Print technology changes the possibilities and processes of design. It’s evident in where the technology is used. Take a glimpse into its evolution and the creative freedom it allows in interior design, and specifically, floor covering.
The advancement of digital technology has dramatically evolved print over centuries, from block printing during the T’ang Dynasty (618-906 A.D.)1 and the famous Gutenberg printing press in 1440,2 to making some of the most premium products in the world.
- For more than a century, print has made a fashion statement for Louis Vuitton, which launched the fashion house’s signature Monogram Canvas handbags and luggage pieces in 1896.3
- Hermes played with print for the 1937 introduction of the Hermes silk scarf. The coveted accessories are still screen printed by hand today, the designers of which can choose from tens of thousands of colors.
- Beginning in 1959, Andy Warhol brought silk screen to the forefront of mid-century art with bold color and graphics.4
- As digital computing came to the forefront in the 1970s, Milliken saw an opportunity to wed ink-jet technology and computer-control enabled tufted carpet printing with customized designs. The resulting digital carpet printer – Millitron® – enabled Milliken to enter the rug business and revolutionized how floor covering is manufactured.
- Though invented in 1983 and originally known as ‘rapid prototyping,’ the rise of 3D printing in the 21st century has allowed incredible customization for various products and simplified complex manufacturing. The new, chic line of 3D printed faucets by American Standard, DXV, is a great example. NASA even employs the method to research manufacturing in zero gravity with the goal of “establishing an on-demand machine shop in space.” The design files are sent to print from a computer on Earth.
Print’s Possibilities for Flooring
For floor covering, print offers unparalleled design flexibility, control and performance. Milliken’s patented, high-resolution Millitron printing technology redefines what is possible with floor covering. With the highest resolution in the industry, Millitron enables incredible color clarity, pattern precision and design ability on modular carpet tile, no matter the size of floor plane.
Millitron, our brand of patented digital dye infusion (DDI) technologies, recently spoke with Interiors & Sources about its advantages for the magazine’s Product Exposé feature, seen below. Click here to view the piece in the August issue of Interiors & Sources.
While we usually interview products, Millitron is Milliken’s patented digital dye infusion (DDI) technology able to create high-definition, cinematic floor covering patterns that flow across modular carpet tiles. We just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sit down to a Q+A with the hottest new manufacturing heavy-weight.
- Where did you grow up?
- My roots are grounded in technology at Milliken’s Live Oak manufacturing facility in LaGrange, Georgia. My humble beginnings were influenced by Milliken Print Research Scientists, who taught me how to lead—to work smart, encourage diversity and make an everlasting impression. Now you can find me around the world, including the United Kingdom, China and Australia.
- What was your first big break?
- I made my debut more than 40 years ago and kept getting better with age. My beauty secret: Milliken’s unparalleled research and design capabilities.
- What’s the rumor mill churning out about you these days?
- I’m not usually one to boast, but my remarkable ability to emulate natural surfaces with the luxury and functionality of soft surfaces was on full display at NeoCon 2016. I even accepted the Best of NeoCon Gold for Milliken’s modular carpet collection, Lapidus.
- Where was the last place the paparazzi photographed you?
- I appeared in an interactive 360-degree video that captured every facet of my work at the Milliken Chicago showroom for NeoCon 2016. My creations have also been spotted in innovative offices, schools, libraries, airports, hotels and convention centers worldwide. Just look down.
- Aside from sugar, spice, and everything nice, what else are you made of?
- My unlimited color space means I’m made of whatever you want me to be. I can make your dreams of color and pattern come true with my precise computer-controlled dye jets, but unlike when you wake in the morning, the vivid colors and patterns I bring to life never wear off.
- If you could get one plastic surgery procedure what would it be?
- I’m so agile that I can be who I want, when I want, where I want – from sharp and defined to nuanced and poetic. No plastic surgeon needed – it’s in my DNA.
Click here to learn more about Milliken's unparalleled range of flooring collections and technologies that redefine the floor plane.
Feature image: Unearthed
Offline Sources1. The Art of the Print by Fritz Eichenberg
2. "Gutenberg, Johann." The Columbia Encyclopedia. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015. Credo Reference. 8 Jan. 2016.
3. “Vuitton, Louis (1821-1892).” The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide. Abington: Helicon, 2015. Credo Reference. 8 Jan. 2016.
4. Andy Warhol, by Arthur C. Danto