The excitement over new advances in the stunning realism of surface texture, considered the ‘final frontier’ in the next generation of man made decorative furniture surfaces, was palpable and justified.
Everyone at the conference knew that over the last few years these efforts were paying off.
All, that is, except one.

Monica Förster ( is one of Sweden’s foremost designers and was the keynote speaker during the design workshop. She’s been named Sweden’s designer of the year for the last two years, has won numerous international awards, and works with the most prestigious furniture manufacturers in the world. Monica offered us some excellent insights into how designers think and work and how materials can inspire their vision.

She was careful to make the point that Scandinavians, in particular, like their wood to look and feel very genuine. “Genuinitywas a concept central to her presentation, and in wood, that means a raw, matte-finish feel.
“Laminate can’t do that,she told us.
I was moderating the workshop, so at the first break I was compelled to show her a laminate sample brought by Schattdecor designer Claudia Küchen. It featured a printed design with in-register embossed texture and matte-gloss variations that felt very real. Monica’s response was about what you’d expect:

“Oh. Oh, I’ve never felt a laminate like this. This is really nice, I like this.

We continued to talk for another five minutes about design in general and the whole time she never stopped stroking this sample of textured laminate. She was inspired enough to bring up the idea of having her studio do a creative design project with laminate materials.

In the course of five minutes, one of Europe’s top furniture designers went from telling producers that their products don’t measure up, to suggesting a special project to help promote them.
And all that happened was that someone finally handed her a sample……

Kenn Busch