HEAD OF MARKETING UK & IRELAND, FORBO FLOORING SYSTEMS
The flooring of a building can often be taken for granted, as many of us do not realise the positive impact it can have on the aesthetics, culture, safety, and wayfinding of a space. Whether you’re designing an office, a healthcare environment or a school, each application has its own individual requirements, not only in terms of functionality, but also when it comes to aesthetics – and flooring can play an important role in delivering both.
For example, in an office setting it’s now more widely recognised that office design can positively improve an employee’s productivity, communication, health and wellbeing. This has led to areas being separated into a variety of ‘activity settings’, or purpose-built areas which are then designed for specific actions, such as impromptu meeting zones, formal meeting spaces, kitchens and breakout areas.
With the careful specification of flooring, you can create a multipurpose space that encourages connected working. There are floor coverings available on the market that have been designed to work alongside each other, to easily differentiate areas, yet create an integrated flooring scheme.
Throughout walkways, breakout areas or even tea and coffee points, where a practical and durable product is required, floor coverings such as vinyl tiles can withstand the heavy footfall and can be cleaned easily, all while having the ability to be installed alongside carpet tiles using the same tackifier and without the need for transition strips. Carpet tiles might be preferred for adjoining working areas or meeting rooms where a warmer, more comfortable floor covering is needed.
Carpet tiles are actually one of the most effective office solutions, as the modular format lends itself to a quicker installation time, results in less waste, and allows office plans to be easily adapted for future requirements, to aid the ever-evolving workspace. The design of carpet tiles is also evolving constantly, not just to reflect interior trends but also to encourage effective communication. Collections like Forbo’s new Tessera Nexus are conceived as a flexible tool to help unite multipurpose spaces into one interconnected whole.
The idea of using various floor coverings to distinguish areas can apply to many different settings, not just offices. In a healthcare environment, for example, flooring can be used to create an identity for different areas and provide a wayfinding tool, safely guiding patients and visitors through an unfamiliar facility with minimal stress. One of the most effective strategies is by using colour; for example, each unit within a hospital could have a distinct theme and colour palette, which helps users to recognise where they are or where they should be going.
The colour and design of floor coverings is an important factor for all buildings, as flooring can contribute to the overall culture and branding of the space. Corporate branding can easily be represented in a bespoke floor covering, and there are flooring solutions available on the market that allow you to have designs printed onto them, from the recreation of a simple logo to an elaborate and complex pattern.
For example, in entrance areas you can create a long-lasting impression by having a logo or text printed or cut into an entrance flooring system. Digital printing processes enable bespoke designs to be directly printed onto a hybrid floor covering.
Through judicious specification of floor coverings, you can make a positive impact on a space, no matter what your building is used for. However, with flooring technology and design trends constantly evolving, it’s important to liaise with a reputable manufacturer to ensure your flooring scheme meets the needs of the organisation and end users now and in the future.
Andrew Farrell, Special Projects Sales Manager at Makita, outlines the latest innovations in vacuum technology
For FMs, keeping areas hygienically clean is a key part of building maintenance – and can increase the lifecycle of soft furnishings and carpets. To achieve the best results, vacuums need to offer high suction power and the freedom to move around easily.
Many operators will relate to the frustrations of using corded machines – they can be restricting, as the vacuum can only go as far as the power lead will allow, and can pose a health and safety risk. There is also the added cost of cable management. It’s no surprise that cordless machines are becoming a popular choice.
Innovations in battery technology have resulted in more compact battery designs – and machines that can perform as well as corded alternatives (if not better). Leading manufacturers are now favouring lithium-ion batteries to power a wide range of vacuums.
Vacuums also benefit from the inclusion of a brushless motor. Brushless motors are extremely efficient and benefit from a long-life cycle due to the omission of brushes – and therefore friction – within the motor. Due to fewer moving parts, brushless motors can also be smaller in comparison to brushed alternatives. As a result, machines that include a brushless motor can be smaller and lighter in design, making them considerably easier to manoeuvre.