Kevin McIntosh, head of design at Chameleon Business Interiors, says the latest flooring innovations enable 'designers to make environmentally-conscious decisions for clients, without them even knowing it.'
Q&A by Toby Maxwell; answers from Kevin McIntosh, head of design at Chameleon Business Interiors
Which flooring materials do you particularly like working with and why?
I’m keen on incorporating products that have a high recycled content. There are some carpet manufacturers that are using recycled ocean plastics in their products, which is a fantastic form of innovation that I hope is the future of flooring materials. We all know we need to be more mindful of the workplace’s environmental footprint, and flooring materials have a role to play in this – both in terms of products that have been recycled and are recyclable.
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 have a preference for more traditional solutions?
We work with a range of flooring companies who we consult with regularly, and they do a great job at keeping us in the loop with the latest products. We regularly keep up to date with industry publications – like FX of course – where we get a lot of our intel.
The short answer is yes, clients do often prefer traditional solutions. They look at the situation from their experience rather than the opportunity for creativity – but there’s good reason for this, as experience tells them what works and what doesn’t, balancing aesthetics with practicality. So, this is completely understandable and we work with them to discuss the potential options and how we can make newer options work for them.
We completed a project last year for the tech giant Ideagen, during which the client was willing to let us flex our creative muscles, incorporating new material technology throughout the 30,000 sq ft space. This was a great opportunity, and has created a really inspiring space as a result.
If budget was no object, what kinds of flooring materials would you love to use on projects?
With such a focus on wellness and bringing the outside in, I’m keen to incorporate more sustainable, upcycled materials into all of our designs. And if budget was no option, I’d create a whole new product that would make the truly natural flooring materials suitable for indoors. I’d create a product that would give the look and feel of real grass, chalk or bark – but without the maintenance headache of the real thing.
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?
LVT [luxury vinyl tile] has a huge range of colours and patterns that are interchangeable, and so gives us space to get creative. The range of finishes means there are a number of applications, and it can be used in a variety of environments to create a totally different look and feel every time.
It also carries a lot of recycled material, which is great. A lot of the products we’re using now are recycled as standard – this should be the norm – and there are now an increasing number of options that enable designers to make environmentally-conscious decisions for clients, without them even knowing it. We have the opportunity to create not only a stylish environment but one with substance behind it as well.