The Evolution of Office Flooring
Jeremy Broadhead, Commercial Manager at Heckmondwike, looks at current trends in flooring for offices.
“I’ve always found it fascinating to look back over old photographs of offices dating back to the 60s, 70s and 80s, just to marvel at how interior design has evolved over the years to what we have now.
In the 1960s, office design often featured endless rows of desks often arranged in a grid-like pattern, with little personality or individuality. Cubicles and partitioned spaces were popular during the 1960s, right through to the 1980s. Colours were flamboyant and reflected the fashion trends towards bright oranges, yellows and greens, which translated through to the choice of carpet too. This love of colour had its heyday in the 1970s office, with lots of experimentation going on in terms of design, with furniture introduced for its style, rather than function. Partitioning and storage solutions also really started to have more prominence.
In 1980s and 90s, technology really started to shape office design. Computers started to creep in, making desk space cramped. Employees were housed often in small, individual cubicles, surrounded by partitions that weren’t exactly great for allowing communication, interaction or sharing of ideas. Fast forward to the office of today and office design is all about minimalism and allowing for use of technology and mobile working. Hot desking is becoming more popular and the rise of e-commerce means that shift work is becoming more common and therefore, ‘clean desk’ policies need to be observed.
In more traditional office environments, the trend is towards making offices more homely. As more and more people are given the option to work from home, due to technological advances, office designers are encouraging people to work back in the office, by tempting them with innovative designs with that all-important individuality and comfort factor. Modern office design is about engaging employees, by appealing to their senses. Workers are constantly searching for a better work environment, so the idea is that if you give it to them in the workplace, they’re more likely to settle and less likely to move.
Bringing the outdoors indoors continues to be a trend. Office designers are using more exposed brick and slate for walls and floral fabrics are becoming more popular. An office, overall, must be functional but also modern offices incorporate breakout areas, which are calming environments where workers can relax and feel happy, generating a positive feel about their workplace.
Welcome the planks!
Bright, vivid colours are increasingly being used and planks are becoming popular in carpet. This replicates the minimalist wooden floor look, without the acoustics of timber flooring or the risk of slips and trips, creating the popular minimalistic linear effect. Textures inspired by carpet are being used in fabric wallcoverings too, with, in some contemporary office buildings, fabric type floorcoverings being used on both wall and floor surfaces and reflecting these colour choices in soft furnishings too.
Strong primary colours are being used, although in small quantities, in the more high-tech businesses to reflect modern lifestyles. Often these bright, daring colours, such as Heckmondwike’s Array Fuchsia, are used in breakout spaces and meeting rooms. Colour continues to be used in the workplace to customise the flooring to dedicated areas, rather than use of barriers or partitions. This allows for better communications between teams and helps to improve working relationships.
These are exciting times for office flooring and never has there been a more comprehensive and aesthetically appealing range of options.”
Sample cards for Heckmondwike’s Creative range are available on request by calling +44  1924 413637 or by using our e-sample service.