It is a great pleasure for Bolon to be represented at the material library Broeinest in Rotterdam. Their goal is to provide architects and other creatives with easy access to a wide array of materials from different suppliers in a neutral setting. Bolon asked partner coordinator Janou Bonnie about the concept, what role physical samples will play in the future and what the general trends are.

What is the idea behind Broeinest and how did it start?

The idea behind Broeinest is formed by the last economic crisis. Before we went into the crisis we met around 25 interior architects at an agency. At the height of the crisis this number went down to 2 or 3. A lot of professionals lost their jobs and were forced to work as independent designers, often from their homes or flexible co-workspaces, where they did not have access to an updated material library. Also a new generation of professionals came into the market and they asked a different, more flexible approach. 

 You see most of the interior and material brands and suppliers work with sales representatives or account managers. They speak in results and have a very different attitude and mindset as the designer or architect that works in solutions. These two parties often have to work together but speak two different languages.  

Broeinest was founded to fill that gap. We speak the language of the designer as well as the language of the brand. We make sure that all designers have easy access to an updated material library and we are focused on long term relationships instead of one big sales opportunity. Architects see us as equal, as a party that is there to help them, think a long and give them new insights and offer them a wide range of solutions.

But why is there a need for architects  to borrow material discreetly?

There is nothing secret about it  but often architects don’t feel like telling the brand because they often feel stalked by certain aggressive sales people and they do not know how to deal with them, because they don’t think or act the same. Solution driven versus result driven and creative versus commercial people



Bolon is one of many companies constantly improving our product to be more sustainable. What do you think lies in the future regarding sustainable materials?

It is the biggest theme we have to deal with in every industry. All suppliers and brands are focused on the theme. We believe that this is an ongoing process and that the only way we can create a sustainable environment is to be conscious about ourselves, the material we use and the way we design.

We don’t believe that in the coming 10 years all material will become sustainable but we do believe that if you are not willing to work and change your mindset to a more sustainable one professionals will not use your material or collections.

So, what role does Bolon play at Broeinest and how do Bolon connect with the Broeinest DNA?

Bolon is one of our flooring partners at Broeinest RDAM and brings high-end and sustainable design to the table. Bolon is an active partner that sees the opportunities Broeinest brings them and often invites professionals to the location. I believe Broeinest as Bolon are both brands that are focused on flexibility, sustainability and always like to aim higher and be better.


 The events in the past year will probably/hopefully change the consumers approach to materials and how we consume. What do you see will be the biggest change following a post-corona world in the design industry?

A difficult question but we do believe that the events in the past year highlight that a flexible mindset is the key. The world surrounding us is not static so you or your company have to be flexible. The 9 to 5 office is in the past, we are more and more working from home but we are also aware that human connections are very important to us and our mental health. Workplaces will be more focused on meeting each other rather on doing our work tasks. Besides this we believe that a re-appreciation for the local will follow. For an exciting holiday we don’t have to travel half the world. But besides these beautiful ideas I also believe that these times and especially the influence that the tech and social media industries has divides us humans more than ever before. Everywhere we go we have access to information but that information is not objective anymore it’s sent through an algorithm that is created based on your behavior, likes and interests. 

The flexible ones have to be very aware that for a big group in society it’s difficult to be flexible. They are anxious, angry and afraid and we have to make sure they feel heard. If we are not able to listen to them and if we are running too fast on our own flexible path the gap between these groups will become bigger and bigger. That is why the conservative and right wing parties are getting more and more votes because a huge group of people are afraid of change and don’t feel there is a place in this rapid society for them.

One effect the global pandemic has had on the industry is the shift towards a more digital world, do you think this might affect future projects if architects use less physical material samples?

No, digital can be a tool but is not a solution and definitely not a replacement. We are tactile beings. Architects create tactile environments. You have to see, feel and experience the material with your senses that is not possible digitally. Digital tools can help us reach architects, give information or inspire. 

In your work you come in contact with a lot of materials used for floors, what general trends are emerging in terms of colors and materials?

Very difficult question as we also advise in so many markets and industries. Technically trends are sustainable and lose lay principles. Besides that we see that a floor is a big investment and a long term material but is more and more used to make a statement. Warm color and great tactility are very important. We don’t really work with color trends. It's too hyped but we do see that the standard white and grey’s are a bit done. A floor in an environment has to be appealing and not only functional. We like more color in our lives and we do see a trend that is very focused and biophilic design where we look towards nature as an inspiration.

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