This rubber flooring turned a vocational school in Utah into eye candy

Salt Lake City – If there's one thing Artigo flooring can do for architecture, it's turn a corporate or institutional building into a graphic candyland. Happily for architects and interior designers, there's much more than one thing that Artigo flooring can do.

The Italian company provided the rubber flooring and stair treads for an American vocational school, the Salt Lake Community College’s Westpointe Workforce Training & Education Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The project was designed by AJC Architects.

Situated in the city’s industrial Northwest Quadrant, the centre offers the largest post-secondary workforce education program in the area. Its bright new facility was designed to support the local community’s vocational training needs in a flexible, inspirational and mind-sharpening space.

AJC envisioned the SLCC building as an 11,000-sq-m state-of-the-art technical school, equipping it with both classrooms and laboratories for the HVAC, composites and plastics, welding and diesel technology programs and computer labs.

AJC Architects complemented the technical, circuitboard look of the training centre with Artigo's coconut fibre-infused Kayar rubber flooring designed by Sottsass Associati, particularly in corridors and on stairs.

To cover a surface area of 2500 sq-m, the architects used Artigo's iconic Kayar rubber flooring. Kayar was designed in 2004 by Memphis figurehead Ettore Sottsass and Sottsass Associati in two colourways: a pewter shade and obsidian black.

As the first to incorporate natural coconut fibres in its surface, the Kayar collection proved to be a pioneering flooring product that opened fresh channels for industry experimentation. The fibres give Kayar depth and subtlety, qualities central to flooring as an interior design element because floors are viewed both from a distance and close up, while in motion and standing still. Artigo describes the Kayar design as 'nuanced, almost a suggestion' and yet it is precisely this stylistic whisper that can make the difference in spaces large and small.

Artigo flooring has long offered designers a solution that allows them to wield colour as a powerful expressive tool, creating engaging visuals and distinctive moods. In the SLCC, AJC underscored the technical atmosphere of the building and its motherboard wall graphics by incorporating black floors that emit little 'sparks' of light against its flawless cosmic-black ground.

Rubber flooring offers noise reduction, hygienic and anti-slip properties, durability and underfoot resilience. It can also contribute to international environmental sustainability certification.

Rubber, in addition to being a resilient, durable, hygienic, easy-to-maintain and natural anti-slip material, also provides a unique feeling underfoot compared to ordinary floors. The addition of coconut fibres only amplifies this subtle sensation.

The architects chose to use Kayar extensively in the school's corridors especially because it dampens background noise significantly due to treading. A 3-mm-thick floor can achieve reduction values of up to 10 db, while Artigo's Acoustic version is certified up to 21 db by CSI. Particularly in a setting like a school or well-trafficked public space, this noise reduction can become a great virtue for a building's inhabitants.

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