The growing trend towards flexible working practices includes a move to part-time work and a growing number of workers becoming self-employed. To retain employee talent, organisations are recognising the key role of the workplace itself and are looking to find ways to make offices more comfortable and inviting.
Office environments with an open office system are associated with flexibility as they can accommodate frequent layout changes. A modular flooring system such as carpet tiles can be quickly adapted to changing needs, reducing the costs of reorganisation, and allowing for greater design flexibility.
Carpet tile designs and shapes
Building occupants and owners are wanting textured, softer, more tactile surfaces and this also embraces a move to more inspired patterns.
Flooring designs using carpet tiles function as a visual cue in large, open plan spaces with subdued, neutral colours used to denote quieter areas and bold, bright colours to indicate a creative space.
In addition, carpet tiles offer an easy solution for creating zones within an area – spaces within spaces – to support specific moods or functions and can help with wayfinding in any space.
More recently, carpet has been combined with other flooring solutions, for example, luxury vinyl tiles to create or demarcate different functional zones in large open-plan spaces.
Carpet tile options include a range of sizes and shapes – from large and small squares to skinny and large planks, and hexagon tiles.
The elementary building block is the square. This shape is the foundation of most product ranges and can be used to create an environment of continuous uninterrupted pattern to flow as needed. Alternatively, the perfect square shape of a carpet tile is also ideal for creating geometrical repeated patterns in an overall installation.
Installing hexagon-shape carpet tiles can influence the workspace mood. Hexagons can create the feeling of social points collaboration, colour and movement. The hexagon reflects the cultural shift toward more collaborative environments – influencing the ways we work, walk, communicate, and create.
Plank-shape carpet tiles are a popular innovation as they offer the opportunity to create flooring features and allow you to make progressive patterns and add colour in your space. The rectangular proportion gives the designer an opportunity to try different installations, from herringbone to basket-weave to chevrons. Haven, from Shaw Contract, creates inviting and warm-feeling workspaces.
Carpet tiles offer the possibility to mix and match different shapes and to create patterns with shapes. By simply changing the installation of the same pattern from a monolithic layout to a herringbone layout gives a designer the opportunity to create a different mood or zone within a space.
New pattern-matching technology used in the carpet product process also ensures that the design and patterns are maintained. Patterns can also be a very practical choice as patterned carpet tiles are typically better for high traffic areas to hide soil and stains.
• Use pattern to change from corridor to workspace.
• Use larger-scale patterns to make a space feel more interesting such as in conference centres, hospitality areas and airports.
• Patterned carpet tiles laid to resemble broadloom carpet give a sense of luxury.
• Natural tones and patterns restore our sense of calm and help us feel more grounded.
• Plain, simple patterns in a space changes the mood and allows the floor to be quiet and simple.
• By way of contrast, bold colours, stripes and graphic patterns create dynamic interplays that suggests energy and activity.
Texture has grown in importance as a key element of carpet tile specification and has been made possible through new manufacturing techniques. Texture adds a new tactile dimension to any space that is perfectly in keeping with the today’s workplace.
A relaxing space that could constitute an office “chill out” zone or lobby waiting room is likely to need a large, bulky texture, which gives the feeling of a plush, comforting experience. Cut-pile carpet tiles present a luxurious finish with a soft feel and plush appearance.
Loop pile carpet tiles also provide a soft feel and add an element of luxury and comfort. Level loop piles with short and densely packed loops prevent dirt from filtering into carpet and are easy to clean, making them ideal for high traffic areas.
Textured loop pile carpet tiles combine the robust, hardwearing performance of a loop pile construction with a range of design possibilities. With a tailored simple texture, the architectural qualities of the space become the statement.
Colour sets the mood of the workspace, so choosing wisely can have a noticeably beneficial effect on the mood and behaviour of customers and staff.
• Neutral and therefore versatile grey tones are excellent choices to blend with a variety of key colours. Carpet tile designs and shapes can appear bland without highlights, so include colour with paintwork or other detailing in smaller spaces.
• While earth and green tones have been popular to provide a warm and relaxing atmosphere, there has been a growth in the use of grey tones to provide a neutral look. Grey also teams well with bright colours to raise the mood and energy.
• Blue tones have a calming effect and are one of the favourite choices for commercial premises. Take care to offset this coolness and this is where the introduction of contrasting and warmer colours can have a significant effect.
There has been a notable trend to create bright, playful spaces using colour within an office environment. Whether this is to denote a more informal company culture or to reflect a desire to stimulate creative thinking, colour now offers a multitude of new flooring solutions.
While a range of weight and thickness of carpet tile options provide underfoot comfort, there are additional benefits to specifying carpet tiles in terms of occupant comfort.
• Carpet tiles as a flooring solution are ideal for businesses that need noise insulation, such as an office environment.
• Carpet tiles can absorb sound and reduce impact noise at the source. Acoustic consideration and treatments have become an increasingly prominent issue in open plan spaces to enable a comfortable and productive working environment.
• As removing suspended tile ceilings in favour of exposed soffits and services becomes more popular, there is a need to replace the lost acoustic benefit. The flooring choice therefore becomes a more important in this context.
• In architecture, light reflectance value (LRV) is a measure of visible and usable light reflected from a surface when illuminated by a light source. In a workplace environment, LRV is a key consideration for flooring. The higher the LRV the lighter the carpet tile will reflect, needing less artificial light.
Inclusive design is rightly playing an important part in the flexible design briefs for projects. As the market for carpet tiles in the commercial sector continues to grow, carpet tiles are becoming more environmentally friendly. New developments in yarn and fibres, and schemes for recycling are becoming a perfect match for increasingly stringent green building regulations.
However, it’s carpet’s design flexibility that makes it an increasingly popular choice for today’s workspaces.
Our sincere thanks and appreciation to www.shawcontract.com for the use of some of the information contained in this article.
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