I am presuming they discontinued the aqua/blue/coral boomerangs because they were not selling in enough volume to make their sale a continuing, going proposition…. I can understand, I think, why Formica has taken this approach. The mass market wants new interpretations.

  10. Dulcie says

    I love the colors, bright and popping are the way I like to do thing decorating-wise. I was a bit disappointed by the model kitchens they used in the promotional though. I was hoping to see some fun and exciting uses for the bright colors, but instead, they didn’t make full use of them, using them as accents to the mostly grey/beige rooms rather than giving us an exciting, colorful kitchen fully utilizing the beautiful colors they’re offering.

    • pam kueber says

      Yes. But I am sure they want and need to appeal to the mass market… so I think I understand. I DO love the chunky countertop with Appeply countertop edges — very cool!

  11. says

    I really dig the orange and green dotscreen. If I were going to re-do my counters, I would give those some serious consideration. I really like the chunky natural edge, too. Very, very cool.

  12. amanda says

    Yeah, I get that they are going for 70s colors, but for their 100th anniversary, I wish they would have brought in some 50s inspiration too. For me, there’s dated good and dated bad, but maybe I’m just not into 70s kitchens- those shades of blue remind me of the blue formica counters in my mom’s country cow kitchen which she redid in the 90s. I, too, would love to see pastels included here. Sadly, the only color I’d consider out of this collection is gray.

    I think it was smart to do some modern model kitchens; many people just can’t visualize how something can look and would exclude formica if they only saw it in vintage models. I do really like the patterns, they look great close up and from afar and I like the edging on some of those too– please update us if you find out for sure what that is. I think it looks more modern having that separate edge instead of all formica.

    • pam kueber says

      I didn’t mean to say that Formica intended that these would be “70s colors” — that’s my take on several of the colors. I think they wanted to appeal to the MASS CONTEMPORARY MARKET today – and I guess that these colors are trendy today – which does not surprise me.

  13. Scott says

    Talk about timing.

    I was almost to the point where I’d decided nothing was going to make me happy short of red cracked ice, but this new Red Ellipse Formica is really blowing my mind as a viable alternative.

    I honestly can’t stop looking at those two countertop shots!

  14. Joe Felice says

    Yea for Formica! It invented laminate, so it’s only natural that it should lead the way with its new line. This is victory for good ol’-fashioned Americana, and that’s why we love the new colors and patterns. These do tend to have a bent towards the ’70s, but hey–Americana was alive and well in that decade, let me tell you, even though I’m still stuck in the ’50s & ’60s. Besides, when I think of the ’70s, I am reminded of how we raged at the discos! Boogie down, Formica, and keep the progressive & flamboyant colors & patters coming. We love them!

  15. Judy says

    Our renters just ruined our vintage formica counter with drip edge, in white with gold marbling. I can’t find a replacement in the formica. We are keeping the cast-iron sink with hundee ring. Have I missed anything available? Our replacement counter will not have the drip edge, and the closest I can come to the formica design is travertine.

    • pam kueber says

      see all our possible selections in Kitchens/Countertops section. How do you feel about White Onyx – that’s old skool

  16. Enid Haban-Megahed says

    My goodness folks, you want cool laminates, check out Pam’s add for Heffron’s I got glacier gold from them which is boomerangs in yellow on white, it came to the house in 10 days, Love them! They have boomerangs in a dozen colors including a purple (Retro Prom) and pink( Retro Poodle Skirt) as well as three cracked ices. Pam, you should show some of these to the readers.

      • Enid Haban-Megahed says

        Yes, You were my resource. I am so, so very grateful for your link. My builder tried for 6 months to get it from the local supplier. And I found your link, called them, and had it in 10 days. My builder thought I had the magic touch, but I only had the right resource. Thankyou Pam! My retro yellow kitchen with yellow cabinets and yellow appliances from Northstar and yes, yellow and white boomerang countertops, thanks to you :-)

  17. Sandy 'chartreuse' says

    I ADORE the ellipse pattern, but I’m not a fan of red. I wish it came in the indigo (my first preference) or blueberry, and would like to see what it looks like in tangelo. It would be great if there were also a lime green and an apple green colour.

    I love these patterns, and I give Formica credit for not simply ‘dipping into the vault’ but coming up with retro-inspired patterns, instead. I think they did a phenomenal job. I also love it that two of these patterns, my favourite Ellipse and the Endless, “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.” That is an amazing design feat!

    I also love how the white ceramics look on the mint dotscreen. They would look great on the aqua colour, too. The pattern is very reminiscent of the Scandinavian ceramic patterns of the 50s and 60s.

    Well done, Formica!

  18. Trisha says

    Speaking of Wilsonart, and I don’t work for them or anything, I think it is extremely high quality stuff. We put Wilsonart countertops in our tiny kitchen well over 20 years ago in a medium gray, tone on tone graph paper pattern. It still looks great! And it’s super easy to keep clean. My son has the same pattern in his Seattle apartment by chance except the color is medium blue on blue. doesn’t look quite as good as mine (renters and all) but it’s still there doing the job approximately 25 years later.

    • Jay says

      Yes, in my last house, I used either Wilsonart or Nevamar, I believe their offerings are better as they are more transitional for any age period.

  19. Mike says

    Wow, Pam. You really touched a nerve with this topic! People are passionate about laminate and it’s too bad that Formica won’t listen to the wishes of the group. A while back I found a chunk of pale yellow laminate with atomic starbust laying in a pile of leaves. If only it were still available………….

  20. MB from CT says

    My kitchen, original from 1948, has countertops and floors very close in color to the red and yellow above. The countertop is red linoleum, and the floor a pale yellow with red markings. So, those colors might work if anyone is looking to do something from that era.

  21. 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!!

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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!

  26. 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.

  27. 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. :-)

  28. 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.

  29. 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!!

  30. 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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