Encore and Zeftron Come Through for New Distrikt Hotel Pittsburgh

The Distrikt Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh, which officially opened in July 2017, is the latest signature hotel from the Distrikt Hotel Management Group. We recently sat down with Jennifer Austin, Executive Vice President, Development and Brand Strategies, to discuss some of the design challenges she faced. She also talked about how Encore Hospitality Carpet worked closely with her to develop a fully custom-designed carpet made with Zeftron nylon to meet the hotel’s unique design and functionality needs.

ZN.:  How did the project come about?

J.A.: The Distrikt Hotel Group opened their first signature hotel in New York City in 2010. When it came time to expand, we found this amazing historic building in a key area of Pittsburgh that was for sale. We immediately realized this would be an excellent opportunity for our second location.

Z.N.: What were some of the challenges you faced in opening the Pittsburgh Hotel?

J.A.: Well, considering we were converting a historic, 10-story former Salvation Army building originally built in 1926 into a modern hotel, we had quite a few challenges. We had to completely gut the building from the second floor up, then we added a few rooms to the 10th floor. 

As a historic building, we needed to adhere to local building codes. For example, we needed to meet the city’s request to not build a parking garage. They also requested we add green amenities. We also needed to preserve the façade, the windows and the amazing lobby area.

Another unique challenge we faced was the guest rooms. Some rooms have 12-ft. ceilings, while others have 8-ft. ceilings. This created some interesting design challenges.

Z.N.: What support did you receive from Encore Hospitality Carpet?

J.A.: Encore was a dream to work with. They had provided the carpet at our New York hotel when it came time to replace the original carpet, so we were familiar with them.

The Pittsburgh hotel was my first FF& E project; handling all the design, construction and installation. It was a big learning experience. But working alongside Richard Heaver (President of Encore) made the process so much better and easier.

Richard took the time to get to know me and listen to me. He took a real hands-on approach other flooring manufacturers would not have. And, because we were not using an architect or a designer, I had to rely heavily on him.

His knowledge and willingness to listen to what I envisioned completely paid off: The carpet he ultimately presented was really stunning, and not normal at all.

Z.N.: Where is the carpet being used?

J.A.: The Encore carpet made with Zeftron is in all corridors and all 185 rooms. Encore rugs with Zeftron are in public spaces, including the main lobby area.

Z.N.: Can you describe the design you were trying to achieve?

J.A.: We knew that we did not want to copy or emulate what other hotels are doing. But more importantly, we wanted to balance the historical nature of the building and the essence of Pittsburgh, while bringing a fresh, modern look. Essentially, we wanted the design to be understated and elegant, evoking a sense of place and time.

Z.N.: What purpose did you need the carpet to serve?

J.A.: We needed the flooring to serve three major purposes: One, it needed to support and enhance the overall design of the hotel; two, it needed to assist with wayfinding in the corridors; and three, it needed to stand up against staining and wearing.

From a design perspective, we wanted the carpet to be reflective of the historic elements of the building and ensure it blended nicely with what we were trying to achieve. So it’s got some fading elements that speak to something historical. But at the same time it’s got some sparkle and pop, making it look contemporary and modern. It ended up perfect; everyone comments on it.

From a functionality standpoint, there are some winding paths in the hallways – not all hallways are completely straight. So we had to work very closely with Encore to create the transitions from hallway to corner. This was some pretty tricky work: How do you take a pattern and not make it look awkward when it’s going around a corner and then going a different length of hallway? The end result is that we have some great corner-to-hallway transitions that help our guests navigate the turns in the corridors.

Bottom line, the carpet is beautiful, affordable and it cleans beautifully. The unique colorways, surface textures and intricate patterns all come together great — it’s kind of a dream.

Z.N.: Thanks for speaking with us!

J.A.: You’re welcome. Thank you.



Flooring and Today’s Flexible Office Environments

As summer begins to wind down and we return to the office from vacations, we thought we would explore the ever-growing trend of flexible office environments.

From American Express and GlaxoSmithKline, to Facebook and hundreds of other companies, businesses have been shifting away from cubicle-style floor plans to a mix of individual and collaborative work areas.

Inc. magazine notes that the variety of choices for employees is increasing as businesses offer “comfortable living rooms, libraries, stand-up tables, outdoor spaces, nooks and crannies–to collaborate, create, contemplate, present.”

More Collaborative Spaces

It’s not just the layout of the office that is making a difference. Metropolis magazine’s “The Living Office—The Action Office for the Digital Age” takes a look at a new office system designed by Yves Behar and fuseproject. The design, titled “PUBLIC Office Landscape,” addresses the desire for employees to collaborate at a desk area. This allows individuals or groups to use a desk area equipped with storage bins, mobile privacy screens and more.


Hot-Desking Continues

Another take on the fluid workspace is the practice of “hot-desking.” This practice allocates desks to workers when they are required or on a rotating system, rather than giving each worker their own desk. According to Gensler’s 2016 workplace survey, everyone can benefit from this new approach. The study suggests that organizations, “empower the entire organizational community, not just senior leadership, with the ability to choose when and where to work.”

Flooring’s Role

So how does flooring fit into this new workplace paradigm shift? When it comes to carpet, it can be pretty important. Consider the following:

  • Way-Finding — Carpet color and patterning can help with way-finding and navigation between spaces, such as down hallways or corridors.
  • Space Differentiation – Carpet can create differentiation between different spaces when moving between such things as office departments or different end-use areas.
  • Acoustics – Open spaces, bereft of offices or cubicles, can sometimes be loud and noisy. Carpet’s inherent acoustics can also make workspaces quieter, thus contributing to greater productivity.
  • Visual Balance — Carpet provides a nice visual balance and design element when paired with a hard surface such as wood or LVT in an open floor plan – a growing trend in many office environments today.

Here are some photo examples of how carpeting is being used to define space:

Image credit: Still from video footage, courtesy of videographer Jason Cheung via Work Design Magazine

Image credit: Photography: Manuel Martinez via Crain’s Chicago Business


Image Credit: Shaw Contract

What are your thoughts? Do you work in an open/flexible office? If you specify flooring, how are you using various flooring to create the open, flexible and productive workspaces of today?

If you like this story and want to see more, follow us on social media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram.



NeoCon 2017 — Trends that Floored Us!

As usual, NeoCon 2017 was an inspiring environment bursting with new product innovations and bustling with people from across the design industry. Braving the long elevator lines and armed with my camera, I had one goal: to find the hottest trends in commercial flooring today. Below are my observations:

Muted Colors with Bright Accents Take the Stage – Visiting more than a dozen floorcovering showrooms, the colors for commercial carpets this year feature muted colors and neutrals – greys, browns, earth-tones and blacks predominating. Even when a non-neutral color was introduced, such as a blue, it featured a washed-out appearance.

However, these neutral palettes were off-set by the adroit use of bright accents, which were abundant in several new product introductions.   A bright, almost acid, green was used in many products, and several used orange accents as well. Neutral colors and backgrounds provide a solid canvas from which to build a design. By adding in brilliant accent colors for a “pop” of color, it adds liveliness and interest to a space.



Organic, Nature-Inspired Patterns Continue – For a few years now, we’ve seen the emergence of organic and nature-inspired patterns (and colors) become a predominate element in floor covering design. That continued apace at NeoCon 2017. Many of the flooring products I viewed, both in carpet and hard surface, showed patterns that had an earthy aesthetic, some evoking the look of moss growing and stones scattered about. The bright green I mentioned provided the mossy look, while the greys depicted the stones. Other earth tones were added to bring a depth and richness to the flooring.



Multi-Surface Combinations Are In — All the flooring showrooms I visited displayed coordinating carpet and hard surface options.

Obviously, a lot of thought is going in to flooring materials to provide the right performance and style for the myriad end-use areas in commercial interior spaces.




Zeftron Nylon Brings It Life — The wonderful flooring products on display at NeoCon 2017 were inspiring and beautiful to look at. If you’re a designer needing a range of crisp, clean neutrals (not dull or muddy) to provide the canvas for your next project, consider Zeftron nylon.


Our neutrals can create the organic, nature-inspired look you need. When paired with colors from our Brilliant Collection, we bring the bright reds, yellows and greens needed for that perfect accent.   Our Brilliant colors pop with energy, creating that distinctive look you desire.

And of course, carpet made with Zeftron has the style and the performance characteristics to work right alongside a hard surface product. For more on our entire color range, please visit our Style page.

If you missed our daily NeoCon 2017 video recaps, feel free to check them out here! (Day One, Day Two, Day Three)

I invite your comments. What stood out to you at NeoCon 2017?

Encore Hospitality Carpet Introduces Amuse Collection

Vibrant designs. Exceptional versatility. Superior performance. These terms encompass the new Amuse Collection, which was recently unveiled by Encore Hospitality Carpet, a hospitality division of Brumlow Mills. With an impressive and bold array of 12 cut and loop patterns and nine bright statement colors made with Zeftron® Nylon, a premium branded nylon 6 yarn system, the Amuse Collection features stunning patterns and a performance-driven construction suited for hospitality projects or public space applications.

Inspired by the current trend toward bright statement colors, the Amuse Collection is designed to appeal to leading designers, specifiers and end-users who seek to have the carpet serve as a dramatic focal point. Bold, yet sophisticated, the detailed designs range from geometrics to florals, with hues that range from bright berries to sunny gold. The collection offers fresh, modern appeal. With more than 108 different pattern and color variations, the Amuse Collection provides designers with a broad and diverse range of options from which to customize virtually any project or space.

Encore Hospitality Carpet President Richard Heaver noted, “The Amuse Collection is a fresh departure from typical flooring products. The striking patterns and vivid colors come to life through Zeftron’s clear crisp solution dyed color palette giving designers and specifiers a perfect launch pad from which to create a dynamic interior space. Additionally, the collection is competitively priced, making it a smart choice for a variety of applications and project budgets.”

The vibrant styling elements of the collection are made possible through Encore’s state-of the-art Infinity manufacturing technology and Zeftron nylon, a solution dyed nylon 6 that offers superior styling, performance and recyclability advantages for commercial carpet products.

Designers can begin the process of creating the perfect carpet for their project at the Encore website:www.encorehospitalitycarpet.com.  Here they can select their patterns, colorize their designs and see how their carpet would look in a three-dimensional room scene. They can also download the room scene, as well as a color swatch, the colorways and a spec sheet to a PDF document.

Seeing Red in February!


Since February is so closely related to Valentine’s Day, we’re dedicating this blog to our color of the month:  Zeftron’s bright and fiery, “Clear Red.”



This color is so bold and so closely resembles the signature color of Valentine’s Day that you can’t miss it.

But you’ll also find the intense hue of this color associated with other holidays or important events.  This year, the color can be seen with the 2017 Chinese New Year symbol, the Fire Rooster, which cycles once every 60 years. Accented by gold, the red of the Fire Rooster makes an unmistakable impression.  According to Chinesezodiac.org, personality characteristics of the Fire Rooster are ambition, pride, punctuality, courage, and passion.



In business, red symbolizes power, energy, passion, motivation, stimulation, excitement and confidence, to name a few. It is used in the design and corporate visuals of many prominent corporations, such as Coca Cola, Virgin Airlines and Ferrari.

A recent article in Psychologist World reports that red increases the pulse and heart rate.  It also states that one bank found their lines moved faster when they increased the use of red in its banking center lobby!

Because of its power to influence perception and mood, red is also a popular accent color among designers looking to enhance a client’s brand and/or create a unique space.  As an example, here are a few design projects where red is used to bring energy to a space.


Design today – whether for corporate, hospitality or public space – is bolder than ever.  If you’re looking to go bold in 2017, there’s no doubt Zeftron Nylon’s Clear Red  or some of our other bold colors can help make a huge impact upon on your project.

 Let us know what you think.  How do you consider using red in your projects? 



Are You Going Green in 2017?

screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-1-21-55-pmMost visible in nature, the unassuming color green is experiencing a resurgence. “Greenery,” Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year, is a fresh yellow-green shade that, according to Laurie Pressman, VP of the Pantone Color Institute, “is about unity and community – connecting to oneself and others and a higher purpose, Nature.”

Green brings several benefits to interior design projects. Research shows that green is the easiest color on the human eye. This means green is an excellent color for interior spaces where people will be spending a lot of time. Whether for an office, a public space or a hospitality setting, green’s inherent hue is physically soft and pleasing to the eye.


Globally speaking, green symbolizes the environment, nature and sustainability. When we think of these elements, they are closely connected to growth, rejuvenation and calm, as well as creativity and productivity.

With green having so many positive attributes to it, it’s no wonder it’s the choice of many company brand identities such as Heineken, Starbucks, The Masters Golf Tournament and John Deere.

Interestingly enough, while Greenery is Pantone’s Color of the Year this year, we’ve long offered a color very similar to it in our extensive color palette. Our Lime 6065 color closely resembles Greenery, especially its yellow pigment, which according to Pantone, “references the sun, the symbolic light that people need in these times.”


Designers have an amazing opportunity to create spaces with colors that can affect human behavior and well being. And with a floor the largest surface area of any interior, the carpet you select can essentially serve as a creative canvas to make an impactful visual statement.

So what do you think: Will you be using colors similar to Greenery this year in your design efforts? If so, what will those colors symbolize — nature, growth, calm or something else?

We welcome your thoughts and comments!

P.S. — If you’d like more information about Greenery, check out this great Forbes magazine article. For more about Zeftron’s Lime 6065 color, and all our colors, feel free to visit our color collections page.


Designer Gift Ideas Galore!

It’s that time of year again for giving and receiving gifts.  If you’re still needing inspiration to select the perfect gift for your designer friend or colleague, we’ve got you covered.  We’ve pulled together ideas from a few of the best design and architect trade magazines.


Azure Magazine – “10 Great Gifts for Designers to Give and Get

This wonderful list includes a dynamic range of gift ideas.  We love the very cool 3Doodler Pro Pen, which can print in metal, wood, nylon and polycarbonate and “brings new meaning to the term ‘rapid prototyping.’”

We also find the Ryan McGinness Calendar To-Do List Pad a neat gift, especially because it has “ample space to sketch out your ideas and your day.”

Of course no holiday gift idea list would be complete without chocolate.  Azure says, “The Mast Brothers’ collection of candy bars comes wrapped in designer packaging that is as sweet as the chocolate inside.”


Architect Magazine – “The 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for Architects and Designers

Seven stylish items make up this list.  Architect says the selection contains “timeless pieces, which pair a muted palette with dynamic forms.”

One item catching our eye is The Perfect Cube, Boulding Blocks.  Creator Mark Boulding has developed one cube made of eight individual black or white cubes with interlocking prongs. This unique item makes it easier to build curved forms.

We also like the Standing Circles Desktop Mobile. With a steel base and aluminum circles, it “offers a visual focus point for procrastinators.”


We think any designer would enjoy The Pen Uno, Esso.  This stylish and sleek pen comes with ink cartridges in colors ranging from black to red to violet.

Metropolis Magazine – “Give the Gift of Good Design

Whether you’re a “design lover, techie, chef or history buff,” the items Metropolis has rounded up can offer the perfect present for family or friends.

They’ve organized their list by seven categories:


Eat and Drink






There’s a lot to choose from, but we especially enjoy the Kano Computer Kit – RED Edition.  Here’s the description:  “Kano lets anyone of any age build their own computer from the ground up and learn to code just like a real developer. This version of the DIY kit is a collaboration with (RED), an organization that raises money for the global fight against AIDS.”


Let us know what you think.  Which items will make your holiday list?