Editor’s Note: Since this article was originally published, i+s visited the Mannington Design Center in Atlanta with a film crew to capture the space in 3D. Experience a virtual walkthrough of this beautiful showroom with a set of VR goggles, on your laptop or on your mobile device by clicking here.
Mannington Commercial’s new Design Center is located in Midtown Atlanta, currently undergoing a revitalization that includes the latest in dining, shopping, and residences. Part of the adaptive reuse project Stockyards Atlanta, the Center goes far beyond what is expected of a traditional product showroom; it is an inviting space meant for designers, customers, end users, and staff to do everything from select product to conceptualize projects or just relax with a cup of coffee.
Designed in partnership with Dallas-based Corgan, the Atlanta location pays homage to the original structure, Mannington’s roots, and the design culture overall. After collaborating on several projects with the manufacturer, it made sense for Corgan’s Emily Strain—lead design on the Center—and Lindsay Wilson to work with Mannington on the remodel. “The idea was born out of how Mannington continually engages designers,” Wilson explained. “Our time is so compressed; getting people to go out to Calhoun, Ga., [where Mannington Commercial is based] was becoming more of a challenge. They were really brainstorming on how to create a space in Atlanta where they could tell the Mannington story.”
Strain added, “We asked what would be valuable to [design professionals], with compressed time and schedules, to get them into the space to experience the brand, so we came up with the other [areas within the space].”
As a family-owned brand, Mannington knew the Design Center should be comfortable, just like home. The welcome area feels more like walking into a residence than an office. “We knew the overarching space everyone would touch would be the welcome [area],” Strain explained. “We didn’t want to call it ‘reception’; the goal was to make people feel welcome and invited into the space and not that they were walking into a showroom, but that they were walking into someone’s living room.”
The welcome area draws in elements of the hospitality segment as hotels are feeling more like home. “This concept of hospitality was really different for [Mannington],” she added. “We had been working with them for more than five years, and they have always been warm and welcoming to us. Here, designers come in all the time just to grab a cup of coffee and say hi, which is exactly what we wanted. It was important to convince Mannington to not have a front desk that would be empty 75 percent of the time, instead having a kitchen type of space up front.”
Designer Mandy Lamb, based in Chattanooga, Tenn., has previously worked with Mannington Commercial on its NeoCon spaces. At the new Atlanta site, she used her expertise to create subtle branding elements throughout the Center. “The Mannington Commercial sign [in the welcome area] isn’t big or bold; it’s very understated,” Strain noted. “It is more about the feeling than the branding with a logo.”
Of course, as a flooring company, Mannington wanted product to be highlighted in the space. This goes beyond samples, with product installed throughout the Center. In the entrance area and working library, “different flooring is inset in a polished concrete topper product that is not by Mannington,” Strain explained.
“The idea is like going to an art gallery where you see a beautiful piece of art that is framed simply on a white wall. This [concept] really allows the flooring to shine in vignettes within the concrete.”
The installation of Ink Wash Wood LVT from the Amtico Signature brand required “some restraint” on Mannington’s part, Wilson recalled. “They resisted the temptation to put down eight different LVT products in the hallway just to show them all off. They will change out product, but creating the overall environment for the space took precedence over showing various products on the floor.”
“We chose a round table because the most engaged conversations happen around the family kitchen table,” Strain explained of the layout of one of the Center’s main conference rooms. “We loved the idea of having a round conference room table to show it is about getting to know the customer and engaging with them in a more [personal] way. We named this area ‘the dining room.’ And the painted sign was an actual logo from the history of the Mannington company, when it was known as Campbell & Family.
The exposed brick honors the rich history of the building. “The original sign looks perfect here,” Strain said. “We wanted to be true to the character of the space and having elements like these really does that.”
In the working library area, an environment was created for designers, customers, and end users to review product and go over project details. A highlight is the tall wooden shelves crafted by Range Projects, also out of Chattanooga.
“Because Mannington products are so well made, we thought it was important that the space feature other well-made, beautifully crafted details,” Strain said. “[Range Projects] was amazing to work with. They are also responsible for all of the metalwork in the space. The door handles they crafted are actually pieces of carpet machinery with the dangerous parts removed.”
A functional wall in the Calhoun, Ga., Mannington facility that stored spools inspired the wall with colorful yarn in Atlanta. “On one trip, we noticed two of us were Instagramming that wall at the same time,” Strain recalled. “Designers are fascinated by elements that go into products. This wall highlights that, capturing that ‘Instagrammable’ moment.”
The break room is another area that was designed by Lamb with branding in mind without being product driven. “The reception area goes hand-in-hand with the break room,” Wilson said. “There is that residential/hospitality feel, with the idea that people could be comfortable, and that we want them to hang out. It really feels like hanging out at someone’s house after the party is done.”