From Something Negative Comes Something Positive
What do the Philippines, modular carpets and a nylon production company have in common? The answer?—a new program by Interface called NetWorks.
The Danajon Bank is one of six extremely rare double-barrier reefs in the world. A double barrier reef is created by two sets of large coral reefs that run parallel to each other. Located off the coast of the Philippines, the reef spans nearly 97 miles. However, in recent years, despite being a unique natural treasure, the reef has far fewer fish and less aquatic life than ever before. One of the main reasons for this is the number of discarded fishing nets in the water. In fact, if all the fishing nets discarded every year in this area alone were laid out end to end, they would wrap around the world 1.39 times.
While most would see this as a negative, Interface saw it as an opportunity to create a positive. In 2012, Interface strategically partnered with the Philippines chapter of the Zoological Society of London, to collect the discarded fishing nets from the reef. The nets are then sent to Aquafil, an Italian company that helps turn the nets into nylon yarn using a special depolymerization process - essentially shredding the nets, melting them down, and reforming them into usable nylon yarn. The yarn is then turned into beautiful Interface carpets that are shipped and used all over the world.
Within the first 18 months of the Net Works program, more than 18,870 miles of discarded fishing nets were collected. That’s three times longer than the Great Wall of China. From collecting the nets on the coast, to ultimately creating beautiful carpets that cover the floors of hospitals and homes, and doing so in a unique way that’s fully conscious of every piece of the process, Interface creates a new standard in what it means to be a conscious and sustainable business, on both the global and local level.
In 1997, Ray Anderson, the then-CEO of Interface carpet had what he referred to as a “spear through the chest” moment. The unsustainable nature of his business struck him not only as being bad for the environment but also as morally wrong. Since then, Interface has completely reworked its business model from the ground up, to create carpets that are as beautiful, thoughtful, and as respectful of the environment and the people involved as possible. Part of Interface’s mission is stated: “The moral courage to do what is right, despite all obstacles. An abiding commitment to show that sustainability is better for business.” Not only does Interface strive to offer the most beautiful and functional carpet in the world, it also strives to be a catalyst and example of change, and what it means to completely redesign an industry from the bottom up. Hence, Interface’s Mission Zero promise: to completely eliminate any negative impact on the environment by 2020.
Interface carpet wants to help you “think beautifully.” Unlike traditional carpet, this modular carpet strives to be both aesthetically pleasing and practical. Interface boasts that its carpets have the same appeal as traditional wood plank flooring. Unique patterns such as “Herringbone” and “Ground Waves,” have the same stunning effect as hard-surfaced floors, while simultaneously reducing noise at a great price point. Similarly, the new Interface “Skinny Planks” offer even greater flexibility for making unique visual statements of scale and directionality. Created in a rectangular shape instead of the usual square, “Skinny Planks” blend seamlessly, showcasing both the benefits of modularity as well as the continuous flowing look of traditional carpets. This includes a huge range of design options such as visual way-finding clues and large scales patterns available in any imaginable combination.
Inspired by patterns in nature, or what Interface refers to as “successful natural organisms,” their new i2 line consists of a variety of carpet tiles in which each tile is unique, both in terms of style and color pattern, not unlike a leaf-covered forest floor, or the tiny feathers on a butterfly’s wing. This means that the time spent installing i2 carpet is also shorter, because no matter the iteration, the tiles always look right together. Even better, there’s nearly 90% less waste that goes into i2 carpet, versus traditional broadloom carpets.
Here at TreeHouse, we support the unique mission of Interface, and hope that you’ll be inspired by their entrepreneurial spirit, dedication to beauty and the belief in creating a more beautiful world. TreeHouse carries Interface, not only because of a shared set of values, but also because their carpet is unmatched in quality, thoughtful design and inventive business strategies. With programs such as NetWorks, that set a new standard in what it means to be sustainable and thoughtful in today’s international world, Interface sets itself apart with keen business strategy while simultaneously maintaining a fierce dedication to quality, function and the environment. Both TreeHouse and Interface believe that carpet should come at an accessible price point, while simultaneously inspiring creativity.
Interested in learning more about Interface? Sign up for a free flooring consult with TreeHouse Design Consultant.