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An interview with German manufacturers Parador:

Have you ever thought that the floor of your home or office is the most utilised part of the entire building?  Yet when it comes to interior design, do you give your flooring as much attention as you do your soft furnishings, wall coverings or furniture?

Neither did I really, until I met Christian Ebbing, Overseas Export Manager for Parador, the German flooring specialists. Christian was in Malta this week to present the company’s latest designs and products to local architects and designers at an event hosted by Parador’s exclusive distributors, Brands International.

Part of the Hüls-Group, Parador has been established since 1977, but only started producing laminate flooring in the early ’90s, later launching their engineered wood floors in the late ’90s. The company now produces flooring exclusively. Besides domestic applications, Parador are also involved in several large-scale projects worldwide, including the City Walk in Dubai.  Christian explains to me that flooring should be considered as an intrinsic part of the interior design process. He adds that the two most important elements for product development at Parador are Design and Quality.  In fact one of the first “design” inspired products from the company is a look called Wine and Fruits, which takes its inspiration from wine boxes and fruit crates to give an individual look when compared to the standard laminate flooring that first appeared in modern interior design.  While browsing through the catalogues of Parador’s laminate flooring designs, I come across a design that is very reminiscent of the Maltese coloured tiles that you might find in an old townhouse.

In fact, in the Mediterranean we have traditionally been more accustomed to the cooler tiled or marble floors. So I ask Christian why he feels wood and laminate flooring are now so popular instead.  He smiles knowingly and tells me “we saw the same thing happening in Spain”.  It turns out people are intrigued by the variety in designs coupled with the warm, natural sensation underfoot, especially when walking around barefoot.  These systems are also so easy to install, even on top of existing flooring tiles without any kind of adhesive: And even better, it’s super simple to change too. So if after 10 years, you want to go for a new look in your home it’s a simple removal and replacement job without any dust and mess that a tiled floor would require to change.

Christian tells me that their flooring designs are very much influenced by trends in interior design, furniture and fashion.  At the moment grey is really in and oak is the wood finish of choice. There is also a strong tendency towards more distressed, less streamlined effects.  Another element that is really making a comeback lately is the herringbone pattern.  Parador only produces a few colour options for this pattern, but they are happy to make a production run on special order for projects in excess of 500sqm. Before oak, walnut was extremely popular.

In Malta these trends are starting to emerge slowly, but here they tend to lag a little behind the rest of Europe.

So where does the inspiration come from for all these different designs and looks?  Just like the rest of the interior design world, Parador visits furniture trade fairs like the Salone di Milanoand takes its lead on trends from there. However, another powerful weapon in their arsenal is strong collaboration with some of the best, internationally renowned designers like Karim Rashid, Hadi Teherani and Zaha Hadid.  Some of these designs provide truly unique looks that would be fitting of any luxury penthouse at Tigne Point.  On average our product design team comes up with new ideas and designs every two years.

By this stage I am definitely convinced that some careful thought into the flooring of my home could really change the look and elevate it to a new level of comfort and luxury. But what about durability, wear and tear? Surely tiles have the upper hand here. Well think again. It is true that both engineered wood and laminate can fall victim to scratches, but this can be remedied.

Scratches and wear on an engineered wooden floor adds to the natural ageing process. It adds to the patina that it develops over time. Ideally you shouldn’t drag furniture across the floor or go stomping through wearing pin-sharp heels. However, there are some products out there that can hide superficial scratches, such as special wax or corrector pens for more solid colours.  There is also the option to sand and re-lacquer the floor, a solution that Brands International can help with as part of their after sales service.   Similar corrector pens can be utilised on the laminate flooring too even though this does scratch less easily than the engineered wood. In fact the laminate carries an AC4 abrasion resistance rating, which means it can be rubbed 4000 times with sandpaper before marking.  Ultimately, however, after years of wear and tear, these floors are just so simple to replace.

Before bringing our chat to a close, Christian wants to remind me of another of Parador’s innovative products. Vinyl flooring!  My thoughts instantly go to bad 1970s rolls of rubbery vinyl used in bathrooms and kitchens.  But this is so far from that reality. I find it hard to believe that this is actually vinyl.  What I see is a product that looks just like a high quality wood floor but with all the practicalities of a water resistant, non-slip material. This vinyl is textured and comes in planks, not rolls. It is also scratch resistant, very easy to clean as well as toxin free, just like all Parador products. This makes it ideal for those needing an allergen free environment.

 

 

As exclusive distributors of Parador products in Malta, Brands International carries a stock of most of the popular colours and designs in various plank sizes. However, if they do not have just what you are looking for in stock, the lead time from placing an order is usually about 4 weeks.  Services included when you order your Parador flooring from Brands International are site visits, delivery, installation and after sales service.

Call or visit Brands International and let one of their team show you the extensive range or Parador flooring to really add a new sophistication to your living space.

 


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