Projects We Love

When Flooring Comes to Life

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Projects We Love 2013

We collected some of our most beloved projects and presented them in a magazine named Projects We Love. The magazine features interesting interviews, beautiful projects and compelling facts about the company.


Grey Bolon woven vinyl floor tiles in the office of 18 Feet and Rising in London, UK
Bolon floor tiles in the office of 18 Feet and Rising in London, UK
Basic Instinct

10. Project: 18 Feet & Rising

18 Feet & Rising is both daring and different and this attitude needed to be reflected in the design of its London office. Naturally, they chose Bolon.

Right from its inception back in 2010, the 18 Feet & Rising team wanted to do things differently. Conceived by a trio of maverick London advertising executives,  this bold new agency would be deploying a deve­lopment process called ‘prototyping’, “borrow­ ing more from the engineering philosophy of iterative testing than the overblown, power­point heavy, strategic approaches of most agencies,” explain its radical founders. The left­field strat­egy would work, too. In its first two years, 18 Feet & Rising moved fast, winning contracts for Freeview, Selfridges, Lovefilm and Virgin Media. But there was no deep­pocketed founding client to fund the ambitious start­up. With fresh crea­tivity and new ways of thinking to the fore, every new contract would have to be won in open com­ petition against some of the best agency brains in the industry. 

So, when the team took the lease on a building in central London, a tight budget and the notion of a youthful and unique working environment that would engender fresh ideas and enthrall cli­ents, were major considerations for the archi­tects. 

18 Feet & Rising's office in London, United Kingdom

The agency’s new HQ in Clipstone Street, W1, was a large space for a relatively small amount of employees. “It needed to be a fast and inexpen­sive yet original solution,” says Chris Romer­Lee  of Studio Octopi architects. “Within five years the agency may out­grow the unit and, there­ fore, whilst they were there, it needed to reflect their creative approach to the industry.” 

Inspired by four buzz words given to them by the 18 Feet & Rising board – emergence, vortex, action and illusion – concepts for the design came quickly. “It was theatrical surprising and whim­ sical,” continues Chris, who proposed, amongst other things, a dark but decorative tunnel for the middle of the office. “The unit is very well lit from all the perimeter windows which meant that the design could play with perception. It was essential to make the agency look bigger than it was, so the desks we designed were arranged on a curve... almost as a cog.”   

The floor plan of the building and the ample natural light serving it meant that the famously light­-sensitive Bolon weave could be exploited. “We laid Bolon as parquet planks, twisting their way around the cog.” With the guidance of Lon­don­-based Flooring Concepts, a Bolon partner, the architects were able to get Bolon tiles cut into plank­shapes to form a parquet­effect area. For other areas (besides the aforementioned tunnel and boardroom) the tiles were alternately quarter­turned providing an attractive ‘blocky’ contrast. “With the light falling across the unit, the results were outstanding and so much more powerful than we had initially predicted. In the boardroom we wanted a more punchy but under­stated response. With Bolon’s ‘Limited’ collection we achieved that effect.

18 Feet & Rising in London

All through the build, the architect’s desire  was to take simple, straightforward materials and push them into something truly special, pro­viding the client with an exceptional and origi­nal environment in which it could win work and deliver exemplary results. Bolon played a key-role working in parallel with the stained plywood material for the office partitioning, with the colour and finish of the wood referenced in the flooring.  Why Bolon? Studio Octopi staff had already vis­ited the factory in Ulrichehamn, Sweden and were immediately won over, entranced particularly by Bolon’s state-­of-­the-­art weaving machines.

“We like that it’s a flooring made like a tailored gar­ment,” says Chris Romer­Lee. “On the back of our visit we specified Graphic Screen for a Saatchi & Saatchi project.”  For architects working on commercial and office projects, vinyl, rubber or lino floorings seem to offer less creativity, and are less contemporary or in line with current trends. “More traditional flooring options seem very formulaic and laden with references to their predominant use. Lino is very institutional while rubber stirs memories of service corridors in factories. We’ve now worked on five advertising agencies and each time we’ve presented Bolon amongst other floorings, each agency has gone with Bolon, for its originality and cooperation”. 

Bolon flooring in Lebuïnuskerk Church in Deventer, Netherlands
Contrasts give rise to magic, as in the Dutch church Lebuïnuskerk from the 15th century featuring a modern, Swedish floor from Ulricehamn.

38. Interview with Giulio Cappellini

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