With the help of Forbo Flooring Systems’ integrated portfolio of solutions, the Bioscience Filtration Division of Parker Hannifin in Birtley, County Durham, was transformed into a contemporary, uplifting and dynamic workplace environment. Labelled ‘Project Rejuvenate’, the scheme designed by Blake Hopkinson Architecture was awarded top marks in the annual Fly Forbo 2019/20 competition.
Comprising office spaces, laboratories and a separate manufacturing block, the 3950m2 Birtley headquarters is responsible for the design, supply and delivery of single-use filtration systems for pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical manufacturing. Having been adapted in a relatively ad-hoc and sporadic manner over the years, Blake Hopkinson Architecture was brought on board to take a holistic approach and completely remodel the whole site to reflect the global values of the Parker Hannifin brand.
James Hopkinson, Partner – Interior Designer at Blake Hopkinson Architecture, said: “As the world of work is constantly evolving, dark, dull and uninspiring office design offers very few positives for a modern-day workspace. For the rejuvenation of the Birtley offices, this was an exciting opportunity to re-establish this arm of the Parker Hannifin business as a Centre of Excellence. Our key focus was to create an aspirational and agile workplace environment that would benefit both current staff as well as attract prospective new employees and talented graduates.
“We completely redesigned the layout of the main offices by removing partition walls, increasing natural light and connecting the flow between the different areas of the building, which is spread over two floors. As Parker Hannifin’s corporate colours are yellow and orange, we needed to subtly blend these shades into the interior without being too intense. With the appropriate use of furnishings and finishes, and utilising Forbo’s wide portfolio of durable, sustainable and design-orientated floor coverings, we were able to achieve this.”
On the ground floor in the reception area and general circulation spaces, the natural aesthetic with true to life embossing of Forbo’s Allura Flex Wood Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) in Oyster Seagrass were installed to create a striking and sophisticated finish. Offering unprecedented dimensional stability, strength and performance, it was the perfect solution for the high traffic areas. The tackified loose lay LVT was also installed alongside Tessera Layout and Outline carpet tile planks (100 x 25cm) in the meeting areas and open plan concourse, which leads off the circulation spaces, using the same tackifier and without the need for transition strips, enabling a seamlessly integrated flooring design.
James continued: “Tessera Layout and Outline carpet tiles in the plank format played a major role throughout the interior scheme, as we used the modular floor coverings in the private office spaces, conferencing rooms, meeting areas and new open plan offices on the first floor. To reflect the ambitions of the business, the client did not want a bland looking floor and the plank format provided us with the design freedom to be creative. Using an equal and random blend of three colourways; Balsamic, Colabottle and Brulée, as well as pops of Layout in Mango, the quirky combination allowed us to create a contemporary flooring scheme whilst giving a subtle nod to the brand colours.”
The Mango colourway features throughout the building, in the conferencing rooms, to create feature spaces in the meeting areas and around the border of the staircase in the open plan office. Renowned for their aesthetic styling and outstanding performance in the most demanding environments, Tessera carpet tiles are the ideal solution for today’s modern office environment as a modular floor can be quickly adapted to new requirements, thereby reducing the cost of re-organisation. Thanks to the plank format of this range, the possibilities for designers to create stunning flooring schemes are endless.
James continued: “One of the key highlights of the refurbishment was the development of a new staff ‘plaza’. With laboratories at one end of the building and office workers upstairs, the plaza acts as a central hub for all staff across the business. As the building is flooded with natural light coming through from the curtain wall, we chose Marmoleum Concrete in Yellow Shimmer for its subtle stone-like texture which portrays a sense of texture and tactility, and the flash of colour that shimmers through the surface creates a nice bright floor, accentuating the natural light.”
Made from 97% natural raw materials, Marmoleum Concrete differentiates itself from Forbo’s classic Marmoleum flooring as the solid marble design and accent colours are specially designed to be combined with their ‘shimmer’ counterpart. Marmoleum performs well from the minute it’s installed, but it also becomes stronger over time, making it more durable – and because it lasts for so long, it is also easy to clean.
While creativity was key throughout the office spaces and plaza, safety was paramount within the laboratories. Due to the nature of the business, and where the use of test filters, water, mild acids and other chemicals are used on a daily basis, the need for a slip, stain and chemical resistant floor covering was required. Forbo’s Surestep Original in Elephant ticked all of these boxes and was used throughout the facilities, as well as in the wet rooms. Offering a fresh alternative to conventional safety flooring, the speckled design adds a different dimension and complements the yellow and orange walls. Through the use of Step Crystals, the floor covering offers a clean look and improved cleaning and maintenance properties, as well as ensuring guaranteed Health and Safety Executive compliant lifetime slip resistance.
What’s more, in both the main and staff entrances, Coral Brush entrance flooring in Hurricane Grey was installed for its exceptional ability to absorb moisture and remove dry soiling. A simple and solid design, the functional all-rounder serves as a self-effacing support for the rest of the floor design. Indeed, testing by Cleaning Research International has shown that by stopping up to 95% of walked-in dirt and moisture, Coral reduces the time spent cleaning the building’s other floor coverings by up to 65%.
James concluded: “We worked very closely with Forbo’s Business Area Manager who provided us with extensive advice and guidance on the most suitable floor finishes for each of the areas. The floor coverings have both supported and enhanced our vision to achieve a modern-day workplace environment and the client is extremely happy with the quality, creative design, cleaning and maintenance of the floors. Due to the success of Project Rejuvenate, Blake Hopkinson Architecture will now lead on the refurbishment of Parker Hannifin’s Team Valley offices in Gateshead, where we plan to roll out the same interior furnishings and finishes – including the integrated Forbo flooring scheme.”
Following the completion of the scheme, Nicky Crowe, Project Liaison at Parker Hannifin, commented: “With the help of Forbo’s floor coverings, our offices, labs, conference facilities and plaza are modern and functional resulting in a vibrant and exciting place to work. Our staff are delighted with the redevelopment of the offices and visitor feedback has also been excellent; guests now leave the premises with a very positive, professional image of our company.”
For more information on Forbo’ work in the office sector please visit www.forbo-flooring.co.uk/offices or to enter your project into the Fly Forbo 2020/21 competition, please visit: www.forbo-flooring.co.uk/flyforbo
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