University of Bristol and Interface

CARPET tiles from Interface have been used by the University of Bristol in its refurbishment of the former landmark Habitat store in Clifton.

Working closely with AWW architects, the university has transformed this Grade II Georgian building into a learning hub.

The study spaces have been designed to provide various learning environments, from quiet study to bookable meeting rooms and social interactive areas.

Beacon House is a new hub for the University in a high-profile public location with a reception point for students and the public. The building also features a café which provides a welcoming space for visitors and students to interact.

With its heritage front of mind, the building has been sympathetically refurbished. It was essential to balance the use of colours and materials to reflect the branding of the university but also to complement the aesthetics of the Georgian building.

The palette of soft blues, greys and neutral tones from Interface’s Net Effect range of skinny plank carpet tiles were used to bring this concept to the flooring design.

Rebecca Rose, project manager at the University of Bristol’s strategic projects office, said: ‘Beacon House is the focal point of the university’s campus, the building is in a prime position, allowing us to not only provide vital study space but also to welcome in the public and showcase some of our success stories.’

The University of Bristol brought in AWW’s Interior Design team to create a scheme for Beacon House.

Naomi Cooper, senior interior designer at AWW, said: ‘The building is open plan, but by using colourways and textures we wanted to create clear zones. We specified Interface’s Net Effect skinny plank tiles in the blue Atlantic colourway for the study areas.

‘To create a distinction between these quiet zones and the breakout space we developed a walkway using three different shades (Atlantic, Black Sea and Caspian) from the same collection, laid in a herringbone formation to create visual interest.’

Green Hat Graphic Design agency was tasked with developing branding for Beacon House, which not only complemented the existing university brand colours and designs, but also gave it a unique feel.

This involved creating a branding document which was used by the designers to select details such as flooring colourways and furnishings. Flexibility was incorporated through the window displays created by the team at Green Hat, as these can be easily changed and updated.

As the university’s central hub to showcase its work, the building interior needed to look sleek and modern, but in addition, it was also crucial that the materials used in the refurbishment supported the institution’s sustainable management programme.

About 93% of waste generated on site was diverted from landfill and Beacon House achieved a Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors SKA rating of bronze.

Naomi explained: ‘Net Effect didn’t just give us lots of scope to create a visually appealing design through colourways, textures and shapes, it fit with the university’s sustainability principles as it is made from 100 per cent recycled nylon.’

Becky Parrish, account manager at Interface, said: ‘The design scheme at the University of Bristol really proves the fact that design and sustainability go hand-in-hand, and there’s no need to compromise one for the other.

‘The building is a focal point for all visitors to the university, including prospective students and parents, and is a fantastic space to showcase the brilliant work the university does daily.’