Posts Tagged ‘tiles’

Project showcase: All Bar One, Windsor, by Harrison

July 20, 2012

Harrison was commissioned by hospitality operator Mitchells & Butlers to design an All Bar One in a building that was originally Queen Victoria’s private waiting room at Windsor Royal Station.

Developing a branded offer in a listed building is always a challenge and Harrison’s design sensitivity enabled them to develop a proposition that successfully met the expectations of both the client and their customers.

I spoke to Janice Mitten from Harrison about this interesting project:

What was the brief?
Mitchells & Butlers’ brief was to restore the existing listed building, as it has a historic story and fantastic existing features. So, incorporating this into the design was key. We felt that we could incorporate the All Bar One brand feel into this building without disturbing what was there, by using things like large leaning blackboards and painted graphics on the walls.



Project showcase: Nando’s Westfield Stratford City by Harrison

June 25, 2012

Harrison is a leading design consultancy, specialising in restaurant and bar branding, design and development. Over the course of the past decade, Harrison has worked on over 100 sites for Nando’s the Portuguese chicken restaurant chain, with each venue giving rise to individual design challenges. One of Harrison’s largest designs is Nando’s Westfield Stratford City, which accommodates up to 260 diners in Europe’s largest urban shopping centre.

Everyone involved in producing this restaurant were anxious to see fresh, innovative and dynamic ideas that would complement the scale and grandeur of the Stratford development, while still embodying the Nando’s brief of feeling African and Portuguese, natural, warm, fun and creative.

Every Nando’s location is unique, which affords a good degree of creativity to the architects and designers and avoids the formulaic interiors often seen in chain restaurants. Stand-out features in this restaurant include a hand-woven hickory ceiling supported by carved timber columns, vibrant artwork, bespoke wall tiles, a copper bar, cast concrete seating booths and mosaic flooring.

Artwork and art tiles
Most of the artwork in the restaurant was produced by African artists at the Spier Arts Academy in Cape Town, South Africa, working in collaboration with Harrison. This includes the 800 ceramic ‘pages’ tiles, which are installed at the entrance, each of which was individual and handmade. Tile supplier Parkside Tiles made cream tiles in a bespoke size to fit between the pages tiles, and maintain visual consistency, as the full wall had to be covered.

Stone wall trends: split face and bookmatch

June 25, 2012

Split Face stone, for wall applications, is on trend at the moment, especially for the commercial market. These types of textured stone panels are being frequently used for projects such as bars.

Oyster Split Face Mosaics, by Mandarin Stone

Antique English Reverse Face tiles, Lapicida Stone Group


Stone floor trends for 2012

January 5, 2012

I wrote recently about the popular pale cream marble, Crema Marfil, which has been a popular choice amongst architects and interior designers for some time.

Recently clients and designers have been steering away from warm yellow tones, and opting more for classic creams and beiges. However, for 2012, leading stone companies advise that blue and grey hues are expected to be most in demand.

Vix Blue Honed Limestone by Mandarin Stone

New Montpellier, by Lapicida Stone Group

Branding and exclusivity in stone tiles: When is Crema Marfil not Crema Marfil?

November 8, 2011

Crema Marfil stone, which means ‘Ivory Cream’ in Spanish, is extracted from the El Coto quarry located in Pinoso (Alicante). It is the largest marble quarry in the world, owned by Levantina.

Levantina describes the stone as “internationally recognized as the best cream marble. Its chromatic wealth, excellent finish, unbeatable physical qualities and its resistance to impact, combined with a low coefficient of water absorption make it the preferred option among all architects and creators when choosing Ivory Cream.”

While you’d expect this sort of marketing information from the manufacturer, the quarry is certainly enormous (as the picture below shows), and amongst architects and interior designers, it’s fair to say that it’s a popular, well-known material.

Crema Marfil tiles UK suppliers

I have noticed a great many Crema Marfil products available for sale – is this simply because it is a very popular product?

Flooring test by London Underground at Victoria Station

August 26, 2011

London Underground works in conjunction with leading flooring manufacturers and suppliers and is currently conducting a trial of flooring materials at Victoria Station (Underground).

Victoria station

Above: London Victoria rail station, with one of the tube entrances on the left. (image by Ewan M on flickr- creative commons license)

In the passage linking Victoria and District & Circle Lines, there are eight areas of trial floorings, two granite, five terrazzo types and one fully vitrified porcelain. London Underground said:

We are very keen in maintaining high standards of finishes in public areas, taking into account durability, cleanability and safety. Over the course of the coming year, these aspects will be taken into consideration and, given that the various flooring types meet our criteria, then they can be considered suitable for installation, particularly when it comes to new station development as well as the refurbishment of existing assets.

London 69


Selecting tile grout: colour & technical properties

August 12, 2011

I was inspired by a visit to the Reed Harris Tiles blog to take a look at grout.

Tile supplier Reed Harris offers design advice on choosing grout colour on their blog, with the first rule being: don’t just go for white.

Reed Harris Tiles- advice on choosing grout colour

Karen from Reed Harris takes a look at how the grout colour can enhance the tiles and the space in general.

Elsewhere this simple grout colour simulator on the Joy of Shards mosaics site was interesting and fun, but I found the colours to be rather harsh.


Flooring refurbishments

June 30, 2010

I asked my twitter contacts whether it was normal to screed over existing ceramic tiles when refurbishing flooring. The case in question is the atrium of my office building, which is having new vinyl sheet installed at the moment.

In my recent rant, I was baffled as to why seemingly perfectly good ceramic tiles were being covered over. There could be a variety of reasons, but Sam from The Rubber Flooring Company gave me some useful feedback.

The general advice is, where possible, to get back to the original substrate and apply a self-leveling smoothing compound. However, if budget or site won’t allow this, and the ceramic is sound, then they can be primed and screeded over, albeit with more risk of system failure.

Our building is in use during weekday working hours, so the site conditions are tricky, but judging by the move to a hard-wearing, easy-maintenance floor covering, budget may also be a primary consideration. But in the ‘age of austerity’ why the need to refurbish the floorcovering in the first place?

You can almost see the outline of the existing tiles in the picture above.

Office atrium refurb rant

June 28, 2010

I’ve been tweeting recently about the refurbishment of the atrium of our office building – the building houses four large open-plan offices: a commercial publisher (us), two public bodies and a business banking centre.

I’m not a qualified designer or architect, but I have a bit of knowledge built up over the years, researching and editing information about interior and architecture products and this atrium refurbishment really isn’t working for me.

This morning I came in to find my fears were confirmed: the stone-effect tiles in the atrium are being replaced with flexible sheet flooring. I won’t mention the product, because there is nothing wrong with resilient flooring per se, but for this application it just seems inappropriate. Fine for a school or sports centre, but without getting ideas above my station, the organisations in this building would expect something with a little more prestige.

The ceramic tiles in in the toilets have already been replaced with anti-slip vinyl flooring. While this is a slightly more suitable application, I still didn’t think a replacement was needed. It’s not an improvement aesthetically, as the flooring is now out of step with the white wall tiles in the individual toilet rooms. Furthermore, the men’s has blue and the ladies a light red: for goodness sake, this isn’t a primary school!

To be honest a good scrub would probably have sufficed. The installation isn’t exactly immaculate either and may lead to maintenance problems: there is no coving, and the gaps between the edge of the sheet and the wall will fill up with dirt before long. The thin screed that now covers the atrium and balcony appears to have been poured on top of the tiles, and our office door doesn’t open properly. So how is the new sheet going to fit?

Aesthetic and design considerations aside, it was simply a waste to replace the tiles, although the carpet tiles that covered the stairs and balcony level had reached the end of its life. I suspect anti-slip flooring may have been chosen as an anti-litigious measure, and to give the building a ‘new feel’ for prospective new tenants.

In my view a better use of the money would have been to install some lighting controls for the atrium- it has big fluorescent fittings that burn all day during summer when the space is filled with natural light. There are taps that constantly drip in the disabled cubicle, and the solid wood sliding door is almost too heavy for an able-bodied user to operate. A consultation with the users might have uncovered these issues, or that there is little provision for cycle parking and the smokers might appreciate a shelter.

Isn’t how a building is used just as important, if not more so, than than how it looks?

Turkish ceramics

June 8, 2010

A full page ad for Turkish Ceramics in April’s World of Interiors took me off on a web search of discovery today. If you had said ‘ceramics’, I’d have thought ‘Italy’, but I found some striking products that have their roots in a tradition of ceramics production that started 8000 years ago.

Jewelery designer Sultanissima pointed me in the direction of Turkish Ceramics with her strikingly colourful photo and blog post covering a trip to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul (click below).

Turkish Ceramics, Istanbul, via Sultinissima

From the Turkish Ceramics website I found that the Turkish ceramic industry has expanded its output tenfold over the last decade, increasing exports by 15% and production capacity by 18% annually. Today, the world’s largest ceramic sanitaryware and tile manufacturing facilities are in Turkey. The country ranks seventh in terms of production and fifth in terms of exports, with Turkish ceramic manufacturers exporting top-quality products to over 100 nations on five continents.

More Ceramic Floor and Wall tiles on

Iznikium ceramic tiles from Istanbul