CAPTURING the traditional charm of the Tudor period, London-based design studio, Upcircle, designed Chester’s newest student accommodation by taking inspiration from the city’s history and architecture.

With the help of Forbo Flooring Systems’ portfolio, including its recently refreshed Allura luxury vinyl tile (LVT) collection, a ‘warm, striking, and sophisticated interior’ was created.

Said the company: ‘From the branding and signage through to the interior design, Upcircle’s multi-disciplinary expertise has helped shape Fresh Student Living’s latest development, Tudor Place.’ Located only a stone’s throw away from Chester city centre, the four-block student accommodation complex comprises 323 bedrooms and studios, as well as an array of modern facilities such as an onsite gym, a multi-media room and a communal lounge.

Built by Watkin Jones Group, Tudor Place site is owned by student accommodation investor Arlington Investors (Arlington). Arlington acquired the building from Watkin Jones Group, further cementing their commitment to Chester, having also acquired Granary Studios, Chester, in late 2019.

Ophélia Gisquet, head of interior design at Upcircle, commented: ‘As Tudor architecture is symbolic of Chester, it was only fitting we took inspiration from this in the design concept of this project. Tudor buildings were typically constructed using English oak timbers, then painted with black tar for protection from the weather, therefore we wanted to incorporate a mix of natural wooden effects with contrasting colours throughout the interior.

‘Having used Forbo’s products for many of our student accommodation schemes before, we knew that its comprehensive portfolio would provide us with the ideal solutions to achieve our vision both in terms of design and performance.

‘Throughout the ground floor, in various spaces, we specified several colourways in various plank sizes from the Allura Wood LVT collection. Combining the aesthetics of natural wood with the benefits of strong and comfortable vinyl tiles, the product’s in-register embossing really brought the wood designs to life. In the reception area, multi-media room and meeting spaces, we used Allura Wood in the Deep Country Oak colourway which effortlessly provided an elegant feel and rustic touch to these spaces.

‘Contrast was key for this project. Therefore, in the gym, we chose the soft and subtle White Autumn Oak shade, which would provide a monochrome effect against the dark pieces of training equipment. In the study space, the same colourway worked perfectly alongside the vibrant orange wallpaper and banquet arrangement seating.

‘Throughout the building, we opted to use blues, pinks, and oranges, inspired by the glass windows in Tudor buildings, for the furniture, as we wanted to avoid a dichromatic palette. The use of these shades brings sporadic energy and enthusiasm to the design.’

The natural wood effect of the large Allura Wood LVT planks in Waxed Oak was used throughout the social space in conjunction with Allura Feature Strips in Black to further mimic the style of Tudor architecture. Reportedly representing the next generation of LVT flooring, the new Allura collection offers endless design possibilities in several constructions, including fully adhered, looselay and adhesive-free, ensuring there’s always a suitable choice for every application.

Ophélia continued: ‘At Upcircle, sustainability is a huge part of our ethos and we always make a conscious effort to use eco-friendly materials in our designs, where possible. For this reason, one of our favourite products from the Forbo portfolio is Marmoleum. Taking inspiration from a traditional black and white Tudor house, Marmoleum was cut into a unique modular design, where the oversized geometric graphic grid allowed us to create a stunning feature space in the area where the reception desks are located at the front of the building.’

Manufactured from 97% natural raw materials, Marmoleum is said to be one of the most sustainable floorcoverings available on the market. According to the company, it combines durability, high quality, innovative design, and sustainability, Marmoleum is also naturally bacteriostatic throughout its life and as an Allergy UK-approved floorcovering, it contributes to a better indoor environment for all, says Forbo.

Ophélia continued: ‘Students will be spending a lot of time in their bedrooms, studios and kitchens, whether they’re sleeping, relaxing, studying or socialising. Therefore, reducing noise pollution and sound being transmitted through the floors in these areas was vital for us, to ensure the comfort and wellbeing of the tenants. We opted for Forbo’s Sarlon Acoustic Vinyl in Hazelnut as the acoustic floor covering delivers excellent sound reduction of up to 19 dB, whilst the natural and timeless look of the floor still ties in with the Tudor theme.’

What’s more, continues Forbo, in the corridors where acoustic comfort was also key, Fresh Student Living requested the use of a carpet tile as their modular format allows for easy maintenance. ‘Renowned for their aesthetic styling and outstanding performance, even in the most demanding of heavy traffic environments, Tessera Diffusion in Space Quest was installed for its softer, more organic geometric design.

Inspired by crystalline structures, the fractal shapes fade in and out creating appealing contemporary floor spaces for the student accommodation complex.’

Finally, Coral Classic entrance matting in the Mouse Grey colourway was used in the entrance areas of the building for its ability to absorb foot-borne moisture that would otherwise be carried inside on the soles of shoes. The installation of Coral will reportedly help keep interior floorcoverings cleaner for longer and they’re also less likely to become slippery and dangerous.

Mo Ali, head of operations – North West at Fresh Student Living said: ‘Upcircle had full reign of the branding and interior design at Tudor Place, and we’re really pleased with the result. Through the use of high-quality furniture and furnishings, such as Forbo’s array of floorcoverings, they’ve been able to create comfortable and cozy spaces that are still functional for students to live, work, relax and play.

‘As the whole concept of the project is based on the Tudor era, we love how the complex really reflects the history of Chester. We’re really looking forward to welcoming students to enjoy our newest development in the city in the new academic year.’

Tudor Place was awarded Commended in the Fly Forbo 2019/20 competition.