As part of its ongoing partnership with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), global flooring manufacturer, Interface, has helped to create a unique and vibrant indoor play area for young visitors to Whipsnade Zoo.
The project is the latest development in a wider collaboration between the two organisations, which recently saw the launch of an innovative project called Net-Works to tackle the growing environmental problem of discarded fishing nets in some of the world’s poorest coastal communities. Net-Works aims to remove discarded fishing nets from beaches in the Philippines and build a community-based supply chain using the nets, which not only helps to clean up the environment, but also offers income opportunities for local fishers. Furthermore, it provides Interface with an innovative source of recycled materials for its products, in line with the company’s Mission Zero goal to eliminate its environmental impact by 2020.
Hannah Harper, concept designer at Interface, said:
“We had a great deal of freedom of creativity for this project, given to us as part of the brief. Our vision was to create a fun and sensory play area environment that would help to stimulate children’s imaginations and transport them to the wild, so we developed a flooring scheme based around different animal habitats. By selecting different vibrant colours, the play area was creatively divided into zones, each with its own distinct personality but based on the overall theme of emulating different aspects of the natural world.”
For the jungle area, Mellopolis tiles from the new Metropolis collection were used in the Postremo colourway. Incorporating shades of green in a freeform, organic design, the tiles helped to mimic the look and feel of the jungle. What’s more, Mellopolis tiles are particularly hard wearing, making them the ideal choice to withstand the wear and tear caused by little, and excitable feet. The same tiles were chosen for the Antarctic zone in the Urbis colourway, featuring varying shades of blue to imitate ice and snow.
With a stunning design featuring flashes of colour on a dark background, Bright Spark tiles from the Razzle Dazzle collection were selected for the reception and seating areas, in the Firecracker colourway. The tiles, which bring to mind a fireworks display, were chosen to help create a party atmosphere. Barricade tiles were selected for the entrance zone, due to a unique design and composition which traps dirt, helping to keep the indoor play area as clean as possible.
In the safari zone, Interface combined two of its carpet tiles to create a striking design. In keeping with the theme, On Safari tiles were used in the Black and White colourway alongside Duet tiles in the sandy shade, Saffron, to emulate a safari terrain. The varying pile heights of the Duet tiles also offered a particularly hardwearing solution for the busy play centre, helping to keep it looking new for longer.
For ZSL, it was essential that the project had as little impact on the environment as possible. Hannah explained:
“To help ZSL meet its sustainability targets for the play area, we installed the tiles in a non-directional installation. This significantly reduced the amount of waste generated and minimised the overall carbon footprint of the project. Furthermore, the tiles we selected are manufactured from recycled pre- and post-consumer materials.”
Sandra Crewe, corporate partnerships manager at ZSL, said:
“As part of our ongoing partnership, we really wanted the Interface team to deliver this project as we knew they would create a stunning design without compromising on sustainability and performance. They have gone above and beyond our expectations, creating a vibrant play area to stimulate young minds through play, and it’s reassuring to know that the chosen tiles are durable enough to withstand heavy use for years to come. This collaboration marks the next step in a successful relationship between ZSL and Interface, which I’m sure will go from strength to strength as we continue to work towards our common goal of a more sustainable future.”