This month, Georgy Olivieri spoke with Grace Daly of ShopTalk Evolution, a talk show targeted toward the retail and restaurant development industries. From anticipated trends in retail environments to what’s new at Lamin-Art, the 12-minute show lets designers discover Lamin-Art products and how they tie directly in with these trends-to-come.
Listen to the Interview | Shoptalk Evolution with Georgy Olivieri
Hey, ShopTalkers! Welcome to our show. I’m very excited to introduce you to our guest, Georgy Olivieri with Lamin-Art. She is the vice president of sales. Hey, Georgy! Thank you so much for joining us.
GRACE: Yes, very excited to hear what’s going on with you, what’s new what’s hot, what’s fresh with Lamin-Art—especially because it’s going to be on the ShopTalk Designer and Architect edition. So share a little bit of your background, especially as it relates to the design industry.
GEORGY: Oh sure, well I’ve been in the Architecture and Design market for more than 25 years, and I have a design background myself. It’s a very exciting market that’s a real passion of mine. I’ve been with Lamin-Art for the last year and a half.
GRACE: Awesome. Now during your career—and throughout out your whole career and your career with Lamin-Art—what kind of design changes have you seen, or design progressions have you seen specifically to retail and restaurant arena.
GEORGY: Well you know, with my experience, I’ve had a very broad background with a lot of different market segments in design, but retail is relatively new to me. I find it very exciting.
The designers who I speak with all across the country are some of the most creative people I’ve ever met, and like I said, I’ve been doing this a long time. They love what they do, they think out of the box, they have no limits, and that’s reflected in their designs.
GRACE: I love that. When we were chatting earlier, you had mentioned that retail design is awesome. Who doesn’t love retail design? There’s something fast and fun about it.
GEORGY: It is. In fact, what I really hear often is designers feel like they can just go for it. They have the freedom and can go after the big look or the powerful statement, and don’t have the constraints that other sectors do.
GRACE: Very cool. Now, what are the top three things your clients—and I’m guessing most of them are designers—are looking for in your Lamin-Art products?
GEORGY: Well I would say that the top two things that people know Lamin-Art for, and the reason why they specify us are:
Number 1: the overall look.
They’re going for something that’s unique, something that you don’t see everywhere that’s high design and that pushes the envelope.
And number two is about fresh, new design trends.
We just introduced a collection of metals, our Metal-Art line, which are very large architecturally scaled patterns. They’re meant to be seen and recognized from across the room. And designers love the power of the structure.
We also just introduced a new line called Abstracts that takes a whole new look at ordinary materials, like concrete, stone and different things that we have in our lives and surround us every day. As Abstracts, they’ve been made even more beautiful. And they’re amazing. We’re seeing a lot of interest, especially on the East Coast and with major brands.
GRACE: Now, do you found that in the past few years there are more and more retailers that are looking to refresh? Maybe by re-laminating or replacing laminates to be more cost effective? More of a refresh, remodel look, as opposed to replacing the whole fixture in itself? Has that been a trend?
GEORGY: That’s a good question, Grace. I’ve heard a lot about that. Most people who use our products are using it not as a cover for an existing fixture, they’re making new, and what we’ve really found—especially at the GlobalShop show in Las Vegas. The brands are really coming on strong, and they’re redoing a lot of their retail brand, and overall aesthetic, so this is a fresh new opportunity compared to the last several years.
GRACE: Oh, so everyone’s kind of looking for new, for fresh?
GEORGY: Yes, exactly.
GRACE: Ok, now where do you see retail store designs in the next 10 years? And what’s the role of laminate?
GEORGY: Well, at Lamin-Art, we develop—I know this is a kind of an offline comment—but we develop exclusive continuing education units (CEUs) for the design sector, and we have created an exclusive CEU that’s all about biophilic design. And a lot of the time, I get people who say, “What the heck is that?”
GRACE: Yeah I was just going to ask, what is that?
GEORGY: Yes, it’s really about bringing nature into the interior environment, what the human impacts are, and, more importantly, what can we as designers can tell the retail client how bringing nature into the retail space can impact their business.
There’s been some scientific research done by a firm called Terrapin Bright Green, a research and sustainability firm, and they found that customers were willing to spend 25% more in a retail space that included nature. Nature that could be in the form of a beautiful wood print, reminding people of the outdoors and natural materials, or our Veneer-Art product, which is real wood veneers encapsulated in laminate for extra durability. So that’s one thing I’m really seeing is going to be a strong trend.
Another thing the study mentioned was the use of day lighting. You know, a lot of people have tried to save energy in conjunction with the green building movements. And what they did is they installed skylights for natural daylighting. What they found is that rather than just having an impact on energy savings, they sold more. And it’s very powerful, in fact Wal-Mart, Macys, a lot of large names are heading in that direction because they see how it can improve their sales.
GRACE: So what you had mentioned earlier about putting nature into the environment, does Lamin-art have some of those laminates? Would it be the Abstracts collection?
GEORGY: Well, I would say it would be primarily in our Premium Wood Prints collection, which is about 80 different designs. They’re very large designs, and they’re inspirations in designs come from architectural wood flitches cut right from the log. And they’re very large repeats, so when it’s used on something like the wall elements, it’s very beautiful and has extreme depth in color and in detail.
And then, of course, there’s our Veneer-Art product, which is the real wood. And we’re seeing a lot of that being used in retail. Even though it’s slightly more in cost, it’s very durable, so when fixtures are moved around or they go through store changes, they don’t have to repair them.
GRACE: And it’s about also what builds their brands, right? And the whole store environment and store design.
GEORGY: Yes, and we have a great history. I don’t know if you have heard about some of the brand names we’ve helped to identify and to build, but in retail it can range from the key brands in the cosmetic industries, like Chanel and Estée Lauder, boutique brands like Dolce&Gabbana, and large department store chains like Macys and Bloomingdales. We do a lot of work with the major brands, and they use us all across the country. For example, AT&T just used us for 2,500 stores.
GRACE: Oh wow. 2,500 stores! Now you’re recently back from the GlobalShop show in Las Vegas, right?
GEORGY: Yes, yes it was so much fun. Like I said, what I was really impressed with was the overall quality of the people attending the shows, and the fact that they’re right in the midst of doing work. They’re starting to do whole new aesthetics for their re-branding of their stores. They’re very busy and they’re doing a lot, so they want our binders and our new samples right away. Several of them actually made me promise that they would get them first thing on Monday.
GRACE: Ok, and to wrap up in the next few minutes, what’s your most favorite Lamin-Art product? Or the one you feel is most interesting?
GEORGY: You know it’s kind of hard to pick one over the other.
GRACE: Right! It’s like picking from your children.
GEORGY: That’s exactly right. But the one thing that I think really tells such a great story is a product that we developed for Starbucks: Naturals Burlap. It’s real burlap that’s encapsulated in laminate. And it was really due to a request from Starbucks to laminate their coffee bean bags so they could upholster them on their walls. Naturally, that was very complicated. But Matthew Krog, our vice president of national accounts, went and sourced the burlap. Then we colored it specifically for Starbucks, and it’s been used in a lot of stores for their wainscoting. it’s very durable and it looks just like a coffee bean bag.
GRACE: I love that very custom feel. So, please finish this sentence: To me, Lamin-Art is…
GEORGY: To me Lamin-Art is a boutique of exquisite architectural surface product designs.
GRACE: Oh I love that: exquisite product designs. And with that we’ll wrap up. Georgy Olivieri, thank you so much for spending time with us with your busy schedule and sharing what’s hot in the Lamin-art world. We’ll have you and also Matthew back on our show in the future.
GEORGY: Thank you, Grace we enjoyed