When chatting with Ariane Bouchard, marketing manager at Uniboard, about upcoming trends in kitchen cabinetry for our summer print issue, I didn’t expect to talk about design tools, but that quickly became one of the most interesting parts of the conversation. What really caught my attention was their Digital Sample Box.
“We’re very proud of it; it’s the first of its kind in the industry,” says Bouchard.
Many are familiar with the sample box at meetings and consultations, filled with well-worn old favourites and trendy colours in a variety of finishes. It’s a completely different experience from looking at colours onscreen. Looking through physical samples is an integral part of the decision-making process.
Uniboard has found a meaningful way to translate that physical experience into a virtual one with this digital sample box. Far beyond snapshots and colour swatches, this tool allows the viewer to see the sample from different angles and in different lighting, emulating an in-person experience. The digital rendering makes it easy to appreciate the texture and sheen of a given sample, which is important considering texture is one of Uniboard’s biggest selling features.
“Realistic surface finishes are an integral part of our product line because we know that the feel of the product is as important as the look of it,” says Bouchard. “Low sheen multi-gloss finishes with wood-like pores create tactile surfaces that emulate nature and are the hottest trend we’re seeing for Thermally Fused Laminate (TFL) panel décors along with smooth matte finishes that pair perfectly with the emergence of new solid colour palettes.”
With everything happening virtually, this tool is a game-changer not only for sales and consultations but also for designing and product sharing. It’s effortless to use and personalize, so the user can access the entire collection of TFL and High Pressure Laminate (HPL) boards within the tool to create a personalized sample box, which the user can then share with their client and team. More than that, it’s integrated with their Design 360 platform, so everyone can also see how the given samples will look in the project itself, solving an issue related to the limitations of physical samples.
While a designer may have a clear vision in mind, this is a great tool to help them show this vision to their clients. This way, customers can make better-educated decisions on what kind of style they’re looking for, from traditional to trendy. Uniboard has a lot of both, particularly when it comes to solid colours.
“Historically, these have leaned toward a more neutral colour palette, such as grey, white, and black,” says Bouchard. “Of late, pigmented colours have been making it into the mainstream in an assortment of markets, such as residential kitchens, contract furniture, and store fixtures. This new array of solid colours has roots in European design, which has quickly made it to our shores as the hottest new thing.”
The tool is a game-changer for anyone who designs regularly with TFL and HPL. It facilitates and streamlines the process of virtual meetings and indeed does offer a new “digital approach to interior design.”
Uniboard’s mission is “redefining wood” and with this tool, they’re certainly redefining how we see it.