Talking Trends with Wendy Noory of PanolamKristin Crane
In the latest in our series Talking Trends, Kristen chatted with Wendy Noory, Director of Design for Panolam Surface Systems. Panolam has been in business for over 70 years and offers one of the largest selections of surface options and designs for interior designers and architects.
Wendy has a keen eye for design and upcoming trends in the marketplace. In addition, her perspective is unique. While she is always up on the next big trend, she is also realistic about how those trends translate to her specific field of surface systems. When working in manufacturing, she needs to think in a longer time frame. As she conducts her trend research, she is constantly asking herself which of these trends is going to translate well in the products she’s designing now, but also will these trends have longevity. She tries to imagine if this trend will last in a home or commercial space for years to come, or will it quickly look dated.
When Wendy starts her trend research, she looks to a wide range of places for information. Firstly, she always considers the current economic state of both the United States and the rest of the world. How will this state impact the choices architects and interior designers are making when they design and build new spaces? She also reflects on previous trend patterns because color trends are always in a constant cycle. What has worked well in the past? Did it last? Is it due to be revisited? Wendy also looks at what is happening in the world of fashion and in European markets. What colors and materials are designers working with in the fashion and home markets?
As we begin a new decade, the biggest trend she is picking up on is the move away from grey. After a decade of popularity, grey is slowly being replaced by warmer colors such as mushroom and taupe tones. These warmer neutrals are then mixed with fresh and bold pops of color. She is also seeing pastels such as mint greens, peaches, and pinks in the European market, and they are working their way over to North America.
Customizing designs for specific spaces is also growing in popularity. For Panolam, laminates are used in every industry, they are a commodity. This ubiquity gives Wendy insight into which industries are gaining momentum. Restaurants, senior living, and boutique hotels are all having an upswing, and these are the types of projects that love custom products. With big growth in the digital market, there has been big growth for custom pieces. In fact, Wendy estimates that requests for custom pieces have doubled in the past decade as it’s become easier to do one-off products. Production keeps getting faster and less expensive, making these types of surfaces easier to produce and Panolam works closely with designers to help them bring their vision to life through customization.
Staying on top of trends is important to any designer, but that should never replace a designer’s own inspiration when developing a new product. For Wendy, the best part of her job as Director of Design is coming up with a new concept at the beginning of the design process. She has a wide range of interests and passions and loves history, travel and going to the theater. She is constantly snapping photos of architectural details, beautiful colors in nature and feels great creative value in spending time outdoors. “You never know what’s going to be the spark of inspiration, you just need to keep moving and keep your eyes open.”
What are your favorite places to go for trend research? Let us know in the comments!