Is ‘Specialist Flooring’ the next step for Ecotile?
For 22 years, Ecotile Flooring has been responsible for providing industrial engineering firms, factories, storage warehouses and sport & fitness centres with safe, reliable and adaptable specialist flooring that not only improves productivity but also looks great. We’ve even been given two awards by the Queen. So what is next for Ecotile? A couple of recent projects have taken us in a new and interesting direction.
‘Sensor’ble Flooring: Zaha Hadid Architects
It’s not every day that Ecotile gets to be at the forefront of cutting-edge technology but this job for Zaha Hadid Architetcts definitely qualifies. Famed for many prestigious projects, the late architect’s work included the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympics and the currently in-construction Al Wakrah Stadium for the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup. Zaha Hadid Architects approached us with the idea of utilizing our tiles to create a one-of-a-kind sensor for VR Installations. This was made by placing our 7mm raised disk tiles on top of our 5mm tiles, with a sensor embedded between. The sensor would then act as a tracker for the user’s movement, adding kinetic immersion within a VR simulation.
How could this be used for other applications?
Sensor-based flooring has a variety of potential uses. For the retail sector, the flooring could be used to track customer activity, for example, Milwaukee-based tech company, Scanalytics has created sensors to go underneath flooring to provide data as people shop in store. This data comes in the form of heat maps and step counts to show where customers spend their time.
With the rise of more people shopping online, bricks and mortar stores will need everything in their arsenal to create the best experience they can for their customers to ensure they remain relevant and worth visiting.
Flooring sensors could also be useful in other environments such as tracking the location of employees in a factory or warehouse. Combining flooring sensors with individual, tracker-installed work shoes could help supervisors keep track of an employee’s location which could be valuable in an emergency situation but would also no doubt be used to monitor employees’ productivity.
High Concept Art: Tate Modern
One of our most unusual recent projects involved collaborating with artist Tania Bruguera to bring her visual commentary on the current global migration crisis to life. 3500m2 worth of our tiles were coated with thermochromic paint, creating a heat-sensitive floor that leaves an impression where you walk, sit or lie on it. If enough people created heat within the designated area, it would reveal a portrait of a young Syrian migrant who left his war torn country to seek a safer future.
With extensional, interactive spaces on the rise, it’s really up to the client to decide on how they would use our versatile specialist flooring. With the added benefit of being chemically resistant. UV paint can also be used on our tiles for dark areas such as nightclubs, art installations and even laser-tag zones. With sensors, specialist flooring could be transformed into buttons or set pieces for interactive amusement and leisure activities. Examples such as the increasingly popular “breakout” rooms come to mind.
At Ecotile, it’s important to ensure that we provide the same award-winning specialist flooring that has helped businesses thrive for over two decades. However, it never hurts to see what exciting roles our specialist flooring could fill for new businesses and industries in the years to come.