Forbo flooring helps to create a dynamic learning space for new Edinburgh school

Seeking to create a contemporary and inspiring learning environment for a new school in Edinburgh, Allan Murray Architects and HAA Design enlisted Forbo Flooring Systems to supply the flooring for the state-of-the-art development. Forbo’s design-led portfolio ticked all of the boxes to enhance and complement the schools’ interior design, now and into the future.

Set on the banks of Edinburgh’s Union Canal, the new Boroughmuir High School opened its doors to students and staff in February 2018. Supported by Edinburgh City Council and the Scottish Government, the £26.3 million establishment replaces the schools former site accommodating up to 1,165 pupils. The cutting-edge project has led Boroughmuir High School to win The EAA Building of the Year Award and the Large Project Award at the Edinburgh Architectural Association annual awards (1), as well as winning an accolade at the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) Awards 2018 (2).

Chris Walsh at Allan Murray Architects said: “The objective of this project was to design a highly visual and dynamic space for Edinburgh City Council’s new ‘premier’ school. We wanted to reflect modern day learning by incorporating high quality products that were both practical and durable. With this in mind, we specified a range of Forbo’s flooring products across the school. I have used Forbo for previous education projects, so I was well aware and confident of the quality and finishes of its products. This, along with the company’s ability to supply integrated flooring solutions for different application areas across the entire building, meant that it made sense for us to use them for the Boroughmuir project.

“We selected a very neutral colour palette across the school, mostly monochromatic greys and blacks with pops of colour on feature floors. The building design incorporates a lot of open spaces so the contrast of shades works really well and brings a burst of vibrancy to the interior.”

Forbo’s Marmoleum Piano in grey dusk was installed throughout the main circulation areas of the building, with a distinguishing pistachio green shade featured in the break-out areas. The durable nature of the material combined with the dirt hiding properties, makes Marmoleum a floor covering which is ideal for areas that are subject to heavy footfall. Made from at least 94% natural raw materials, Marmoleum also ticked the boxes in terms of green design for the school.

When it comes to education design, consideration also needs to be given to the underfoot safety of staff and pupils alike. As a result, the Edinburgh school features over 4000m² of Forbo’s Step safety flooring thanks to its high slip resistance performance, as the collection is designed to meet safety demands across a wide range of applications. Surestep Original was chosen for use in the laboratories, home economics classrooms and the creative arts rooms, with the vinyl finish providing a cleaner aesthetic, Health and Safety Executive compliant slip resistance and ease of maintenance. Safestep R12 was selected for the kitchen and serving areas, as they have a high slip and spillage risk, due to the nature of the activities that take place within them. Furthermore, the fresh look Surestep Laguna was fitted in the changing rooms and Safestep Aqua in the wet rooms, to provide barefoot and footwear slip resistance and optimal hygiene.

Bruce Munro, New School Co-ordinator at Boroughmuir High School commented: “We are delighted with the floors supplied by Forbo throughout the school. They are attractive and functional, which is perfect for a busy high school. The extensive choice of colours and materials allowed us to easily match the flooring with the interior design of the school.”

Chris Walsh at Allan Murray Architects concluded: “The results of the flooring were exactly as we expected. The finishes are outstanding and the floors perform exactly as they should – but this was no surprise to us. We always knew what we were going to get when we specified Forbo’s products and working with its team is always a pleasure. We had plenty of Forbo product knowledge beforehand but Forbo’s Business Area Manager was always available to advise us on any areas we were unsure of. It was a fantastic project to be involved in.”

For more information on Forbo’s complete portfolio of flooring solutions for education environments, please visit

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