Workplace design: Pushing the creative limits of commercial flooring.
By Olha Hanzlik, UK Marketing Manager, Workplace & hospitality, Tarkett UK.
THE world of work is changing, and so too is workplace design.
A recent report published by Tarkett – Rethinking Workplace: Part One – explored the habits of 2,500 European office workers. The findings suggest the relationship between people and their physical working environment directly impacts the way they think, act and function while in that setting.
It also found that when it comes to workplace design, health and wellbeing matters most. Almost half the surveyed population placed noise and indoor air quality as their top two priorities – overriding concerns with look, layout and location.
Therefore, the importance of a product meeting high aesthetical demands might be a more obvious client requirement but, when it comes to workplace design, other factors such as sustainability, health and wellbeing and versatility are increasingly topping the list of specification needs.
The research also suggested an interesting link between peoples’ preferred working style and ideal office set-up. Natural collaborators that thrive in open-plan spaces are shown to generally, feel more fulfilled in their working environment. Independent operators like the privacy of a private or co-working space and express less positive sentiment.
But most people are equally happy to work both ways and their choice of layout would likely be dependent on the type of work at hand – be it a ‘heads down’ task or group brief.
Certainly, the days of vast, open spaces crammed wall-to-wall with desks are gone. The contemporary office demands dedicated areas that accommodate different job requirements and varying styles of working. Moreover, the modern workforce expects more from their environment. Look and layout matters.
People still want to feel good about their place of work. But, as the Rethinking Workplace report reveals, the invisible matters more. Health and wellbeing concerns are high on the agenda – as shown by Europe’s office workers placing so much emphasis on noise and indoor air quality. For specifiers this means seeking out solutions that score high for form, function and proven performance benefits – for the end-user and the environment.
Flooring that fulfils form and function
In search of a flooring solution that helps combat noise and poor air quality, as well as providing a strong visual style, carpet tiles solve these identified workplace design challenges.
With a range of benefits – from durability to easy installation – plus the opportunity for endless design creativity, carpet is increasingly becoming the go-to for commercial specifiers looking to respond to an ever-evolving market, ensuring a product that delivers on a wider range of factors in a cost-effective and timely manner.
However, not all projects require just one solution. Some require a mix of materials to best respond to the brief. And that’s where Tarkett’s new Fusion concept comes in.
Bringing Tarkett’s high-quality luxury vinyl and DESSO carpet tiles together, the concept showcases the use of both materials, side-by-side, to stunning and practical effect.
Both carpet tiles and LVT come with their own unique benefits, and when used together, the advantages only multiply.
As outlined in Tarkett’s research, workplace interiors now call for a whole range of specification requirements, which Fusion has been designed specifically to help meet. And this recently helped form the brief for the design of Tarkett’s own office design.
Walking the walk
For the design of Tarkett UK’s newly relocated head office, interior design practice Peldon Rose worked alongside the in-house team to create a scheme that not only fulfilled aesthetic requirements, but also sustainability and wellbeing objectives.
Addressing each consideration in turn – from allowing for natural light and the use of sustainable materials to adding creative flair through the implementation of a feature wall – everything was chosen specifically to meet a workplace design challenge.
For the flooring, a combination of hard and soft elements was used to create distinct zones, each with its own look and feel.
Here we explore the key benefits of combining carpet tiles and LVT, to assist specifiers in addressing workplace design challenges.
Providing scope for endless design possibilities
With Fusion, complementary products have been handpicked by Tarkett’s in-house design team to demonstrate how tactility and movement throughout commercial spaces can be influenced by experimentation with hard and soft elements.
Available in a plank or tile format and a range of colours and patterns, the opportunity for maximum creative versatility is offered through products chosen specifically to work together harmoniously. The resulting flooring has the absence of any visible joins to provide a truly seamless result.
With both products offering a whole range of aesthetics – from the bold colours of the DESSO Traverse carpet to the gentle, water-inspired pattern of DESSO Resonance and the harder palette of Tarkett’s iD Square Tisse in Dark Grey – any desired look can be achieved.
The evolution of the workplace has seen with it the emergence of distinct trends – for example, some businesses are opting for minimalist ‘Scandinavian-inspired’ decor while others are leaning towards brighter and more upbeat spaces.
Each ‘theme’ has an individual set of components – an understated scheme might call on flooring with a subtle tonal palette and very minimal pattern, for example, while a bolder concept might benefit from colour blocking and large geometric print.
A combination of carpet tiles and LVT allows for more scope than opting for just one product route, with more shades, textures, patterns and finishes to choose from.
The ability to create ‘zoning’
While carpet tiles can help promote a quieter, calmer workspace overall, the addition of LVT allows for the creation of ‘zones’ for more versatility – something that’s been highlighted as key in the current workplace.
This was the ideal solution for Bisset Adams, an award-winning architecture and design practice whose central London HQ recently underwent a full refurbishment.
As experts in the field, the Bisset Adams team managed the project themselves, and turned to Tarkett to supply the flooring, as they wanted to create a vibrant, yet functional design that would provide natural movement between different areas and outline distinct zones.
Tarkett’s iD Inspiration loose-lay vinyl tiles and iD Square tiles were seamlessly combined with DESSO Fuse and Fields carpet tiles to create a bold design using a variety of colours and textures.
DESSO Fuse and Fields carpet tiles were installed throughout the main office area, with light grey tones specified for the desk spaces. Vibrant punches of yellow were placed alongside these grey hues, to brighten up meeting rooms and create separate zones for collaborative spaces and breakout areas – defining corridors and meeting points within the open-plan layout.
Tarkett’s iD Inspiration loose-lay tiles were selected in a natural light wood-effect colour to create a warm and welcoming look for the entrance and lobby areas. In the kitchen area, Tarkett’s iD Square tiles were specified in a range of grey hues to complement the furniture and tie in with the company branding. The tiles were then carefully positioned to create a contemporary pattern.
The tiles were also treated with Tarkett’s Top Clean surface protection for easy maintenance and extra resistance to scuffs, scratches and stains – highlighting yet another benefit of specifying a combination of LVT and carpet tiles; simple maintenance.
In addition to meeting high aesthetical demands, combining carpet tiles and LVT can also help address core sustainability requirements.
A recent project saw Tarkett support the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) to ‘close the loop’ with the design of its new HQ. Loose-lay LVT products from the iD Inspiration collection were paired with DESSO Fuse and Fields ranges in response to their core values, which place sustainability front and centre.
Interior specialists, Action Workspace, were brought in to manage the design, specification and installation for the fit-out. And with the project brief focusing heavily on the use of recycled or recyclable material, they worked closely with the LWARB to ensure total transparency when it came to making sustainable material choices.
Thanks to Tarkett’s ReStart programme, the product choice aligned perfectly with the LWARB’s circular economy principles. The take-back scheme is dedicated to the collection of flooring at its ‘end-of-life’, so it can then be recycled and reused as a new resource.
DESSO Fuse and Fields carpets, equipped with Cradle-to-Cradle certified EcoBase backing as standard, were specified in light grey and green tones to add an inspiring splash of colour to the boardroom. For the main entrance, kitchen area and walkways, iD Inspiration loose-lay LVT was selected in a dark grey hue creating a stylish and professional, yet practical solution for the scheme.
With dual sustainability credentials, the fusing of both products provided the very best solution possible.
In addition to considering environmental impact, employee wellbeing is a crucial element of workplace design.
Research has shown quieter environments prevent many health problems occurring, reduce stress levels and improve concentration – something that carpet tiles can help support through their acoustic properties.
In general, carpet can reduce the impact of sound by between 20-30dB.
As part of Fusion, Tarkett’s iD Square provides the perfect solution for improved sound insulation and absorption, encouraging efficiency at work through the reduction of sound transmission by up to 15dB.
With open plan still a popular office layout in the UK (highlighted by almost 60% of the European office workers surveyed), acoustics will remain a pressing consideration when it comes to workplace design. With most businesses requiring space for both collaborative and independent work, carpet tiles can play a role in aiding comfort and quiet where needed.
When specifying office flooring, a combination of carpet and LVT can provide the very best outcome, in terms of form and function. Responding to the current market trend for multipurpose solutions, Tarkett’s Fusion concept offers a beautiful balance; the best of both worlds.
Not only does the specification of carpet tiles and LVT open up a world of design possibilities, their functional qualities include sustainability and durability, while also answering wellbeing concerns.