Surfaces Reporter takes pride in the fact that we possibly cover all the building & surface materials that exist under the sun. While we are highly intrigued by some, enjoy newer possibilities in others, observe the evolving nature of some materials, Laminate is one which we call the ‘Honest Material for the masses.” Surfaces Reporter believes in the Performance-driven, budget-friendly, low-maintenance, humble Laminate and considers it to one of the materials that stands true to its price, designs and versatility.
Though, we’ve already featured a lot about this ‘down-to-earth’ material in our earlier issues, this article will take you to the world of laminate from the eyes of 3 brands: decoding the market post GST, forecasts for 2017-18, new trends and techniques of application and more. We are particularly thankful to Ar. Raja from Raja Architects, Hyderabad for his contribution to Surfaces Reporter magazine.
Residence Elevation – High Pressure Laminate fascia
In designing a project for atmosphere and character, an architect’s creative vision and inspiration flow from the concepts of the exteriors of a space. Hence aesthetically planned exterior elevation with compact laminates offer best solutions in terms of performance and create a majestic aura around the house and other spaces. Constituted with special chemicals, exterior HPL panels are resistant against fading, fire, extreme weather conditions, microbial threats and moisture.
Laminates are engineered materials crafted using decorative paper and resins. Rising above from furniture and cabinetry, today these laminates have extended their usage to decorative walling and flooring too – as a great alternative to the other materials. Plus these laminates are scratch resistant, require less-cleaning and no polishing; and thence are extremely low-maintenance. Not just this, laminates tend to provide a graceful feel to everything they are applied to – are available in a plethora of design patterns, colors and textures. The latest is digital laminates wherein designs can be customized, according to the preference of the buyer. Though it is not possible to customize for each customer and would be very costly, companies take the opportunity to design digitally for different segments like offices, spas, schools, health etc giving touch & feel of the activities there.
These laminates are further segregated depending upon their different manufacturing and binding technique into high pressure. laminates, low pressure laminates, compact laminates. Standard laminates are used in customary applications; post-formable laminates are saved for kitchens and offices where a neater look is required. Whereas in places demanding utmost hygiene, viz. hospitals and restaurants – anti-bacterial laminates are used.
HPL – Versatile use
High pressure Laminate is found in both traditional and surprising applications. Some of the most common and recognizable applications of this laminate include residential countertops and cabinetry, office work areas, public restrooms and department store wall panels. HPL is also abundant in corporate offices, retail stores and malls, hospitality environments, healthcare settings and educational institutions. In fact some of the most unusual places is also exhibiting the usage of laminates the trend is to be continued.
Director, Cedar Decor, Durian
Current market scenario for laminates.
Overall market scenario for laminates is favourable. There is a good demand for laminates all across India and also overseas. However, the capacity to supply still exceeds demands and as a result there is stiff competition in both, domestic and international, markets.
Decode the market for organized and unorganized sectors, post GST?
GST, like and other major change, brings about both opportunities and challenges. I feel that GST is a much needed change to simplify transactions and increase compliance. With increased compliance we should see a much more level playing field in the domestic market. This will definitely benefit organized players and put stiffer, but fair, competition on the unorganized players. Brand value will now play a much bigger role in customer conversion at the last point of sales for laminates.
Design trends of laminates 2017-2018.
Laminate design has taken a sharp and drastic turn in the recent months. Soft natural textures and designs are coming back in high demand, especially in the 1mm segment. This, I feel, is a good change as in the past there was not much design differentiation in 1mm and lesser thickness materials. The fancier designs and textures are now more prevalent in the lower thickness materials. There is also a surge in the demand for natural stone and concrete designs in the premium segment.
“Soft natural textures and designs are coming back in high demand, especially in the 1mm segment. The fancier designs and textures are now more prevalent in the lower thickness materials.”
According to Ar. Raja of Raja Architects, Hyderabad: “Some of the more surprising areas where HPL is found include casino slot bases, airplanes, mass transit seats, theme park rides, furniture, interior doors and marker boards. HPL is also usually found in high-traffic areas, including cashier/checkout stations, kick plates, pony walls, retail fixtures and bar tops,.”
In addition to hundreds of colors and designs, High Pressure Laminates is available in several textures as well. “Finishes not only transform the look of the laminate, they can affect how a laminate wears resistance” informs Raja. Today, the new, upcoming ranges of HPLs with their naturalistic and contemporary color palette provide a myriad of interior schemes which resonate every audience. “The new collections of laminate have a perfect blend of contemporary, vintage, retro and elegant luxury with utmost sophistication” Raja exclaims. “No wonder you’d fall in love with all that bling and adds definition in two dazzling finishes to your personal space” he adds.
FORECASTS FOR 2017-18
India has always provided stupendous opportunities for decorative laminates. Advances in building construction activity and greater credit availability are driving demand for laminates. Technology has given a great boost to their applications and has led to an advancement in their properties. Besides which, the market now offers a number of shades and textures in laminates that allows the users to choose according to the ambience they intend to create. “Waxed edges, piano finish, bevelled edges, hand scraped and the availability in a host of other textures have made them ideal materials complimented with the cost savings and the faster installation time that they enable” says Raja.
“High pressure Laminate is one of the most functional and ubiquitous materials found in residential and commercial design.”
The last couple of years have seen an extensive use of laminates in interior designing - a more elaborate implementation from their initial use as mere decorative surfaces in table tops and counters. Today they have a much functional presence in home and office interiors as well as hotels, institutions etc. “Cabinets and furniture were the two largest markets for laminates in 2016, together accounting for nearly half of demand. Through 2020, the cabinet market is projected to post more rapid gains”, recalls Raja about the future market scope of the laminates. “Increases in the number of new residential and commercial spaces built through 2020 will provide endless opportunities and demand for high-pressure laminates,” Ar. Raja signs off leaving high hopes for the future.
Retail outlet store interiors done with plywood wall panneling and laminate finish
The kind of look the laminate finish offers is highly artistic and stimulating to the eye of the customer. Laminate finish is one of the most durable surfaces available anywhere in the world and Ideal for any interior space.
GREENLAM INDUSTRIES LTD.
Current market scenario for laminates:
Owing to the Government’s focus on the low-cost housing; rise in demand for decorative laminates is bound to increase. We expect the demand scenario to stay strong going forward in medium-to-long term which can be attributed to the strong growth in the real estate sector, Indian furniture market and the growing middle class segment. We have also seen a quite increase in per capita income. Apart from that there has been a major shift towards customization of homes. Most home-owners now are quite keen on customizing and personalizing their homes. All these factors indicate a steady growth in the industry.
Decode the market for organized and unorganized sectors, post GST.
There has already been a sharp shift towards the organized market thanks to the innovation in terms of design and product mix. The organized sector also offers lower input prices which in turn translate to higher margins. Apart from that the price gaps between the organized and the unorganized sector have also narrowed down which has in turn helped us expand across several markets. Our endeavor is to maintain momentum and continue to deliver superior quality products to our consumers with innovation
in technology. We have an aggressive lineup of new product launches across categories. Also, with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), we believe that the playing field for all industry players has been leveled to quite some extent.
Design trends of laminates for the year 2017-2018
2017-2018 will mark the return of natural textures– textures like wood, stone and textile will make a comeback. The wooden look has forever been used to elevate homes and will once again be in the eyes of interior designers. Countertops and other surfaces will continue to favor marble and wooden textures. Greenlam is introducing a large number of natural textures in their new collection.
2017-2018 will mark the return of natural textures – textures like wood, stone and textile will make a comeback. Owing to the Government’s focus on the low-cost housing; rise in demand for decorative laminates is bound to increase.
- Parul Mittal
Director – Design & Marketing,
Greenlam Industries Ltd.
Century Plyboards (I) Limited
Current market scenario for laminates.
Decorative laminates hold a great deal of aesthetic value in any home/office décor. The category is fragmented with 100+ players (both organized and unorganized) across India wherein the unorganized segment holds the major share due to low involvement of the end users about the product and available choices in the market.
However, there has been a shift towards branded products as the end users are becoming more & more involved in the purchase decision and are becoming quality & service conscious. Laminate industry is witnessing high growth in demand due to rapid urbanization & rising per capita income.
Out of all variants of laminates, 1mm category has highest demand in the market due to maximum possible applications. Century Laminates (1mm) has grown by 20% last year which is way higher than the organic Industry growth. High gloss segment is seeing a steep growth in volumes. Century Laminates’ Lucida Segment sales contribution increased multiple folds; 110% growth in volumes.
Decode the market for organized and unorganized sectors, post GST?
Post GST, organized sector will flourish as the price gap will decrease between organized and unorganized players due to revised taxation system. Hence, channel partners & influencers will also start favoring branded products as they can offer affordable products with better quality & service to their customers. This, along with increasing disposable income, will drive a paradigm shift in the market towards organized players.
Design trends of laminates: 2017-2018.
Century Laminates has more than 600 thoughtfully designed laminates which are developed keeping the latest global design trends in-mind and provide wide range of choice to our customers.
High gloss laminates are gaining popularity due to its attractive sparkling finish. Century Laminates’ Lucida not only provides one of the best high-gloss finishes and wide range of solid color options but also comes with superior features like scuff, mar& stain resistance therefore getting high demand from the Kitchen segment. There is a trend to use two contrasting solid colors in the kitchen area to make it look unique.
The other trend in laminates is to use a contrasting design in the interiors. For e.g. if the wall paneling is being done with a lighter shade of wood grain, then the furniture (bed) is being done with a dark shade of wood-grain laminates.
Subtle or soft textures are being preferred more by the consumers these days than the loud ones & thus we have increasing demand for textures like Vava Oxford (VO), Tessuto (TS).
What is new in technology or techniques in applying of laminates?
Our superior German technology sanding machines ensure that the calibration is uniform and chances of forming ‘airbubble’ is minimal which improves durability of laminates and makes the application seamless. Moreover adhesive companies are working towards better adhesives for lesser drying time & increased strength.
The Honchos of Formica Group Speak
Current market scenario for laminates.
India & China are the biggest laminate markets of the world constituting 62% of the world market (India contributing 31.4%) India’s market is at ‘Growth’ product life cycle stage, with expected annual growth highest and much beyond the average. Unlike other countries, in India the market is scattered and we cannot surely say which region has higher demands. Thenthere are the planned Smart Cities, where the demand islikely to be high for such products. There are projects that may start in a metro and go to the Tier-II & III city and so we will need to follow the demand. - Sumit Bidani, Managing Director, Formica India
What’s new in terms of Design
Next generation of surfacing redefine surfaces with its unique ability to create looks which are close to the natural real thing. Just like crafted after an extensive in-house research, the exclusive collection of laminates under Global Series is designed to bring out the realistic feel of natural elements of cloth, wood, stone and granite. -Renee Hytry Derrington, Group VP of Design Formica Global
Design Trends for 2017-18:
There is big need for a global brand to feed the Indian Architects & customers who consume brands day in and out. A global laminate brand with premium positioning can be disruption in the market.
- More real fabrics like jeans/denim
- Realistic wood grain textures showing off natural slits and valleys with growth rings, knots and ribbon grains typical of age-old forest heartwood
- White & Gray are the essential colours,it makes the near-blacks colourful and the materials spiritual
- Subtle textures augmented with plain colors, designed to bring simple and clean pieces to a whole new dimension
- Making use of recycled products to produce eco-friendly products
- Navjit Singh Gill, Senior Product Manager Formica India
There is a huge scope of growth based on the innovations possible in HPL, product that really pushes the boundaries of traditional surfacing conceptions. Reclaimed Denim Fiber laminate is another innovative laminate with real denim fibers embedded in décor paper. The products won Red Dot Design award 2017.
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