Interface projects

Ecole Centrale Paris

Project specifications

Location: France
Installation m²: 2,000 m²

Sustainable services: Cool Carpet®, ReEntry®

Products used

  • Straightforward - Granite
  • Transformation - Lava

Interview with Mr David Toanen: Ecole Centrale Paris – Châtenay Malabry

1- What’s the history behind this academic institution?
The institution has just celebrated its bicentenary. Its original site was on Rue Montgolfier in Paris. Then, 40 years ago it moved to Châtenay-Malabry. Today, the engineering school is thriving, with more than 450 students starting courses this year (2,000 overall including the Masters and PhD programmes). Moreover, the school is growing and should see its student intake increase in the near future. It forms part of the Saclay Plateau campus and is preparing to move to Le Moulon in 2015.

2- What’s your position?
I have a dual role at the school. I’m the site Security Engineer but also the Head of Technical Services.

3- How long have you held it?
Since September 2002.

4- How big an area have you refurbished? When did this take place?
This year, we’ve refurbished 3,500 m² including 2,000 m² of carpet tiles. Two thirds of the refurbished area was laid with carpet as it’s easy to install and the price remains within reach. For info, we’re in the process of undertaking a large series of works. This involves a lot of restructuring work and represents an average annual budget of €2 million.

“I decided on your carpet tiles because of their look, how easy they were to lay, the good acoustics they offer and, of course, their value for money.”
Mr David Toanen, Head of Technical Services, Ecole Central Paris

5- How did you find out about Interface? Were you familiar with the principle of carpet tiles?
I first heard about Interface at the Batimat building exhibition. I was already familiar with the Heuga 726 carpet (which was installed in the school). On arriving at the stand, I was surprised to see such a wide range of products that were far from what I consider to be “Heuga” type carpets!

6- What made you decide on carpet tiles as opposed to other floor coverings? Who were our competitors?
I decided on your carpet tiles because of their look, how easy they were to lay, the good acoustics they offer and, of course, their value for money. You were in competition with another brand of carpet tile. It was the design aspect and aesthetic quality that appealed to me with that too. However, the price was out of reach and the tiles weren’t loose laid.

7- Was the modular or large-width aspect a consideration?
To be honest, it didn’t cross my mind. Using carpet tiles for their modular aspect, their interchangeability and upkeep seemed an obvious choice. However, our Director’s office does have a luxury, 100% wool roll carpet installed but, in that instance, its use is quite specific.

8- Was product colour a determining factor in your decision? If so, for what reason?
Yes! We’d spent far too long living with a hard black floor and incandescent tube lighting! (Since the building went up). We all longed for some colour… The school also gets visits from major companies, so it has a duty to maintain a good image and remain attractive, even if the premises do date back 40 years. Finally, the school welcomes thesis and doctoral students, so the premises have to be motivating and conducive to study.

9- Were you satisfied with the colourways available in the range of samples for each collection?
The colour palette was very satisfactory. To tell the truth, we were spoilt for choice!

10- Did anyone object to the decision to carpet the floor?
Floor covering decisions are made according to specifications which respect the opinion and choice of users and take the budget into account. The decision to opt for carpet didn’t pose any major issue, even though there are still some preconceived notions about how difficult it may be to clean.

11- Was there a particular aspect that sold it to you? Indoor air quality? Security? Acoustic performance? Aesthetics? Concentration-inducing atmosphere?
Acoustic performance played a crucial role, even though, as I mentioned before, aesthetics are essential.

12- What made you decide on Straightforward and Transformation as products? Was random installation a selling point? Why did you decide on Heuga 753 and Heuga 726?
I think the concept of random installation is great and really innovative! This installation concept and the commitment to sustainable development clearly contributed to our decision to use Straightforward and Transformation (Cool Carpet® certificate, fewer off-cuts, etc.) With regard to Heuga 753 and Heuga 726, I chose them mainly because the company was slow placing the order and there was no more Transformation in stock. That said, the textures and colours of these two collections really won me over. What’s more, it was a good compromise in terms of price.

13- What’s your maintenance routine?
We have public service personnel as well as a contract cleaning company called ANER. There are three buildings to clean: the refectory, the Péclet building and the Lavallée building. For the buildings as a whole, there’s no particular routine. For that matter, we’d be interested in maintenance guidelines for the carpet and even training for our cleaning teams. Offering once or twice-yearly full cleaning of the carpet on an ad hoc basis would also be a plus.

14- Were you familiar with our company’s environmental initiative? If so, did this have an impact on your decision?
I wasn’t familiar with it.
It was something I found out all about and it became an extra factor in the decision to use your carpet tiles. I think it’s great, as we too are an organisation which is very much aware of the importance of Sustainable Development (we have a member of staff dedicated to it). We have an Agenda 21 that has enabled us to make savings since 2006:
• 50% water saving
• 30% heating saving
• 3% electricity saving

We also did as follows:
• Bought a cardboard press
• Installed solar panels (located on the roof of the university refectory) As the campus hasn’t stopped growing, it’s enabled us to keep a rein on our expenditure. We’re also working towards social reintegration (collecting IT equipment, paper, used batteries, etc.), and an organisation comes to collect the bundles of cardboard which they then recycle.

15- Have you heard about ReEntry, our tile take back service for tiles at the end of their life?
Yes, your business development manager told me about it. It’s a service that affects us a lot, particularly by way of the reintegration associations that sort the tiles. You’re the only ones to offer such a service; no other supplier ever broached the subject. In addition, we can incorporate this type of information (ReEntry® certificate) into our sustainable development report.

16- How was the installation process managed? Were our technical teams on hand to offer any assistance?
Here, three possible scenarios can occur:
1- School workshop: internal team
2- Framework agreement: company we’re used to working with (small 150 m² site)
3- Open and negotiated calls to tender in which an equivalent product is proposed. For our most recent sites, I didn’t call on your technical teams for any help.

17- If you were to oversee another project, would you recommend installing Interface tiles again?
I’m pretty pleased with the outcome, so why not! My office bears witness to the fact… it looks like a showroom!

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