Reception design – first impression

Attractive reception are using Hexxtiles as a feature

Make an impression with office reception designs

 
The first time you step into an office’s reception you’ll learn a lot about the firm it serves. From layout and lighting to the kind of furnishings selected, individual design elements can create visual clues for clients, indicating what a business’s brand stands for and build an image in their minds. While every detail is a factor in creating that lasting impression, the three main surfaces of any meet and greet area should always be front and centre when fashioning the look and feel you wish to achieve.

Looking up – utilising the ceiling as a canvas to create the right image 

How high ceilings are in an office reception can keep them cool and airy or make them feel homely and welcoming. A reception no longer needs to be bound by dull grey ceiling tiles with a wide range of colours and finishes readily available. Inset spots are ideal for a minimal look while ornate suspended lighting solutions can fast become a feature. Using exposed pipework can create an industrial look and give a highly modern feel to an organisation. One suggestion for minimising costs on design projects can be to use existing structural elements and make features of them, that can include pipework and beams when they can add character.

Walls – the natural blank canvas

At eye level, the walls of any reception are an integral point of contact for incoming clientele. Clean empty walls with flat colour will create a space while patterns and pictures can make a more intimate impression. Exposed piping and brick can build a raw look but to keep styles polished and professional, glossy walls finished with media players can be an ideal fit. Obviously walls present an opportunity to brand and of course there is a lot to be said around colour psychology. Having a feature wall behind a reception desk can make an organisation seem more inviting and provide the right level of focus.

Flooring – the often forgotten canvas

Just like the walls of a reception, the floorspace covers a large area of the room. In clear view of visiting clients, its importance should never be underestimated. Enterprises experiencing significant footfall in their receptions must consider durability and the ability to ensure floors always looks immaculate. We provide detailed cleaning and maintenance suggestions on all of our product pages.

Additionally, entrance matting options from Duraflor offer robust protection against heavy traffic. Presented in pristine aluminium, ENTRAGUARD protects the freshness of other flooring with an innovative wiper system while CHECKPOINT creates a cleaner environment in receptions by absorbing unwanted moisture from outdoors.

Looking for inspiration

This link takes you to 55 Inspirational Office Receptions that may help you decide on the look you are trying to achieve. It really is all about the perfect combination of walling, ceiling and flooring that create the perfect canvas for the furnishings and fixtures. We can offer carpet tiles and luxury vinyl flooring inspired by nature or the urban environment – so whatever look you are trying to achieve we are sure we can help. Call us today on 01592 630 030.

Pantone colour of the year 2021

Hexagon carpet tiles in office design

Pantone colour of the year 2021 – an inspiring choice

 

Following a testing 2020, the trendsetters at Pantone have unveiled their “colour of the year” for 2021.

Except that for the second time in two decades, Pantone has paired colours that can be matched to convey a “message of happiness supported by fortitude”.

The choice for 2021 is “ultimate grey” (175104) and “illuminating” (13-0647) – a buttercup yellow.

While the American company may have taken inspiration from the current state of the world, it’s not hard to see how the pairing can flow through your flooring choices.

Why grey and yellow for 2021?

Each year, Pantone predicts palettes which may prove popular with consumers and commercial customers in interior and exterior design.

The institute has explained its selection this year, with the pale grey, described as “practical and rock-solid”, contrasting against the mid-tone yellow which is described as “warming and optimistic”.

That combination is intended to represent our ongoing discomfited state after a testing year. That is, uncertain hope coupled with renewed resilience as the global pandemic continues to rage alongside hopes of a return to normality.

Pantone invites some unflattering comparisons

Not all trend followers have been entirely complimentary, however. And it isn’t the first time the colour matching institute has made a contentious choice.

Yet, we can’t help but feel that this contrast of pallid grey and wintry sunshine is perfect for interiors.

Calming grey can tone down the uplifting strength of yellow, and the sunny shade gives grey a strength it otherwise would not possess. And they’re an extremely practical pairing for large areas such as walls and floors.

Grey and yellow in flooring

Grey – which was described by Ideal Home as the “colour of the decade” – is a timeless choice for flooring and is a perfect base for more vibrant highlights.

A neutral grey works alongside almost any secondary colour, particularly the illumination of yellow.

For utilitarian spaces such as offices, factories and public spaces, grey can be accentuated by yellow to uplift the environment or provide practical purposes such as place markings, route directions or highlighted spaces.

Perhaps Pantone’s choice of a dependable grey and cheery, illuminative yellow really is right for the spaces we create in 2021.

Tips to minimising costs in fit-out projects

Future of office design - Duraflor Aspect carpet tiles

 

Great design uses existing features to minimise cost

 
If you’re working on a commercial interior design project with a tight budget, you may well be wondering how to effectively cut costs without compromising on quality. We have been looking at the key advice given, by a number of great companies, on tips to minimising costs in fit-out projects – in other words how to be creative with a constrained budget.

Consider installing an open plan office

 
It is probably obvious as a design choice, especially as it lends it self to a more agile office set up, but open plan commercial spaces also have cost advantages.  They require less building work and fewer costly materials compared to cellular offices, meaning they are perfect for companies with a modest budget. Getting rid of fixed partitions often encourages effective communication and collaboration between workers, improving the culture of a business and potentially profits – a win, win.

Work with existing structures rather than completely renovating the building

 
One of the costliest elements of a fit-out is restructuring. Many office fit-out experts advise against overhauling the dimensions of the property’s interior and suggest moulding an attractive workspace around existing structures. If you are lucky enough to have the right type of property, exposed beams and incorporating building features can create some of the coolest office environments. Obviously it is important to try to minimise alterations involving air conditioning or plumbing systems, as these can be very costly. It is however worth pointing out lifetime costs and recommending alternative lighting and heating options where they are inefficient.

Helpful benchmarking

 
You may find the report by CBRE a useful benchmark on costs and type of work that falls within the different level of fit-out specifications. It is packed with comparisons across Europe, but also fascinating insights on benefits and costs.

Select flooring that is affordable and made to last

 
Flooring is one of the most important elements of a commercial fit-out, so it is important to carefully consider what kind of floors will be most durable and, therefore, cost-efficient in your building. We wrote a detailed article on choosing the best type of flooring for your commercial space and we are always available to advise further.

Reach out to Duraflor today

 
At Duraflor, we offer some of the highest quality flooring solutions on the commercial market. Whatever your budget, please contact us today about your fit-out requirements and we will do everything in our power to help.

Collaboration considerations for commercial designers

A construction site with contractors collaborating

Collaboration tips for commercial designers

 

There is no doubt a commercial design project can be challenging and that goes far beyond the choice of materials and regulatory compliance, to finding ways to collaborate with multitude of contractors involved in any given project. We have reviewed some of the knowledge out there, to provide a few collaboration tips for commercial designers when it come to dealing with contractors in the built environment.

Establish a shared vision

 
This important point, features in a number of articles we found, including a framework for collaboration in the construction industry. It is true that without agreement of the project goals, the end results could be confusing or even flawed, but the framework also highlights the need to clearly define the criteria for success, and the role of the collaboration team itself in achieving the goals.

Establish effective communication

 
Establishing a clear line of communication early on is a fantastic way to bring the team together. It is important to set out ideas around budgets, materials and processes at initial briefings, but then timely and considerate communication throughout the project is what will really ensure success. Establishing what that might look like from the outset can also be extremely helpful.

Plan to eliminate downtime and delays

 
When there are lots of people involved in a project, it’s essential to set an exact schedule. That is obvious, but how widespread the delays are may not be. According to one survey we found, 85% of companies said that they had experienced delays on construction projects recently. The same study cited that these delays can increase in the project’s initial price by up to 50%, costing everyone involved money as well as time. Effective communication, pre-planning and involving multiple parties in solution finding should impact positively on this, especially when you already know delays are a likely outcome.

Know who is in charge

 
If there’s a problem or a clash in the schedule, it’s vital to know who is in charge. They can help address any conflicts directly, and give the sign-off on choices. Without knowing who has the final say during a project, you could be waiting far too long to resolve issues.

Additional information

 
RIBA produced a document some time ago for architects on how to work with contractors, you may find this short article provides additional insights on the subject, it is something that will always remain timely, so worth reflecting on.

How we help

 
Duraflor have a wide range of UK manufactured floor coverings in stock for immediate delivery, we also can help by working with both designers and flooring contractors together on a project. We also share a desire to eliminate downtime on a project. Contact us to see how we can be an integral part of the team that gets thins done.

Construction site safety considerations for commercial designers

outside construction site

A guide to on-site construction safety considerations for interior commercial designers

 
As anyone who works in commercial interior design will know, construction sites can be dangerous regardless of the precise nature of the work being undertaken. However, while many interior designers for commercial properties are keenly aware of safety issues, it is perhaps worth reflecting on best practice requirements, so you know what to expect. We offer up 4 on-site construction safety considerations that highlight the site manager’s responsibility and that of a visitor.

1. Remember to start work with an induction

 
It is against the law to start work on a construction site without undertaking a brief induction beforehand. A good induction should include an overview of sign-in procedures, tips about standard practices, and any emergency protocols.

It goes without saying is very important that you follow all procedures expected of you to avoid accidents or injuries. Safety protocols will have been put in place for a reason, usually following a thorough risk assessment.

2. Remember to wear your PPE

 
According to the Health and Safety Executive, it is the responsibility of employers to oversee the provision and use of personal protective equipment (PPE). However, employees and contractors should also think carefully about their own safety and consider what protection they need with regards to temperatures, visibility and protection against falling objects. It could be worth knowing some of the protocol around head protection and colours used on site for easy identification.

You should be provided with the relevant safety gear to protect the eyes, skin, head, feet, lungs, or body.

There are also requirements with regards to Covid-19 on construction sites with PPE and other protection measures needing to be taken.

3. Understanding the importance of a tidy site

 
Slips and trips represent some of the most common workplace accidents, accounting for around 30% of major on-site injuries. It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure sites are kept as tidy as possible – paying extra special attention to entrance routes and emergency exits.

4. Report any equipment defects if you spot them

 
It is also everyone’s responsibility to act on what they see. If as a visitor you spot an equipment defect. Look to immediately report the problem to the relevant point of contact, who should have been pointed out to you in your induction.

What are the benefits of vinyl flooring?

Momenta Herringbone White Sparkle

The many benefits of vinyl flooring

 

Flooring affects the overall look of the office, as well as its accessibility and usability. A lot of time designers are looking for the natural look of wood and stone but with the added benefits vinyl coverings offer, especially the authentic look of Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT). For more on the benefits of vinyl flooring, continue reading.

Easy maintenance

One benefit of vinyl flooring is that it is easy to care for. We noted in our survey on what will happen in a post Covid-19 world, that many of our customers were predicting a further move towards vinyl for many commercial flooring areas. Coatings on our vinyl flooring protect coverings from stains and spills, so that they remain pristine. While our sheet vinyls come with an antibacterial coating, making them favoured in kitchen areas, education establishments and in the healthcare sector.

Versatile

Vinyl flooring can be used in main office rooms, as well as breakout areas and kitchens. This is because when correctly installed a vinyl floor is not adversely affected when it comes to water and moisture. Therefore, there is no need to panic if the flooring gets wet or the environment is humid; the water can simply be wiped away.

Wide choice of colours

When choosing vinyl flooring for an office fit-out, the colour choices are endless. You can select wood style finishes for a classic look, or single colour flooring for a modern feel. The other advantage is being able to mix different colours, textures and styles all in one floor plan. Choose from either cool or warm-toned flooring depending on a client’s preference and light sources available.

The advances in vinyl flooring design mean that grain patterns of wood and the authenticity of stone effect, make it a more natural choice than you might think – and it carries with it environmental credentials versus many natural alternatives.

Access friendly

Every office should be easily accessible by all. One great advantage of vinyl flooring is that it is accessible for wheelchair uses. Some flooring options, such as thick pile carpets and glossy finish tiles, can reduce or halt the movement of wheelchairs. Vinyl flooring offers ease of movement and access, creating an access friendly office.

Comfort

Vinyl doesn’t get cold in winter and also generally feels softer to walk on than wood or ceramic tile floors. Our LVT designs, in particular our loosely Espressa range (Impact Sound Reduction EN ISO 717-2 LW = 17dB) has impressive acoustic properties.

Durability

Another excellent benefit of vinyl flooring is that it is very durable. Our vinyl flooring is heavy contract rated, so it can easily withstand heavy foot traffic, making it ideal for use in busy offices and walkways.

Ease of Installation

You may also find this Mix Interiors article useful on the benefits of loosely LVT – the obvious benefit is speed of installation – both our Espressa Range and Axis Range fit that bill perfectly.

 

At Duraflor, our range of vinyl floor coverings will complement any office space. For more information about our products, get in touch today.

Office Fit-Out Insights for End Users

Office Fit Out Hexxtiles

Planning an Office Fit-Out

 

Obviously as an ‘end-user organisation’ finding a great fit-out company is important when planning any office fit-out. However, in addition to researching who to engage for the project, there are a number of tasks you can also complete to ensure everything runs smoothly.

For a business, an office fit-out can create a whole new look for your space, boosting staff morale and impressing stakeholders. If you are responsible for this task, continue reading for our tips to a successful project.

Research

Many office fit-out partners will help you evaluate if your current space will be right for you in the future, considering workflow, projected growth and in the current climate, how people are likely to work in the future. Anything you can do in advance though will help give clarity to your brief. Understand what employees like and dislike about the current workspace, and have a clear idea of why you are making the changes – expansion, contraction, morale, technology, image etc.

Plan ahead

It is just as important to plan your internal project lead and team, as it is finding the right company to partner with. Choose someone to lead who will be inclusive, will have the right level of authority and has good project management skills. If multiple departments are involved ensure they are represented adequately whenever you can.

When it comes to finding the right partner, consider the extent of the brief so you can ensure they will offer you the right level of support. Do you need assistance for instance in writing the brief itself, conducting a feasibility study, space planning, furniture procurement, guidance on legal obligations and liabilities, installation of utilities, discussions with your landlord etc.?

While you may not know initially how much it is going to cost you may have a maximum budget in mind. When getting quotes you should ask for advice on all the costs not only those associated with the job from the supplier’s perspective but also what else they believe you should anticipate. If a property is leased, your landlord may be willing to assist with the costs.

Be clear on levels of disruption

Communication is essential in minimising disruption, so it is important that the company you are working with are aware of any specific deadlines you are hoping to achieve. You need to discuss with them whether it is possible for you to remain in the office while the fit-out occurs, or whether they will need to move. If you are moving, ensure you have organised telephone lines and technical requirements. Also are their items of furniture, fixings and fittings you want to keep – that will not only affect budgets but can also impact on how the job is done.

Check legal issues

Check the lease terms and find out if it is a listed building. It is also essential to obtain the landlord’s consent for alterations and understand your obligations for when you vacate. Make sure a fire risk assessment is done, ensure you understand all liabilities and insurance cover, any planning permission requirements and environmental obligations. These tasks need to be completed before any fit-out can begin.

Interior design considerations

It is worth having insights to current design trends yourself as this may inform your decisions and can certainly help discussions. In current times, it is also essential to think about social distancing measures, which could continue long into the future. How can the space be used in a practical and safe way?

Here to help

New flooring is an essential part of any office fit-out, which is where Duraflor can help. We offer commercial flooring including carpet tiles, luxury vinyl tiles and looselay LVT, which can transform any office space. We work closely with many fit-out companies and can help them and you decide on the best flooring for your new look premises. We see our flooring as the canvas for yours and their ideas.

Commercial office kitchen flooring

Cienna Range

Commercial Office Kitchen Flooring – Key Considerations

 
With any kitchen flooring there are 3 main considerations hygiene, durability and anti-slip properties. With a commercial office kitchen flooring that consideration also includes aesthetics. We take a look at the products that fit the bill.

Health and Hygiene
 
Keeping any food preparation area clean and hygienic is of paramount importance. It is wise to select flooring which comes with a hygienic antibacterial coating and fungistatic treatment. Duraflor’s Duragrip is coated with a fungistatic and anti-bacterial treatment and has a Topguard PUR coated surface, making it easy to maintain. The same is true of our Resolute range. Both these ranges not only work well in commercial kitchens they were designed to meet the hygiene standards demanded from a busy hospital environment.

Durability
 
All our safety flooring ranges are designed for heavy traffic environments, with a 0.7mm wear-layer. They also as part of their durability credentials have excellent life-cycle costs and are 100% recycled, as well having an impressive amount of recycled-content. Guarantees range from 10-12 years in heavy commercial wear environments.

Anti-Slip
 
Kitchens are notorious for being the scenes of trips and falls. It is essential to select flooring with good anti-slip qualities, when looking for commercial office kitchen flooring.

Our most impressive range is our Cienna Range with an R11 slip rating and PTV 36+ (Pendulum Test).  The other things to note about Cienna is its impressive durability, and as with Resolute and Duragrip it has a high quality PUR treatment to ensure important hygiene standards are met. We especially however like the depth of this range and how well it blends with classic LVT and carpet tiles used in other areas of the office environment.

Both Resolute and Duragrip Safety Flooring have excellent anti-slip qualities (R10 slip rating and RRL Pendulum Test (wet) – > 36).

Aesthetics
 
We are confident that when it comes to finding a flooring solution for busy commercial kitchen environments, we have all the bases covered. From the beauty of natural wood and stone effects found in our Cienna range to more traditional speckled designs in both our Resolute and Duragrip ranges, you don’t need to compromise on aesthetics when it comes to finding a hygienic, safe and durable choice.

Creating a post Covid-19 collaborative workspace

Freedom Storm and Pavement Waterfall Carpet Tiles

 

Collaborative Workspaces and Covid-19

 

Designers are facing unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19 restrictions. One challenge is creating a collaborative workspace that is suitable for use during the pandemic. In this blog post, we explore creative design solutions that can help to create collaborative spaces that are still compliant with social distancing guidelines.

One article we read suggested a “culture-club layout” suggesting that in fact the office will transform further into a more collaborative environment post-Covid 19, with people only coming to the central office for planned collaborative meetings.  The proposal also suggests a radical transformation – with office nodes close to people’s homes and a much larger central meeting area in the existing space.

We offer up some simple practical solutions but what is certain is there is a need to go beyond these suggestions if current attitudes towards commuting to work and health risks remain.

 

1. Individual office pods

While it may seem counterintuitive to use isolated pods to create collaborative workspaces, individual office pods can be used to enhance collaborative work. In an isolated pod, an employee will be free from noise and visual distractions, allowing them to engage with online collaborative work, such as a group video call, more effectively and efficiently. If multiple employees cannot gather in a room together, individual office pods ensure they can still meet virtually and work without distractions or indeed the pods can act as a barrier while still allowing people to occupy the same space.

2. Hygiene-first designs

If you are creating a collaborative space for employees to meet in person, you should look for large furniture that allows employees to space themselves out. For example, a large meeting table that has twice the capacity requirements of a team so employees can sit with adequate space around them. You should also include details such as LVT or sheet vinyl, which can be easily cleaned and disinfected and consider installing a tap and sink in the meeting room, so employees can wash their hands before and after a collaborative meeting quickly. Multiple taps around an office and sanitiser stations will prevent employees from having to walk to a bathroom to wash their hands, which may be time-consuming. See our blog on designing in hygiene.

3. Moveable furniture

Consider furniture that is easily moveable so employees can create collaborative workstations when allowed, whilst keeping at a safe distance from one another. Stools and fold-up chairs are ideal for quick brainstorming meetings and can be easily transported around an office space. If another peak of the virus occurs, moveable furniture can also be stored away to create even greater space within an office.

We found a very interesting article from Steelcase that talks about why many are missing the office – a key factor is the informal collaborative atmosphere it creates. They argue that many of the design principles from their research pre-Covid-19 on collaborative furniture design still applies.

 

We work closely with you to find design solutions that incorporate hygiene and social distancing elements as part of your floor scheme. We can offer suggestions from a flooring perspective that help you address the issues associated with collaborative workspaces and Covid-19 environment precautions. Don’t hesitate to contact us on [email protected] or call us on 01592 630030.

How Covid-19 has affected Biophilic Designs

Aspect Carpet Tiles and Biophilic Design

 

How Covid-19 has affected Biophilic Design – we look to the future

 
In this blog post, we look at how COVID-19 has affected biophilic design and how biophilic design will gain in stature and be adapted during the pandemic.

Over the past few years, biophilic design has been a popular office design trend. Biophilic design is focused around bringing the outdoors, indoors, and has been introduced by offices around the world to boost their employees’ wellbeing and increase their connection to nature. In light of COVID-19, however, many businesses have had to significantly change their office environment, affecting some of the current approaches to biophilic design.

1. Reduction of personal items and creation of outdoor spaces
 
Employees have been asked to remove personal and non-essential items from their work station, to ensure all surfaces can be easily sanitised and there is a reduced chance of contamination between workplaces and home environments. For many employees this can include plants around and on desks – but that was never true biophilic design anyway.

In a true design sense biophilic design is about embracing nature and architects are now starting to think about the symbiosis between nature and the built environment, developing projects that immerse buildings and their occupants in the biological world. Considering how biophilic design can help with clean air ventilation and bringing a true outdoor experience to the office, could be the best trick to getting staff to still visit the office – creating avenues of escape that enhance wellbeing and productivity. We found a great article on the subject and the mind-shift that is now needed.

2. Increased floor space with nature at its core
 
Large items, such as printers, art features and plants may have been removed from an office, in order to ensure there is enough floor space possible for a business to enforce a one-way system or maintain social distancing between employees. The removal of sculptures and plants can significantly change the atmosphere of an office.

Although businesses may have to keep a clear floor space, that does not mean they can’t use the space as a cue to nature. Luxury Vinyl Tiles are both hygienic and can give a fresh natural look to any floorspace. Carpet Tiles are also easy to maintain and disinfect plus many of the Duraflor ranges are inspired by nature – ranges from both the Natural Terrain Collection and Freedom Collections being good examples.

3. Making communal spaces look less sterile
 
To limit employee socialisation, many communal spaces within an office have been removed or closed for the foreseeable future. This means that spaces where employees could come together and relax have been removed.

The emotional toll that the pandemic can have negative consequences on productivity and mental health. We will all recover best in an environment that promotes health, first and foremost but that doesn’t have to mean sterile looking environments. So while designing spaces that enable safe distancing is important, there has possibly never been such a greater need as now, to create exterior environments inside.  Considering living walls so plants provide air purification, thinking about colours and textures associated with nature rather than a sterile white for hygiene are likely to significantly enhance positive attitudes to a new office layout. A Human Spaces Report on Biophilic Design found 67% of respondents report feeling happy when walking into bright office environments accented with green, yellow or blue colours – that will still be the case. And there are already reports out there on how colour trends will be affected by the pandemic with experts predicting a gravitation toward hues that mimic the sensation of being in nature.

Breaking up open spaces in an office by hanging plants from the ceiling is also an effective way to fill empty communal spaces and introduce elements of nature into an office, without adding more touchable surfaces for employees to potentially contaminate. Thinking of furniture design that creates the right amount of distance yet feels and looks natural are all part of a new challenge but have the potential to create a much more rewarding and collaborative environment.