Flooring Focus: David Conlon of En Masse Bespoke Interiors on the virtues of resin and concrete

David Conlon, founder of En Masse Bespoke Interiors, on the virtues of resin and concrete

As part of our Flooring Focus Toby Maxwell interviewed David Conlon of En Masse Bespoke Interiors about the materials he most likes to work with and providing clients with creative flooring solutions.

Which flooring materials do you particularly like working with?

Resin, concrete and timber are my favourite. Resin is lovely as it provides a consistent floor throughout a building and works well with underfloor heating. It can also be refinished and looks tactile despite being perceived as a more industrial or minimalist finish. The different finishes and textures you can create really add to the luxurious and bespoke finish to the floor. No two are ever the same.

Micro and polished concrete can also give you a consistent floor throughout a building, and underfloor heating works well here. It creates a finish that is timeless but also ages well. The little scratches and buff s all add to the character of the floor as time goes on. And, if it ever gets too much, it can simply be refinished. It lasts the lifetime of the property.

Wooden floors and engineered wood also work well with underfloor heating; there’s a natural feel to wood that I really like. When stripped back and left to look like wood, it can really bring character into a room.

How do you keep up to date with the latest flooring products on the market? Is there scope for using some of the very latest material technology in projects, or do clients tend to insist that you stick with established ‘tried-and-tested’ solutions?

Forming great relationships with suppliers and reps is key, especially being a bespoke business – as we’re not tied to any one company. Forming a relationship with the reps allows us to keep abreast of new products. Also, keeping an eye on the large trade fairs and, of course, looking at the trends coming through and seeing how flooring can represent them.

For the clients we work with, they’re generally quite adaptive. Some clients haven’t heard of resin or concrete, but we’re able to show them examples in other clients’ homes so they can have a real feel for what they’d be getting.

You also need to look at what they want to achieve visually and see how the flooring can create that request and add to that feel. We always consider the flooring when planning the kitchen so the two can work seamlessly together – the earlier we can get involved in a project, the better. Then, we can really work with the client to look at everything that needs to be considered.

If budget was no object, what kinds of flooring materials would you love to use on a project?

Firstly, resin offers up so many possibilities. It can be seamless for the entire floor of a property. It offers mono-to- heavy pigments and self-finished finishes. You can even form steps with it, take it up the walls and over extractors. It’s a technical product that offers such beautiful clean lines in so many different finishes and is incredibly tactile. It becomes part of the property not an extra, which I love.

Secondly, concrete floors, for me, can be presented in a very different way to how most people expect them to be. You can have white aggregate showing and the range is huge. It’s durable, can be refinished and can give an industrial feel, but also be soft and welcoming. It is such an adaptive product and unexpected in its elegance.

How can designers look to exploit the potential of creative flooring – both in terms of design ideas and material choices – in a range of different applications?

Once they understand the properties of any particular type of flooring, that can arm them [the designers] to make new choices with flooring.

One example of this is when we had a resin flooring, [and] the client asked if it could be taken up the back wall of the kitchen. Understanding the possibilities and the limitations of a product can really help guide you with what can be achieved.

Engineered wooden floors can become furniture, wall and ceiling claddings, not just flooring. One of our latest projects features wood throughout the home: on the floor, the ceilings and the walls. It really highlights the beauty and uniqueness of the product in its natural form.

Overall, advances in technology have meant that flooring is no longer just flooring. Equally, products you would never have dreamed of putting inside the home as a floor – more an underfloor, like concrete – are taking centre stage.

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