When it comes to designing commercial spaces, there is a trend towards more environmentally-friendly designs, with a homely and inviting feel as opposed to colder, traditional business-like designs.
As these preferences continue to gain momentum, the commercial flooring industry has followed suit. The once popular lineal or graphic designs on floors are being replaced with more organic, warmer and textural designs complimented by natural finishes like timber and stone.
Signature Floor’s Commercial Product Manager Angelique Mandarano says such trends were driven by the wider biophilic design movement and a desire to create workplaces that feel more comfortable and welcoming.
“Never has creating this sense of place felt more important than in these post-Covid times. With much of the world adapting to working productively from the comfort of the home, we believe workplaces will need to offer a warm and inviting environment to attract the workforce back,” she says.
One popular choice for Signature Floor’s commercial clients right now is their Fusion Carpet Planks. The carpet is designed with expressive, vibrant colours and three tonal neutral bases, allowing it to be customised to any brief. The designs can be mixed and matched to create a unified flow through the space or used in isolation for specific zones. Fusion Carpet Planks can be laid in multiple tessellations delivering the ultimate tool for playing with creativity in design.
During a recent refurbishment and extension of Deakin University in Victoria, H2o Architects collaborated with Signature Floors to install new flooring across the workstation and meeting spaces. Keeping in mind that noise transmission is easier in an open plan workspace, the designers chose carpet planks with the aim of maintaining quieter spaces. They selected monochrome tones from the Fusion range as the base carpet, introducing green highlights to delineate breakout and circulation zones from enclosed spaces.
Speaking about the project Vanja Joffer, Associate Architect from H2o Architects says the overall goal was to create large circular zones within the flooring, to delineate the open plan and enclosed areas.
“We also wanted a plank format as it looks more dynamic and elegant than a square tile. The different colours in the Fusion range allowed us to achieve this. In addition, the client wanted a carpet that wouldn’t show up coffee stains, which this carpet achieved,” Joffer says.
In a recent collaboration with design studio Hot Black, Signature Floors created a custom carpet for the Gateway Business Lounge in Sydney that tapped into the trend of organic and nature-inspired patterns. The brief was based around exploring contour lines and organic rock formations of sandstone - looking at how the material can morph and change over time. The design needed to be subtle and calming with muted tonal sections while also showcasing pockets of visual excitement.
The final design showcased a combination of digital painting and collage techniques, then blended and layered these different patterns, motifs, textures to create a sprawling, non-repeating placement style floor covering.
Interior Designer at Hot Black Despina Carpis was pleased with the outcome and her client also loved being given the chance to look at several rendered options and choosing from them.
Commercial flooring company Interface has also seen a move towards organic patterns. This can be seen in their trending Composure collection, carpets inspired by rock formations designed with flexibility in mind so that it can flow effortlessly across large spaces.
“This product has been designed to explore flows of colour in a single installation, ultimately creating a calm and tranquil space,” Interface’s Australian and New Zealand Design Studio Manager Tetchie Tregent says.
The Composure range is completely customisable and can be made to emulate an array of colours from calming neutrals to chalky pastels and poppy brights.
“We have also recently released Composure 2 which features an on-trend palette of colours in a higher weight product including a dusty eucalyptus and a striking terracotta hue,” she said.
When Interface was tasked with doing the flooring for MYOB’s Cremorne office in Victoria, the client opted for Composure throughout the project alongside Interface’s Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) Drawn Lines. In the fit-out, Composure was used to zone and define spaces throughout the office levels and cut tiles were also included to graduate from one colour to another, as well as add graphic visual interest.
“LVT Drawn Lines complements Composure in this fit-out as it’s also a design led product that features an organic pattern and also explores tonal shifts in colour,” Tregent says.
Another trend seen in commercial flooring is a big uptake on high quality and eco-friendly finishes, not for aesthetics alone but also as part of a greater movement to improve wellbeing.
Marketing Manager at Havwoods Jessica Hall explained that there is a demand for higher quality products that do not contain harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs), are sustainably certified and responsibly sourced.
“There is also a greater awareness around the benefits of incorporating natural materials such as timber into a workplace. Studies have shown a connection to nature improves mental health and reduces stress and that this cannot be replicated with imitation products such as vinyl,” she said.
She believes providing “beautiful, tactile and engaging spaces to remember” is becoming a big part of brand experience.
“High quality finishes are key to both a stunning space and the longevity of the space,” she says.
Havwoods Italian Collection of timber flooring products are becoming sought after in the commercial sector thanks to their versatility of use. Inspired by the intricate floors of Italy, the Italian collection is made up of standard plank, chevron and herringbone patterns in a range of colours. The collection also has sustainability credentials and is fully Forest Stewardship Council Certified, meaning that the forestry practices are done in an environmentally responsible manner.
The herringbone style flooring design that originated during the Baroque period in Europe is increasingly being chosen for high end commercial builds. The zig zag-pattern design adds depth to spaces, attracting the eye in different directions.
Luxury Australian womenswear store Mastani selected Havwoods Italian Collection of timber flooring in a herringbone pattern for their Melbourne boutique fitout.
The design brief for the 100sqm store was to create something “underpinned by qualities of strength and beauty providing a confident and layered environment to showcase the collection”. The material palette was focused on a nuanced collection of soft textural hues, with depth and weight added through timber, stone and carefully selected colour accents including a series of custom coloured ombré glass panels. Made in Europe, Havwoods Pallido Block from the Italian Collection provided an ideal base for the layering of tonal and textural details while complementing the overall palette.
Managing Owners of the Mercure hotel in Newcastle NSW Grant and Amanda Vickery were also drawn to Havwoods Italian Collection when it came to renovating the iconic 1970s modernist build.
Their goal was to keep the heritage of the hotel lobby, whilst infusing notes of freshness, light and warmth into the space. To achieve this the Vickery’s worked with Associate and Head of Interior Design from Webber Architects, Tanya Killen.
“The Havwoods flooring was an excellent option for us as it is all prefinished and such a straightforward tongue and groove design. This meant installation could happen without impacting day to day business,” they say.
They chose to use both the Pallido plank and the Pallido Herringbone designs from Havwood’s Italian Collection. The timber planks were not only placed on the floor, but artfully positioned in a parquetry style upon the walls to create a welcome punch upon entry. The whole floor was laid between 10am and 3pm, over a few days without closing the doors and with minimal disruption to guests.
Commercial Manager at Style Timber Preanka Hasan has also seen a rise in the demand for chevron and herringbone patterned floors in the commercial sector.
“Chevron flooring patterns have long been associated with elegance and prestige,” she said.
Style Timber’s Chevron Muse collection has been a popular choice for commercial clients.
“With a variety of colours to select from, designers and builders get a wide range of options when selecting for their projects,” she says.
Recently they supplied and installed American Walnut Chevron at the VIMG office fit out in Dawes Point. Hasan says the multiple layers of lacquer on these floors make them harder wearing. “With a lacquer finish there are less maintenance concerns for commercial spaces,” she said.
“All our products are FSC certified so for commercial spaces that need green star rating our products can contribute to that rating also making it a more sustainable product to select,” she said.
Sustainably sourced flooring is one of the biggest trends Tasmanian Timber has seen in recent times. Customers are seeking out timber flooring products that are sourced from sustainable and renewable resources with no compromises on design and durability.
Engineered Timber Flooring is becoming increasingly popular in the commercial sector, as it is quick and easy to lay, durable and requires no sanding and finishing.
Neville Smith Forest Products has a range of popular Tasmanian Timber flooring products, including Woodsmith Engineered Flooring, handcrafted from the finest regrowth hardwood Tasmanian Oak. The straight, consistent grain and 165mm flooring profile creates a sense of expansiveness and organic flow and quarter sawing ensures a smooth, uninterrupted visual continuity. The layered construction is stable, flexible, resistant to warping and shrinkage and suitable for commercial applications.
This was the flooring of choice for Sydney-based architecture firm, Fitzpatrick + Partners when designing their new Sydney CBD office last year.
“It was very important that the studio expressed what we are. It didn't need to be a show pony. The detail was very important, and we really questioned: ‘what is an office or a work environment for today?”, Partner James Fitzpatrick asks.
James said he selected Tasmanian Oak engineered flooring throughout the 700sqm space because the innovative material not only looked great but was also easy to install and was a sustainable choice.
“It’s fantastic for an office environment in that it gave us great speed of delivery. The planks arrived, they were laid, they were pre-finished, so we didn’t have to worry about sanding floors and leaving clear zones. One of the beauties to us was that it’s a matte finish. It immediately gives you that feeling of a studio. People actually now come in and visit and say, ‘wow, look at that timber floor’,” he said.
Fitzpatrick + Partners is on the path towards becoming carbon neutral, so the selection of materials was really important to them, both for the physicality of the material and what it offers in terms of carbon neutrality, and also what it says to their clients.
“It’s a fantastic product. The concept of being able to use a solid timber on a backing board, is an efficient use of timber. We’re not wasting a valuable resource,” Fitzpatrick says
“It’s incredible that we can still access these solid timber profiles for our projects, knowing they are appropriately sourced and certified as being from renewable, managed forests,” he says.
Commercial flooring design has come a long way, as clients continue to lift the bar on what they want. Durability is no longer the only thing to consider, as people look for sustainable products that can give their space a sense of style and warmth.
Image: Deakin University / Signature Floors
Signature Floors Signature Floors | Architecture & Design (architectureanddesign.com.au)
Interface Interface | Architecture & Design (architectureanddesign.com.au)
Havwoods Havwoods | Architecture & Design (architectureanddesign.com.au)
Style Timber Floor Style Timber Floor | Architecture & Design (architectureanddesign.com.au)
Tasmanian Timber Tasmanian Timber | Architecture & Design (architectureanddesign.com.au)