Tomás Alonso: Furniture made of laminate
Jan 9, 2013
Designer Tomás Alonso, photo © Jasper Fry

What led you to examine the topic of “flooring” more closely? Which aspects have you focused on in particular and what concept did you come up with?

Tomás Alonso: It was through receiving an invitation from Stefan Diez to take part in this project that I became more interested on the subject, to be honest I had never really stopped to think about laminate flooring before. This is in fact one of the things love the most about our profession; each project opens a door to explore a new world, a chance to discover materials, processes and techniques as well as people.

When getting to know laminate flooring and Classen in particular, one if the things we were most curious about was this dichotomy of real and fake. The fact that the products starts from wood that is broken down into a paste that then gets reformed into new boards into which a lot of effort goes to make them look like real wood again. Having said that, we were really impressed with the overall quality and extremely realistic look and feel of the laminate boards. So realistic in fact that our first thought was that we could almost make furniture with it, and so that’s what we did.

What was the greatest challenge you faced when implementing your project?

Alonso: As Classen is a very large company producing million of square meters of laminate flooring per week, it was quite different to approach the project in terms of trying to change anything related to the production of these boards. However, once we found this direction and decided to make the most of their current range of boards, it has been pretty straight forward, even if we still have to figure out if our low-tech floorboard printing machine works or not!

Do you have a favorite type of flooring, both personally and from a designer’s perspective?

Alonso: Personally I really like solid wood floors. I enjoy their natural warmth and the fact that they are alive, they change with time and use; they age with us and become more beautiful and richer with time. However as a designer there is always the curiosity of working with different materials with no particular preference to just one type of flooring. I think most types of floor have a place to be and this is highly dependent on the context; be it location, use of the space, etc.

Designer Tomás Alonso, photo © Jasper Fry
A wooden stand is Tomás Alonso’s inspiration for his “Flooring Deluxe” project with manufacturer Classen, photo © Tomás Alonso