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Formica Forever Celebrates Colour, Culture and the World’s Love Affair with the Formica® Brand

New book depicts the birth and expansion of an international icon

Formica Group, the inventor of laminate, celebrates 100 years of global design with Formica Forever, a commemorative book that captures the company’s 100-year evolution through cultural shifts, economic uncertainties, trend exploration and global growth. 

“The Formica® brand has touched every aspect of our lives each and every day, surfacing millions of spaces in which we gather, work, learn, heal, shop, eat and play,” noted Mark Adamson, former CEO of Formica Group and current CEO of Fletcher Building, parent company to Formica Group. “Many people have grown up with the Formica brand, and this book encapsulates the company’s influence in interior design as well as its struggles and perseverance to remain a viable business through changing ownership, global expansion and the changing landscape of the surfacing market.”  

Designed by Abbott Miller, a partner in the renowned international design consultancy Pentagram, the 408-page, 6.5” x 9.5” book contains more than 400 images andis modeled after a Formica brand laminate swatch book from the 1960s. “We didn’t want a cumbersome coffee-table book; we wanted to create something celebratory rather than grandiose, authoritative but also lively,” Miller said. The book is published in collaboration with Metropolis Books and will be available in early August at bookstores worldwide as well as online.

Formica Forever features:

  • 100 years of worldwide visual assets, including advertisements, logos and product swatches organized by color
  • Three essays in which notable authors lend perspective to the various Formica Group storylines that have unfolded over the course of the last century, including: 

-   Global Business Expansion (authored by Phil Patton)

-   Modernist Design Legacy (authored by Alexandra Lange)

-   Cultural Impact (authored by Peter York)

  • Literary excerpts referencing the Formica brand, which demonstrate both its importance in pop culture as well as the challenges faced by Formica Group to diligently protect the brand
  • An appendix featuring six color-coded translations:  French, Spanish, Finnish, Thai and Simplified and Traditional Mandarin

Formica Forever authors:

  • Phil Patton (Growing Global: A Century of the Formica Brand and Business) is a design journalist, curator and author. His books include Open Road:  A Celebration of The American Highway; Made in USA: The Secret Histories of the Things that Made America; Bug, a cultural history of the Volkswagen Beetle; and Dreamland, the culture of experimental aircraft. Patton writes regularly about automobile design for The New York Times and has served as a curator for museum exhibitions focusing on automobiles.
  • Alexandra Lange (The Glamour of Utility: Formica® Laminate, Design and Luxury) is an architecture and design critic and author of Writing about Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities. Her work has appeared in The Architect’s Newspaper, Architectural Record, Dwell, Metropolis, Print, New York Magazine and The New York Times. She teaches architecture criticism at New York University and the School of Visual Arts.
  • Peter York (Toward a Wipe-Clean World: Formica Brand in Context) is a British management consultant, author and broadcaster most famous for co-authoring Harpers & Queen’s The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook with Ann Barr. He also is a columnist for The Independent on Sunday, GQ and Management Today, and associate of Editorial Intelligence.

In addition to creating the book, Pentagram’s Miller and partners Michael Bierut and Daniel Weil collaborated on the anniversary brand elements, the Formica Laminate Anniversary Collection and the anniversary display concept.

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