Award-Winning Children’s Hospital Chooses Cork Flooring for Play Area

17 July 2008

The need to create an attractive, calm and comfortable children’s play area has led to the installation of Wicanders wood-veneered cork flooring from Gradus, within the entrance atrium of the new Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton.

Designed by Building Design Partnership, the impressive nine-storey, 15,411 square metre building won an International Health Care Design Award, in recognition of its innovative design and promotion of health and wellbeing in the built environment. The hospital has 3 operating theatres and 100 patient beds, as well as a sundeck play area, parent accommodation and state of the art diagnostic and treatment facilities.

An approved NHS supplier, Gradus provided Wicanders Series 4000 European Oak veneered cork flooring for installation within the central atrium at the heart of the busy paediatrics hospital.

Cork flooring’s natural warmth and ability to absorb sound helped to create a comfortable play area, where children can unwind without disrupting other patients. The layered assembly of the Wicanders flooring uses a central cork layer to create a cushioned effect that, unlike hard flooring, absorbs step and impact sound.

Its durability and ease of maintenance also made cork a strong choice, as it was essential that the chosen flooring could withstand high levels of wear and frequent cleaning. Plus, cork flooring’s excellent environmental credentials complemented the building’s forward-thinking design - cork is harvested from the bark of living trees which re-grows after around nine years, making it 100% renewable and sustainable.

Gradus Floorcoverings Marketing Manager Pamela Cairns commented: “Health and safety are obviously the most important considerations in hospitals but more and more people are recognising how much the atmosphere and ambience contribute to the patients’ well-being. The Wicanders flooring makes a modern and attractive look, which helps to create a stimulating environment for the children’s hospital.

“In addition, specifiers working on healthcare projects are increasingly concerned with environmental credibility. By specifying Wicanders by Gradus, The Royal Alexandra Hospital achieved a high quality wood finish, with the ecological benefits of a cork layer. As a fully sustainable and recyclable material, cork can help the healthcare sector to build a green estate.”

Wicanders Series 4000 is ideal for high traffic commercial and public areas, comprising a cork agglomerate core, natural wood layer and hardwearing surface to deliver high durability. The vinyl backing layer with stick down solution produces a surface with a long lifecycle, reducing the need for maintenance and frequent replacement.

Wicanders cork flooring is available with a choice of 30 wood veneers and 38 cork veneers. For further information on Wicanders by Gradus or other Gradus floorcoverings, contact Gradus on 01625 428922.