As part of our flooring focus, we looked at some recently completed projects at the cutting-edge of flooring design
FX's flooring focus was edited by Toby Maxwell
Flooring Focus: Projects
Czech technology company Livesport recently expanded its headquarters in the Aspira Business Centre, Prague, where it occupies three floors and over 7,000 sq ft of office space to accommodate its team.
Livesport is known in many countries for its FlashScore product, which provides instant sports results, table updates and live commentary and videos for over 35 sports. With sport being such a fundamental part of the company’s purpose, it wanted this element to feature in the interior of its new offices. It engaged architects Studio Reaktor to help refine that vision in a complete renovation.
Studio Reaktor responded to that request by creating a space that was functional and attractive with a sporty vibe. It was important to Livesport that the environment promoted flexible working. Different zones were created for independent and collaborative working, and phone booths were installed for staff to comfortably and non-disruptively talk on phones.
Image Credit: JIRI LIZLER
The independent working zones consist of natural tones and carefully selected soft surfaces. The rest of the interior is bright and dynamic, with features that include stadium seating and zones of artificial grass, which are designed for team working and collaboration.
The biggest statement, though, is the running track aesthetic. Incorporated across an entire floor, it has been achieved using Polyflor’s Palettone PUR Collection. The bespoke floor design consists of nine vivid and complementary shades that have been cut into lanes that run through corridors and around hallway corners.
Image Credit: JIRI LIZLER
As well as visually adding to the space, Palettone is ideal for use in heavy traffic areas, and features a polyurethane reinforcement that protects the floor covering by resisting soiling and scuffing, easing flooring maintenance and ensuring longevity.
Palettone achieves a BRE A+ rating, and is certified as ‘excellent’ under the BES 6001 responsible sourcing standard. It also features recycled content and is 100%- recyclable at its end-of-life through the Recofloor scheme, which supports the circular economy.
polyflor.com | studio-reaktor.com
Bank of Scotland Argyle Street
Based in central Glasgow, the Bank of Scotland’s flagship branch on Argyle Street received a makeover that would personalise the brand and reflect its Scottish roots. Specified by M Worldwide, a range of Forbo Flooring Systems solutions were installed throughout the building to help create a warm and welcoming space, and give the bank its own identity.
With the Bank of Scotland established in 1695, ‘this refurbishment project,’ said Helen Shelley, creative director at M Worldwide, on the interior’s unveiling, ‘gave us the ideal opportunity to establish the brand’s character and to create a rich visual story of its Scottish heritage.
‘With the bank being spread across three large floors, we opted for a design concept based around the idea of a “workshop”. We took a very tactile approach and specified simple, crafted furniture, finishes and materials – including the floor coverings – which would create inviting spaces where customers and colleagues could meet and work together.’
Image Credit: NEALE SMITH
Forbo’s Tessera In-Touch carpet tile planks in a variety of colourways, including a bespoke shade, and Allura Wood luxury vinyl tiles (LVTs) were chosen to create an integrated flooring scheme that would seamlessly connect the various areas of the space.
Alessia Crescentini, senior designer at M Worldwide, said, ‘The colour scheme throughout the building was influenced by the natural elements of the Scottish landscape, with the suite of meeting rooms using colour palettes based on woodlands, highlands, lowlands and lochs. We chose colourways from Forbo’s Tessera In- Touch collection that would enhance this natural aesthetic, including the brown earthy tones Crochet and Macramé, the green-hued Fresco and the blue Calligraphy.
‘Forbo also created a bespoke Tessera In-Touch colourway for us, which we used in the main banking hall where we wanted to embrace the brand colours, while adding a little twist of colour from shades of heather.’
The Tessera In-Touch tiles offer a hand-woven, craft aesthetic and texture. The colour concept for the range is made up of five ‘pairs’ giving a palette of ten colours in total, with each one offering colour hues that diffuse along the width of the plank.
Shelley and Crescentini also created a bespoke feature using Forbo’s Allura Wood LVT to mimic the saltire of the Scottish flag, which was used on the first floor in the business hub area, and on the lower ground as a central flooring design.
To enhance the ‘workshop’ design concept, M Worldwide also wanted to create a large communal table, which features a graph-and-scale design printed on to it to replicate a tailor’s table or a drafting table.
‘After a lot of investigation and then discussions with Mark Jackson, the key account manager at Forbo,’ Shelley explained, ‘we came to realise that we could have our design printed on to Forbo’s Furniture Linoleum [surfacing material]. The exceptional quality of the print, combined with the beautiful and soft finish of Furniture Linoleum, has created a wonderful and warm crafted effect.’
forbo-flooring.co.uk/retail | mworldwide.co.uk
77 Coleman Street office
Italian marble-based composite stone from Strata Tiles has been used in the 3,200 sq ft reception of 77 Coleman Street. This CAT A office and retail development provides 84,000 sq ft of prime space in the City of London, retaining much of the building’s original facade with the addition of two new floors. Featured within the large open entrance, cafe and shared workspace, the composite stone finish can be found on the floor, bar area, tabletops and reception desk.
Inspired by the original 4m-high ceiling of the building, the floor uses large terrazzo-effect slabs inlaid with contrasting grid inserts in a divergent colour, with the terrazzo flowing across the reception desk and bar.
Mark Hughes, specifications manager at Strata Tiles, said in support of the project, ‘We proposed the Italian marble composite because of its versatile nature, broad colour palette and the scope of application required. Terrazzo-effect stone composite is perfectly suited to the demands of 77 Coleman Street, providing a highly resilient surface.’
Image Credit: DIRK LINDNER
The company was able to fabricate the large 1m slabs with gridded inserts, reflecting the original cast ceiling design and bespoke contemporary lighting. Each contrasting grid insert was glued into place at the factory, with each tile then repolished to achieve a homogeneous finish.
With the terrazzo effect carrying through into the lift, the challenge was to ensure a floor that would not exceed a suitable weight. While a 20mm thickness was used in the reception, the stone composite proved too heavy for use, so Strata Tiles created a 12mm-thick version of the same design, specifically for this area.
77 Coleman Street is the latest project from architecture practice, Buckley Gray Yeoman. Spanning two roads and featuring two distinct facades, the building has retained a huge amount of the existing concrete frame, reinstating a pedestrian cut through and introducing a further two floors topped by a colonnaded walkway with views over the Square Mile.
stratatiles.co.uk | bgy.co.uk
Design Hotel Laurichhof
Interior designer Annette Katrin Seidel, her architect husband, Uwe Seidel, and their architectural student son, Franz Philip, have spent the past five years developing ideas for the Design Hotel Laurichhof in picturesque Pirna, east Germany, close to the historic city of Dresden.
Stepping over the threshold, the hotel’s eclectic nature is immediately visible, its 27 eccentric suites each having a unique design – albeit with a residual homeliness. Flooring was the key foundation for the overall aesthetic, with Neolith used in several of the suites.
The Blueberry suite – so-called because of the deep purple shade that envelopes the rooms – used Neolith Nero Marquina for the bathroom floor. The monochromatic, marmoreal material complements the vividly purple vanity and shelving units. The jet black, white-veined slabs are further highlighted by LED strip lighting under the vanity units, which illuminate the floor.
In the Evergrins suite, vibrant green is the theme, including the use of Astroturf across all the room’s walls and ceilings. Neolith Beton was selected for the bathroom’s flooring, as well as the tops of the floating vanity units, bringing a neutral contrast to the bold colour elsewhere.
Image Credit: FRANZ PHILIP SEIDEL
The Mogli suite has a tropical theme inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s classic, The Jungle Book. Possessing a more muted, earthy tone than many of the other suites, it goes for a more understated aesthetic, using Neolith La Bohème for the kitchen and bathroom area floors.
On the project, the youngest Seidel, who played a central role alongside his mother and father in Laurichhof’s design, said, ‘What really convinced me to specify Neolith is how realistic the surface decoration is, identical to the material it is referencing. For example, guests in the Mogli Suite were surprised and amazed that, what they thought were wooden floors in the kitchenette were actually sintered stone slabs. Using sintered stone ensured we captured the desired look and atmosphere, while also ensuring the performance qualities required of surfaces used in a culinary environment.’
neolith.com | laurichhof.de/en
Fat Chow Restaurant
Providing a contrast to the bold decor and neon lights chosen to reflect the beautiful bustling Hong Kong streets, RAK Ceramics has supplied its Cementina series floor tiles for a new restaurant and cocktail bar in Dubai.
Located on The Pointe, a waterfront complex of upscale shops, restaurants and entertainment along a seaside promenade within the popular Palm Jumeirah district, the interior of the Cantonese Fat Chow restaurant has been designed by Aces of Spaces to reflect the culture of the cuisine. The Cementina tiles feature throughout the dining area of the restaurant, with their scorched cement appearance lending a prominent and amiable appeal to the setting.
La Senda de Omaña restaurant
In this project by Aima Estudio, four different stone-effect porcelain stoneware tiles by Vives Ceramica have been utilised to give La Senda de Omaña, a cosy restaurant located in Madrid, a coherent look – even down to the bathroom details.
Image Credit: LUZ ESTUDIO FOTOGRAFÍA
The establishment transfers the spirit of the mountains to the Spanish capital. The project uses Ceppo di Gre-R Cemento and Oriyas-R Natural floor tiles from Vives Ceramica, both in 59.3 by 59.3cm sizes, which are used to cover the main area of the project. For the bathrooms, the Aston-R Gris porcelain tile (59.3 by 59.3cm) and the Luton Multicolor hexagonal tile (23 by 26.6cm) were selected, which deliver freshness to the space without conflicting with the restaurant’s natural vernacular style.
vivesceramica.com | aimaestudio.es
Wentworth, South Yorkshire
Set within a contemporary ‘arts and crafts’ environment, The Bothy restaurant is the centrepiece of the new extension at Wentworth Garden Centre, near Rotherham in South Yorkshire. It is situated in 16 acres of the former walled kitchen, Italian and Japanese gardens of Wentworth Woodhouse.
When designing the new venue, proprietor David Airey sought to create a relaxed, lived-in feel for The Bothy, opting for Amtico Signature luxury vinyl tiles for its noise-reducing qualities over ceramic tiles. Influenced by Victorian glasshouse-style flooring, Airey was introduced to Amtico’s in-house design team by flooring contractor Contract Floors (Sheffield) to develop his ideas into a high-end scheme featuring five patterns from Amtico’s Designers’ Choice collection.
Image Credit: SKYWALL PHOTOGRAPHY
Amtico Signature was used throughout the restaurant, linking the ‘arts and crafts’ aesthetic between the entrance, bar and seating areas. In order to create zones within the space, different patterns were laid in the seating and bar areas, framed with a coordinating border and elegant stripping in bronze. The second dining space, located off the main seating area, features a blend of amethyst hues and stone textures with DC175 Plaza, contrasting with the oak tones of DC320 Versailles.
The overall scheme at The Bothy combines four designs, with each pattern defining different seating areas within the restaurant.
Marriott Hotel Kensington
Several of Parkside’s architectural tile collections feature in the newly refurbished reception lobby, bar and restaurant of London’s Marriott Hotel Kensington. Drawing inspiration from the culture, museums and architecture of the Kensington district, Design Coalition worked with Parkside on a scheme involving the specification company’s wall and floor tiles.
Image Credit: LEON HARGREAVES
Behind the main check-in desk and on the front of counters, the 3D Rombini Triangle by Mutina is used to striking linear effect, bringing a modern feel in crisp white. On the floors of the reception lobby, Design Coalition has drawn inspiration from the grand architecture of the museums surrounding the hotel with the large format terrazzo design Blythe, combined with a concrete effect tile, waterjet-cut to shape.
Image Credit: LEON HARGREAVES
The hotel’s Cast Iron restaurant takes on a classic UK mid-century theme, so Parkside sourced custom mosaics to meet Design Coalition’s brief, as well as supplying Lome in the crochet pattern, a design inspired by traditional hand-painted terracotta tiles.
A total of 450m2 of ceramic and porcelain tiles supplied by Parkside were installed at Marriott Hotel Kensington by Charnic Interiors, a specialist hotel refurbishment company.
parkside.co.uk | designcoalition.org.uk
St Petersburg, Russia
Milliken flooring was used throughout this 2,000 sq m offices project for Russian internet brand Mail.ru in St Petersburg.
With an employee average age of 30, the aim of the design was to create a comfortable and relaxed interior environment, to work in and enjoy. Ekaterina Kalinina, chief project architect at PlusArch, said, ‘We used techniques and elements of home interior design, such as designer wallpaper with interesting prints, for the accent view walls, as well as themed chandeliers and bright comfortable areas equipped with lounge furniture. It was an irregular office solution to use differently styled designer wallpaper and designer carpet tiles, but this decision enabled the creation of a specific individual style in each space.’
Roland Levinsky Building
Floors from IVC Commercial have helped to transform a ‘pop-up’-style breakout area for the reception of the University of Plymouth’s Roland Levinsky Building.
Designed by third year students at the University of Plymouth’s interior design course, the breakout space is in the building's large ground floor atrium, and is home to the cafe, which is housed in a converted shipping container. Along with relaxed seating and tables, the breakout space provides a destination and meet-up spot for the surrounding lecture theatres, the Art Institute and Jill Craigie Cinema.
IVC Commercial’s LVTs were used throughout the area in a layout that involves a bold, abstract flooring design. Made from hard-wearing Moduleo 55 Desert Crayola, Desert Stone and Moduleo 55 Expressive Shades, the floor is an important element of the space with users involved directly in its design.
Image Credit: LEON HARGREAVES
Jonathan Forster, award leader of spatial and interior design degree courses at the university, said, ‘With a brief to reflect the creative nature of the course housed within the building, I thought it was important to engage the key users – the students themselves – in the creation of the space so that we created a design that felt right from their perspective.’
In developing the flooring scheme, the students had to consider the atrium’s existing concrete floor and the view from above, which provided an opportunity to make a statement. They used an abstract geometric layout to breakdown the spaces using colour to highlight access routes. Working from a wide selection of LVT floors available from IVC Commercial, the student team selected the designs mentioned above to enable the colour block idea they were developing.
All from IVC Commercial’s 55 LVT specification, these floors feature a hard-wearing Protectonite finish suitable for heavy use. They are made in Belgium from 50% recycled content and using renewable energy from IVC Commercial’s own wind turbines. The floors were fitted on IVC Commercial’s Flex Pro self-adhesive underlay, allowing quick installation without damage to the polished concrete subfloor.
Jordan Chidgey, member of the project design team responsible for the abstract design, said, ‘I took the brief quite literally, with the idea of the breakout space inspired by shards of broken and fragmented glass. Using harsh edges maintained the brutalist feel of the concrete, with the colour choice and texture providing a degree of relief.’
Approximately 210m2 of IVC Commercial LVTs were installed by South West-based contractor Roberts Flooring. Forster and the students worked closely with IVC Commercial to develop the scheme, with the University of Plymouth’s estates team approving the materials and installation methods.
Located a 15-minute drive from the centre of Edinburgh, Liberton Barns is an award-winning residential development comprising three two-storey homes in the Liberton Brae area of the city. Designed by architectural studio LBA with the vision of Daryl Teague, director of developer Glencairn Properties, Liberton Barns is a reinterpretation of the formerly derelict farm shed that once occupied the land. The concept behind the development was driven by the shed’s three-bay steel frame, which LBA chose to replace with a structurally insulated panel frame.
This reimagined structural design allows for a contemporary layout with a fully glazed end gable wall, floor-to-ceiling windows and central courtyard cored out of the form to create lightwells and external spaces for the property to open into.
As the idyllic location and abundance of natural light was central to the architectural design at Liberton Barns, a ‘Japandi’-style interior was selected, characterised by simplicity, minimalism and functionality, helping to connect living spaces with nature. Along with the vaulted ceiling, glazing and natural stone surfaces, the flooring was integral to achieving the light and spacious interiors for the project. Hardwood flooring manufacturer Atkinson & Kirby supplied 360 sq m of Manoa Oak from its Contemporary collection.
The Manoa Oak flooring runs through the entrance hallway and extends past the internal courtyard up to the living and dining areas. The flooring creates a flawless transition from interior to exterior as it reaches the end gable wall and beyond.
When heritage properties are revamped, it is imperative that each aspect of the design is sympathetic to the history of the site. At this development, the rustic grain of the wood has created an aged aesthetic that is in keeping with the site’s rich history, while the shiny matt lacquered finish prevents the wood from ageing, ensuring that the property maintains its contemporary look for the long term.
akirby.co.uk | studiolba.co.uk