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From the dancefloors of Wigan to CDW,Milliken introduces Northern Soul

UP-TEMPO, fast-paced and funky are the words used by Milliken to describe its carpet tile collection influenced by the music and dance movement of the ‘70s.

‘Bold typographic elements combine with intricate patterns inspired by the musical rhythms, lighting effects and the distinctive fashion of the day, to celebrate the mood of Northern Soul. The colour palette is evocative of the time and includes retro colours of the ‘70s as well as bright colours and a pastel range. The addition of strong black outlines give the designs a contemporary feel.’

The company continues: ‘Like the music and dance scene that inspired it, the Northern Soul collection is vibrant, full of life and colour. Milliken’s unique Millitron patterning technology makes possible the detailed patterns and nuanced colours. Northern Soul cushion back carpet tiles (in a 50x50cm format) are fun and upbeat, capturing the rhythm of music through mark-making, patterns and colours.’

The collection began its life as part of Milliken’s partnership with The School of Design and Creative Arts at Loughborough University. Design and textiles students worked on a project to design carpet tiles for commercial briefs set by Milliken. Student Charlotte Devereux based hers on the heritage of Wigan (where Milliken’s factory and headquarters are based). Charlotte focused her work on the Northern Soul movement, born in northern England in the late ‘60s in venues such as the renowned Wigan Casino.

As part of the research for the collection Charlotte spent time watching a visual representation of the music on a modular synthesiser which captured the Northern Soul music through the screen, this inspired the form and shape of the patterns and forms found throughout the collection.

Inspiration was also taken from nightclub lighting effects, typography seen on tickets and posters, dance movements, spinning records and the fashion of the Northern Soul movement.

To turn Charlotte’s concept into reality, senior Milliken designer, Helen Lloyd, took up the next stage of the process. Refining and developing Northern Soul into a fully realised, commercial flooring collection.

There are four designs in the collection. The first, Soundtrack, is inspired by retro prints and record labels of Northern Soul from the ‘70s. Millitron patterning technology is vital to being able to produce the precision pattern and colour seen in Northern Soul. Geometric shapes are created from vinyl records and the movement of spinning records and dancers is represented.

Soundtrack can be used as a statement design or softened with more neutral patterns. The design works well, says Milliken, to define walkways, in circulation areas, break-out spaces and can even be used as a ‘feature rug’.

Next is Night Flyer, inspired by Northern Soul club flyers, posters and tickets. Retro colouring, typography and graphics are taken from the era. Textures capture the essence of movement. This design provides a bold statement pattern to create a showcase feature, says the company.

The third design in the collection, Strobe Light, is inspired by club culture lighting. Millitron patterning technology is crucial to creating the precision pattern, texture and movement combined. It denotes linear patterns cast through strobe lights, with what’s described as playful and contemporary modern herringbone effect and ease of fitting.

And finally there’s Floor Filler, which is inspired by Northern Soul dance floors. Contemporary commercial tones can reportedly be varied from tile-to-tile to replicate the changing light effects seen on a dancefloor. Where required it can be used to give the appearance of one overall colour. When it comes to the impact of sound, flooring has an important role to play.

Northern Soul uses Milliken’s cushion backing which ‘ensures underfoot comfort but also absorbs up to 60% more ambient sound than hardback and reduces impact sound by up to 40%. Northern Soul is available with TractionBack 2.0 adhesive-free installation: a more sustainable, healthier and more efficient method of carpet installation’.

Continues Milliken: ‘The Northern Soul collection is made from Econyl yarn, which uses 100% regenerated content. As part of Milliken’s M/PACT Programme it offers impressive green credentials from recycled content to responsible end of life re-use. It’s made from 60% recycled content by product weight and has the following third party certifications: A+, TUV, EPD, CRI and C2C Silver.’

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