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You are here:Guest Speakers»Robin Van Roy and Oscar Knoops (Chapel Parket)
Saturday, 18 November 2023 15:23

Robin Van Roy and Oscar Knoops (Chapel Parket)

Special Producers of multi-layer floors

Floor Forum International N°133, November 2023

‘Presenting just one trade name (Chapel Parket) streamlines communication to the outside world.’
These are exciting times at Chapel Parket. In 2023, they have been working hard on both drastically refining the production apparatus and the manner of communication from the start of 2024. The ultimate aim is to streamline the various forms of overlapping from the past and communicate with the outside world with just one trade name, namely Chapel Parket.

This requires some further explanation and we get that from managing director of floors, Robin van Roy, and Oscar Knoops, who works in marketing and product development. After both men have first explained how Chapel Parket will be present again at Domotex in Hanover after missing last year, they tell us about the development of their company to help us fully understand the present.

Origin: 1950
‘The origin of the company takes us back to 1950 and since the formation we’ve always been a producer of all sorts of wood products,’ Robin van Roy tells us. ‘For over 30 years, we’ve been bringing onto the market floors in which we came to specialise, and that as a genuine specialist in wood and sustainable woodworking. It’s also important to mention that sustainable enterprise has been a top priority since day one. From the very beginning, we’ve never used fossil fuels and we’ve always been self-reliant!’

Oscar Knoops stresses how important it has always been to have the whole process in their own hands. The private limited company Houtindustrie Schijndel BV (HIS) buys its own fresh oak, always from France and the Middle East, and does its own drying, too: ‘By approaching it this way, we can ensure the right moisture content for any floor anywhere in the world. Low moisture for various regions in the USA, for instance, requires a totally different approach to a floor for a tropical region. We also work only with saw mills with a proven record, since their reliability is absolutely essential.’
In 2005, HIS became the owner of Chapel Parket. The takeover also included a small factory in Poland, where over 100 people now work.

Production is still traditional
‘We still make everything in the same traditional manner,’ Robin van Roy stresses. ‘Initially, Chapel Parket was renowned for producing the most charming distressed floors and we’ve kept it that way. You see that the market has changed. Obviously, we’ve had to adapt, so distressed floors constitute only a small part of the collection. We respond fully to the wishes of the clients in terms of colours, finishes, sizes, and such like.’

‘We were also one of the first specialists to supply pre-finished parquet,’ Oscar Knoops zooms in on his colleague’s words. ‘We were well known mainly in the upper segment and we’ve set up our Avance Floors trademark specially for the middle market.’
Obviously, we have to look at the company’s structure to understand it properly. We see that one main firm, HIS, numbers various subsidiaries. These subunits operate in over 60 countries worldwide.

‘Of all the subsidiary companies, the private limited company Timberline International BV is the most well known. This company accounts for the most export activities,’ Robin van Roy explains. ‘One of the major changes now is that we’ve stopped using all those different names. Amongst other things, this means that the floors in the Avance Floors collection are included in the Chapel Parket collection and that Chapel is now the only trade name for communication with the outside world. This is a logical step because it makes our range much more comprehensible, including for purchasing architects and designers. The whole point is to create a strong brand and promote it via a simple structure. Let me illustrate this by a comparison with the automobile industry. Compare it with how Mercedes presents itself. This one trademark encompasses everything, from the entrance models to the super exclusive top models inclusive.’

Both men explain how the collections have been reallocated in logical collections. They have retained the strong points and modified the less strong points. The main point is that Chapel Parket retains its special and extremely natural look.’
Oscar Knoops continues: ‘A good producer must have a variety of sizes. And so, we go from very narrow to very wide and long. We can cope with this easily because we produce each floor per order; there is no stock. We don’t start work until an order is actually placed, and it makes no difference whether it’s an order of 50 or 20,000m². This is customised work in the true sense of the word. If the client has an idea and he or she presents us with a design which we can cope with technically, we simply go for it. Even up to and including making the tools to produce the floor!’

At Chapel Parket they like to focus on architects and designers because they like to deviate from the standard. However, this doesn’t mean that they get all the attention.
‘The collection has to be accessible for most people, but we can also cope with special requests,’ Robin van Roy interjects. ‘We always work together with partners, architects, and designers, and we meet their wishes. One of those wishes, amongst others, is the importance of genuinely sustainable work. It almost sounds like a cliché, but, if possible, we like to insist on this even more than in the past. For instance, it’s good to know that ever since 1997 we’ve been using our leftover material to drive a turbine, which generates 100% green energy. The output comes to 7.5 million kW per annum and we use that energy ourselves and we put it on the grid as green energy. Obviously, our wood also bears the FSC and PEFC labels and we use solar panels on the roof of our company premises. There are now almost 5000, which power all the batteries of our internal transport equipment.’

Co-operation with partners
One more thing to consider is how Chapel Parket deals with its professional partners worldwide. The list includes several prestigious projects and that’s no coincidence.
‘You’ll find our floors not only in the very high end residential part of the market, but also in hotels and everything in between,’ Oscar Knoops rounds off. ‘We’re selective in our partnerships because it’s vital to do business with real specialists. We sell pure natural products and we have to convey this perfectly in our communication. To sum up, I can say that everything we do is geared to the long term and that it helps that we’re still a family business.’