A ‘modern, fresh outlook’ for St Albans Library

INGLETON Wood LLP was tasked with refurbishing St Albans Library into a modern and inviting facility that reflected the ambitions and values of Hertfordshire Libraries.

Using a combination of Forbo Flooring Systems’ Tessera carpet tiles, the contemporary colour palettes and ‘versatile designs’ in the modular range added a new dimension to the interior scheme.

The renovation of St Albans Library, Hertfordshire’s busiest library, is part of the council’s plans to gradually update the libraries in the county. With an improved children’s area, IT and study facilities, low-level shelving to overlook the city’s skyline, as well as the development of a new CreatorSpace, the flexible library now provides visitors of all ages the opportunity to get creative, develop new skills and borrow books. For the interior design, it was vital the finishes helped enhance this vision.

Nicole Flynn, interior designer at Ingleton Wood LLP, said: ‘The colour scheme throughout the library is based around the Hertfordshire Libraries logo; blue, green and purple. When it came to the flooring, it was vital that the chosen products were hardwearing owing to the sheer volume of traffic that the library experiences.

‘While we needed to adopt the colours of the brand logo, we also wanted to add stylish and creative interest to the flooring scheme and Forbo’s Tessera carpet tile collection provided us with maximum design flexibility to be able to achieve this. We coordinated the semi plain design of Tessera Create Space 1 with the geometric striped pattern of Tessera Create Space 2 to create a dynamic design throughout.’

In the main library space, which houses shelves full of books and multimedia, Tessera Create Space 2 in Heliotrope was installed alongside Tessera Create Space 1 in Violetta, to generate maximum impact when visitors first enter the library.

In the IT facility spaces, Tessera Create Space 2 in Tavertine was used throughout, with just a pop of Create Space 1 in Peridot to create a focal point. And over in the new look children’s area, to accompany the eye-catching purple, blue and green seating bench, Tessera Create Space 2 in Indigo was used with Create Space 1 in ultramarine.

Says Forbo: ‘Tessera carpet tiles are renowned for their aesthetic styling and outstanding performance, even in the most demanding of heavy traffic environments – such as St Albans Library.’

Nicole continued: ‘As well as revitalising the existing space, we also extended the old staff room and transformed that area into Hertfordshire’s third CreatorSpace facility. The CreatorSpace hosts an array of creative technology resources, such as green screen technology, iMac computers, 3D printing, virtual reality headsets and sewing machines. Throughout this space, we used Tessera Teviot carpet tiles in Neptune. Manufactured from 100% Aquafil polyamide, and boasting a high castor chair rating, it has the resilience and durability needed to contend with heavy traffic conditions, which we can expect in the CreatorSpace.’

Adds Forbo: ‘Thanks to its excellent pin hole recovery, Forbo’s Bulletin Board in Oyster Shell Grey, Blueberry and Hot Salsa Red were cut into a series of hexagon shapes to create a functional and decorative noticeboard feature on the brick wall in the CreatorSpace.

‘The flexible Bulletin Board linoleum surfacing material is ideally suited for use in rooms shared by many people to facilitate simple, efficient communication, but can also be used as a finish to walls, furniture, door panels and cupboards.’

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire Libraries commented: ‘Hertfordshire Libraries are a place to borrow books and they’re a hub for local arts, culture and heritage, and a place where people can develop new skills and create new support and social networks. The refurbishment of St Albans Library now reflects this, and the choice and design of the furniture and finishes plays a key role in achieving this.

‘The carpet tiles look fantastic, are extremely durable and easy to clean; we are very pleased with the end result. The changes and improvements we have made have really benefitted our library users.’

The St Albans Library project has been awarded ‘Commended’ in the Fly Forbo 2019/2020 competition.