Although expectations and tastes may change, hospitality venues have always and will continue to create a visually appealing experience for customers.
Design undeniably plays a major role in this experience, with flooring often acting as the foundational backdrop. While it may not be the first element a patron notices when stepping into a venue, flooring design can make or break the energy and feel of a space.
For example, custom broadloom is often used to craft a plush, cosy feel—perfect for luxury hotel rooms. Yet, it may look out of place at a casual coffeeshop or an old school-inspired diner. Deciding what material to install underfoot is essentially driven by—and to—a project’s overarching defined design concept. Two main strategies may be employed here: using multiple flooring materials to break up and add interest, or relying on a singular flooring aesthetic.
MIXING & MATCHING
For many projects, particularly larger venues, employing more than one flooring material or product can help create a sense that the service being delivered is unique and varied.
“In parting with their money, patrons want to feel appreciated, unique and well-serviced,” Jeremy Ward, partner at Brisbane-based Cayas Architects, says.
“Using different types of flooring can assist with this by creating smaller pockets of ‘special spaces’ within a larger environment.”
The art of using flooring to zone and delineate also allows venues to appeal to a broader audience. Take for example a location with a casual tiled bar area and a carpeted dining room. The former is ideal for relaxed, after-work drinks, while the latter will appeal to clientele seeking a more formal or exclusive setting.
Mixing and matching flooring materials further achieves a depth in design, which prevents ‘cafeteria syndrome’—the boring or stale atmosphere that can result from flooring that is too indistinct from the layout, furniture, joinery, ceiling and general finishes.
However, it is important to ensure that transitions in varying floor materials are seamless and gentle in tone and texture. For instance, a simple change in tile pattern can add interest to a breakout space that feels well considered. Sticking with a defined material palette also prevents flooring transitions from being too jarring to the eye.
A STANDARD AESTHETIC
Of course, there are merits to sticking with a homogenous flooring design too.
“Some venues have a target market that appreciate simple but highly detailed design—usually high end. In this instance, a single flooring aesthetic is sometimes preferred as it does tend to showcase and exemplify the detailing of its junctions, connections and construction,” Ward explains.
Specifying one flooring product can also be valuable to low-cost, high-volume environments—think Ikea dining, he adds. For businesses that need to keep their operational expenses low, this is ideal as it means having just one cleaning and maintenance technique.