Inspiring Office Interiors From The Ground Up
Janet Lowe, UK market manager at Forbo Flooring Systems, says flooring for office environments should be a careful balancing act of performance requirements, aesthetics and long-term maintenance:
FLOORING requirements of offices vary greatly depending on the type of business or organisation, but the main things to consider are volume, application and corporate personality. Volume refers to the level of foot traffic the office is likely to see, as this will impact on the choice of floorcovering.
The needs of a small professional services company for example, are considerably different from a large commercial telesales business, with many staff.
In both examples, a textile solution is suitable – popular in many offices for the warmth and acoustic properties it provides – however, it is important to select a product with an appropriate level of durability, either a luxurious textile with a higher pile weight or a more robust product.
The second key factor is application, as the performance requirements differ throughout the office. Reception areas, kitchens, toilets and general working spaces all have different requirements and so it is important to think about how the recommended floorcoverings work together as a whole.
Modern business environments increasingly favour open plan layouts to encourage collaborative working – with the interior design of these spaces becoming more significant. The flooring has an integral role to play in this interaction, by helping to mark out activity ‘zones’ such as meeting spaces and chill out areas.
Modular floorcoverings such as carpet tiles and vinyl tiles and planks are ideal for this sort of application, as the specific performance needs of each area can easily be met. In addition, modular floorcoverings offer excellent long-term value as individual tiles can be replaced if they become worn or damaged, without having to take up the whole floor.
Finally, flooring contractors should consider the corporate personality of the client, as this will greatly affect the choice of flooring.
More traditional businesses, such as accountancy, law and financial services, normally opt for understated designs in shades of blue and grey, to project a professional image.
Conversely, companies in media, sales, advertising and design often prefer more vivid patterns and colourways that communicate a sense of energy and creativity.
Random lay batchless tiles are a useful choice for offices as they can be installed in any direction, making the process quicker and easier. In addition, tile off-cuts can be installed at the perimeter of the installation as the pile direction does not need to be considered, reducing the amount of waste on the project.
Whatever the case, flooring contractors working in office environments should look for a manufacturer that offers a wide range of flooring types so that the overall design can be coordinated across the different product ranges.
Consulting with a reputable manufacturer early in the process will enable contractors to take advantage of manufacturers’ in-house design teams to offer the best possible solution to client requirements.
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.