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Forbo’s portfolio contributes to student accommodation development

ARCHWOOD House, a new purpose-built student accommodation scheme in Peckham, was commissioned by the University of the Arts London (UAL) to house its students. Tasked with creating ‘proactive and forward-thinking’ spaces for residents to live and study in, architects Nelson and Long specified several solutions from FORBO FLOORING SYSTEMS’ contemporary portfolio to make this happen. Forbo’s Coral entrance flooring, Allura LVT, Tessera carpet tiles, Eternal de Luxe Decibel general purpose vinyl and Surestep and Safestep safety floor coverings were installed throughout the building.

Comprising 343 bedrooms and 50 studios, Archwood House provides students with accommodation close to UAL buildings and is designed to provide students with the creative and inspirational spaces they need, to enhance their university experiences. Nelson and Long worked closely with UAL to develop a design that created spaces which were flexible and allow residents to ‘flourish’ in their surroundings, says the company.

Alicia Nelson, co-founder of Nelson and Long commented on the brief they received: ‘Our client’s brief was to create innovative and inspiring spaces for UAL’s creative students to learn and grow in. It was important the spaces equipped students with tools they need to have a successful time at university, from studying to socialising. Sustainability was top of the agenda too, so we needed to carefully consider the materials we specified to ensure we met the requirements.’

With the project brief in mind, Alicia sourced materials that reflected the needs of the building: ‘Owing to the variety of high-quality and sustainable products available within Forbo’s portfolio, as well as its reliable customer service, we opted for several of Forbo floor coverings for Archwood House, including its Allura LVT and Tessera carpet tiles.’

She adds: ‘We specified Forbo’s Allura LVT in various colourways for several areas of the student accommodation, including the games room and common room which are situated in the main building. The warm colours of Forbo’s Allura LVT helped provide a stunning backdrop for each space which enabled us to build out, incorporating different textures and colours to the overall design. For example, we used the ‘Smoke Cement’ shade for the ground floor corridors, games room and study room, to elevate the design and provide a neutral finish. As well as the beautiful designs available, Forbo’s Allura LVT is also easy to clean, which was an important factor for this project, given many students would be using these spaces.’

Alicia says: ‘We opted for various designs from Forbo’s Tessera collection, because they’re durable, textural and give a residential feel to a commercial space. Forbo’s Tessera Layout in the Graphine colourway was the perfect solution for the stairs, cluster corridors and other high-traffic areas, thanks to its hard-wearing nature. The understated grey shade also complemented the neutral colour palette we were using for these areas.’

Alicia also specified Forbo’s Tessera Chroma carpet tiles in the Pathway and Tuxedo colourways, which were installed in the bedrooms and the cinema room to give the spaces a ‘homely’ feel. Forbo’s Tessera Chroma carpet tiles are also said to be made with 62% recycled content by weight, aiding in creating a sustainable scheme.

This was combined with Forbo’s Eternal de Luxe Decibel vinyl floor covering in the communal and studio kitchens. This solution is said to have served a double purpose because it reduced impact sound by 17dB and provided an R10 slip rating, both key to creating healthier and safer spaces for residents to live in.

With safety in mind, Alicia also specified a range of Forbo’s safety flooring, as she explains further: ‘For the staff kitchen areas, toilets, and prayer room, we needed to ensure maximum slip-protection and that’s why we chose Forbo’s Surestep and Safestep floor coverings. The prayer room, in particular, which contains a wudu sink, needed to be a safe and neutral environment for residents to use, and Forbo’s Surestep offered the ideal solution. As a genuine safety flooring with guaranteed lifetime slip-resistance, as well as an R10 slip rating and a 36 PTV score, it was the ideal solution to ensure the safety of residents. Not only this, but it comes in various colourways, such as the neutral wood décor we specified, which complemented the overall design.’

In addition to this, to maintain the condition of the interior floor coverings, Alicia opted to use Forbo’s Coral Classic entrance flooring system in the Mouse Grey colourway. Alicia explains: ‘We wanted a solid barrier matting that would reduce the walked-in dirt that you’d expect to see in a city centre university accommodation. With students coming and going all day, it was key to install an effective entrance flooring system to reduce cleaning and maintenance. Forbo’s Coral was the solution we needed, with the ‘Mouse Grey ‘colourway matching the other grey textile carpets we’d specified, while also helping to reduce the amount of dirt and moisture from being brought in on shoes and treads of wheels.’

Having opened in September 2022, Archwood House is said to have been positively received by staff and residents, who’re delighted with the overall design and feel of the building.

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