Bespoke Without Barriers
Emma Goulding, of Altro, outlines recent advances in bespoke flooring:
THE most important development in bespoke flooring design over the last 12 months has been the arrival of new technology capable of removing the barriers that designers have traditionally faced.
Flooring incorporating logos or bespoke designs is often located in high traffic areas, which imposes certain limitations. Atriums and entrance halls for example are popular zones for bespoke design, but these high traffic communal areas (often with access from the street) typically require safety flooring.
Until recently this has meant a relatively limited colour palette compared with smooth vinyls. There are also practical challenges around maintaining the appearance of lighter or more vibrant colours in high traffic areas.
Over the last 12 months however we have seen the emergence of a new generation of safety flooring incorporating PUR which enables designers to break through these barriers for the first time.
In order to solve the problem, two important factors needed to come together at the same time. It needed investment in product development by flooring manufacturers to create materials which could outperform their predecessors in the important areas of cleanability, dirt pick-up, colour retention and stain resistance.
It also needed a manufacturer to provide the commercial commitment to offer flooring in a much wider range of colours. The sales volumes for the more ambitious colourways are understandably lower than for traditional blues, greys and neutrals. But these more distinctive colours are the lifeblood of logos and bespoke designs.
These factors came together in the last year. One example was when Hi-Tech Flooring was installing flooring and hygienic wall cladding at Roecroft Lower School in Stotfold, Bedfordshire, it gave the school a real ‘wow factor’ using safety flooring in new vibrant colours.
The vibrant colours could be chosen for this high traffic area because the safety flooring used for the bright coloured stars incorporates latest generation PUR technology. An additional polymer component is incorporated throughout the entire wear layer of the flooring.
This increases dirt pick-up and prevents dirt retention around the slip resistance particles during cleaning, enabling the floor to be maintained more quickly and easily. Other features retain the appearance of the flooring between cleaning and over time, for example, colour retention features, use of pattern and texture to minimise the appearance of soiling, and resistance to stains and chemicals.
Extended colour choice in safety flooring also increases opportunities to use colour and contrast to improve access for sight impaired people in line with requirements under the 2010 Equality Act.
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.