A press meeting with Russian journalists

Formica Russian press briefingPR Account Manager Jana Pavelkova flew to Moscow last week to help facilitate and attend a special press briefing organised with our partner agency in Russia and client Formica Group.

The importance of meeting up with journalists face to face is still key in this world of email and online communication. It offers an opportunity to explore areas of mutual interest, and is critically important in some countries like Russia where press briefings are seen as a requisite for being perceived as a serious player in the market.

We have been supporting media relations with the Russian press for Formica Group over a number of years now, and the opportunity to get together was an important step in highlighting Formica Group’s activities at a local level.

Formica Group’s key representatives in Russia presented an overview of product ranges, surfacing trends and how Formica® laminate is being used and specified in buildings.

Jana says: “We invited the journalists to get involved and ask questions throughout the presentation, which led to some very interesting discussions such as the differences between country specific design trends, sustainability vs greenwash, as well as the latest advances in laminate manufacture and the material’s progression since 1913.

“The face to face meeting with journalists also helped to establish Formica Group’s presence on the Russian market and presented the company as an expert in their field.”

Future in the mind – challenging the boundaries of materials

Latex ExposedProject BambiSmart by natureEngineered IllusionsExploring existing, and at times underrated or discarded, materials with a focus on the future can lead you into unexpected directions. 

University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins’s Textile Futures MA end of year show displays 17 futuristic scenarios drawing on materials such as minerals, latex, potatoes, technical components and even animals and sealife. 

The process and theory behind each project have been the driving force for each of the students to create something new and unseen. New life has been given to the discarded potato cell wall to create a biodegradable material that looks like and could be plastic (10% & More); the mineral feldspar has been transformed into a luxury jewellery item (Disquiet Luxurians), and discarded deer hides  to leather (Project Bambi). 

Limitations of materials have been broken –  latex micro-waved to create pieces of jewellery (Latex Exposed).   

Transformation and sensory experiences were also themes.  Smart by Nature looked at transformable surfaces; while Engineered Illusions uses a study of visual optics to explore how textiles can enhance the female form. 

Scent-ography posed questions as to whether personal memories can be archived through captured scent, whilst Self-Medication cleverly combines the British love for tea with the preventative concept of traditional Chinese Medicine, drawing on textile craft techniques.

Get a preview of potential material trends and uses, plus many other architecture and design displays by visiting the Show Two at Central Saint Martins which is open to the public until 23rd June.

Further information can be found here. 

Our client Formica® Group was a sponsor of the MA Textile Futures degree show, continuing its support for innovation and young designers in the field of design-related disciplines.

100 Year Anniversary of the invention of Formica laminate

FormicaAt the Think Tank, we’re very proud to have worked with Formica Group over the past 10 years.

This year is a BIG milestone for Formica Group – it’s the 100 Year Anniversary of the invention of Formica laminate. 

We are starting to celebrate the 100 Years Anniversary in Europe and visitors to the Design District in Holland last week got a sneak preview of the new Formica Anniversary laminate designs, designed by Abbott Miller of Pentagram in New York. 

Formica Group has also produced this short video where designers and architects around the world wish Formica laminate a “Happy Birthday”…

100 Years for Formica featured in The Guardian

Formica 100 years logoGuardian Formica Article2013 marks the 100th Anniversary of the iconic Formica brand, best known for laminates. The product was developed in USA in 1913 as a replacement for the mineral product ‘Mica’ and thus was called ‘Formica’ and did you know that laminate is made from paper? Many people don’t.

The Think Tank has worked with Formica in the UK and across EMEA for the past 10 years providing a range of marketing services including PR and as a part of the 100 years celebrations we have been working to raise the profile of the brand and its history through the media and yesterday saw a great article published on the website of The Guardian Newspaper.

Formica is an iconic product that is used all around us in our everyday lives and, judging by the fantastic comments posted on the Guardian website, many people have very fond memories of the brand. One of the pictures featured takes us right back to when The Think Tank was based in Soho and used to frequent the Piccadilly Cafe – we remember it well.

The article, titled ‘Shiny, happy households: Formica turns 100′, is written by Oliver Wainwright and looks at the history of the brand, and how it has developed and been used over the years.

To find out more about the history of this iconic brand click here and read the full article or alternatively click here to see ‘Formica: our century-old laminate love affair – in pictures‘, also published on the Guardian website.

You can also click below to view the article in PDF form.

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Shiny, happy households_…pdf (957 kb)

Formica joins forces with Material Lab at 100% Design

Formica at 100% DesignAt this year’s 100% Design, (19 – 22 September 2012, stand E360, Earls Court) Formica Group has partnered with design resource studio Material Lab to create a unique pop-up gallery showcasing its latest innovative surfaces and materials.  

“Both Material Lab and Formica Group believe that being able to see, touch and feel materials is key to the design process as architects, designers and specifiers need to understand how their vision can come to life through the selection of materials,” says Simon Wild, European Marketing Director at Formica Group.  

The Material Lab pop-up gallery features Korten from the DecoMetal® range, AR Plus® High Gloss Laminate and also the latest addition to Formica Group’s product portfolio, Formica® Magnetic Laminate.  

The rich tones and intriguing surface relief of Korten evoke the look and feel of one of the favourite materials of modern architecture, corten steel. The handmade design incorporates iron particles, which make each individual sheet unique, creating a strong visual statement for any project.     

To find out and see more get along to 100% Design this week.

Click here for more info.

Stunning photography exhibition at T5 London in laminate

Formica T5 London ExhibitionT5 Exhibition London Queens JubileeIf when someone mentions Formica you think about the kitchen then think again. Formica® laminate is an amazingly versatile material and the Formica Bespoke service allows you to capture any image in laminate.

In a celebration of the city of London and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Formica Group has partnered with photographer Henry Reichhold in a T5 Expo exhibition at the check-in area of Heathrow Airport, London. The original creator of High Pressure Laminate (HPL), Formica Group is delighted to be part of this exciting event supporting artists of today and tomorrow.

The exhibition opened on 30th July 2012 and will be running for three months until October 2012. The exhibition features two large images (3 x 12.5 meters) scaled to match the extraordinary Royal events of the Jubilee weekend 2012: the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Carriage Procession. The images are captured in Formica® laminate using the Formica® Bespoke artwork service structured to facilitate virtually limitless, unique design.

Taken from the 54th floor of Europe’s tallest building, the newly built Shard that towers over London Bridge, the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant panorama was shot through glass on a rainy day. The skyscraper was shrouded in mist and clouds, resulting in a unique and dramatic backdrop of this historic event. The final image was created by combining over 200 pictures together in a giant jigsaw puzzle and then subjecting them to intense image manipulation to cut through the veil of weather.

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Carriage Procession photo captures the incredible excitement and vibrant energy on the day. As the Royal coaches drive past the cheering crowd, the image of thousands of waving arms and flags creates a spectacular visual display.

Henry Reichhold specializes in digital imaging and works with a large variety of technology, ranging from mobile phones to high resolution cameras.

The results are stunning images capturing the spirit and atmosphere of each subject, be it cityscapes or enormous panoramic images such as the ones being exhibited at the T5 Expo. Continuously exploring new ways of showing his work, Reichhold chose Formica laminate to create this unique display.

Sustainability Communication for Formica Group

Formica Sustainability BrochureIf you popped along to Ecobuild a few weeks ago you may have come across the Formica Group stand. During the show they announced that they had completed the measurement of the carbon footprint of their entire range of High Pressure Laminate (HPL), Continuous Pressure Laminates (CPL), Compact Laminates and Bonded Worktops products, and in doing so their products now qualify to carry the Carbon Trust’s
Carbon Reduction Label.   
To recognise being the first laminate manufacturer to achieve this The Think Tank developed a brochure which communicates the Formica Group environmental policy and their commitment to reducing carbon emissions across all its operations.  
The brochure in full can be viewed here.

The Think Tank heads off to Nordbygg, Sweden

Did you know that Nordbygg is the biggest building exhibition in Northern Europe? I did (as I have been working on it for a few months)…but last week I attended the fair and was reminded by anyone to whom I said ” Förlåt, jag prata inte Svenska” (I don’t speak Swedish) as they immediately wanted to be sure that this non-Swede knew how proud of the exhibition they are.  

Well, they should be…with three halls packed to the brim at Stockholmmassen, just 10 minutes outside of Central Stockholm, this event is full of tools, materials and everything you can think of to do with the building industry. Over three days I had the opportunity to speak to journalists from many Scandinavian publications and experience the building industry from a completely different cultural perspective.  

I had the privilege of going to Stockholm with our client Formica Group to help launch its VIVIX exterior facade panels. Offering opportunities to play with colour and shape, VIVIX panels can complement or add interest to office buildings, public, cultural and sports facilities, transportation centres, industrial buildings, educational facilities, residential developments and more.  

Eva Hoernisch, Formica Group Design Manager, Europe, was on hand and together we were able to take a few moments to explore the building materials section. With her eye on colour Eva spotted a stand with insulation sample pieces in the most beautiful colour palette. We were dumbfounded at first as to why insulation would be so colourful until we realised it correlated to different degrees of density. VERY clever!  

With room for FIKA (traditional Swedish coffee and cake), a little of bit of Swedish entertainment and a lot of hard work, being part of Nordbygg was definitely an experience to remember.

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Formica Group laminates achieve Carbon Trust qualification

This week saw the Formica Group announce that it has measured the carbon footprint of its range of High Pressure Laminate (HPL), Continuous Pressure Laminates (CPL), Compact Laminates and Bonded Worktops products, which now qualify to carry the Carbon Trust’s Carbon Reduction Label.     

Mark Adamson, CEO of Formica Group, said: “With our worldwide presence and manufacturing facilities, Formica Group leads the way in design and innovation for the production of High Pressure Laminate.  Now we are leading the way on this important facet of product manufacturing.  Displaying the Carbon Reduction Label on our products is a clear and effective way of communicating to all of our customers that we are working to reduce the carbon footprint of our products. Reducing our impact on the environment is a core part of Formica Group’s company-wide vision and values.”  

The Formica Group has set its own goals to reduce carbon emissions for all operations, vehicles and facilities by 5% by the end of 2012.

The Carbon Reduction Label signifies that the total greenhouse gas emissions from every stage of the product’s lifecycle including raw materials, production, transportation, preparation, use and disposal have been assessed. By displaying the Carbon Trust’s Carbon Reduction Label, Formica Group has made a commitment to measure and reduce the carbon footprint of its products over a two year period.  

To qualify to bear the Carbon Trust Carbon Reduction Label, Formica Group has had each product’s carbon footprint assessed to the PAS 2050: 2008 Specification for lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of goods and services, the Footprint Expert Guide TM and the Code of Good Practice for Product Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Reductions Claims.  

Darran Messem, Managing Director of Certification at the Carbon Trust, said:   “We congratulate the Formica Group of companies on the certification and labelling of their products. The Carbon Reduction Label allows Formica Group to easily and openly communicate the serious and credible steps it is taking to reduce carbon emissions. Certifying these products will have a positive effect on Formica Group’s reputation, and the business as a whole. We are pleased to be working with Formica Group, as it works to reduce the carbon footprint of its products.”  

Gavin Todd, Development Manager, Formica Group, who directs the company’s sustainability strategy, commented:   “Formica Group completed a Life Cycle Assessment on key products and their environmental impacts in all ten of our manufacturing plants. This has provided a benchmark for our processes and enabled us to set goals for the future.  Creating a company culture that demands continuous improvement and working to internationally recognised accreditations and certifications are part and parcel of our journey for excellence in sustainability.  Working with the Carbon Trust and being the first laminate manufacturer in the world to display the CRL is an exciting part of this.”  

Well done to Formica Group for leading the way and joining other prestigous household names in adding the Carbon Trust Label to its products.

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New environment message from Formica at Ecobuild 2012

One of our clients, the Formica Group, is exhibiting at Ecobuild (20-23rd March), the world’s biggest event for sustainable design, construction and the built environment and the UK’s largest construction event of any kind. We will be supporting them throughout the three-day event which takes place at the ExCeL exhibition and conference centre in London’s Docklands, and have set up press interviews, designed a special brochure for the event and look forward to making a special announcement at the show relating to a major sustainability initiative which underlines the company’s commitment to meet the challenges of tomorrow.  

Renee Hytry Derrington and Gavin Todd, Formica Group senior executives will be at the stand, offering a unique insight into the company’s product innovation and sustainability strategies.   After 99 years of defining the look and performance of modern interiors worldwide, the company goes all out (excuse the pun) with its innovative exterior facade panels VIVIX which will be showcased in the UK for the first time at Ecobuild. A perfect way to celebrating many decades of innovation!

See more about Formica and the Environment here.

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The Think Tank heads off to Russia

Jana Pavelkova from The Think Tank’s PR team is in Moscow this week to provide PR support and meeting journalists with Formica Group at the ZOW furniture show.  

This prestigious show that is held in Russia, Germany and Turkey showcases products and services supplied to the furniture industry. The first ZOW Moscow show was held in 2004 and each year usually receives around 15,000 visitors.  

Formica Group is exhibiting vibrant colourways, intriguing textures and unique designs from the TopLine and Doorline collections, which bring a complete offering to the kitchen and furniture segment. Delegates can visit stand D3, Pavilion 7, Hall 2 from 21st – 25th November 2011 can discover how the Formica Group continues to evolve.  

Please click here to see more about the new collections.


The Think Tank joins Formica Team at the Great North Run

Kelly-Anne Steenbok and Michelle Plett joined the Formica Team at the Great North Run on 18th September 2011 to raise money for Shelter. Along with 50,000 runners they took the half marathon challenge and have so far raised almost £4,000. Well done to all.

If you would like to support the team please visit www.justgiving.com/team-formica

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Demonstrating how a worktop can make a difference in a kitchen

Offering a range of options for today’s kitchens, The Think Tank’s work with Axiom by Formica has also been about showing how the worktop can make all the difference to a new kitchen, makeover or refurbishment project.  
Working closely with the home, lifestyle and kitchen trade press, and TV programmes, we have achieved a huge amount of coverage and continue to position the brand as thought leader in the industry.
Tactics have included product placements and makeovers, regular press releases, advice and how to tips, installation guides, themes, trends and comment pieces.

Click here to find out more

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Formica launches new European Collection

Formica Limited has launched its new Collection including intriguing premium textures and many new unique designs.

Formica comments, ‘This new Collection presents a comprehensive palette of High Pressure Laminate (HPL) specially designed in response to European trends. With extensive colour families and co-ordination between ranges, textures and patterns, innovation and exclusivity are watchwords of this exciting offer.’  

The new Collection includes a unique new texture Rigato™ and new patterns Mode, Geo, Dogbone and Strand. The Formica Collection is a practical, trend led resource for Architects, Designers and Specifers and demonstrates how the Formica Group continues to innovate and lead the market in decorative laminates.

Click here to see more

The Think Tank

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The Think Tank appointed as Formica Group’s PR and Media Agency for Europe


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Having worked with the UK business for more than six years, and managing ad hoc projects in Europe during this time, The Think Tank has been appointed as Formica Group’s PR and Media Agency for Europe.  

A successful programme of activities has been run over this period in the UK, including ongoing media relations.  Now, The Think Tank has developed a PR strategy to promote Formica Group’s activities in Europe supporting individual territories with events, case studies and corporate/product news.  The PR programme is led by Think Tank Director, Samantha Dawe.

The Think Tank will report to Simon Wild, Formica Group’s European Marketing Director.  Simon said: “This is the first time we have co-ordinated our PR activity in this way, and this centralized approach will enable us to support markets within Europe on a broader basis.  The Think Tank will co-ordinate activity and help us ensure our message reaches our target audiences in a number of our key European territories.”

The Think Tank will also manage all media planning across Europe to provide a consistent and targeted approach, focusing on specific media in key territories and pan-European titles.

A partnership with designer Tom Dixon for a European Roadshow, showcasing new products and designs, has also been developed.  The Roadshow began in Italy, has taken in Spain and Portugal, and now heads to Denmark, Belgium and Switzerland.  

The Think Tank will continue to support Formica Group in the UK across a range of marketing communications activities.

Formica Group in Partnership with Tom Dixon

The Formica Group has partnered with Tom Dixon for the first time at the Milan Salone Del Mobile (Superstudio Piu) 2010 and now will continue to develop the relationship, touring a number of cities in Europe as part of a specially-created Road Show.

The Think Tank was instrumental in forging this partnership as a part of Formica Group’s PR programme, both in the UK and Europe.

The Tom Dixon stand at the Milan Salone Del Mobile 2010 featured a unique, interchangeable modular system, which utilised Formica® high pressure laminate (HPL). It also contained some intriguing multi-sided models, created by Tom Dixon, which provided a taste of the new Formica® Collection for 2010 to be launched in May.

Gold and Polished Aluminium from the DecoMetal® by Formica Group range featured as stunning finishes on the stand interior walls and provided a high impact, reflective backdrop. Alongside this AR Plus® by Formica Group in White provided a high gloss laminate surface for the stand’s main reception desk.

Formica Group has partnered with Tom Dixon for a unique Road Show which launched at the Milan Salone del Mobile 2010. A modular exhibition system has been specially designed that can be easily transported, constructed and adapted to various locations. This industrially inspired, utilitarian system has been produced in collaboration with Formica Group.

The exhibition system will embark on a road trip immediately after Milan Salone Del Mobile, bringing the new Tom Dixon collection and the new Formica Collection 2010 direct to the global customer. The Road Show will tour eight European cities during the course of the year including Paris, London and Oporto.

The new Formica Collection for 2010 represents a harmonised portfolio of decorative laminates for a range of different environments and furniture. Depth and variety in colour, finishes, new patterns and wood decors offer a versatile material collection.


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