The trend for realistic, textured-woodgrain kitchen surfaces first seen in high-end German and Italian ranges is now firmly established in the UK market.
Demand for MFC panels with deep synchronised textures, and the look and feel of rustic raw timber, has soared – leading Egger to invest heavily in additional production facilities at its Northumberland site.
In recent years, the company has introduced synchronised pore décors, where print and texture align to create a perfectly registered finish. Characterised by knots, saw marks and planking it gives the board a natural feel almost indistinguishable from real wood.
Egger UK’s head of décor developments, Elliott Fairlie, says: “Within our Zoom range, what we describe as our ‘Feelwood’ textures have been extremely popular. These authentic new designs feature a double paper layer and highly-realistic gloss levels, creating a depth and realism previously only available from a veneer or solid timber.
“Substantial recent investment in additional production capability for these products in the UK, rather than importing from sister plants in Europe, means our customers can expect shorter lead times, more flexibility on sizes and smaller minimum order quantities.”
Demand from manufacturers for its Feelwood designs has also led Egger to launch a new, carefully-curated collection of its most authentic, deeply-textured, melamine-faced chipboard panels.
And by bringing the 10 premium MFC décors together with perfectly-matching laminates in the standalone Feelwood collection, it believes it will make it easier for designers and specifiers – with new marketing and point-of-sale materials.
“Whether it’s an on-trend kitchen, a hotel bedroom or an office interior – demand for something that looks and feels like real wood continues to grow,” Elliott says. “But the advantages our products have, apart from price, is that you get surfaces that are durable, sustainable, maintenance-free and offer colour continuity now and in the future.
Egger is the first wood-based materials manufacturer to offer synchronised pore – where the textured finish aligns with the grain itself – across all of its boards. The new Feelwood collection includes hardwearing laminates and sleek compact laminates as well as melamine-faced chipboard.
Feelwood is available in 10 décors, some brand new introductions and others a fresh take on popular classics – including Halifax Oak and Sepia Gladstone Oak.
But common to them all is the authenticity theme – reflected in Egger’s advertising strapline for the new range: “What if I told you this wasn’t real timber…”
Available double-sided with both surfaces deeply textured, the Structure 27 and Structure 28 décors also have a single-sided option with a non-synchronised reverse for where a lower-cost product is required.
Egger’s quest for ever-more-realistic, innovative products for furniture manufacturers is also amply demonstrated in its worktop range – where it was the first supplier to offer synchronised pore worktops combining the natural look and feel of solid wood with all the durability, care and maintenance benefits of laminate.
Launched last autumn, its revamped worktop range has had a major impact on the sector.
“The role of the kitchen is changing, with home owners increasingly looking for open plan spaces that are co-ordinated to create the right look and feel for multifunctional living,“ adds Elliott. “Creating that co-ordinated look requires materials that either match or complement the worktop.
“And because Egger supplies the materials that are made into doors, carcasses, shelving, end panels, upstands and plinths, the resources exist to bring the co-ordinated look together.”
The decision to retain a tight postformed edge in the Contemporary range rather than move completely over to the even more-fashionable square-edge profile, reflects feedback from customers and installers that shows there remains a strong demand for this type of worktop.
Using a high-density protective layer along the front of the core board creates an edge that is less susceptible to damage from impact, a vulnerable spot on some postformed worktops, whilst the tight 3mm radius on the postformed edge gives a contemporary look.
For those looking for something even more on-trend, the new square-edge Premium range has a sharper, fashionable look and is available in 12 décors. The woodgrain and gloss décors are all 38mm, whilst the six stone and ceramic décors are available in a sleek 25mm thickness.
As well as offering the sleeker, thinner worktop look that is growing more popular, it gives the opportunity to better-replicate the unique visual appearance of granite and stone. Premium tops are available in 4100 x 650mm single edged or 4100 x 920mm double edged, using 1.5mm ABS edging instead of 2mm to create an even more realistic look.