An original William Morris design has been recreated in Marmoleum, for the Discovery Lounge of the William Morris Gallery, in Walthamstow, which won the Fly Forbo 2013/2013 competition. The design was cut using Aquajet, Forbo Flooring System’s advanced water cutting technology, to re-create the intricate design, which dates back to 1875.
The gallery, which has been awarded the Art Fund’s Museum of the Year, is housed in a Grade II* listed Georgian villa, Morris’ childhood home, in Lloyd Park and is the only museum devoted to William Morris – an influential British designer, poet, craftsman and socialist activist of the nineteenth century. The redevelopment of the gallery included a full refurbishment to the house, with new collection displays, a special exhibition gallery, a tearoom, as well as a learning and research centre.
Karsten Weiss, associate at Pringle Richards Sharratt Limited architects, specified Forbo’s products and said: “As the gallery is housed in a listed building, we required products that would be sympathetic to the building style, as well as reflect elements of William Morris’s own designs based on nature – which he saw as a spiritual remedy during the Industrial Revolution.
“Exhibited within the gallery is one surviving sample of the original and only linoleum pattern Morris designed, so we decided to recreate this pattern on the floor space in the Discovery Lounge, to showcase the beauty of the intricate pattern to all who visit. As the original design used a rather dark colour palette we agreed to re-interpret rather than copy. We used Forbo’s Aquajet technology, as it allowed us to accurately reproduce the complex design in a natural material rather than printed on artificial vinyl.”
A combination of colours from Forbo’s Marmoleum Real and Marmoleum Vivace ranges were chosen for the Aquajet design.
Karsten continued: “As part of a collaboration, the gallery worked closely with Forbo and ourselves to prepare a number of options with varying repeat sizes and colours, which were printed to scale and tested in the room.”
The final design choice was four times the size of the original repeat and features a dramatic pattern of royal crimson flowers and grassy green leaves on a black background. Additionally, Forbo’s Marmoleum Graphic in Domino – a black background with flashes of white speckles – was installed in the back-of-house areas, staff quarters and the learning centre.
Karsten comments: “We required a floor covering in those specific areas that would be smart but still have an informal feel to it. An easy to clean surface was also particularly important, as the gallery has received over 100,000 visitors since it re-opened.”
Marmoleum is coated with Topshield2, a double layer water-based finish that delivers exceptional floor performance. This unique finish provides a highly effective protection against scuffing and dirt, whilst offering effective resistance to stains and chemicals, resulting in reduced cleaning and maintenance requirements.
Furthermore, Marmoleum is the only resilient floor covering to have been awarded the ‘Seal of Approval’ from Allergy UK, promoting healthier indoor environments within public spaces, thanks to the fact that it does not harbour allergens
Karsten concluded: “We have specified Forbo’s products many times, on numerous projects throughout the years. There is no other manufacturer that can offer the wide range of products that Forbo has, along with its fantastic reliable service. We look forward to our next project with Forbo.”
Lorna Lee, Head of Cultural and Community Services at London Borough of Waltham Forest, said: “The redevelopment has been a huge success, bringing many more visitors through the doors of the gallery. Forbo’s products have had a big impact on the building, with many people commenting on how attractive the Aquajet design in the Discovery Lounge is. What’s more, the gallery cleaners have nothing but praise for Forbo’s Marmoleum products, as they are extremely easy to clean – making their job easier.”