UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL with Amtico

During July we will focus on case studies based in one of the UK’s fastest growing cities, Bristol.  We begin by sharing Amtico’s recent project for the University of Bristol.

Beacon House is a landmark 1850s Grade II listed building in Clifton, Bristol. Once the Queen’s Hotel and more recently known as the former Habitat store, the property had been left empty for over three years until the University of Bristol acquired it in 2014.

This triggered a complete redevelopment of the four storey building, transforming it into a state-ofthe-art central study and learning hub for students – providing an additional 350 study seats with dedicated areas for group working. The building was also designed to shift the axis of the campus towards the city centre and the Students’ Union building, creating a central spine.

Beacon House is a new public reception point for the University, and also operates a stylish café at the front of the building.

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The University of Bristol required a flooring design that referenced the heritage of the institution and its existing building stock. It also needed to reflect the modern functionality of the city centre and the University’s brand ideals, with the use of natural materials and a clear emphasis on design providence.

Within the scheme, the ‘Source’ café required a strong visual identity to make it stand out amongst strong local competition, including multiple independent cafés.

Amtico Signature finishes (600m2) were designed not only to be exciting and attractive, but also highly durable, slip resistant to R10 classification, plus withstand the transportation of trolleyed goods to the café. The Amtico Signature products also allowed Beacon House’s staff to easily clean the areas, with a simple schedule to maintain the flooring’s high visual impact.

There was also the requirement for the design to offer a seamless transition between the three areas. This was achieved by specifying three feature colours for each zone, with the café incorporating relaxing green tones, the reception utilising the University of Bristol’s brand colour; a welcoming red, and the study areas embracing a calming blue hue.

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Architects AWW provided a collaborative approach on the project, creating an inspiring environment in the refurbished building. Senior Interior Designer, Naomi Cooper, was responsible for the design and specification of the Amtico flooring.  Discussing the products, she said:

“We had great specification support from Matt Lewis, our Amtico Sales Manager, with concept images and literature readily available to help the University in making their final decision. The completed design was delivered really well, with the accuracy of the installation helping to reflect the initial concept.”

The University of Bristol carefully considered the flooring, both in its design and practicality. Project Manager, Rebecca Rose, enthused: “Having trialled Amtico in another University building, we already had complete confidence that it was the right product for Beacon House. Clearly the high footfall was an important consideration, so the durable and robust wear layer on the Signature range gave us confidence we wouldn’t experience any issues. In fact, in the first four days of opening we had 10,000 people through the doors during poor weather conditions and the floor continued to look great!

“Overall, we’re really impressed with the Amtico flooring.  The design has brought together the areas to create some amazing spaces, and the comments we’ve had from staff and visitors have all been positive. We’d certainly use the flooring on future projects.”

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Flooring contractors for the project were Bristol-based English County Contracts. Commenting on the installation, Senior Contracts Manager, Matt Donovan:

“There were some unique challenges with this project, not least of all the ‘Random’ design pattern. Ordinarily, we use computer software to work out the ratios but, in this instance, it made more sense to count the tiles manually when laying the floor, ensuring the colour repeats were well regulated.  We also had to carefully consider the sub floor, as some sections of the Amtico were laid on plywood, and others on screed, which meant the choice of adhesive was important. However, with the help of the Amtico technical team on site at the property, we made sure that all the correct materials were used, including a high temperature adhesive for areas with strong sunlight throughout the day.  

Overall, we were really pleased with the outcome and it was great to work on such an exceptional project – it’s certainly not the standard type of pattern we lay every day!”

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About Alys Bryan

Alys Bryan is an experienced freelance furniture designer specialising in commercially viable contract seating. At Method Communication Alys uses her design knowledge to help her clients communicate their brand.
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