One of the areas an architect will often spend time agonising over when first developing their specification for a project is the flooring that will be used. It’s such an integral part of any design and can often set the tone for the entire project.
But how exactly do they go about choosing? What dictates the material and the style? As with most things in life, there’s no one clear-cut answer. Instead, it depends on a whole host of factors specific to a particular project.
When working on their specification, most architects will typically think about style over anything else. But style covers several things, namely design, colour, texture, ambience and more.
Rather than just thinking “that flooring looks good”, architects view style in a more overarching, holistic way. “How would this flooring serve the broader vision of this project?” - after all, it’s all well and good opting for beautiful, reclaimed, polished timber floorboards, but if you’re putting them into an ultra-modernist or more abstract design, then the two won’t necessarily meld.
Material (Cost, Type, Sustainability)
The cost and available client budget will always play a big part in determining what material is used for a project’s flooring. In most cases, architects are forced to undertake something of a balancing act, trying on the one hand to procure the best quality and most appropriate materials they can, while on the other hand, desperately trying to do so within (more often than not) strict financial constraints.
Then there’s the material type. Flooring comes in many different materials, from timber to stone, laminate to carpet. Again, the type of material used is determined by everything from a project’s ultimate usage to legislative frameworks and standards.
This brings us to sustainability. An increasingly integral part of a modern architect’s remit when designing a specification is to choose materials that are as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible. Architects may look to use only locally sourced materials for their flooring, for instance, or utilise materials known to be good for energy insulation.
Is the architect designing something for residential or commercial use? Will the flooring be seeing heavy footfall, is it intended for front or back of house? Does it need a specific slip resistance rating? Legislatively speaking, this is usually not the case, despite common misperception, but it should nonetheless be considered. In fact, many critical factors must be taken into account. Flooring within a school setting, for instance, must be able to withstand virtually constant wear-and-tear, with almost no respite, whilst cleaning, hygiene and maintenance must be prioritised in hospital and clinical settings. As most architects would argue – purpose (combined with aesthetics of course) is everything.
Similarly, think of the overall ambience a design needs to create. Medical spaces, libraries, and children’s day-care centres, for example, are all places where inducing a sense of calm, support, and wellbeing is vital.
Carpeted floors may help deaden sound and make a softer, safer-feeling environment, but this needs to be weighed up against cleaning, maintenance, and lifecycle costs. Are there alternatives out there to traditional solutions that could save the client money whilst ticking the sustainability box and look great?
It all comes back to the idea of the project vision - what is it that the architect is trying to create and what are the priorities? And how can their choice of flooring help serve that particular vision?
If you would like to find out more about your flooring options, then get in touch! Contact wineo to find out more about its organics flooring range PURLINE today by filling out one of our online enquiry forms here. We look forward to hearing from you!