Category Archives: Inspiration

PIVOT Architecture | TriMet – 2016 Design…Is Award Global Winner

Shaw Contract conducted interviews with all firms of all Market Award winning projects from the 2016 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we always like to share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn about the winning projects. These are their stories.

Describe this project in one word.


How does this project demonstrate design impact?

PIVOT Architecture in Eugene, OR partnered with TriMet, Portland’s metropolitan transit agency to renovate a few of their existing and leased buildings, with the intention of elevating their level of design. One of the phases of this project, was to reimagine the bus operators’ space at their operation headquarters. The existing space was dark, dingy, and one big open space where a variety of functions took place. Things appeared to be placed haphazardly, without rhyme or reason and there were limited spaces for the drivers to relax and unwind during down time. As
one bus operator summarized during our interviews, “Getting through the daily transition between ‘Work Me’ and ‘Regular Me’ is critical to our mental health and morale, but it’s unsupported at work, and can’t happen at home.” One of our main goals for this project was to use the design of the space to separate out the users’ distinct modes of working and to support these various functions in order to help promote a positive atmosphere and well-being amongst the staff.

Views through floor-to- ceiling windows and glass-enclosed spaces let users remain connected to the outside world and the bus yard, while providing an abundance of natural light. The application of bold color through the carpeting and wall colors simultaneously denotes areas of relevant work-related information and transforms the space into a vibrant atmosphere. At two
entries into the main report area, there are graphic displays made from photos and quotes of bus riders. These graphics help remind bus operators as they enter the building the importance of their job and how they can have a positive impact on others.

Each project is a process. Explain your journey with this space.

Setting the tone for this project and weaving its way through the design of the 14,580-SF space was a top-level directive to reimagine how this almost 24-hour operation functions and reflect
one of its main goals of transparency. Before any decisions were made, the design team held a number of in-depth sessions with the users to examine the functional requirements of the space
and what modes of working were either well supported or lacking. Using that information, we took a fresh look at how their operations could function and designed the space to optimize their
performance while making them feel comfortable, valued, and well supported. Since the design of this space was a drastic departure from their current way of working, TriMet utilized change
management strategies to help the users become accustomed to the new layout and function of the spaces.

Tell us about any challenges or lessons learned from working on this project.

One of the main challenges on this project was that the report area functioned almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and needed to remain fully functional during the six month construction
period. Because of this constraint, TriMet decided to temporarily relocate the 400 + bus operators, station agents, bus transportation managers, and all associated services to a modular building complex situated in an adjacent parking lot.

On trends: Is there anything in particular with this project that is reflective of current culture/society?

Overall, this project is reflective of current culture/society in regards to designing spaces where people want to be. The atmosphere is fun, engaging, bright, and open. This space was designed around the end users and what spaces they need to function and feel well supported. It’s not enough just to provide a space anymore. Design is more about the users and how they
interact with the space than simply having a space that the users occupy. It’s about choice and providing varied spaces for the users to select what is right for them at that moment.

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Shaw Contract receives three Best of NeoCon Awards in 2016

June 14, 2016 – Shaw Contract is pleased to announce three Best of NeoCon Awards for 2016:

The brand has received Best of NeoCon awards 14 out of the last 15 years, and these recent wins reinforce Shaw Contract’s position and relevance in the commercial interiors market.

“It’s always rewarding for Shaw Contract to be named a Best of NeoCon Award recipient, as our designers, marketing teams and entire brand works tirelessly year-round to launch products that are great to look at – but also innovative, durable, functional and flexible.” Said John Stephens, VP Marketing.

Four new collections launched at NeoCon 2016: Modern Edit, Extraordinary, Places and Configure.  More details and press releases for all NeoCon collection launches are available here.

 Inherit broadloom (Modern Edit Collection) in color grey.

Inherit broadloom (Modern Edit Collection) in color grey.


Modern Edit Broadloom – Silver in Broadloom

Modern Edit connects to the past and re-frames the concept of heritage. Tactile materials are disrupted by elements with an industrial edge, and textile craft is emboldened with unconventional scales and imperfect finishes. This collection introduces three new 18×36 carpet tile designs and two broadlooms, thoughtfully designed to reveal a distressed opulence.

Intricate, the 12x24 LVT option, adds to the cohesive product story of the Modern Edit collection.

Intricate LVT adds to the cohesive product story of the Modern Edit collection.

Modern Edit LVT – Editor’s Choice in Hard-Surface

The LVT component of the Modern Edit collection introduces Intricate, a new 12×24 resilient style. Tactile materials are disrupted by elements with an industrial edge.  Unconventional scale and imperfect finish enhances the handmade aesthetic.  Exploring a new approach to hard surface design, here we’ve created a new emboss to follow the pattern and add dimension. The Modern Edit collection transcends barriers of residential and commercial aesthetics, allowing you to move from hard surface to carpet tile and custom rugs for a cohesive product story.

The Shaw Contract Design tool will be launched in tandem with new site features later this year.

The Shaw Contract Design tool will be launched in tandem with new site features later this year.


Shaw Contract Design Tool – Gold in Software for Specification

 The Shaw Contract design tool allows designers to use their inspiration as a starting point and then customize to their specifications. It reflects the need for an incredibly intuitive, easy to use tool to provide a quick product search, design capability and design visualization in both 2D and 3D.

About Shaw Contract

As a global floor covering brand, Shaw Contract believes in the impact of design and how to improve how people work, learn, heal and live. Driven by sustainability, our Cradle to Cradle Certified products perform in spaces across the world. The brand has received Best of NeoCon Awards 14 out of the past 15 years and is rated “best overall business experience” by facility managers and designers. The brand is also recognized among Contract magazine’s top ten “Brands that Inspire.” A brand of Shaw Industries, Shaw Contract combines the expertise of the world’s largest carpet manufacturer with the financial stability of a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary. For more information,


1 800.257.7429 |

© 2016 Shaw, a Berkshire Hathaway Company

Shaw Corporate Headquarters PO Box 2128 | 616 E Walnut Ave | Dalton GA 30722-2128 | USA







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Gensler Designs 67,000SF Shaw Create Centre to Spur Innovation

Shaw Create Centre - Atrium View med res                                                                                                                                                Cartersville, Ga. – July 1, 2016 (Image courtesy of Gensler):                                                Shaw Industries Group Inc. broke ground on a three-story, 67,000 square foot Create Centre in Cartersville, Ga. on Friday, June 24. Scheduled for completion in late 2017, the Centre will house the commercial division’s marketing, design and innovation associates which includes Shaw Contract’s marketing and product design teams.
The Create Centre will offer a stimulating, storytelling environment that is a catalyst for growth and innovation across Shaw’s commercial business. Envisioned to inspire Shaw’s talented professionals, the Centre also will serve as a tool in recruiting new talent as the company continues to grow. This new building will be located near Shaw Plant 94, where the company’s commercial design and marketing teams along with manufacturing for Shaw’s custom business are currently located. That facility will continue custom manufacturing operations and will house Shaw’s Custom Design Studio and hospitality customer service teams once the Centre is complete. The addition of the Create Centre will enhance Shaw’s ability to provide design excellence with multiple disciplines delivering against Shaw’s client-centric approach.
“We find value in locating manufacturing, design, marketing and others in close proximity to one another – in the same region, the same state or in this instance the same county,” says Shaw President Randy Merritt. “We’ve found that it sparks new ideas, greater information sharing, and more meaningful engagement with one another. The Create Centre will be an important tool in supporting our vision of growth for our commercial business including global expansion and domestic market leadership.”
The new workspace will provide a collaborative environment that facilitates the sharing of ideas; that ignites fresh thinking; that fosters Shaw’s culture of innovation, diversity and inclusion; and that showcases Shaw Contract and Patcraft’s design and performance leadership.
Designed by architecture firm Gensler, the Centre is expected to be USGBC LEED certified and will feature ample daylight and open collaborative spaces. “This building will be as beautiful as it is functional and sustainable, much like our own products,” notes Brenda Knowles, vice president of marketing, Shaw commercial division. “We are
committed to continuously providing clients with the best solutions for their projects, and the Create Centre will provide the ideal setting for our talented team members to create, dream, collaborate, and solve challenges.”
This $24 million facility represents Shaw’s ongoing investment in its commercial business. In the past few years, Shaw has significantly grown its commercial sales team; opened new showrooms throughout the world; and invested more than $85 million in an additional carpet tile manufacturing facility, which will open in Adairsville,
Ga. later this year.
In addition to the Create Centre, Shaw Contract maintains showrooms in Atlanta, New York, London, Shanghai, Beijing, New York and other global design hubs where Shaw Contract’s presence is a catalyst for for design excellence. Major Shaw Contract clients are located in the Atlanta area. From fortune 500 companies to local universities and hospitals, the business and organizations that impact the Atlanta economy will have access to this creative space – giving them the opportunity to work with architects and designers in Atlanta to continue developing commercial interiors which will attract employees, students, visitors and customers.
This space is designed to spur global innovation for our marketing and design teams, and to inspire visitors and the greater community. Shaw Contract is recognized as a leader in commercial design, and The Create Centre reflects the ideal environment to host clients, inform design professionals and promote our position as a global flooring provider, ” says John Stephens, VP of Marketing.
“Shaw is Bartow County’s largest employer with more than 3,100 associates working here,” remarks Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini. “We’re proud to see the company continue to thrive and invest in the community. It’s a demonstration of the city and county’s ongoing efforts to promote the growth of existing businesses in addition to
attracting new companies and industries to the area.”
About Shaw Contract
As a global floor covering brand, Shaw Contract believes in the impact of design and how to improve how people work, learn, heal and live. Driven by sustainability, our Cradle to Cradle Certified products perform in spaces across the world. The brand has received Best of NeoCon Awards 14 out of the past 15 years and is rated “best overall business experience” by facility managers and designers. The brand is also recognized among Contract magazine’s top ten “Brands that Inspire.” A brand of Shaw Industries, Shaw Contract combines the expertise of the world’s largest carpet manufacturer with the financial stability of a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary. For more information,
About Shaw Industries
Shaw Industries Group, Inc. offers a diverse portfolio of carpet, custom rugs, hardwood, laminate, resilient, tile & stone flooring products, synthetic turf and other specialty items for residential and commercial markets worldwide via its brands Anderson, Patcraft, Philadelphia Commercial, Shaw Contract, Shaw Floors, Shaw Hospitality, Shaw Sports Turf, Southwest Greens, Tuftex and more. Headquartered in Dalton, Georgia, Shaw is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. with $4.8 billion in annual sales. The company employs approximately
22,000 associates with offices; R&D, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution locations; product showrooms; and/or salespeople throughout the U.S., as well as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, India, Mexico, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. For the company’s latest news, visit

1 800.257.7429 |
© 2016 Shaw, a Berkshire Hathaway Company
Shaw Corporate Headquarters PO Box 2128 | 616 E Walnut Ave | Dalton GA 30722-2128 | USA

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Design Thinking Is…A Field Trip!!

Last October, Shaw Commercial VP of Marketing Brenda Knowles and Shaw Contract Group designer John Crews traveled to Dalton, GA to speak with a precocious group of fourth and fifth graders at Westwood Elementary School about “design thinking.” The students sought extra inspiration for their ambitious yet imaginative mission — redesign the school media center.

design thinking

What Is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a formal method for practical, creative resolution of problems and creation of solutions, with the intent of an improved future result. In this regard it is a form of solution-based, or solution-focused thinking – starting with a goal (a better future situation) instead of solving a specific problem. By considering both present and future conditions and parameters of the problem, alternative solutions may be explored simultaneously. – Nigel Cross, “Designerly Ways of Knowing”

Design thinking is all about creating holistic, ideal solutions for the future, instead of solving immediate problems. This solution-first approach is accomplished through an iterative process of divergent thinking that yields as many “out-of-the-box” ideas as possible and refine down to the most feasible options. That “a-ha moment” will happen as long as you adhere to Meinel and Leifel’s four principles of design thinking:

    The human rule – all design activity is ultimately social in nature
    The ambiguity rule – design thinkers must preserve ambiguity
    The re-design rule – all design is re-design
    The tangibility rule – making ideas tangible always facilitates communication

This group of gifted and talented students truly exemplified these principles, because they not only absorbed design thinking theory, but wanted to get up close and personal with design thinking in practice. Fortunately, Shaw Commercial’s headquarters at Plant 94 are only a 45 minute bus trip away!


Design Thinking in Action

“I’m used to organizing mill tours, not field trips”, exclaimed Custom Studio Senior Design Manager Brandy Sutherland, “but I’ve never had more fun planning an event in my 12 years at Shaw!!”

Sutherland had plenty of help from Shaw Contract Group’s best and brightest to plan a full day of engaging activities to make design thinking tangible, social and most importantly, fun. First, the students revved up their imaginations with Shaw Hospitality Group designer Omoleye Adeyemi. First, Adeyemi handed each student a piece of paper with a few squiggly lines drawn across it in no particular order. She then instructed them to grab a crayon and connect the lines to draw shapes or figures that fit into whatever narrative they could imagine. Needless to say, many entertaining tales of dragons, dinosaurs and stick figures unfolded across each piece of colorful scratch paper. The creative juices flowed more freely once Adeyemi showed them how to magically swirl pigment on top of water and transfer it to paper. Check out the Noble Materials video and see if you can do any better!


After an eventful and productive morning, the children were treated to a little lunch-and-learn in the form of pizza and our very own ColorSense video. Shaw Contract Group designer Ashley Olsen then guided her captive audience on a sensory journey through the Altered and Studio Painting collections and how they were inspired from cultural artifacts across the globe. By this point, the students were practically giddy to go on a tour of our design studio to see, feel and hear all of this design thinking happening in real time and gain a better understanding of how ideas become tangible.

The wide-eyed pupils were then handed off to Sutherland and West Coast Custom Design Manager Trish Hagedon to learn how our Custom Design Studios customize any design to fit a variety of floor plans. Like any group of 21st century youngsters, they had the most fun with our interactive Foundry Tool which enabled them to plug and play with the ideas already percolating in their young minds with a few clicks of a mouse. Senior Estimating Manager Tony Gentry even showed them how a carpet-to-fit, or seamless design concept flowing between rooms, might look on their own media center floor plan via AutoCAD. Now knowing the capabilities of our custom design team, Sutherland handed each child a paper version of their floor plan and let their imaginations fly, as long as they colored within the lines.

design thinking-3

“Some students came up with very colorful carpet-to-fit concepts, while others decided to assign certain patterns and color palettes to individual rooms,” said Sutherland.

What’s Next?

After a long day of design thinking, doing, drawing, coloring and playing, the Westwood students returned to Dalton with a veritable treasure chest of creative ideas to unleash upon their media center. They have already designed the furniture and dreamed up a new maker space, and keep a close eye on design trends, so the sky is the limit for bringing their collective vision to life. We’ll keep you posted on the unveiling of their media center makeover later this year!

“We are very thankful to everyone at Plant 94 for creating a very meaningful learning experience for my challenge classes!,” said Challenge Class Coordinator Martha Thomason.

design thinking-4

Education, innovation and community engagement are bedrock principles here at Shaw Contract Group. These events are just as much a learning experience for us, as they are for the students. Who knows, maybe one of these bright pupils will join our team in a few years and teach us a thing or two!

To find out more about our education market and how we invest in sustainable development of healthy learning environments, please visit our education page.To read more about design thinking and education visit Stanford University’s REDLab Group,Hasso Plattner Institute or Tools at Schools.

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Celebrating the Power of Public Art

The Park collection celebrates human interactions – whether quiet or communal – taking cues parks and other public spaces where we connect for a variety of personal experiences.

Public art is a critical facet of these experiences – and it’s always intriguing to see how different geographies and cities approach large scale installations.  Need some daily inspiration?  Check out Architectural Digest’s slideshow of some of the world’s most powerful public sculpture.










Among these featured installations, Metamorphosis by David Černý.  This striking sculpture, pictured here,  was commissioned by the American Asset Corp. for a 200-acre corporate plot in Charlotte, North Carolina. The 14-ton artwork is made from stainless-steel layers that rotate 360 degrees, occasionally aligning to create a massive head. The sculpture even boasts its own webcam.

Some of the best things are meant to weather time, while others are intended for fleeting moments of inspiration.  Have a look at French artist Olivier Grossetête’s  The Ephemeral City – an astonishingly large installation created for the Sydney Festival taking place now in Australia. Relying on public participation to build it, construction takes place Jan.8 —28 and will all destroyed on the final day. As heart wrenching as it to know beautiful things aren’t always permanent, we can take comfort knowing that we can carry memories from these experiences for a lifetime.



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