With the Fly Forbo 2019/20 competition now open, we spoke to last year’s recipient of the Highly Commended award, Lisa Green, Director of Maxwell Green Design Ltd, to find out more about the iQ Hammersmith project, where she injected a new lease of life into the student accommodation block with the help of our floor coverings.
With over 17 years in the commercial design industry, Lisa Green is well versed in the design, specification and fit out of large scale interior projects. Using style, flare and a deep knowledge of how hospitality and multi-functional spaces operate, Lisa starts the process from the ground up using flooring as a key component to maximise the potential of any given interior.
Can you tell us a bit about the project that you entered into the Fly Forbo competition?
The iQ student accommodation sits on the former site of the Hammersmith Palais, which was the first dance hall to be built in Britain. It features its own cinema room, a huge outdoor courtyard and a range of self-contained studio rooms. There are currently 417 students here and we were charged with renovating the communal areas within the building.
We needed to create a fresh, interesting and robust environment which reflects the needs and desires of the students of today. The student accommodation market is moving away from the clinical look of plain and simple furniture and floor coverings that exude little character, to more of a boutique style, as the discerning market that we have today are very interested in design that reflects societal and geographical trends.
When it came to designing iQ’s new building, we took inspiration from this very cosmopolitan region of London. For the client, it was also important for them to not stand still and to keep refreshing their offering.
Why did you decide to choose a variety of floor coverings for this project, rather than just one?
We have used Forbo and its wide portfolio of floor coverings on many projects before and it never fails to deliver. While we were able to add individuality to each room with furniture, wall coverings and soft furnishings, we wanted to do something striking with the floor, so it didn’t just become a backdrop. Therefore, we used Forbo’s products within various areas of the student accommodation block, choosing different floor coverings that would be suitable for each environment.
Within the study lounge and amenity areas, Tessera Layout and Outline was laid in a plank format and we used them in a monochrome effect to create an impactful striped design that would lead the eye naturally through the space. In the screen room, Forbo’s Flotex Concrete planks were used as we needed to consider the acoustics of the space, and the soft velvety texture provided comfort underfoot.
Another reason that we specified Flotex was because in a heavy foot traffic area, any spillages can be easily cleaned and also easily replaced – thanks to its tile format.
How did Forbo support you during the project?
Forbo was very supportive and fully understood that time was critical on this project, as the refurbishment needed to be completed by September ready for the students to move in. The architect knew the floor coverings well and I did too, but we called on Forbo to check that the products would be suitable for the various environments i.e. in terms of capacity and footfall. With commercial projects, quick delivery times is imperative and Forbo was able to offer a very efficient service to enable us to meet our deadlines.
How did it feel to have been presented with the Highly Commended award?
Being presented with the Highly Commended Fly Forbo award was the icing on the cake. We had worked so hard on this project, so it was lovely to be recognised. The project has been really well received by the client as well as our peers, so we are very happy.