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Ahead of the flock

Chris Rand, Senior Marketing Executive at Forbo Flooring Systems, gives the low-down on flocked floor coverings and explains why the latest design developments can help to achieve functional yet stylish commercial office spaces.

If the mention of flocked flooring conjures up images of dated and bland interiors, then it is likely that you’re missing a trick. While most commonly known for its unrivalled performance benefits, the latest advances in digital technology have extended the range of patterns, colours and styles that flocked flooring can be manufactured in, and as a result, opens up a world of creative opportunities for modern workspaces.

Neither a carpet nor a resilient floor covering, the unique construction of flocked flooring combines the comfort and sound absorbing properties of a textile with outstanding durability and cleanability. As well as being completely washable and quick drying, it is the ideal solution for busy office areas as it able to withstand extreme wear and high traffic, while maintaining its superb aesthetics for many years to come.

DESIGN
In today’s modern office environment, the modular flooring trend continues to rise due to ease and speed of installation, flexible open office layouts and the use of raised access floors. In order to create stimulating and uplifting modular spaces, the increase in design options available in plank format in flocked flooring provides a suitable option as it offers a more contemporary aesthetic in comparison to traditional square tiles – and there is no limit to its design versatility. In fact, plank designs also show little repeat in their patterning, therefore when a single colourway is used, it is still possible to create interesting and beautiful floors.

Available in a variety of colours, flocked flooring planks can be used on their own or can be mixed and matched. What’s more, laying patterns such as chevron or herringbone can be fashioned with ease, allowing the creation of interesting and exciting flooring schemes.

With regards to the actual designs of flocked flooring, the latest innovations on the market sees collections that have been inspired by distinct themes. With natural materials such as wood, concrete and seagrass continuing to dominate flooring trends, marble, ombré and particularly montage designs, which build up textures through layers of blending and mixing structures, have also increased in popularity in interior design.

For areas that require a statement floor, textured designs that have been influenced by graphic, geometric and textile patterns for example can help to achieve stand-out spaces. Whether it’s designs that feature areas of pattern which join at different angles to create unusual facets or contrasting patterns made of textures which have depth, movement and energy, such designs are also ideal to aid wayfinding around a building.

There are also new ranges that have been designed to be used alone or combined, thanks to their colours being tonally similar. This means that similar colours from different designs can be combined to create unique flooring designs. As workspaces are often separated into a variety of ‘activity settings’ or purpose-built areas, such as impromptu meeting zones, formal meeting spaces, kitchens and break out areas all within one open plan environment, these designs can perfectly in conjunction to define and integrate spaces.

CLEANABILITY
In addition to its design capabilities, the cleanability of flocked flooring is unsurpassed which, in the current climate, the significance has evolved tenfold. With 70 million fibres per square metre, the upright Nylon fibres and impermeable PVC backing means that it can be cleaned right down to the base and dry soiling is easily removed using an upright vacuum cleaner. Tougher stains and dirt can be removed with standard carpet wet cleaning machinery too, cleaning up like new every time.

HEALTHY WORKSPACES
Research by Allergy UK has suggested that at least 5.7 million people in the UK could be allergic to their workplace. Therefore, in order to make the lives of allergy sufferers easier, FMs should look out for products that have been awarded the prestigious Allergy UK Seal of Approval™ – as with the correct cleaning and maintenance regime it will not harbour dust mites. Flocked flooring also has zero phthalates and low VOC emissions, creating a better indoor environment for employees. The non-fray construction also avoids trip hazards while the pattern, texture and grip of the surface helps to provide comfort and confidence underfoot.

ACOUSTICS
Furthermore, the tactile nature of the floor covering delivers superior acoustic performance compared to resilient flooring types. Products that can provide both low in-room impact noise performance (Class A) as well as good impact sound reduction (up to 22 dB) ensure a quiet room and a quiet office building to improve productivity and concentration.

The evolution of modern flocked flooring solutions has resulted in a sharp rise in its popularity in recent years and it’s easy to see why. With manufacturers constantly looking to update their collections to meet changing requirements of office projects, the wide array of design options available on the market combined with performance benefits makes flocked flooring a sophisticated and stylish choice. It is recommended that FMs work together with a reputable manufacturer in order to stay up to date with latest innovations.

www.forbo.com

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