Specialised flooring projects are highly customised, niche installations for a dedicated project that has higher than usual performance and aesthetic characteristics. These projects are usually out-of-the-ordinary installations that often require out-of-the box thinking, specialised sourcing and even custom product development.

What makes specialised flooring projects exciting is that everyone involved in the project starts off on an equal footing: there’s a unique client brief and contractors, specifiers, interior designers, engineers and architects need to work together to bring the brief to life. Something different and new is required and there isn’t a clear-cut path to get from A to B. And with everything from aesthetics to performance and functionality being different to the norm, consultation and collaboration are needed more than ever before.

Specialised flooring solutions continue to change, with these installations looking vastly different from the installations that were undertaken a few years ago. Whether your specialised flooring project is access flooring and cable management, sports and rubber, glass, temporary flooring or an anti-static application, the products available to you are more unique and customisable than ever before. Here are a few interesting products, installations and trends that have caught our attention:

Glass sports floors
New flooring systems are pairing glass with sports flooring. While these floors fulfil all the technical requirements of a modern sports floor, they also enable the floor to change for different sports by using LED illuminated strips that can be turned on and off on demand to demarcate sides and lines. The reinforced glass panels are ceramic with a semi-opaque finish that controls light reflection. The lighting elements are embedded within the substructure of the floor.

These glass sports floors are not just for show. They have been strengthened to withstand enormous impacts and have a similar texture to a traditional basketball court of hardwood. Ceramic dots are also burnt into the surface to provide friction and protection against slipping.

Anti-static flooring
Global provider of medical diagnostic imaging systems, Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation, installed anti-static resin flooring over 4 000m2 at its manufacturing base in Penang, Malaysia, which specialises in the development of x-ray equipment for medical facilities. Not only is the floor Electro Static Dissipative (ESD), it is also hard-wearing, self-smoothing and seamless. Typical uses include laboratories, clean rooms and equipment testing areas in electronic, aerospace, automotive, printing and pharmaceutical plants.

Luminous Carpets
A unique way to make your carpet truly persuasive is by combining robust LED lighting and light transmissive carpeting to create a luminous carpet. This innovation can make a tremendous impact on the way a guest or visitor interacts with a space and brings a new-found design freedom to architects and designers. Besides being able to welcome guests and use a logo or image in an eye-catching way, these carpets can also be used to guide people throughout a building. Consider how luminous carpets could be used in stores or hospitality environments in the future if brands are able to personalise messages for each visitor based on access cards or mobile app detection?

Access flooring and cable management make their way into more offices
While wireless technology is contributing to the reduction in cables, it still poses network safety risks and not all companies have Enterprise Mobility Systems that enable remote workers to access company information and networks securely. Even with the increase in digital lifestyles and mobile workforces, companies still have cables and wires that need to be managed within their office environments.

In the past, access flooring was specified for data centre and contact centre installations. Today, an increasing number of companies are specifying these unique installations because of their ability to minimise trip and fall accidents and simplify cable management.

LED Dance floor, China
Shenzhen Efun Innovation Electronic Technology Co. Ltd. in Shenzhen China created an LED dance floor that can be used for dance shoes, concerts and presentations. The noiseless, energy efficient and waterproof floor is a modular, digital display device that has been constructed with a base made of high strength ABS materials. The glass panels connect to each other seamlessly and the lights are controlled using synchronous controls to make exciting displays. It can also operate using independent software, wireless remote control and has DMX and audio controls that can be operated remotely.

Event flooring
The rise of companies looking to connect with their clientele through experiential marketing and in-person activations means that solutions are needed for intriguing, immersive exhibition stands and events. Companies who are excelling in this market category are able to provide budget as well as customised carpet / carpet tiles, vinyl, laminate flooring, artificial grass and a range of other flooring materials that are able to withstand heavy traffic, yet are fully removable after the event or exhibition.

Energy floors
The next frontier of flooring is energy floors – floors that can actually generate energy. A few years ago, the technology was available in single flooring tiles, but today it has evolved into entire flooring systems that generate electricity from footsteps. Pavegen’s energy flooring, for example, converts footsteps to a digital currency that can be used to reward loyalty or donate to charitable causes. The pathways provide on-demand lighting that illuminates paths as people walk, and can also be used to provide power to interactive message displays, signage and billboards.

Specialised tip: With everything from aesthetics to performance and functionality being different to the norm, consultation and collaboration are needed more than ever before.

Thanks and acknowledgement are given to www.actum.co.za, www.connecta-floor.co.za, www.housely.com, www.installationmag.com, www.asbglassfloor.com, www.constructionweekonline.com, www.pavegen.com and www.tanda-centiva.com, for some of the information contained in this article.