Anna Dejlova, senior designer at Morgan Lovell, reveals that the best projects are also the most challenging
What has been the most rewarding project you have worked on?
A memorable project for me is one from last year, which came with a clear ethos: our client wanted to create an environment that challenged the standard office space. They wanted to create a space that was not just dedicated to their clients, but when people walked through the doors they wanted it to feel more like a chic loft than an office reception.
Staff were as important to the project. The client wanted to capture the feeling of home, since their staff work extremely hard and spend less and less time at home. This new space was to be an extension of their home. We achieved this by using soft tones from natural honed stone, antiqued bronze fittings, tactile fabrics and an expansive oak floor made up of various plank sizes running through two-thirds of the office at diagonals. The result is stunning, with beautiful living spaces as well as a truly impactful trading floor, meeting rooms, workspaces and quiet rooms.
What has been your most challenging project and how did you overcome the issues?
Every project has challenges. You need these challenges to really get something great at the end. You would never come up with new and innovative things if you didn’t push yourself or have anyone challenge you. One of the most challenging projects for me is the same one as the most rewarding. That project had a thought-provoking journey, which had everything come together to result in a triumph.
What are your most important considerations when planning a flooring project?
The most important consideration must be the people using the space. I consider how to make their journey more pleasant, whether playing with textures or considering how to draw people through the space. After all, the people make the business.
The brief was to create an office that included touches of luxury, which was accomplished by using high-spec fixtures and fittings
What are the key factors and trends to take into account when designing floors in the 21st century?
Natural materials have been a trend for quite some time, as well as ways to create movement through the space. Society is becoming more interested in natural materials, and hard-wearing and recyclable products when designing a new office space, to lower its environmental impact.
What type of floor would you install if there were no restrictions in terms of budget or anything else?
Timber, stone, Bolon or stunning painted concrete tiles; those are the first things I go to when any form of a budget comes into play. I tend to lean towards natural, geometric and organic. I also have a thing for tiles – I’m always on the lookout for interesting and beautiful tiles, even when I am abroad.
How important is technology in floor design? Are smart floors a significant trend?
Flooring companies are using technology to find new solutions with flooring that simplify and expand the possibilities of use. Carpet tiles with suction let us use them as rugs without the need of permanent fixing. Underlay pads, which level the floor without the need for screed, keeps spaces flexible, which means we can do more with the space we have.
Do you feel that more significance is given to flooring design than in the past?
The expectation of ‘this is an office and it needs carpet’ has been removed; there is much more freedom. There are much more interesting choices out there for designers to source from, and flooring companies keep coming up with new and innovative options. Clients are more open to multiple types of flooring, and I don’t just mean carpet to vinyl – varied flooring can help create movement in a space and help define areas without the need for walls.
What’s next for flooring ? What will change in 20 years?
I am looking forward to what flooring companies discover using science and technology [in order] to go further with the use of new materials. An increased focus on sustainability and recyclability is important, and I hope to see more products that meet the ever-increasing needs of the sustainable office.