Posts Tagged ‘timber flooring’

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.



Using 6000 year old ‘Bog Oak’ for timber flooring

July 17, 2012

Tony Fillingham, MD of timber flooring specialist British Hardwoods, was recently approached by Mr and Mrs Fell who own a farm in Keasden, North Yorkshire, with an interesting proposal: “What can you do with our Bog Oak?”

Bog Oak, technically known as ‘Quercus Robur Abonos’, is an oak tree “..that has been buried in peat bogs and preserved from decay by the acidic and anaerobic bog conditions, sometimes for hundreds or even thousands of years. The wood is usually stained brown by tannins dissolved in the acidic water. Bog-wood represents the early stages in the fossilisation of wood, with further stages ultimately forming lignite and coal over a period of many millions of years.” (1)

The bog oak at Keasden farm was hauled out by a tractor 20 years ago and had been left lying on the surface ever since.

Owners, Mr and Mrs Fell, had friends stay with them late last year, one of them being Dr. Donald A. McFarlane, Professor of Biology, from Scripps College in California, who noticed a piece of the Bog Oak used in the mantelpiece above the fireplace. Dr McFarlane offered to take some specimens back to the USA for radiocarbon dating to establish the age of the Bog Oak.

The results from the radiocarbon process date the specimens as 4000–3950 BC, that’s almost 6,000 years old!

Now that Tony was aware of what he was dealing with, he took a few pieces back to the British Hardwoods factory to moisture test and understand its working properties, and soon realised that it would be challenging to work with. The wood easily fell apart and when attempting to machine it, sparks flew from the cutters and blunted them rapidly, due to the fact that the oak is carbonised (from the bog process), making it like working with coal.

Bog-wood oak engineered flooring close-up

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.

Guest blog: sustainable timber flooring options

February 7, 2012

This piece comes courtesy of Mark Iscaro, director of First Angle, an architecture and interior design practice in Victoria, Australia. Mark is also active on twitter; follow him @First_Angle. Mark looks at six flooring types and appraises their sustainability from the specifier’s point of view.

When it comes to being sustainable with your flooring, there are many options available. Some you would be well aware of, others you may not know about, and even those that you might believe are sustainable, which actually are not. So how do you determine what flooring is for you? Well, first you need to understand what is out there to choose from.

The list of sustainable and supposedly sustainable flooring is a long one, including bamboo flooring, recycled timber flooring, regrowth timber flooring, cork flooring, linoleum flooring and rubber flooring. So let’s take a look at these flooring options and see what the pros and cons are.

Linoleum Flooring
Now I know what you’re thinking– linoleum isn’t timber. Amazingly it is, as linoleum is made from pine resin, ground cork dust and wood flour amongst other natural ingredients. Created over 150 years ago, it has been a constant in domestic settings, and more recently has begun to be seen as a sustainable alternative to other types flooring.

It durable and comfortable, as well as being biodegradable, and is possibly the most cost-effective flooring around, but it doesn’t have the beauty of a natural timber floor.

Link: Compare lineoleum products on

Bamboo Flooring
Bamboo flooring has in recent times hit the headlines as perhaps the most sustainable of flooring options. It is cost-effective, easy to install and has all the beauty of timber floors. There are numerous styles and options to choose from, ranging from natural-finish, strand-woven through to darker, char-finished styles.

The main issue with bamboo flooring is that the glues used in its construction are generally not good for the environment with most using formaldehyde. The use of low-VOC in bamboo flooring is yet to occur, making it a good choice but not a great choice. Other questions with bamboo flooring are its manufacturing and a lack of fair trade agreements. So although a somewhat sustainable option it is probably the least sustainable of all the timber flooring options out there.


Bamboo flooring: list of UK suppliers on (more…)

The state of the contract flooring market

November 18, 2009

FX magazine (October 2009) reported that the UK contract floor coverings market was worth £1.1 billion in 2008, making up just over half of all floor coverings. 2008 saw a slight decline, after strong growth from 2003-2007.

In 2009 the decline is expected to be sharper (as all industries are aware), as new commercial offices, entertainment, retail and refurbishment work have been delayed by the recession and the squeeze on credit.

The article speculated a little as to performance in 2010. Although public sector spending will still be under pressure, we would hope to see commercial projects beginning to get moving again. has large amount of products listed allowing specifiers to filter using technical parameters and compare products side-by-side.