WITH carpet tiles the floor can become a canvas for the designer to work in shape, colour, texture and comfort. With flexible options for shapes, sizes and patterns, carpet tiles enable successful flooring layouts to meet the needs of designers creating areas of interest and zoning, while also providing a very practical flooring solution for building owners and tenants.
Importantly carpet tiles offer flooring options that meet the needs for occupant comfort, collaboration and connectivity. Today we spend over 90% of our time indoors. The indoor environment has become one where design really makes an impact on us in terms of material choices.
Workspaces such as commercial offices are moving towards a more collaborative approach, changing their interior design layout to create more open layouts. Desks are separated with low or transparent panels, or these partitions are removed altogether and therefore the flooring will not only assist for wayfinding but needs to help meet the needs of different activity areas.
Specifiers know that they can gain practical benefits with choosing carpet tiles. Coupled with ease of maintenance, carpet tiles can be easily cleaned or replaced if a single tile is overly soiled. Furthermore, because tiles can be easily lifted, you can readily access underfloor cabling as needed.
The overall design
Using carpet tiles to tell a brand story, promote wayfinding, delineating break-out areas, or even to stimulate innovation, designers can use carpet tiles as part of their interior schemes in a myriad of ways.
A key trend has been to bring the outside in, reflecting the experiences and feeling of the natural world and bringing that inspiration indoors in furnishings and fittings. The Living Systems collection references the infinite variation and irregularity found in nature. This carpet tile collection offers consistency through a space while designating specific areas with a different colour or pattern.
This was used to great effect in a project just outside London where the open plan office accommodates different functions for example marketing and accounts teams.
The Living Systems carpet tile colour palette was chosen to incorporate the company’s brand colours and create spatial differentiation between teams without using physical barriers or wall separations. The playful transitions of the open plan area were chosen for a calming ambiance providing a backdrop for focused work, while reflecting a biophilic design aesthetic. Here the client wanted the organic concept to flow throughout the large space without overpowering the design.
Health and wellbeing
The designer for another open plan office project also worked with colour, selecting materials, textures, graphics and colour for transitions between spaces as the brief was to bring a range of businesses into one shared office. Here especially colour transitions in carpet tile selection was seen as especially important and this need was met using the Assembly carpet tile collection.
With accent colours and neutrals, Assembly offers a system of carpet tile products designed to work individually or in unison and so provide both a flexible but cohesive solution.
The client for this project in Europe requested an open office concept as much as possible, and for their employees to enjoy going to work – to work in an environment where they would feel comfortable – a space where the happiness of employees was at the forefront.
How occupants will respond to their environment is an increasing important consideration in design and colour selection can be key in this. However, performance considerations such as acoustics, underfoot comfort and indoor air quality are also critical for this overall feeling of comfort.
Carpet tiles offer this benefit – with suppliers able to show that testing has been done for low VOC emissions. Quality carpet tiles such as the Shaw Contract collections produce very low emissions which meet high environmental standards such as the French A+ VOC standard. Furthermore, the ability of carpet tiles to capture dust particles which are simply eliminated by vacuum cleaning is also a benefit.
Sound absorption for quieter working areas is an important consideration for comfort in both working and learning environments, and carpet tiles offer a solution for this. With special backing systems available such as Shaw Contract’s ComfortWorx backing, carpet tiles can provide noticeable improvements in acoustic comfort. Carpet tiles can also play a significant role in impact sound insulation compared to resilient flooring.
This is a particular consideration for comfort in multi-occupant units, public places, and educational buildings on multiple floor levels.
Where projects explore the definition of a ‘third space’ intentionally blurring the boundaries between work, living, and learning for example the detailing and materials selected need to provide a timeless, crafted approach. Carpet tiles can achieve a luxury look.
They may be presented in a manner more typical of a high-end residential setting – making the space comfortable and welcoming. Shaw Contract’s Dye Lab carpet tiles can provide an elegant, unpredictable visual, drawing inspiration for natural dyes and naturally dyed textiles.
Meanwhile the new styles introduced to Shaw Contract’s Suited collection take their cues from weaving, braiding, and crafting and through small-scale linear patterns and a soft neutral palette choice can provide a subtle definition to the floor design, especially when combined with the larger scale styles that Suited also offers.
Carpet tiles offer an opportunity to create stunning rug effects also associated with luxury interiors, and for creating cozy areas around casual seating in foyers or lobbies to provide a welcoming feel.
Lots of options
When specifying carpet tiles there are a range of options to select from. In terms of texture these options include:
Loop pile carpet tiles are manufactured through looping yarns, to bring about a soft, smooth look and feel. In loop pile solutions, higher and lower loops can be combined to play with texture and pattern often referred to as a multi-level patterned loop tile.
Cut pile carpet tiles are created by cutting yarn loops to create an upright pile. Cut pile carpets present a luxurious finish with a soft feel and plush appearance.
Cut and loop pile
Cut and loop pile carpets are a combination of cut and looped yarns. The combination allows for sculptured effects and a wide range of patterns and styles.
A whole range of carpet tile shapes are also available including:
- Plank – large and skinny, Shaw Contract for example manufactures 25 x 100 cm and 50 x 100 cm;
- Hexagon – often used to create the feeling of social hives of collaboration, colour and movement;
- Square – standard sizes will vary, 50 x 50 cm is a common option, for this elementary building block of carpet tile shapes.
- New shapes are also being introduced through the growing developments in cutting technology. Shaw Contract’s award-winning Inside Shapes collection features four shapes that can work in unison for example.
For successful commercial projects the flooring solution chosen needs to provide both ambiance and practicality. We are seeing this design thinking applied into education, student accommodation, public building and retail, as well as commercial office interiors.
The traditional home of broadloom carpet, hotels and hospitality spaces are using carpet tiles as flooring options. Often taking design cues from the hospitality sector are multi-family buildings, these interiors have complex sets of spaces, all of which call for unique finishes and flooring styles.
Durability, ease of cleaning, aesthetics and acoustics are all important factors when choosing a flooring solution and carpet tiles can offer the solution. Modular carpets offer soft textures and infinite options for layout, structure and colour harmony. This enables the designer to offer colourful and exciting flooring layouts, biophilic design options and solutions that provide for healthy and productive working environments.