Editor’s pickMasters of innovation
By Wendy Wei
What does creativity in wood flooring look like? The answer can be found in INNOMASTER.
Speaking of flooring companies, the first few names that come to mind is very often Nature, Treessun, Powerdekor or Boer. While these brands are well-known for superior quality and have significant market share, they also end up flooding the market with large quantities of similar products, resulting in tight competition.
Fun and novelty in Innomaster's products
Furthermore, products that are marketed as “environment-friendly”, “formaldehyde-free”, “waterproof” and “radiative floor heating” have been commonplace for the past 20 years. These practical characteristics attract consumers but are in fact nothing new for trade media and industry insiders. In the west, environmental standards and grades are no longer business gimmicks; they are a basic standard. Can we finally have some fun and novelty in flooring?
Veterans in the business
Huang Guang and his business partner, Liu Shuozhen, can be considered veterans since each has more than 20 years’ of experience in the industry. But more importantly, the founders of INNOMASTER broke convention, taking ingenious flooring design to a whole new level. Their products gained popularity in an amazingly short time.
At the Shanghai and Guangzhou trade fairs, INNOMASTER is always packed with curious visitors. The loud colours and expressive designs are always a hit.
Liu, who is also the chairman of INNOMASTER, is the founder of Elegant Living Baroque Flooring. The company specialises in branding flooring and building material enterprises. By melding stories and cultural elements into the brand, he proved himself the innovative storyteller, establishing a whole new world behind INNOMASTER.
In the Shanghai and Guangzhou trade fairs, INNOMASTER’s booth is always packed with visitors. Even though it is located in the Chinese hall, it attracts overseas buyers too. The large spacious booth, creative design, bright tones and distinctive styles are impressive and most cannot resist grabbing snapshots with the booth.
To approach real design and prepare for the upcoming Age of Colour, INNOMASTER has worked with Italy’s Stewari design studio and designed over 4000 different types of veneer. Although not every design can be manufactured domestically or is suitable for the market’s taste, the wide range of products is enough to leave many competitors trailing far behind.
According to Huang, Armstrong, one of the largest flooring and building material companies in the U.S., is negotiating the exclusive rights to sell INNOMASTER’s products in America.
“We've been travelling the world in the last five years,” Huang said. “Now we are back and we hope to amaze everyone with what we can come up with.”
Trial and error
Many people enjoy the loud colours and explosive styles in INNOMASTER’s overwhelming variety of products. But few know that these products are developed after countless hours of trial and error. Furthermore, products with distinctive characteristics are very hard to cater to the majority’s taste. But this is easy to find out—just launch an online poll and observe the responses. In the end, some universally popular products will emerge, which are so original, they cannot be copied.
“The trial and error process is not meaningless if they lead to the correct result,” Huang says. He also adds that the market’s unpredictable reaction forces INNOMASTER to offer good customisation service in return.
The building materials sector doesn’t often work with other industries. Traditional companies can be insensitive to design and style. Unlike the clothing industry, it usually takes five to seven years for the building materials industry to catch up with trends.
However, as industrial printing technology becomes more popular now, a growing number of building companies are incorporating popular fashion concepts into their business. Many companies are also trying to get rid of faceless styles, which are mostly grey, white or wooden tones. And while trending colours, styles and designs are now more common at regional exhibitions and conferences, only INNOMASTER seems to have undergone the greatest change.
With an international outlook, good fashion sense and keen understanding of the flooring industry, things are looking up for INNOMASTER. It should continue to grow if it develops these strengths as its core competitiveness. The best products on the market can be copied, but having a sense of creativity and adventure is priceless and irreplaceable.
This article was first published in Wood in Architecture Issue 1/2018