Posted on 06.08.2016

Design from the "Ground Up"

Christine Cutry is an Assistant Project Manager at Fusion Design Consultants Inc. In this latest blog post she shares with us some important insights concerning flooring trends and innovative ways to incorporate the various options into a design. 

While decisions about flooring are typically driven by function and practicality, new and recent innovation has allowed flooring to be a driving factor in design - creating an experience that starts from the ground, and works its way up. Almost every client requests a flooring option that is durable, able to sustain damage and stains, and functions well in spaces with varying needs. However, flooring does not need to be dull in order to be functional. It is no longer an afterthought, but rather an imperative part of the design process.

Flooring can sometimes be the driving factor of a design project by delineating different parts of the the office or by creating pathways and wayfinding throughout the interior space. Fusion recently completed Harvard Pilgrim Institute's new office interior at Landmark Center Boston in which flooring patterns and materials were used as a way to divide spaces, functionalities and to group different departments within the company.  In the image below, notice the transition from carpet tile to Luxury Vinyl Tile to a woven vinyl. The carpet tiles were used in the open office cubicle space, while the LVT pathway leads visitors and employees throughout the 56,000 square foot space, and the woven vinyl helps group an informal seating area. These different textures can also suggest different purposes of occupancy; such as a hard surface along a walking path to encourage users to move quickly, or a soft, plush carpet in a seating area inviting users to stay awhile and relax.

Due to advances in technology, different flooring options have been expanded, making even more possibilities available, and more designs achievable. For example, factories are now capable of printing graphics on carpet, LVT, VCT and porcelain tile. Fusion designers used a porcelain white washed wood texture tile in the kitchen area as a backsplash for Zuora's new 5,000 sq ft Boston Office. This tile brought in a different texture to the design and provided a more natural element in this hard surface space.


We've recently noticed the application of natural textures (i.e. wood) onto laminates and other substrates has been a hot trend. Unlike natural wood, porcelain, LVT, and VCT wood look tile can be used in wet areas including kitchens and bathrooms. There are other benefits too, such as, it is easier to clean and maintain than real wood. Thanks to sophisticated manufacturing techniques, these new products are durable enough for long lasting enjoyment without worrying about maintenance and refinishing.


New shapes of flooring products have also allowed designers to expand their creativity. Installation of various different shapes combined with endless color options enhance the users experience within the built environment. One of the key design elements of Fusion's Boston Harbor Hotel Visitors Center design is the floor. We recreated the Boston shoreline using different woven vinyl flooring cut to the specific shape.bol_art_slate-2x

As always, the design intent is dependent upon the designer. Some prefer to create a design that is timeless, while others prefer a trendier and livelier scheme. New flooring products have given designers the liberty to start thinking of the design from the ground up. These new technologies and trends provide a new perspective when designing a space, and allow our designs to stay current and ahead of the curve.

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