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03 December 2018

UNILIN Evola launches decorative boards that look and feel true to life. But what exactly is “true to life”? That is a question for UNILIN Evola’s Product Manager Ann De Blanck. She explains the development process and takes us on a journey to where it all begins: with the original.

A UNILIN Evola collection is impossible without inspiration, so where do you find that?

“I always start my search for inspiration by visiting trade shows and reading magazines. During Salone del Mobile in Milan, for example, we look out for the most important trends, with a particular eye for the ones that are likely to be around for a few years. Although trends are following each other at increasingly short intervals and we tap into that with regular updates, we want to develop a stable collection, inspired by real life and yet designed to last for a number of years. Finding inspiration means being open to influences from everywhere. There is nothing scientific about it and we often follow a strong gut instinct to pull together a contemporary collection that is 100% UNILIN Evola. After that, our input is passed to our R&D department, who look for the appropriate answers for our analyses and suggestions.”

You pride yourselves on starting with the genuine article. Where do you find that?

“Our studio is full of ‘genuine’ products. For instance, our Design Director, spotted a gorgeous little designer coffee table during a holiday in Italy. In our studio, we kept sawing until we had a piece measuring 10 by 10šcm that perfectly reproduced the texture that we had in mind. Then we translated that into a larger surface area to get our final decor texture. ”

How real is real with UNILIN Evola?

“If you want real wood, you'll always choose the original article. If you are looking for a more budget-friendly alternative that is just as sensitive to natural aesthetics, then you’ve come to the right place with us. And, if you put our end product next to the real thing, then you won’t be able to see a di­erence. That is our ultimate goal. A nice little extra benefit is that our product is much easier to look after, and far more resistant to scratches and UV. Of course, you can’t create a collection with 168 di­erent, natural oak decors. We need variation, so we start treating the genuine specimens; for example, adding a patina or saw marks to the decor. That is a real job for the specialists, because it’s a very fine line between attractively authentic and hopelessly overdone. And that is what makes the end product unique as well; that’s an absolute must.”

Our ultimate goal is always very clear: if you put our end product next to the real thing, we don’t want to be able to see a difference.

The decors and structures are developed in-house; how is that done?

“That is done with an awful lot of skill. By that, I mean that our team experiments and tries things out by hand, day in and day out. For example, when the ‘reclaimed trend’ was all the rage, we created a decor with cracks in the panel. We did that using a drum that we threw nails and screws into; as the drum turned, they made scratches in the decor. Yet another conscious choice and essential if you want to bring unique products to the market.”

Today, textures are more important than ever. That is why we have spent the past few years focusing on them.

moodboard UNILIN Evola