Innovative Altro FlexiflowTM resin flooring is providing a practical yet visually appealing solution to a challenging space in one of Brighton’s most unusual and striking office buildings.
Built in the 1980s, Sovereign House has recently undergone extensive refurbishment, and has been transformed into a dramatic, modern space with a spectacular glazed atrium at the heart of building.
Ben Adams Architects was tasked with creating the new look. Architect Julia Hamson explains: “Our brief was to re-design the front facade and reception of the building to create a more welcoming and dramatic entrance, and to provide a new office infill within the existing oversized and underused atrium.
“The infill features full-height glazing and a top-floor mezzanine office space, complete with balconies to look down on the atria below. The installation adds a new ambience to the communal spaces, maximising light into the reception and accentuating the new finishes and clean detailing.
Julia Hamson continues: “Specifying flooring for the reception and ground floor atrium was a challenge, because the entrance comes in on a diagonal. This unusual space meant that floor tiles wouldn’t have worked.
“We needed a solid, high quality, visually appealing surface that was flexible enough to go down on the existing substrate, without cracking or bending with any structural subfloor movement.
“In addition, we wanted flooring that could stand the test of time. Sovereign House is a busy office building, with 800 people walking in and out every day. So we needed something that could tolerate heavy use, and stay looking fresh, long term.
“Altro Flexiflow was the ideal solution for this project. It’s tough, flexible, and can withstand the kind of movement that other resin floors cannot. It’s designed to recover from scuffs and knocks, so it’s perfect for the day-to-day wear and tear of high traffic areas.
“In addition it’s visually appealing – in keeping with a striking, modern building – with a smooth, matt finish, and a great choice of colours. We selected a light grey, called Doe, to complement the surroundings.”
Altro Flexiflow is an elastomeric polyurethane self-smoothing, flow-applied flooring, which offers high structural resilience, flexibility, toughness and durability. The product boasts good indentation recovery and high impact resistance, which is ideal for protecting a wide range of environments.
Altro Flexiflow is available in three options – Standard (which was used at Sovereign House), Comfort, for increased comfort underfoot, and Acoustic, which satisfies the requirement E4 of Building Regulations and BB93 acoustic design of schools.
The product is available in 28 standard pastel, solid and bright colours, with the option of bespoke shades, giving complete design freedom. There is minimal requirement for joints, and because the product is self-levelling, the result is a seamless and uniform finish with uninterrupted lines.
In addition, its matt surface is mark resistant, so it will stay looking good for longer. Altro Flexiflow features a PUR top coat for UV colour stability, durability and ease of cleaning.
Installer Resincraft was appointed to lay the flooring at Sovereign House. Director Mark Brewer, says: “We have been laying Altro resin flooring for 30 years and we consider it to be the best, so the majority of the product we use is Altro.
“Altro Flexiflow is a very easy product to use but like all resin flooring, preparation is key. It’s essential to keep the working area clean and free of contaminants and dust, so it needs to be isolated from other contractors.”
Resincraft Director Richard Mitchell says: “On day one we prepared the floor by grinding down the existing quartz resin flooring, an area of 150m2, to create a key. Then we applied one coat of primer, which was AltroProof SoloTM.
“On day two we trowelled on one layer of the main Altro Flexiflow product, then on days three and four we put down two layers of Altro Flexiflow top coat. It took five of us four days to complete the work at Sovereign House during last year’s Christmas shut-down, which is very fast for a resin flooring. Both the main contractor, Wates, and the client, were very co-operative and gave us the time and space we needed to do the job properly.”
Martin Arnold, Customer Services Manager at main contractor Wates , Smartspace comments: “The entire installation process of the Altro Flexiflow flooring was excellent. Resincraft was one of four installers we looked at, and we chose them because they were very positive and proactive and planned the work thoroughly from start to finish.
“Their preparation was spot on – they understood the challenges and client needs – and they were completely professional. The floor looks lovely, and is proving an ideal solution for Sovereign House.”
Karim Grant-Riach at Sovereign House, says. “We were delighted with how well the flooring installation went; very professional and the end result is a fantastic finish. It’s been down a few months now and it still looks like new and it standing up well to busy daily foot traffic.
“Having a contemporary-style flooring is very important for Sovereign House, because it’s a very modern building, and the Altro flooring really complements the environment.
“It’s also very easy to clean,” adds Karim. “We use a buffing machine in the evenings, and spot-clean it if necessary during the day. It comes up beautifully and any marks or dirt come off very quickly. I’d say it’s the ideal floor for a location that needs something practical, long-lasting, yet stylish.”