Focus: Head to Head

The future is exciting and full of potential to create flooring products that improve people’s lives, says Becky Pole

Words by David Tarpey

What do you think are the most exciting flooring trends this year?
It’s interesting to see how lifestyle trends are directly impacting on flooring design. For instance, the traditional concept of the workplace is becoming outdated as work/ life culture evolves. This is reflected in flooring, where we see the use of products that were originally designed for home settings being selected for work environments. Rugs, for instance, are being specified in both commercial and hospitality settings. This adds texture to multi-use spaces and softens office interiors with a warmer, more homely look and feel.

We’re also seeing designers experimenting with unusual material combinations, like metals, wood, textiles and stone that add depth to interior spaces. The Desso Metallic Shades range was recently introduced to bring this trend to life with neutral tones enriched with subtle hints of gold, pearl and bronze metallic. Designers can play with this mix of materials to create more dynamic workspaces.

Desso Metallic Shades combine lustrous tones for depth and contrast within the workplace

Are you working on any unusual projects at the moment?
I’ve recently been working on the flooring design for an iconic racetrack restaurant here in the UK. I wanted to incorporate the classic themes showing in other leading British racetrack entertainment areas, but also pull the designs forward and away from the corporate look. There is a growing trend for statement ceilings, so I used this as the starting point to inspire the flooring design. The building’s huge industrial ceiling incorporates textures of wood, concrete and ceramic. We’re looking at using Tarkett’s iD Mixonomi range for the bar area to add pops of colour and to create an eye-catching floor zone made up of geometric shapes.

How do you think flooring is developing within the different sectors?
Are you seeing much innovation? Across the board we’re seeing developments in how our new virtual reality (VR) platform is having a knock-on effect on innovations in the flooring sector. For example, in the healthcare sector and through the application of a fully endorsed ‘dementia filter’, Tarkett’s VR headsets can be used to help with interior design for people with dementia by enabling designers to see the way colours, patterns and textures appear to people who have condition. With flooring design, this is an incredibly useful tool to have as these considerations are of paramount importance. At Tarkett, we are always researching ways to improve design for Alzheimer’s facilities and it’s great to discover new ways that flooring can offer added value at a psychological and sensory level.

At Tarkett we believe it’s our responsibility to develop flooring products that contribute to a healthier living and working space. That’s why the Desso AirMaster collection continues to be a key focus for us. The AirMaster range combines functionality and design, featuring a unique patented technology that is designed to improve indoor air quality. We are now extending the range to provide even more colours and design features, offering designers more creative possibilities to enable them to build healthier spaces without having to compromise on aesthetic effects.

Desso Fuse carpet tiles transition between unexpected colours to create dynamic effects

How do you think flooring choices and design vary between the sectors?
There are different considerations and objectives for different sectors. In healthcare, for example, there is more of an emphasis on practicalities (how easy is the floor to clean, is it slip-proof and so on), but for hotels and leisure, there will be a bigger emphasis on design itself, including factors such as colour, texture and materials.

From a workplace perspective, it’s important to be able to offer a variety of flooring options that can be combined to create separate zones for collaborative spaces and breakout areas, or define corridors or meeting points within open-plan layouts. For example, with the refurbishment of the Bisset Adams architecture design practice in London, a key element of the brief was to create a vibrant yet functional design that would provide natural movement between different areas and outline distinct zones.

Tarkett’s iD Inspiration loose-lay vinyl tiles and iD Square tiles were seamlessly combined with Desso’s Fuse and Fields carpet tiles to create a bold design using a variety of colours and textures

Describe your fantasy floor, assuming no restrictions on budget, safety or practical concerns.
It’s always important to pre-empt what the next trend will be, especially as we live in the time of ‘smart’ technology – a digital age where new, ever-evolving advancements are coming to the fore in all aspects of design. If there were no limitations, I would like to see a floor that adapts and changes to meet your needs. That might mean a change in design, colour or style, or an interactive surface that you could use as a canvas and create your own art. I would need to somehow befriend and sit down with Charlie Brooker (creator of Black Mirror) and see what crazy ideas we could come up with!

Working on something exciting? Submit your project to Design Curial.

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