Matt Jackson, director and head of workplace at BDG Architecture + Design describes his fantasy floor to FX in this Q&A
What’s been your most challenging project and how did you overcome the challenges?
Floor finishes typically cover one of the two largest surface areas on projects, so often give great opportunities for defining look and feel. We have installed fantastic polished concrete on projects that often need to try and work with original, structural, exposed concrete, so face a challenging process of testing different mixes and going through a rigorous mock-up process including drying to get it right.
What are your most important considerations when planning a flooring project?
Floor finishes can be one of the biggest issues to sort out post-completion if something goes wrong, so making sure a product can stand up to the use it will be put through is critical. Our teams spend focused time reviewing and testing products on vulnerability and ensuring the correct specification is made without compromise.
WPP Amsteldock, Amsterdam: a repurposed landmark building on the banks of the Amstel river brings 1,500 creatives together under one roof. Image Credit: Gareth Gardner
What are the key factors and trends to take into account when designing floors in the 21st century?
One key factor is the honesty of a floor – the world now accepts old reclaimed timber floors, industrial floor finishes that have crossed the bridge from factories to workplaces, and many products that would never have been seen in an office until the last five years. We have recently been working with Viroc on a project, a really interesting solution that has a real urban grit feel to it, bringing the street inside.
What type of floor would you install if there were no restrictions in terms of budget or anything else? In other words, what’s your fantasy floor?
I have always admired the polished concrete floors at the Tate Modern gallery, particularly in The Tanks. However, we are currently working in the Brunel Building [in London] on two projects and the base build features a beautiful, oiled, open sawn-engineered board oak timber floor left in a raw condition. It’s a real warehouse-type floor that beautifully complements the industrial nature of the building; a floor that our clients have shared our admiration for and we have taken into our schemes to create an experience flow from entering the building to the tenant reception.
How important is technology in floor design? Are smart floors a significant trend?
I think smart floors will play a part in the future along with developing sensor and potential kinetic technology.
The former Telefonica building in the heart of Madrid now provides a campus working space for WPP. Image Credit: Gareth Gardner
Is more significance given to flooring design now than in the past?
No – it’s always played an important part of any interior composition and will continue. We have had many projects that have had unfinished, exposed, raised floors – this is still a floor finish and often creates dynamism and authenticity that looks forward rather than backwards.
What will be different in flooring in 20 years?
More honesty and authenticity; more acceptance of nonperfect, recycled and upcycled products; more developing technologies of new materials; and to be controversial, possibly a lot less carpet.