Interface, the worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of innovative and environmentally responsible modular flooring, has created a stunning bespoke flooring solution for Seven Fields Primary School in Swindon. The school is part of the government’s Pathfinder project, created to explore the design of new build primary schools fit for 21st century learning, and is funded by a grant from the Building Schools for the Future programme.
Observing the children’s tendency to want to sit on the floor, headteacher Zita McCormick, knew that this feature of the building would be a key component in its design. The original specification was for a vinyl floorcovering in classroom spaces, however Zita felt that the children would find the overall atmosphere too clinical and it might not inspire interaction. She therefore turned to Interface to provide an alternative flooring solution that would deliver the durability and practicality of vinyl, but the acoustic performance and tactility of carpet.
“When I saw the installed flooring for the first time I was speechless. The Interface design team has understood exactly what look we wanted to achieve and created a vibrant and exciting flooring scheme that achieves our objectives on so many levels. The children absolutely love it and their appreciation is evident by the amount of time they spend on the floor – whether they’re relaxing in the Reading Pod or carrying out group work in the classroom.”Zita McCormick, Headteacher
Zita and her team visited the Interface showroom in London to consult with specification manager, Tim Russell, and interior designer, Hannah Harper. Hannah explains: “The flooring needed to satisfy a number of different functions. For the children, we wanted to create a stimulating and inviting learning environment, as well as breakout areas for relaxation. For the school as a whole, the flooring needed to fit in with the flexible learning spaces created by the architect. Zita also wanted the floor to help differentiate between different areas of the school, so colour was an important tool in creating distinct zones.”
Zita continues: “Following our meeting, we took a number of different carpet tiles back to the school to test. We then subjected them to a variety of ‘assaults’ including Blutack® and playdough and we were highly impressed with their response to cleaning.”
The Interface team worked together to create a unique flooring specification that encapsulated all the key considerations of the staff and students. For classrooms, a microtuft level loop pile tile called Straightforward was selected. Made from recycled nylon and a cross between hard flooring and carpet, Straightforward is extremely durable.
A contemporary look was created for the ‘Reading Pod’ area with the bold colours of Palette Stripe. This fusion bonded level cut pile tile offers a luxurious feel underfoot, perfect for enticing the children to sit down and absorb themselves in a book. Made with recycled content in both the tile face and backing, Palette Stripe is available in 12 tonal and four offbeat contrasting colourways.
Additional products from the Interface carpet tile collection were used elsewhere in the school. These included a tufted loop pile tile called Sherbet Fizz, which was selected for its vibrant colours and appealing textures. This product has a recycled backing and 100 per cent of the electricity used during its manufacture is derived from renewable sources.