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Student Challenges

We challenge students from design academies world wide to work with our furniture and pinboard linoleum products and create whatever they feel can be made with it. Working with young designers allows us to look at our products in a different way, exploring the possibilities from a different angle, whilst allowing students to express their creativity and gain work experience.

Furniture Linoleum is natural surfacing material for furniture designs such as desks, chairs and cabinets. Bulletin Board is a natural pinboard linoleum that can be applied in framed or mounted pin boards or directly to the wall.

Work of art

  • Stefano Sabatè NABA
  • Student Challenge Falmouth university
  • WdK Challenge exhibition, Dutch Design week 2015
  • WdkA student challenge, Netherlands
  • Student challenge NABA
  • Student challenge Falmouth university

Falmouth University, UK

Falmouth University

The 3rd Student Challenge took place at the Falmouth University in Cornwall. Falmouth is a city based in the south of the UK in Cornwall.

At the Falmouth University Sustainable Product Design department students are challenged to consider how design can create positive environmental, ethical and economic change.

They learn to harness their creative skills and innovation through cutting-edge design methods and digital prototyping while working with real clients, in this case Forbo Flooring, on live briefs to gain confidence in professional practice.

Falmouth University in Cornwall, UK
Falmouth students - student challenge

Introducing the students

From left to right: Brett Luffman | George Pitt | Jack Payne–Johns | Jordan Sheers | Ed Mason

The 6 students of the Sustainable Product Design department started the Forbo project with a research in depth to understand the specific properties of the linoleum material and its innovative areas for sustainable design opportunities

A wide range of tests with Furniture linoleum and Bulletin Board were executed by the students and used as input to create their individual project brief.

Ed Mason

Ed Mason designed a customizable workspace for young professionals who live and work in restricting spaces using Forbo Furniture linoleum's unique characteristics to enhance the users experience.

Stylish and affordable
The aim was to create a desk that act as both a clean workspace (for computer and written work) and a messy workspace (such as: model making and painting). With his concept Ed offers a contemporary versatile workspace that is functional, stylish and affordable and can be quickly adapted for the task at hand.

The desk itself is made from Steel, Birch faced plywood and Forbo linoleum. Archie has a simple design allowing work to be carried out both sitting and standing.

Both the backboard and desk end slotting systems allow a number of creative packs to be added to create an ideal working environment. The under tray provides storage place for slim line objects such as laptops and paperwork. The tray also acts as a protective surface that can be placed on the desk when undertaking creative tasks.

Ed Mason - desk student challenge
Ed Mason
Ed Mason desk - student challenge
Ed Mason - desk
Ed Mason - desk

Brett Luffman

Space saving
Brett Luffman used Furniture linoleum to create a space saving-entrance-shelving system product for first time homeowners.

The system can hold keys as well as heavy jackets and bags and all the other essential items.

100% linoleum
His design is entirely made out of Furniture linoleum. By layering the linoleum material he created a self-supporting system. For the desired organic shape of his design he tested the bending curve of the linoleum to its extremes.

Brett Luffman
Brett Luffman -
Brett Luffman

Jack Payne-Johns

Interactive learning aid
For use at primary schools Jack Payne-Johns designed an interactive learning aid using Forbo Furniture linoleum for it’s hygienic and tactile properties. Crossing multiple subject areas to aid in learning through tactile and visual resources.

Laser cutting
With laser cutting techniques he created a series of puzzle pieces with colorful inlaid letters and digits.

Existing storage system
For the measurements of the learning aid Jack used an existing school storage system as reference

Sustainable solution
A solid paper composite was selected as carrier for the Furniture linoleum thus making a sustainable responsible product.

Jack Payne-Johns
Jack Payne
Jack Payne

George Pitt

Small comforts
Nowadays NHS Patient care waiting rooms are often overcrowded with long waiting times that make Patients feel anxious and even sometimes will cause panic attacks.

Offering privacy
For these people George Pitt designed a seating device with a modular partition that easily can be removed depending on the actual needs. These partitions between each seat give the patients the idea of privacy without completely separating themselves off.

George Pitt - student challenge image
Georg Pitt - student challenge
George Pitt

Jordan Sheers

Adjustable table with integrated paper dispenser
Jordan Sheers made a desk that adjusts pneumatically in height. To integrate an A1 paper roll dispenser he uses the flexibility of Furniture linoleum to create a free flow shape that carries the role. Paper can be pulled from the dispenser when needed.

With the laser engraving technique Josh make a grid of 1000mm x 500mm in the Furniture Linoleum. By using masking tape the linoleum is protected from burn marks when laser engraved.

Jordan Sheers
Jordan Sheers
Jordan Sheers

NABA Academy, Italy

Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti

NABA, Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, is an internationally renowned art and design academy located at the center of Milan’s world-famous design scene. Founded in 1980, NABA is the largest private art academy in Italy. It offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in Italian and in English

Student challenge NABA
Student Challenge Naba

More than a surface

It's about colours, finishes and shapes. Cutting, sanding and glueing. Drawing, experimenting and prototyping. It's about four months working hands on with Forbo Furniture linoleum. Developing innovative solutions for the contemporary working environment. Exploring a 150 years old sustainable material while designing beautiful objects.

25x MA students product and interior design of NABA, Nuova Accademia di belle Arti, in Milano, have been working on the project for 14 weeks ‘More than a surface’ coached by the young Italian designer Francesca Sciarmella.

Product study linoleum

Product study student challenge NABA
Product study student challenge NABA
Furniture and Bulletin Board linoleum
NABA Student challenge

Ksenia Lukyanonva

A collection of small useful/useless tabletop accessories. It includes an A4 size box with a cover, which can be used as mouse-pad.

Cap pad mats for a big coffee break, a pencil box and small cases which also can function as a business card holder.

The collection was created to showcase the potential of linoleum with its endless possibilities of colours combinations.

Ksenia Lukyanova - student challenge NABA
Ksenia Lukyanova NABA student challenge
Ksenia Lukyanova NABA student challenge

Claudia Renate Mantik, Medhavi Tyagi, Zeynep Gökcek

An interactive table lamp designed for a playful and adjustable work environment. Linoleum being eco-friendly, heat resistant and having multiple colours makes it an ideal material to be used for the surface of this lamp concept.

For this design the Linoleum was applied, two sided, on plywood panels. Then a CNC machine was used to cut the circular shapes. The 15 elements can be personalized in any combination according to the preference of the user.

Claudia Renate Mantik, Medhavi Tyagi, Zeynep Gökcek NABA student challenge
Claudia Renate Mantik, Medhavi Tyagi, Zeynep Gökcek NABA Student challenge
Claudia Renate Mantik, Medhavi Tyagi, Zeynep Gökcek NABA Student challenge

Stefano Sabatè

Designed by Stefano Sabatè
A magazine rack minimally designed to take advantage of Furniture linoleum’s potential: fair, flexibility and thin sheets available in a wide range of colours that look elegant and sophisticated. The design consists of two elements, a thin metal clip that acts as a load-bearing structure that blocks the disk (two linoleum sheets previously glued together).

Dorico Moderno
A set of vases, which changes depending on how they are flipped over or stacked. The smallest of the series can be used as a paperweight, the 2nd as a penholder, the third as a vase for flowers. The two-dimensional material is transformed into three-dimensional objects: first by gluing and then by lathing solid blocks of bulletin linoleum. Compositions are endless...

Stefano Sabatè
Stefano Sabatè NABA Inspiration
Stefano Sabatè NABA Student Challenge

Valeria Foti, Francesca Cardano and Alessia Bernardo

The design for Leubra is based on the flexibility and malleability of the linoleum. By weaving the Furniture linoleum in a semi open pattern the partition panel provides the user a glimpse of the work environment that surround him.

The front façade is made out of pin-board linoleum and can be used as an interactive board to pin memos or other personal documents on. A versatile foldable object that easily can be moved around.

NABA Student Challenge
Valeria Foti, Francesca Cardano and Alessia Bernardo NABA Student Challenge
Valeria Foti, Francesca Cardano and Alessia Bernardo NABA Student challenge

Yu-xiu Zhang

Flessi Fiori
A decorative flower design to be used stationary containers for on an office desk.

Each container is made out of one flat piece of linoleum and transformed into a 3D shape by using the flexibility of the material.

Student Challenge NABA
Yu-xiu Zhang Naba student challenge
Yu-xiu Zhang NABA Student challenge

Vanya & Aaneri

The concept of ROLL.ETTE is to create a product, which is modular and flexible.
Roll.ette is a storage box for tabletop stationary used in an office environment.

The box is designed with a flexible opening and closing mechanism based on the bending properties of linoleum. The concept can be used for various office storage items.

Vanya & Aaneri student challenge NABA
Vanya & Aaneri Student Challenge NABA
Vanya & Aaneri Student Challenge NABA

Huang Yi Nuo and Cheng Shi Yu

By gluing, cutting and sculpturing linoleum hand-made stationery was created. Designed for the office use ‘Moonlight’ creates an environment especially for meditation and relaxation.

Though each object looks like one solid piece it can be opened and used as storage box for your secrets or bad mood.

Huang Yi Nuo and Cheng Shi Yu - student challenge NABA
Huang Yi Nuo and Cheng Shi Yu - student challenge NABA
Huang Yi Nuo and Cheng Shi Yu - student challenge NABA

Alessandra Spiccia

For this modern translation of the Japanese Tatami Alessandra sealed two sheets of Furniture linoleum together with a foam layer in between. Thus creating a resilent soft surface. The project focuses on the creation of soft modules that could cover different volumes, floors and walls to create more comfortable environments.

With a system of panels of different thicknesses the designs offers the possibility to create a landscape where people will be able to relax. To take off their shoes and experience the softness of the linoleum. ' Soft-linoleum' aims to improve relaxing areas in the working environment.

Alessandra Spiccia - NABA Student challenge
Alessandra Spiccia - NABA Student challenge
Alessandra Spiccia - NABA Student challenge

Evangelos Stylianos Theofilas

Linoleum rucksack
Evangelos Stylianos Theofilas created a fashionable laptop rucksack by elegantly combining two natural materials: linoleum and felt. In this project he approached the Furniture linoleum as a sustainable alternative for leather.

A beautiful detail is the perforated pattern that he added in the linoleum. An elastic rope was used to ‘stitch’ it all together thus creating an entirely new perspective on the identity of linoleum.

Evangelos Stylianos Theofilas Student challenge NABA
Evangelos Stylianos Theofilas  Student challenge NABA
Evangelos Stylianos Student challenge NABA

Giacomo Conti and Aniello Greco

Space divider-desk
With their concept for a modular, foldable, lightweight space divider-desk Giacomo Conti and Aniello Greco responded in a smart way to the current need for flexible office environments.

By incorporating a ‘pop-up’ desk in the divider and by designing these panels as expandable modules it offers interesting new solutions. As core honeycomb cardboard material was used which was upholstered on both sides with linoleum.

Giacomo Conti and Aniello Greco Student challenge NABA
Giacomo Conti and Aniello Greco Student challenge NABA
Giacomo Conti and Aniello Greco Student challenge NABA

Namık Yiğit Ildaş

Playful speaker
Namık Yiğit Ildaş designed and built a speaker for in a meeting room. To be placed centrally on the table when having a telephone conference. A circular wooden frame was upholstered with bulletin board on the sides.

For the top he designed a removable lit made out of furniture linoleum and engraved with a pattern. A nice playful detail is of this design is that the top can be easily replaced by another color and pattern.

Namık Yiğit Ildaş NABA Student challenge
Namık Yiğit Ildaş NABA Student challenge
Namık Yiğit Ildaş NABA Student challenge

Tommaso Lago, Silvia Fiorini and Barbara Li Rosi

Magnetic coasters
In this concept linoleum was used to make magnetic coasters for the servings in the office of drinks or food. By adding magnetic paper on the back of the linoleum the coasters can be used on a metal tray. The top of the Furniture linoleum is decorated with an embossing in various patterns.

Tommaso Lago, Silvia Fiorini and Barbara Li Rosi
Tommaso Lago, Silvia Fiorini and Barbara Li Rosi Naba student challenge

Rawan Nour Chamoun

Rawan Nour Chamoun used the Furniture linoleum in its most common application: as table top.

In her concept she combined pattern with functionality. She designed an integrated loose lay pattern of tools used in the creative process.

Her lay-out of her table top shows the different scenarios of using a furniture table top, referring to the properties of linoleum and to the various working scenarios (as sketchpad, as meeting place, as coffee table…)

Rawan Nour Chamoun NABA Student challenge
Rawan Nour Chamoun Student Challenge NABA
Rawan Nour Chamoun Student Challenge NABA

HDK Academy Steneby, Sweden

HDK Academy of Design and Crafts

After the successful collaboration with de Willem de Kooning Academy in 2015 Forbo Flooring decided to initiate a follow up project.

For the 2nd edition of our Student Challenge we approached the Wood Oriented Furniture Design HDK – Academy of Design and Crafts at Steneby located in Dals Långed in Sweden, see their website

HDK student challenge
HDK Design Academy

Introducing the students

Eleven international students were challenged to explore the material properties of our Furniture linoleum and Bulletin board materials and to come up with exciting concepts and well executed prototypes for new applications.

From left to right: Mariska Lamiaud | Joe Clark | Johan Andersson | Robert Curran | Lisha Li |Tung-yun Wang | Sofia Nilsson |Alice Huldtin |Anke Dold | Yong-Kang Yang.
Not in the picture:
Joong-Han Bae | Rasmus Malbert (teacher) and Karl-Johan Ekeroth (teacher)


In this project students worked with the concept of "Gathering". A multi-faceted concept exploring two meanings of the term: "Gathering" as a union of people and "Gathering" as collecting materials, joints and materials meetings. This has come together also in a website

In the center of the project stood the table as a meeting place and venue for different activities taking place around it. Each student was given the task to identify, select and explore an activity that occurs around a table and to design one or many objects that dealt with this activity in any way.

HDK Gathering


Alice Huldtin designed a beautiful range of products around the famous Russian Kombucha elixer. This “Immortal Health Elixir” has been around for more than 2,000 years and has a rich anecdotal history of health benefits. Made from sweetened tea that’s been fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.

In her design Alice uses the desktop colours 4183 Pistachio and 4185 Powder which she combines in a very elegant way with other refined natural materials. The setting of these skillfully crafted products associates with the traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.

HDK Kombucha
Kombucha HDK


The earliest known Crokinole board was made end of the 19th century in Canada. This ‘family’ game is like a shuffleboard in round where players take turn flicking disks on a board.

Anke Dold designed a multi functional board. When not playing the game the backside of the board can be used as an announcement board, the black desktop, 4023 nero, functions as a blackboard. Together with the board a lamp was designed to create a cozy intimate atmosphere.

HDK Crokinole
Crokinole board HDK
Crokinole HDK

Fire (escape) - reconnect with craft

Joe Clark had a hands-on approach and experimented extensively with both Furniture Linoleum and Bulletin board. Very skillfully he crafted a range of beautiful objects in which the versatility of the material can be experienced.

For his project Fire (Escape) he laminated Furniture linoleum onto veneer to provide a curvaceous yet strong surface. The starting point for a series of wonderfully made organic shaped containers.

In his skillfully crafted prototypes he underlines the importance to reconnect with practical skills in order to counterbalance human dependence on modern technology.

Fire escape reconnect with craft
Reconnect with craft HDK
Reconnect with craft HDK

'Kuvert' - table artifacts

Johan Andersson created table artifacts; abstract shapes inspired on and referring to cutlery.
He researched how the table setting and cutlery affect the social meeting around the dinner table.

As a result he created a set of abstract cutlery that opens up for new experiences around the dinner table. Beautiful and intriguing objects to be used as conversation pieces. To feed the dialogue during meals and to challenge existing table conventions.

Also see his video Student video Andersson

Kuvert HDK
Kuvert HDK
Kuvert - HDK

'Interface' - a giant postcard

Inspired by the need for a physical interface in a café like setting Lisha Li designed a tray, which can be used to carry a refreshment but also to write a message on or to make notes. After use the tray can be hung on the wall presenting a personal text. With her design Lisha Invites people to step out of their digital environment into the real world and make contact.

The furniture linoleum surface has a spray-brushed area to separate the writing zone from the food and beverages. A laser cut holder for the oil crayon is incorporated into the surface.

A giant postcard HDK
A giant postcard HDK
A giant postcard HDK

'Kuttingen' - a flexible vessel

To make life easier Sofia Nilsson thought up a transport vessel to be used to carry young plants from one owner to the other. The container consists out of two layers of furniture linoleum; by making incisions in the furniture linoleum it becomes a flexible and foldable material. To be used for either transport or as a display or even as a mobile pop-up separation wall for in the office to create your own atmosphere.

See her video Student video Sofia Nilsson

Kuttingen HDK
Kuttingen - HDK
Kuttingen HDK

'Illumination' - the poetry about properties

Robert Curran made some beautiful poetic and refined objects. By treating the materials in a special way he was able to push the boundaries of the material properties of the furniture linoleum. Objects seeming to belong in a Wunderkammer.

Illumination HDK
Illumination HDK
Illumination HDK

'Mokita'- the elephant in the room

How to make a group discussion more enjoyable, how to deal with the lingering 'elephant in the room', to talk about difficult subjects and overcome our fears of conflict.

Mariska Lamiaud created a ‘talking stick’ in the shape of an abstracted elephant head which can be held when wanting to tackle the elephant in the room. With her concept she makes the problem tangible, something we can grasp, talk about and pass on. An object that creates space for everyone to speak their opinion.

Mokita HDK
Mokita HDK
Mokita HDK

Mister Potato head

Tung-yun Wang created a postmodern mister potato head like cupboard for children with magnetic elements which can be repositioned. Thus changing the expression of the face.

Mister potato head HDK
Mister Potato Head
Mister Potato head HDK

'Steam Modules' - Fika x Tachinomi x Bulletin Board

How to improve the efficiency of a meeting was the question student Yang Yong Kang tried to tackle. What is needed to create the ultimate environment for information exchange. His conclusion is that providing space for a dynamic break with a constant flow was the key. Yang Yong Kang designed a modular station by mixing the concept of the Swedish Fika, coffee-break ritual with the Japanese Tachinomi, standing bar, and the Dutch Bulletin (pin) board. The result is a layered modular station with a organic fluid shape.

See his video Student video Yang Yong Kang

Steam modules HDK
Steam modules HDK
Steam modules HDK

Presentation at Stockholm Furniture fair February 2017

Furniture Fair Stockholm 02-2017
Award winning

WdKA Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Willem de Kooning Academy, NL

The Willem de Kooning Academy is based in the Netherlands and has international students from all over the world. The academy offers contemporary and cutting edge art courses that complement changing, international practice.

Forbo Flooring got in contact with the Willem de Kooning Academy to discuss whether a student challenge with our Pinboard linoleum and Furniture linoleum was feasible.

According to WdKA, the outside world is no longer looking for the autonomous artist or the graphic designer, but rather for people who possess a multitude of talents and skills and who look beyond the borders of their original discipline. These are the ‘creating pioneers’.

To learn more visit the Willem de Kooning Academy website

Company visit @Forbo Flooring in the Netherlands

WdkA Rotterdam

To be able to understand the products of Forbo Flooring we first gave the students a tour and an explanation of the project in our factory in Assendelft.

WdkA Rotterdam

Product studies

Product study WdkA
Shape studies WdkA

Exposition Dutch Design Week

All students worked in groups to discover the opportunities of the Pinboard and Furniture Linoleum product and see what options they could find to apply it. Half way we already saw some nice studies which are very promising for the final result.

The results where exposed during the Dutch Design week from October 17th up to including 25th 2015.

Dutch Design Week exposition WdkA

Dutch Design Week exposition