Flooring Focus: Inspirational flooring projects

Several inspirational projects that make the most of the space beneath our feet

Words by Toby Maxwell

Mercado Little Spain
New York City

Mercado Little Spain is a fun and vibrantly designed new gastronomic project in New York City featuring a variety tiles by Spanish manufacturer Vives Ceramica. Spanish chef José Andrés, based in the US, has worked with countrymen and fellow chefs the Adrià brothers to create a collection of eateries in the Hudson Yards design district of the city that offer a fresh take on the traditional Spanish market.

The site offers 3,200 sq m of space that is divided into different restaurants and shopping experiences, all styled to offer a distinct Spanish look. The project, carried out by Capella Garcia Studio, uses more than 50 tile designs.

One of the two restaurants, Leña, features the World Woods porcelain tile series, combining the rhombus format with rectangles to create an original ceramic pattern for the central space. By contrast, for the kitchen, the classic 10x20cm Morthier Natural bevelled design and the Nordland ceramic wood-effect range were chosen.

The flower market features cement-effect tiles from Vives Ceramica’s World Streets range – tiles that are ideal for flooring as they are available in anti-slip versions. The matt-finish gres porcelain tiles come in a 20x20cm format and in a variety of subtle patterns as well as plains that can be randomly put together or organised in a single design group.

At the centre of the market is the Spanish Diner. World Streets porcelain floor tiles were used for the floor, which is contrasted dramatically with floral patchwork wall tiles, Patchwork-12, on the main bar. The Bar Celona cocktail bar features an imaginative mix of Vives’ wood-effect ceramic tiles, including Gamma Miel on the floor.

The area of the market devoted to deserts – Pasteles & Helados – has a distinct look made up of a variety of neutral tiles. On the floor different designs have been used to differentiate areas and include Amalfi Beige, Amalfi Grafito, and Cavour Cemento porcelain tiles.

Junipers Bar
Maidstone, Kent

The bar mixes a retro feel with contemporary designThe bar mixes a retro feel with contemporary design

Junipers Bar in Maidstone, Kent, is a good example of a successful renovation of a dated building. Using a range of Havwoods products across the walls, floors and cladding, the building’s interior has been transformed into a stylish, contemporary space that integrates into its prime town centre location.

The bar mixes a retro feel with contemporary designThe bar mixes a retro feel with contemporary design

The project takes Bronzo and Notte products from the flooring brand’s The Italian Collection, a range inspired by the intricate floors of Italy and comprising of chevron, herringbone and plank-style board in a spectrum of shades. Narrower in form and with a thinner composition, their size offers the flexibility to create more complex flooring patterns.

Meanwhile, the Istra Stretched and Darna Stretched boards are taken from the Design From Havwoods collection, which includes both engineered and solid-construction planks, alongside the introduction of a select range of reclaimed wood.

The end result is a new, bustling and stylish, yet timeless, destination that offers a retro ‘traditional’ 1920s vibe and bright 1970s furniture, but with a modern twist.


The flooring at the Kensington and King’s Cross restaurants. Image credit: Macaulay Sinclair / John Carey.The flooring at the Kensington and King’s Cross restaurants. Image credit: Macaulay Sinclair / John Carey.

Interior architecture studio Macaulay Sinclair has worked with the co-founders of restaurant brand Dishoom since 2013, together creating unique narratives for each site, which are set in different time periods but all centred around the old Irani cafes of Bombay (now Mumbai). The interior design is informed by these stories, with the flooring chosen specifically to reference a certain era.

The designers carry out painstaking research, embarking on trips to Mumbai for inspiration and to source furniture, objects, fittings, materials and works of art to create the most authentic and rich restaurant interiors possible for the Dishoom brand. Every detail of every restaurant is designed meticulously to feed into the overall narrative.

The flooring at the Kensington and King’s Cross restaurants. Image credit: Macaulay Sinclair / John Carey.The flooring at the Kensington and King’s Cross restaurants. Image credit: Macaulay Sinclair / John Carey.

From the beautifully crafted Mintons-style floors in some restaurants and the 1960s-feel black and white tiles at Dishoom Carnaby, to the cobbled tiles in King’s Cross The Permit Room and the striking reclaimed marble and Merbau parquet flooring with reclaimed mahogany strips at Kensington, thousands of elements make up the flooring designs to ensure that even when looking down, diners are immersed in the time period created for the restaurants.

iQ Student Accommodation
Hammersmith, London

The different spaces in the communal area, including this games room, were each given their own identityThe different spaces in the communal area, including this games room, were each given their own identity

With the standard repetitive fixtures and fittings no longer ticking the box for student accommodation, Maxwell Green Design enlisted the help of Forbo Flooring Systems to breathe a new lease of life into the communal areas of iQ Student Accommodation’s new property in Hammersmith, London.

When iQ Student Accommodation obtained the building it quickly realised that the communal spaces were tired, dated and very uninspiring. It approached Maxwell Green Design and the result is a contemporary and fun interior. Lisa Green, director of Maxwell Green Design, says: ‘The student accommodation market is very different to how it was 10 years ago, with the old design model of plain and simple furniture and floor coverings that exude little character no longer suitable for the students of today. Instead, they crave designs that reflect societal and even geographical trends. So when it came to designing iQ’s new building we took inspiration from this very cosmopolitan region of London.‘Within the communal area there were many different spaces, such as a games room, study area and even a cinema room, which all required their own identity, yet needed to be connected seamlessly. While we were able to add personality to each room with furniture, wall coverings and soft furnishings, we wanted to do something striking with the floor, so it didn’t just become a backdrop.’

Forbo’s Tessera Layout and Outline carpet tiles were specified within the main atrium space. They were chosen in the contemporary Mono and Frosting colourways to create maximum impact when people first enter the space. Thanks to the plank format (100x25cm) there a wide range of design possibilities. Says Green: ‘With this choice we were able to create a bold, monochrome striped design that would lead the eye naturally through the space and to the various study and break-out areas, while complementing the neon colour pops used throughout,’

Forbo’s Flotex flocked floor covering, meanwhile, combines the appeal of a textile floor covering with the practical and hygienic advantages of a resilient, making it suitable for very busy locations, such as the screen room on this project. It too is available in a wide range of colours, designs and formats, including sheet, tile and plank, or designers can have their own pattern – or logo – printed onto the surface for a completely unique aesthetic.

‘Within the screen room we required a softer aesthetic, so we decided to opt for a different floor covering. We chose Forbo’s Flotex Concrete planks, as the velvety texture provided a comfortable feel underfoot, while being durable enough to cope with food and drink spillages,’ says Green. ‘We chose four different shades – Cloud, Smoke, Storm and Thunder – which were then combined to provide a contemporary twist on the traditional herringbone design. Although at the beginning iQ was nervous about the “concrete” effect, they were delighted with the end result.’

The Mansion
Marylebone, London

Hakwood’s Coco flooring from the Colour CollectionHakwood’s Coco flooring from the Colour Collection

In Marylebone Village, in the heart of London, is The Mansion: a seven-storey building of 23 luxury residences that have been developed recently by Clivedale London. Architecture firm DSDHA and interior design agency Arney Fender Katsalidis (AFK) were also brought onto the project.

Hakwood’s Breda flooring from its Dutch Scrape Collection was specified for the show apartment, and Coco from the Colour Collection was specified for the rest of the building.

Fred Scarlett, sales and marketing director for Clivedale, comments: ‘The Mansion has been designed to deliver the highest standard of specification, with every detail carefully considered to ensure the ultimate level of comfort and peace of mind for future purchasers. Pairing exceptional residency with a number of thoughtfully selected service partners has allowed Clivedale to provide access to the best that London has to offer, right from their doorstep.’

From the white Corian worktops to the Japanese feature tiles in the bathroom, each apartment has been fitted to provide a low-maintenance property that favours longevity – Hakwood flooring was chosen for this reason as it is hard-wearing, and because it is made from natural wood and so any wear that occurs further adds to its visual character.

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