The correct dance floor makes an important contribution to the safe performance of dancers without the risk of slips and falls or longer-term stress injuries.  A good dance floor instils confidence in dancers to give full expression to their creativity, safe in the knowledge the dance floor will offer a consistent response.  Harlequin Floors have developed floors specifically for dance, offering the exact requirements needed for varying genres of dance, which commercial grade, industrial and sports floors cannot.

Experienced dancers can judge a good floor instinctively as to whether or not it feels right. And if it feels right they can effectively forget about the floor and concentrate on putting all their focus and concentration into the artistic performance. A confidence that comes from a reassurance they are not going to slip and fall, that lifts can be performed safely and on landing from jumps the response of the floor consistently returns the right amount of energy absorption. Quantifying this subjective rating of a floor into a series of repeatable tests is no simple task. Anyone specifying floors for dance should remember that dancers may not be the commissioning clients, but they are the end users.  Major dance companies understand this, which is why it is not uncommon to ask their dancers to “test” floors before the final choice is made.
Research in recent years has identified a correlation between the consistency of dance floors and injuries incurred by dancers.  When specifying a floor for dance, using general flooring or sports floor standards will not ensure the right floor is installed.  Only a floor developed specifically for dance will do.  There have been some high profile examples where floors have had to be replaced by a dance company after the building is complete because the floor was not considered fit for purpose by the dancers using it.

Why sports floors are not suitable for dance
It is tempting to presume that as the elite athleticism of top dancers is on a par with sports people, that a sports floor is appropriate. It is not. There are some critical factors that distinguish the requirements of dancers from those of sports played on a sports floor. Many sports played on these floors require a firm floor which allows balls to bounce predictably. Sports footwear is generally cushioned to protect against impact injuries. The footwear also provides grip for the sports person. By contrast dancers need more absorption or cushioning on landing from jumps. Their footwear varies according to dance style and doesn’t cushion landings. Dancers also need the right degree of traction from the dance surface.
Harlequin work extensively with dance scientists and biomechanics experts to investigate the effects of the choice of dance floor on dancer performance and injury, and to research and develop floors that minimise these risks.
Biomechanics expert Luke Hopper explains “Injury occurrence is all too common in dance.  Dancers will always push their bodies to the limit to get the most out of their training, it is therefore very important that safe dance environments are created by reducing any unnecessary injury risks”.
Dr Boni Rietveld is an orthopaedic surgeon at the Centre for Medicine, Dance and Music in The Hague, Netherlands, and is also Past President of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science. Boni Rietveld observed, “There is a distinction to make between injuries caused by the floor and those caused accidentally. As far as the former are concerned, it is evident that there is a cause and effect relationship between dancers’ injuries and the floor on which they perform.”

Harlequin’s CPD Programme
As part of Harlequin’s commitment to protecting the health and wellbeing of dancers and performers, our RIBA approved CPD explains why specifying the correct floor for dance and performing arts is critical to the longevity of a performers career.
​Using comprehensive data and case studies, we outline the key considerations when specifying a performance floor and look at the important contribution the floor makes to performer health and safety. We explore the history of dance floors, the reasons why floor choice is so important, current standards and tests and how to ensure you specify the right performance surface.
Harlequin is the world leader in advanced technology floors and stage systems for the performing arts and is the industry choice for the world’s most prestigious dance and performing arts companies, theatres, venues and schools. Harlequin manufactures, supplies and installs a range of high quality sprung and vinyl floors and specialises in the building and refurbishment of bespoke stage systems.

For any performance floor enquiries please contact our technical team on: +44 (0)1892 514 888 or email: If you are interested in booking a CPD please contact:


With, on average, 282 pupils per primary school and 965 pupils per secondary school, the flooring installed throughout the premises must be hardy enough to withstand a large footfall, yet be easy to install.

Here, Lisa Tomlin, CEO of Carpet & Flooring, provides her top tips for specifying flooring in an education setting:


At a time when many educational facilities across the UK are being obliged to use technology to teach remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic and many school buildings are under-utilised, now may be the ideal time to consider upgrading flooring to avoid any disruption to students and the day-to-day running of school life when schools re-open fully.
With many flooring companies holding online consultations via video conferencing software, advice can be provided on product ranges and specifications at any time of the day.

Wear & Tear

Whether you work in a pre-school, primary or secondary school, such educational establishments experience a very high footfall, and this is something that must be considered when choosing appropriate flooring. A robust floor covering that can withstand increased footfall is paramount to ensure not only that it remains in peak condition for as long as possible, but that it does not become damaged and prove a safety risk to children and students.
Moreover, classrooms are incredibly busy places, often subject to paint, ink, and liquid spills. Installed tiled carpet or LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile) avoid the need to replace the whole roll of flooring if just a small section is damaged. This is an important consideration for both budgets and logistics in a public sector building.

Style and colour

As well as being robust enough to withstand a class of 30 children, flooring in schools must be stylish enough to impress and to complement the established branding or educational establishment colours. By using carpet tiles, an accent colour can be incorporated into floor design, giving a nod to colours associated with the establishment, without being overbearing.


It is of paramount importance that you use a quality installer when replacing the floor coverings within a school. Even when using a top-quality product, using the wrong installer can result in an inadequate and potentially unsafe installation. We suggest using a recommended installer with experience in educational establishment installation to ensure your project is completed on time and within budget.

Recommended Flooring Types

Fibre-Bonded Carpets
The chances are that, when coming in from outside, pupils do not wipe their feet. Installing a fibre-bonded carpet in an entranceway to capture any soil and debris walked in from outside will protect the rest of your interior floor finishes.
Carpet Tiles
Offering endless design opportunities and available at various price points, as well as being great for limited budgets, carpet tiles offer durability, sound reduction and clean-ability. Whether a drink has been spilt or paint dropped, carpet tiles can be easily lifted and replaced without the cost of replacing the whole flooring.
Luxury Vinyl Tile
With large amounts of footfall in educational buildings, Luxury Vinyl Tiles rise to the challenge of being easy to clean with a slip resistance to prevent any slips and falls. They also offer noise reduction, minimising the sounds of heavy footfall and background sounds.

The University of Salford required a flooring solution to their refurbishment of Peel Hall, a historic Victorian building with original features housing the University’s lecture theatres. Despite the extensive refurbishment, the main entrance to Peel Hall was left untouched. In 2018, the University decided that the beige flooring throughout the hall was not “on brand”, or of the same high standard as the rest of the building so turned to flooring specialist, Barratt and Hughes, to help them find a solution.
The University provided a clear brief to Barratt and Hughes. Because of the high volume of traffic in the area, the flooring needed to be hardwearing and be able to hide the inevitable stains. It also needed to look modern yet still be in keeping with the original period features. In addition, as the flooring was going to run up and down the stairs, the University wanted a flooring that would create a clear walkway for students and staff.
Barratt and Hughes selected “CFS Precision Txture” tiles after using the product in a store refurbishment project and being impressed with the quality. By specifying the flooring in the colour, Rioja, they were able to complement the Hall’s existing interior design scheme. Due to the flooring being comprised of single tiles, affected areas can easily be replaced in the event of damage, cutting down potential refurbishment time and costs for the University in the future.
“CFS Precision Txture” is designed to enhance any room with a modern aesthetic, meaning it can fit the brief exactly. The product is also manufactured from recycled yarn with a high tuft density, ensuring that a heavy commercial rating is achieved and making it the perfect fit for a room where heavy footfall is expected.


Voted Contract Flooring Journal (CFJ) Distributor of the Year for four years running, Carpet & Flooring offer a comprehensive range of flooring solutions. To find out more about Carpet & Flooring’s extensive product portfolio or to request a free sample, contact us on
01527 511860 or via our website.

Live Chat with Customer Services: Visit the Carpet & Flooring website and click on the orange icon at the bottom right of any webpage to chat with a member of our Customer Services team

An array of Forbo Flooring Systems products has been installed within the University of St Andrews’ newest student accommodation building, to help deliver a contemporary and high-end aesthetic that would enhance the students’ experience. The final design resulted in HLM Architects being commended in the 2019/20 Fly Forbo competition.

 Located within the University of St Andrews’ North Haugh Campus, Powell Hall was developed to provide 205 new bedrooms, as well as high-quality common spaces, as part of the largest expansion of accommodation in St Andrews for over a decade.

Keen to offer an exceptional student experience, The University of St Andrews wanted the new accommodation to have its own unique look and feel. Mhairi-Claire Wilkes, Interior Designer at HLM Architects, explains: “The number of international students is increasing, and their expectations for academic living are not limited to the four walls of the bedroom. Instead they desire a higher quality of hospitality. They want a space to meet people, collaborate, learn and play; spaces that will enhance their social living experience, while supporting and improving their academic and personal growth.”

With this in mind, the University selected Campus Living Villages as its joint venture development partner and HLM architects to provide its architectural and interior design services.

To meet the University’s brief, HLM Architects developed a variety of social, formal and informal spaces for students to collaborate and study in, all of which featured unique lighting and furniture, as well as bespoke colour palettes that reflected the University’s branding, which were expressed through the soft furnishings and feature paint.

Mhairi-Claire continued: “When it came to selecting materials and colours for the project, we ensured that they reflected the University’s heritage and complemented its existing buildings. However, to make this building unique, we decided that each floor would have its own colour palette, to not only provide some identity to those that use the building, but to also help with wayfinding. We managed to achieve this through the specification of the floor coverings.

“As we have a strong relationship with Kay Kerr at Forbo, we knew we would receive excellent help on the project.”

Within the formal, reflective learning areas, which were designed for students that wished to engage in individual work quietly, HLM Architects opted to install Forbo’s Tessera Diffusion carpet tiles, thanks to its soft aesthetics. Forrest trail, a brown earthy tone was specified for the first floor; Arctic Voyage, which has a soft light blue hue, was installed on the second floor, and Magnetic flux, a charcoal grey, was chosen for the third floor

Mhairi-Claire continued: “Within the informal spaces, where the students would interact and socialise, we chose Tessera Layout Planks in the colourways Mono and Plasmatron – both of which have complementing grey and black hues running throughout. We also had a bespoke Library Red developed by Forbo specifically for this project, to represent the University’s colours.

“When we originally chose the planks, we were unsure on how to use them at first. However, with help from Kay, we decided to install them in an almost Tetris style pattern and it looks great! To be honest, I think it is one of the most successful finishes that we have had on this project; we really like the combination of the grey and black tones, combined with the vibrant pops of red.”

Throughout the corridors, HLM Architects specified Forbo’s Sarlon acoustic vinyl floor covering in the colourway Steel, to mimic the architectural concrete featured on the outside of the building. Chosen for its acoustic properties, the Sarlon range has been developed to provide 19dB impact sound reduction – perfect for this project where hundreds of students will use the space at the same time.

“At the entrance area of the building, Kay recommended that we used Forbo’s Coral entrance flooring system to remove the soil and moisture from shoes and wheel treads, to protect the interior floor coverings,” commented Mhairi-Claire. “Coral Duo in Luna pearl was chosen as it is aesthetically pleasing and complemented the Tessera Layout planks perfectly, thanks to its grey and black design.”

Forbo’s Coral Duo is the ultimate dirt and moisture remover. It is the ideal solution for areas that require maximum dirt removal, unrivalled dirt retention and exceptional moisture absorption, all in just a couple of paces. In fact, research has shown that Coral Duo retains 10% more dirt in the first few metres than any other textile entrance flooring solution on the market. HLM Architects also chose to install Novilon Classic in all of the communal kitchen areas to provide a more homely and warming atmosphere.

For more information about Forbo’s solutions for student accommodation, please visit or to pre-register for the 2020/21 Fly Forbo competition visit


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The soft and atmospheric patterns and outstanding performance of Forbo Flooring Systems’ Tessera Cloudscape carpet tiles has helped to refresh a high traffic foyer area that leads to one of the main lecture theatres at the University of Cumbria.


The Hugh Pollard lecture theatre, located at the university’s Lancaster campus, is used by hundreds of students every day. After many years of use, the foyer of the building became outdated, with the flooring also needing to be replaced. The new floor covering had to be durable, easy to maintain and aesthetically pleasing to help create a lasting impression for years to come.


Nigel Beeden, former Estates and Property Manager at University of Cumbria said: “I have worked closely with Jon Rogers, Forbo’s Business Area Manager, for a number of years and have used many Forbo products before. The carpet tiles have always fared very well and when Tessera Cloudscape was launched, we were very interested in the product as not only did it offer underfoot comfort, but the aesthetic styling of the floor covering provided a textured look and feel that we felt would add depth and variety to the area”.


“For the majority of the space we used the colourway Nimbus Grey with a smaller quantity of Monsoon Cloud, a lime green shade, being used in the seating area to create a feature space and also in front of the curtain walling. We didn’t want to use just a plain carpet, so the design of Cloudscape and the careful mix of colours between the grey and green works exceptionally well in this space.”


Tessera Cloudscape was installed in the foyer area of the Hugh Pollard lecture theatre, complementing the teal and grey furniture that is in place. The carpet tiles offer outstanding performance, even in the most demanding of heavy traffic environments, and the multi-height loop design delivers soft and atmospheric patterns that are inspired by constantly changing cloud formations – helping to contribute to the creation of a more calming, relaxed and reflective environment.


Nigel continued: “The cleaners are really happy with the carpet tiles as the speckled appearance is forgiving and doesn’t show hoover lines. In fact, we were so impressed with the styling, performance and maintenance of Tessera Cloudscape that we have upgraded various other corridors in different colourways from the collection.”


The Tessera Cloudscape collection consists of 16 naturally inspired tonal colourways, which allows the creation of light, fresh and airy spaces. Available in 50cm x 50cm tiles, which can be laid non-directional or monolithic. Tessera Cloudscape can also be installed alongside Forbo’s other popular carpet tile ranges, and their Allura Flex LVT collection, meaning clients can easily create an integrated flooring scheme to cater for different demands within every environment.


Cloudscape Merge is also available in all of the 16 Cloudscape colours. The product creates an interesting transition from one area to another, reinforcing the organic structure of Tessera Cloudscape and the tonal progression of colours creating an environment helping us to reconnect.


Dan Jones, current Estates and Property Manager at University of Cumbria, commented: “The feedback from staff, students and visitors has overall been very positive. The carpet tiles have fared very well and still continue to perform like they did the day that they were installed. Tessera Cloudscape is now our go-to floor covering and we have rolled it out as a design standard across the university.”


The creative flooring scheme for the foyer area of the Hugh Pollard lecture theatre has led to the project being awarded Commended in the Fly Forbo 2018/2019 competition.


For more information on Tessera Cloudscape please visit: or for more information on the Fly Forbo 2019/20 competition and how you can enter please visit:

Gradus has supplied premium carpet planks for the new Innovation Centre at the University of Essex, helping to create an innovative floor design with a modern feel.


Located at the university’s Colchester campus, the Innovation Centre is part of the Knowledge Gateway research and technology park. The research and technology park has been developed to drive growth in north Essex and will host more than 50 start-up businesses. The £12m Innovation Centre houses the digital creative studio, where Gradus carpet planks have been installed, and will showcase technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality.

Gradus put together the floor plan design in conjunction with the university. Urban Myth carpet planks were installed in the main studio in colours Lead (dark grey), Steel (light grey) and Sapphire (blue). Installed in half-drop, the planks create a walkway and are used to form a gradual transition of colour across the floor which helps to define specific zones within the studio space. Additionally, Gradus Brickworks and Emphasis carpet tiles were installed in separate offices.

“The studio is all about creativity, reflecting the vibrant creative industries in Colchester and the wider area, so we wanted a floor plan that would not only deliver the practical benefits of carpet tiles, but also embody the values of digital innovation,” explains Matt Brown, Project Manager, Capital and Development Team, the University of Essex.

“That’s exactly what we’ve got with the Urban Myth solution from Gradus – a dynamic carpet floor scheme which helps visitors and occupants identify which areas of the floor are used for which purpose.”


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Gradus also supplied Essex University with Elite stair edgings and a large quantity of skirting for The Copse – a new-build accommodation block for undergraduates. STM7510 Stratum skirting in colour Snowdrift delivers a low-maintenance, cost-effective alternative to wood skirtings and was ideal for installation around the gentle curves in the building.

Dan Bowen, Carpet Specialist at Gradus, comments: “We worked closely with the University of Essex to ensure we delivered the right solution for their requirements. Our Urban Myth range is available in both tile and plank format, and the random design offers versatility and the opportunity to create innovative and exciting floor schemes.”

Gradus supplies a wide range of carpets, barrier matting and flooring accessories to suit a variety of applications. For further information, contact Gradus Technical Support on 01625 428922 or visit

With the standard repetitive fixtures and fittings no longer ticking the box for student accommodation design, Maxwell Green Design Ltd enlisted the help of Forbo Flooring Systems to breathe a new lease of life into the communal areas of iQ Student Accommodation’s new property in Hammersmith, London.

When iQ Student Accommodation obtained the building, it realised very quickly that the communal spaces were tired, dated and very uninspiring. As such, it approached Maxwell Green Design Ltd for its interior expertise. The result is a contemporary and fun interior that will satisfy the sophisticated needs of today’s students for a long time – so much so, that it went on to be awarded the Highly Commended status in the Fly Forbo 2018/19 competition.

Lisa Green, Director of Maxwell Green Design Ltd, commented: “The student accommodation market is very different to how it was 10 years ago, with the old design model of plain and simple furniture and floor coverings that exude little character, no longer suitable for the students of today. Instead, they crave designs that reflect societal and even geographical trends. Therefore, when it came to designing iQ’s new building, we took inspiration from this very cosmopolitan region of London.

“Within the communal area, there were many different spaces, such as a games room, study area and even a cinema room, which all required their own identity, yet needed to be connected seamlessly. While we were able to add personality to each room with furniture, wall coverings and soft furnishings, we wanted to do something striking with the floor, so it didn’t just become a backdrop. As such, within the main Atrium space, we specified Forbo’s Tessera Layout and Outline carpet tiles in a plank format. With this choice, we were able to create a bold, monochrome striped design that would lead the eye naturally through the space and to the various study and break out areas, while complementing the neon colour pops used throughout.”


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The Tessera Layout and Outline carpet tiles were chosen in the contemporary Mono and Frosting colourways to create maximum impact when people first enter the space. Thanks to the plank format (100 x 25cm) of this range, the possibilities for designers to create stunning flooring schemes is endless.

Lisa continued: “Within the screen room we required a softer aesthetic, so we decided to opt for a different floor covering. We chose Forbo’s Flotex Concrete planks as the velvety texture provided a comfortable feel underfoot, while being durable enough to cope with food and drink spillages. We chose four different shades, Cloud, Smoke, Storm and Thunder, which were then combined to provide a contemporary twist on the traditional herringbone design. Although at the beginning iQ was nervous about the ‘concrete’ effect, they were delighted with the end result.”

Forbo’s Flotex flocked floor covering is the only product available on the market that combines the appeal of a textile floor covering, with the practical and hygienic advantages of a resilient – making it perfect for very busy locations, like the screen room on this project. It is also available in a wide range of existing colours, designs, and formats including sheet, tile and plank, or designers can have their own pattern – or logo – printed onto the surface for a completely unique aesthetic.

Lisa concluded: “We have used Forbo and its floor coverings on many projects before and it never fails to deliver, with regards to its wide portfolio of products and helpful, quick service. Time was critical on this project, as the refurbishment needed to be completed by September ahead of the students moving into the building and Forbo made it easy for us to design the flooring scheme, by supplying samples quickly and efficiently. What’s more, as the products are also quick to install, we were able to complete the project on time. And it’s not just me that is absolutely delighted with the result; iQ and all of the students are thrilled with the new interior, with the various amenities being used very frequently.”

 For more information about how Forbo can help you on your next student accommodation project, please visit or to learn more about the annual Fly Forbo competition, visit

Notting Hill Prep School in Ladbroke Grove, London is a split site school, with 3 separate buildings.  There was a need to build a new school building, but the constraints of the urban landscape posed a very demanding and special  challenge – it would need to be built under a motorway.

Hanson Architects were chosen to deliver this unique building and were able to design and build an acoustically separated structure below the concrete frame of Westway.  The new building houses the schools dining hall, kitchen, music, art, gym and administration  departments.  The inlay design creates a modern look which is in keeping the other school sites.

Exceptional ergonomics

nora ® floorcoverings were chosen for their resilience, durability, comfort underfoot and sound absorbing properties to reduce walking noise.  Strong and long lasting, noraplan® sentica and noraplan® stone will ensure the flooring stands up to the demands of a busy school.

Cost effective with minimal maintenance

nora floor coverings are incredibly wear-resistant, due to the dense, closed surfaces. Coupled with easy maintenance and cleaning, these floors will look as good as new after years of intensive usage and with no coatings required, they are the most cost-effective long term solution.


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Notting Hill Preparatory School adopts a ‘thinking school approach’, committed to developing a passion for learning in all its pupils by delivering dynamic and inspiring teaching. The environment of the new school building has to be conducive to these goals. Due to the talents of Hanson Architects and the quality and design of nora floor coverings, the new school building is one of inspiration and creativity and has been recognised as such by the AJ Retrofit Awards 2018. 

Combining exceptional slip resistance with contemporary aesthetics, Forbo Flooring Systems’ STEP safety vinyl collection has helped to define and enhance the practical teaching space within the new state-of-the-art Physiotherapy Centre at the University of Winchester.

As part of the project team, Veale Associates were appointed to design the key finishes of the new physiotherapy facility housed inside the university’s high-profile building in Winchester city centre. The result was an impressive open plan teaching space that is safe yet functional, while promoting a modern-day learning environment.

Approximately 240m2 of Surestep Original was installed in the physiotherapy practical teaching space with an additional 20m2 of the Violet colourway also used in the changing room. Delivering guaranteed R10 sustainable slip resistance for the lifetime of the product thanks to the Step Crystals in the wearlayer, Surestep is ideal for high traffic areas susceptible to spillage risks. 

Altro Serenade™ acoustic flooring has been used throughout the new £17 million Reach Free School, in Rickmansworth, providing the highest level of sound reduction and comfort underfoot.

The newly-constructed school has created places for 840 secondary level students in a cutting-edge environment. Architect ADP created a very modern design for the school, and reducing noise throughout the new building was a priority.

Altro Serenade flooring was recommended by Horizontal Limited, which installed the product. MD Jonathan Bown explained: “We needed a floor that not only had a high acoustic rating, but was also great looking, hard wearing, stylish, contemporary and very comfortable underfoot. I have been working with Altro for nearly 25 years and I knew they had a product that would fit the bill and that quality would be guaranteed. 

EcoTherm Eco-Versal has been installed on a new modular teaching block within the Fullhurst Community College regeneration project. 


As part of Leicester City Council’s school expansion plan, Willmott Dixon has overseen the £14 million build programme, which has improved the existing school facilities. The new school building includes fully fitted out science labs, a music room, food technology facilities and a drama studio, all of which will provide space for an additional 3,000 pupils.

1,400 m2 of EcoTherm Eco-Versal has been installed on ground floors throughout the school by Midlands Floor Screeding, beneath their Isocrete Fast K Screed flooring system.  The rigid insulation board is faced with aluminium foil composite and can be used to insulate floors, walls, dormer cheeks and ceilings, and can achieve a thermal conductivity of 0.022 W/mK.

Louis Dewsbury, Contracts Director, Midlands Floor Screeding, added:

“We installed EcoTherm Eco-Versal on this project as it is a cost-effective solution for achieving compliant thermal performance. EcoTherm Eco-Versal was put forward by us, as it was an open specification, through our trusted supply chain partner FGF Limited. In addition, it is also robust enough for installing as part of our system to create a solid walking platform.”

The boards helped to ensure compliance with the guidance in Part L to the Building Regulations (England), which advises a minimum floor U-value of 0.18 W/m²·K for non-domestic new builds. The lightweight Eco-Versal boards also allowed easy manual handling and could be simply cut to size with a fine-toothed saw.

All EcoTherm products have a fibre-free core manufactured with a blowing agent which has zero Ozone Depletion Potential, (ODP) with a low Global Warming Potential (GWP).