Catching a wave: Milliken’s new Kai collection of carpeting celebrates mid-century surfing culture

Milliken introduces the Kai Collection, a series of graphic floor-covering designs that pay homage to the classic American surf culture of the 1950s and 1960s.

Designed by Susan Fitzgerald, the collection features fluid shapes that transition from dense to dissipating, much like the incoming ocean tide. Clean and modern lines are paired with textures of Polynesian bark cloth, creating a harmony of patterns with various treatments.

Three patterns encompass iconic symbols of the surfing counter culture through a range of scale and texture:

• Tapa, inspired traditional Polynesian bark cloth fabric, provides a small-scale, near solid pattern

• Nalu, meaning “to surf,” features a mid-scale wood grain aesthetic inspired by the woodie wagons surfers often drove to the California shore

• Fin, inspired by the fin of a surfboard, offers a bold statement piece with colour vibes, which allow multi-colour customization in a standard collection.

“Floor covering should enhance the individual story of an interior environment,” says Bob Hutchinson, V-P of global design for the Milliken floor-covering division. “Free-flowing organic patterns, such as Kai, invite those who experience it to express their own freedom.”

The Kai collection is PVC-free and manufactured by Milliken, a carbon-negative family of companies certified by the respected Leonardo Academy Cleaner and Greener Program.

Additionally, Kai carries an Environmental Product Declaration, Health Product Declaration and a Declare transparency label. The collection also contributes to LEED, The Living Building Challenge and other green building certifications.


Milliken has a rich history of delivering innovative broadloom and modular carpet collections from its award-winning global design studios, research center and manufacturing facilities. Milliken’s progressive and purposeful flooring products offer great design solutions built from unique insights and an exceptional array of technical capabilities. Visit us at any of our product showrooms around the world and see what inspires our community of innovators.

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Milliken is an innovation company that has been exploring, discovering and creating ways to enhance people’s lives since 1865. Our community of innovators has developed one of the larger collections of United States patents held by a private U.S. company. With expertise across a breadth of disciplines including specialty chemical, floor covering and performance materials, we work around the world every day to add true value to people’s lives, improve health and safety, and make this world more sustainable.

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