Functional and aesthetic requirements can vary considerably throughout a project, so how do you ensure that your flooring specification supports each space?
Purpose and Requirements
As a surface exposed to constant contact and with direct influence on the physical and visual experience of users within the space, flooring is an important part of the specification that goes beyond meeting purely functional objectives. Its influence on user experience is key to unlocking a supportive and positive space.
For example, in an area of a commercial office where the focus is on productivity and tasks, carpet tiles such as those from IVC Commercial are hard to beat. They offer comfort underfoot, improved acoustics and flexible design. However, within the very same project, congregation and collaboration areas can take advantage of the natural designs and practical finish of luxury vinyl tiles (LVT), where creating an atmosphere of concentration is less of a concern and there’s more focus on creating a relaxing space. The same can be true of a school; carpet tiles for a quieter and more comfortable atmosphere in classrooms and LVT or more affordable sheet vinyl for corridors, reception and congregation areas.
Working with manufacturers that can provide solution across flooring types – IVC Commercial can provide carpet tiles, LVT and sheet vinyl – can help to realise a specification that supports the experience needed within a space, while ensuring that functional objectives across different areas are fulfilled.
Durability and maintenance
Ensuring a floor is both durable and easy to maintain seem an obvious part of specification, but these must be balanced with a floor’s effect on the experience of a space. While a terrazzo floor like Ethical Stone Terrazzo from Parkside Architectural Tiles may prove hard wearing and easy to maintain in a foyer and principally these same attributes are sought throughout the space, it is not necessarily suitable for use elsewhere.
Other flooring options, while not quite as hardwearing, but as easy to maintain, more cost-effective and providing a more comfortable effect on experience might be more suitable, even if the aesthetic is required to remain similar. Terrazzo look LVT floors like Moduleo 55 Fiastra can provide sufficient durability in use in other areas, while offering easy maintenance and improving walking comfort and and style.
Aesthetics and practicality
Good flooring specification here is about balance, ensuring that practical aspects did not outstrip the need to provide a supportive experience for users. For example, while the safest option for a school corridor is often considered a homogeneous safety vinyl, its compromised design of mottled colours detracts from the design ambitions. Instead, a heterogeneous safety vinyl floor like Isafe 70 provides a similar level of performance across a broad range of designs such as wood planks. The result is a more attractive space that supports the well-being of pupils through a connection to nature.
A clear understanding of the design objectives of the floor largely depends on how that space will be used and by whom. In certain projects design objectives may be more important than enhancing the practicality or maintenance of the space and so become the priority of selection. Of course, consideration should still be made to the suitability of the material and its ability to perform, but visual and tactile qualities and what they say about the ethos of the project become paramount.
Used selectively in areas where appropriate, the fabric-like quality of a fine handmade flatweave wool carpet such as those made by Riviera Home will bring an exclusive look to a high-end residential property or boutique luxury hotel that is above normal expectation of what flooring should be within these spaces. Creating a lasting memory, the textural quality reinforces the principles of the interior and contributes to homeowners or guests feeling they are in a special environment. Thereby, the uniqueness of the floor reflects the uniqueness of the scheme.
The same is true of other flooring materials. Granorte’s cork flooring is an excellent example of this. It’s unique aesthetic and strong sustainable credentials – a natural and renewable resource made from post-industrial recycled content – give a project a distinct connection to the natural world. It contributes to an experience that’s supportive and welcoming and the fact the floor also provides good performance, improved comfort and easy maintenance is almost secondary.
So, it is clear that supporting the requirements of the space through flooring choice is ultimately about considering factors in balance and having an understanding of how the choice of flooring can positively enhance the experiences of people within those spaces, whether in the home or workspace.