Aern Hetem Discusses How Tricycles Business has Evolved over the Last Fifteen Years.

Aern Hetem, President of Tricycle, and Kemp Harr, discuss how the company has evolved over the last 15 years to stay relevant as digital imaging technology has become more mainstream. Listen to the interview to hear more about the services Tricycle provides to the flooring specifiers and manufacturers.


Shaw Hospitality Group develops award-winning Global Reason using Tryk®

Sampling that's faster, less expensive and less wasteful helps Shaw steal the show at HD.

Pam Rainey has ink on her fingers.
When the design manager set out to create the newest collection from Shaw Hospitality Group, she wanted to explore old-world, artisan, analog techniques of patternmaking. And she wanted to explore a lot of them.

Beginning with hours of printing using traditional woodblock methods, Rainey and her team also looked at vintage batik patterns, American Navajo rugs, and influences from around the world. The result was a cultural potpourri of designs, layered and richly textured, that make up the Global Reason collection.

Global Reason is adventurous, exotic, and above all, beautiful; a global tapestry of style that brings elegance to hospitality projects. Judges from the International Interior Design Association agreed, awarding the collection Hospitality Design Show’s Award of Excellence in the carpet category this year.

But to get from block printing to award-winning carpet was no easy feat, requiring the freedom to explore round after round of concepts, iterations and tweaks. The costs and time could have been prohibitively high, if not for Tryk sustainable samples.

“With budgets being tight these days, we try to save on sample costs,” said Rainey. “On a collection like Global Reason I will typically create twenty-one to twenty four patterns, which will be narrowed down to sixteen during product development.”

"Rainey used Tryk throughout the design process – in fact, during the entire development of the award-winning collection, Rainey’s team tufted only three physical samples, to confirm yarn colors. Everything else was Tryk."

“Instead of having to run samples of these we use full-scale Tryk Swatches and Tryk room scenes during product development. The room scenes also help us check for pattern issues. In a collection like this, where the pattern repeats are twenty-four or forty-eight inches, there can be a lot of issues with the repeat – issues that don’t show up in 27 inch-wide samples.”

Rainey used Tryk throughout the design process – in fact, during the entire development of the award-winning collection, Rainey’s team tufted only three physical samples, to confirm yarn colors. Everything else was Tryk.

The collection was designed for a multi-level cut loop machine, which produces one of the most expensive samples in the industry. Rainey was able to explore options in freedom, without concern for unnecessary costs because the cost of Tryk printed simulations was drastically lower than physical samples. And because she did not have to wait for samples to be run, she was also able to develop her ideas much more quickly.

“Tryk simulations also helped when I was showing ideas to manufacturing, sales and marketing – they are an easy way to flip through a lot of different samples,” she added.

And, of course, the use of Tryk also served Shaw’s well-known commitment to environmental responsibility. Global Reason, manufactured with Eco Solution Q nylon, is designed as a Cradle-to-Cradle product, certified by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry. The carpet is completely recyclable, containing 45% pre-consumer recycled content. Recycled content is based on allocated nylon fiber from Shaw's total nylon fiber production and determined as a percent of total Eco Solution Q output. Actual recycled content in this product will likely vary. They are also Green Label Plus Certified and contribute to the LEED point rating system for recycled content, low-emitting materials and innovation in design. So it only makes sense that their development was undertaken with minimizing waste in the design process.

“This is one of the happy side benefits of Tryk,” said Rainey. “Not only can we run Tryk simulations without using fiber or contributing to landfill, but we can run extras for labeling, sales tools, visual references for graphic artists which set up the marketing materials, or visual references for the manufacturing floor.”

A project that began with blockprint patterns of ink on paper, used ink on paper samples to develop the patterns all of the way up to the actual production runs. A carpet collection that invites designers to wander the world – soaking in the rhythms and flavors of a globally diverse marketplace – saved time, sampling costs, and reduced unnecessary waste all along its journey to market.


Fixing your PET is the responsible choice

Throughout the 1980s, the Cola Wars provided plenty of entertainment, kept marketing companies profitable and divided families, playgrounds and workplaces between “team Pepsi” and “team Coke.” I remember refusing to “dine in” at fast food restaurants that didn’t carry my favorite soft drink brand. Although both sides achieved a relative d├ętente by the nineties the new century opened a new front in the simmering conflict. The outcome, however, could be far more positive than tooth decay and rising obesity rates.

In 2009 Coca-Cola debuted PlantBottle, a PET plastic bottle made from 30% plant-based material (sugar cane). Last month, Pepsi announced a pilot program using a 100% bioplastic PET bottle, made from—according to this press release—switch grass, pine bark and corn husks. Though described as identical to the look, feel and performance of traditional petroleum-based PET, the bottles may not appear in local grocery stores for a while since the pilot program doesn’t begin until 2012.

In a season of “green fatigue” where every manufacturer or service provider is stridently promoting sometimes questionable environmental credibility it’s encouraging to find simple truths being recognized. The truth is that changing our ideas concerning the ingredients of our “stuff” can have far-reaching, positive impact on our planet.

PS: Here's a tangental, but somewhat Pepsi-related development:

We watched with disappointment and some head-shaking amusement, the failure of a biodegradable SunChips bag in the U.S. market. Now SunChips, whose parent company is PepsiCo, has unveiled a new—quieter—compostable bag for its snacks. We always believed in you, SunChips!


Give It Up

Give up your carpet samples. Those patterns that didn't make the cut, the colors that are so 2010, the has-beens and runners up. Tricycle's annual Ample Sample design contest is the perfect excuse to unleash a little spring cleaning on your library of carpet samples.

More than 700,000 carpet samples will ship this year, helping architects and designers narrow down the perfect choices for their projects. But what happens when the project is over?

Far too many carpet samples still make the short trip from the resource library to the landfill. Ample Sample gives designers the chance to take what was destined for the trash and upcycle them into other purposeful goods.. or just something cool.

Winning concepts will be showcased during NEOCON 2011 and featured on the Ample Sample site and Facebook page.

Visit here to view past entries and get contest details.


GeoHay gets nod from Shaw

Last summer I wrote about GeoHay, a barrier filtration product made from recycled carpet fibers. Originally designed for erosion control at construction sites, GeoHay was repurposed along Walton County, Florida beaches to protect ecologically sensitive areas from oil released in the BP disaster.

This week Shaw Industries announced its investment in GeoHay, opening a new channel for using the post-consumer carpet Shaw collects. Shaw has ongoing recycling and waste-to-energy programs for the more than 100 million pounds of carpet it reports to reclaim per year through its national collection network. Organizations like Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) have applauded the move.

Eight years ago, when both CARE and Tricycle were founded, carpet waste in landfills was approaching five billion pounds yearly. That number, according to CARE, has decreased to 3.5 billion pounds--a smaller but still significant amount. It's encouraging to see solutions coming from outside the carpet industry, and the industry supporting those solutions. More can be done and new, more-creative solutions are needed. Part of finding solutions is increasing awareness of the problem. Ample Sample is a yearly design challenge from Tricycle asking people to creatively rethink carpet waste. We'll post details about this year's competition soon.


New Year, New Tryk Tools

Fresh ideas for 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008...

For years Tricycle has been providing the right tools at the right time to designers and manufacturers. High quality images of custom and running line carpet styles in a variety of formats--delivered fast--make selection less about "waiting" and more about "choosing." Now, as virtual design and construction processes continue to expand throughout the A&D community, Tryk® is the right tool for new ways of getting things done, better.

AutoCAD programs like Revit and SketchUp allow designers to create virtual, 3-dimensional environments and the flexibility to place images of actual products (like carpet) under consideration into the rendering. When a single room or an entire building can be visualized as a finished space, product selection becomes easier. Simple, right?

The challenge for designers becomes finding product images to add to their computer-modeled spaces. Designers (and interns) tell us of hours spent searching online through manufacturer websites and product review pages to find pictures of the right styles in the right colors they can copy. Or, if a sample can be found in the firm's resource library, a designer can scan (and re-scan) architect folders and product brochures. After further time spent manipulating the images with photo editing tools in preparation for adding them to renderings the results are often less than ideal. Partial repeats and low-quality product images make presentations less effective for communicating a designer's intent.

Tryk ® Now is a full-repeat, digital sample made specifically for use in rendering programs. No searching, scanning or anything else that keeps you from doing what you do best, designing. And Tryk samples integrate seamlessly with Tricycle's full suite of tools, like our iPad carpet application, Tryk Studio and Configure, our modular design program.

Digital solutions are the "best" of a sustainable design process where using less is "good" and increasing speed of response is "better." We constantly measure the work we do against our identity as a Sustainable Design Company. Many of our innovations are directed by conversations with designers--people who use our products and are passionate about the same things we are. If you have an idea or comment, let us know. Kudos and criticisms are welcome too.

This year, Tricycle brings designers one more way to dematerialize their process. We're excited about the next eleven months and wish you a great 2011.


Tryk makes designers happy

"Max, you are the BEST." - Kim, October 2010.

"Still working on it but your drawings helped so much." - Hallie, October 2010.

"You all did perfect. Thanks so much for your help!" - Christie, November 2010.

"Perfect. Thanks so much for the quick response. My meeting went great." - Lorraine, November 2010.

"[Tryks] were much better than the ones I've gotten from [another simulation product] in the past. They were larger, more defined, and in the random installation that was not available in the regular [other simulation product] options for these patterns." - Jerry, December 2010.

"Many thanks for your efforts! Very nice visualization. I have added the images to our presentation to show at the meeting tonight." - Judy, December 2010.

Tryk samples are available in flexible sizes and formats to meet various design needs. But despite the many choices, it's not uncommon for us to receive special requests from designers and sales reps. From customized room scenes to floor plans, to six-foot, high-resolution prints and more, every special request is unique but all share a need for speed and accuracy. For each Tryk ordered, our Tricycle production team is hard at work exceeding expectations and helping move projects (and carpet sales) forward.

It's hard to give our production staff enough praise for the work they do but happy Tryk users sure try. Here's a small sampling of recent kudos and some pictures of production in a few, lighter holiday moments.

Our blog is mostly about sustainable design in the interiors industry,
especially carpet. Sometimes it's just about us. Updated when we've got something good to say.