30 August 2023
4 min read
In the architecture, design and construction industries, it can often seem that truly versatile solutions are in short supply. Of course, highly specialised products, tailored for distinct purposes, have their place and are highly sought after as a niche – but products that service a wide range of uses are, arguably, equally as valuable.
For Forté's most recent flooring collection – the Loft range – versatility is the name of the game. It starts with its durability: the Loft range is purpose-designed to excel in almost any high-traffic space. This usually encompasses commercial environments like offices, retail stores, restaurants and hotels – but in Loft's case, it also extends to high-density, multi-dwelling residential spaces.
This is one of the many reasons the Loft range earned its name: a loft is generally defined as a residential space converted from a commercial or industrial one – a crossover between the two. Carlo Piesse, the Commercial Business Development Manager for Forté, says the collection's versatility mirrors the sought-after lofts typical of New York City.
"The Loft range offers versatile applications, providing exceptional solutions for a wide range of spaces," he says. "Its durable construction and scratch-resistant surface ensure long-lasting performance and maintain a pristine appearance even under heavy use.
"It's also very adaptable: it's suitable for floors, walls, and ceilings," says Piesse. "This adaptability is informed by the timeless allure of loft apartments and the unwavering resilience required in multi-dwelling residential and commercial spaces."
Its namesake makes reference not only to the function but also to the form. Its design draws inspiration from the iconic loft spaces dotted around New York City's boroughs, renowned for their timelessly unique features like open layouts, exposed brick walls, industrial elements, and large windows that allow ample natural light to flood the space.
"We set out to create flooring that would withstand the demands of high-traffic areas while embracing the essence of New York's suburbs and neighbourhoods," says Piesse. "This 'essence' informed nine different colours featured in the range: each stain represents a different aspect of the vibrant and diverse neighbourhoods throughout the city."
All of the stains evoke solid oak, one of the most popular timbers used in New York's apartments. They range from bleached and white-toned to warm and golden oak; grey-beige and caramel to darker tones like dark brown and charcoal.
"The warm and earthy tones of the light grey-beige timber evoke the cosy brownstones of Brooklyn, while the dark brown-toned timber with vibrant hues is inspired by the rich cultural background and soulful jazz history of the Harlem neighbourhood," Piesse says.
"By carefully selecting these colours, the Loft collection aims to bring that unique urban charm and character found in New York's neighbourhoods to any space it graces. The result is a flooring solution that adds elegance and style and captures the essence of a bustling and artistic city."
New York is well known for its bustling, high-energy atmosphere, a byproduct of not only its culture but also the sheer size of its population. Like its most famous pedestrian thoroughfare, Times Square, the Loft collection was designed to withstand high foot traffic.
It achieves this through its high-quality materials and manufacturing: it's constructed with a sustainable plywood core and backing, and prefinished with a UV Cured DuraMatte lacquer and commercial-grade finish.
"The result is a 12mm thick engineered wood flooring that combines sustainable timber with unmatched performance," says Piesse. "It also has the thinnest veneer out of the entirety of our collections. This makes it more affordable – and to offset the thin veneer, we have paired it with an ultra-durable, commercial-grade lacquer, light brushing, and small bevels to ensure the floor will not need to be resanded over time."
To top it all off, the collection's DuraMatte lacquer imparts a 'closed-pore surface' – vastly increasing its water resistance. The DuraMatte lacquer coating also has anti-scratch properties, and consists of eight layers: one stain, five primers and two top coats.
All of these features and benefits combined add up to a solution that ensures a durable, appealing, and low-maintenance finish, making it an ideal choice for high-traffic commercial projects aimed at minimising upkeep and keeping costs down.
"Maintaining quality at the forefront while offering value for money, the Loft collection is similarly priced to laminate – but it's real timber, making high-end, durable flooring and panelling accessible and affordable for everyday Kiwis," says Piesse.
"Backed by a 25-year residential and 10-year commercial construction warranty, Loft embodies durability, style, and peace of mind for both residential and commercial applications."