A signature range of lockers from Californian company Foreman Locker Systems combines Wilsonart® Custom Laminate and innovative German design to provide a secure solution with an aesthetic finish.

Locker systems in health club and spa settings provide safe spaces for patrons to store their belongings. Within athletic departments, such as the equipment room for the University of South Carolina’s football team, locker systems play an important role in keeping equipment secure and organised.

A well-conceived locker design can increase the functionality of a space, generate revenue for the facility, and improve aesthetics.

Based in Murrieta, California, Foreman Locker Systems manufactures robust and stylish lockers that are gaining popularity in many markets globally including health and fitness, education, public recreation, healthcare and corporate fitness.

Richard Shaffer, COO and director of business development for Foreman Locker Systems says their locker is based on a European design and is a performance locker with high strength and durability. Popular for its European aesthetic, the locker features sleek lines, and can be customised on the surface with digitally printed graphics.

Marc Warren, an architect and project manager for Quackenbush Architects + Planners was involved in the renovation of the University of South Carolina’s football team equipment room. The main focal point, both aesthetically and in terms of usability, is a bank of Foreman lockers featuring Wilsonart Compact Laminate with the USC Gamecock logo on the surface. All graphics were digitally printed utilising Wilsonart’s new custom process, Wilsonart x You.

Warren explained that they considered wood, High Pressure Laminate (HPL) and Compact Laminate as possibilities for the lockers. However, they chose Compact Laminate for its durability and moisture resistance as well as the flexibility of design. Wilsonart also allowed them to specify custom colours and graphics.

Also called thick phenolic laminate, Compact Laminate is manufactured with the same décor paper layer and resin system as traditional HPL, but with a much thicker layer of Kraft paper. After pressing, the resulting sheet is a standalone decorative building material that requires no substrate, adhesive system or additional finishing. Traditionally used for extremely demanding applications such as bathroom partitions, Compact Laminate can be specified to carry any surface design (including custom graphics).

Foreman’s Shaffer said they prefer to work with Wilsonart any time they have a project with a personalised design, or when there is a short lead-time.

Due to its strength and design versatility, Compact Laminate is increasingly being specified for a wide variety of applications, including lockers. According to Shaffer, Foreman’s clients appreciate the added security of Compact Laminate lockers, which is particularly significant to the health and fitness industry. He explained that metal was the standard for a long time in rec centres and YMCAs, but health clubs didn’t want the institutional look.

Metal lockers also rust when they get wet while solid wood is expensive and easily damaged by use and moisture. HPL, though a high-performance surface, is not ideal for lockers as the decorative layer is mounted on particleboard or plywood, which may be great for furniture or cabinets but not for lockers, with the hinges, strike plates or locking mechanisms attached to the substrate being vulnerable to security breaches. Compact Laminate, which is self-supporting, is a much stronger material.

Foreman Locker Systems further fortifies its products with an extruded aluminium framework. This interlocking system allows for adjacent lockers with side panels that are only 1mm thick, significantly reducing material cost compared to lockers with full-box construction. In addition, the locking mechanisms attach directly to the aluminium framework. Shaffer said the strong construction could support an integrated bench; combined with the durability of Compact Laminate, the lockers are so secure that Foreman provides a lifetime warranty.

Lockers that combine impenetrable security with visual appeal provide health and fitness centres with new opportunities for revenue. Sacramento-based California Family Fitness is using Foreman lockers featuring beautiful images printed using Wilsonart’s custom process for its rental lockers. The unique Z-locker configuration with eye-catching graphics helps to differentiate the bank of lockers and make them more appealing to members.

Architect Marc Warren, who led the USC football equipment room project, said they were looking for something that was very durable and moisture-resistant for their application. Compact Laminate, being impervious to the high humidity associated with locker room spaces, met their requirements and delivered the desired outcome.

Image: Foreman lockers at University of South Carolina Football Equipment Room featuring Wilsonart Compact Laminate with the USC Gamecock logo digitally printed on the surface utilising Wilsonart’s new custom process, Wilsonart x You