The Eternal Colour range was used to break up the bays in the chemotherapy suite
The Eternal Colour range was used to break up the bays in the chemotherapy suite
Flooring design central to new cancer centre project

Forbo Flooring Systems installs its latest products at Milton Keynes cancer facility

Forbo Flooring Systems’ latest products have been installed at a new state-of-the-art cancer centre at Milton Keynes University Hospital (MKUH). 

Designed by Ryder Architecture, the facility brings patient experience to the fore, with the choice of flooring central to creating a less-clinical feel at the same time as aiding wayfinding and orientation and enhancing infection prevention and control measures.

An extension of the main hospital, the cancer centre brings all cancer services, which were previously provided from three separate locations, under one roof.

Split over two floors, the £15m facility offers a 24-bed inpatient ward, outpatient consultation rooms, procedure and specialist treatment rooms, a chemotherapy suite, and space for the wellbeing support service.

Supporting comfort and wellbeing

Toby Ingle, an associate at Ryder Architecture, said: “We took into account every aspect of the environment, from the design and use of the space, to the user’s journey, in order to make the centre as welcoming and accessible as possible for patients, while also supporting their comfort and wellbeing.

“As the building is curved, the ground floor is essentially a circular loop that is split into three main zones: the main reception and wellbeing lounge, outpatients, and chemotherapy.mework, for which Forbo Flooring Systems is an approved supplier.

Pastel shades were used with pared-back patterning, providing the ideal surface for vital equipment
Pastel shades were used with pared-back patterning, providing the ideal surface for vital equipment

“This layout enables patients to easily navigate their way through the building on the day of an appointment, from check-in through to treatment. 

“It was therefore vital that the patient journey was seamless and through the use of flooring, we were able to achieve a smooth transition from one zone to the next.”

The design team opted for a timber effect in all of the circulation spaces to provide a sense of continuity. 

In the non-clinical areas – such as the lift lobby and main reception right up to the front door of outpatients, as well as in the corridor outside the chemotherapy suite – Forbo’s Allura Flex Wood Luxury Vinyl Tile planks were chosen in White Autumn Oak and were installed in a staggered pattern. 

A sense of dimension

The playful use of the planks adds a sense of dimension to the space, making it a much-more-friendly environment, as opposed to being cold and ‘institutional’. 

The planks are also easy to clean and can be replaced easily if damaged due to their modular format.

“The shape of the building meant that the decision was made early on in the process to fit the planks horizontally, rather than vertically,” explains Ingle. 

“This made it easier to finish the planks against the corridor line where we could install a skirting, rather than coving up the wall.

“To foresee any installation challenges, we worked with the Forbo team and tested the fitting method to make sure that we got it right.”

As users move into the circulation spaces of the outpatient and chemotherapy zones – the more clinical areas – Allura Flex Wood transitions into Eternal Wood general-purpose vinyl in the Elegant Oak colourway. 

The tones were deliberately matched to seamlessly connect the spaces, and the authentic shade also had to work with the timber joinery. 

Eternal Colour was also used in the outpatient consultation rooms, chemotherapy suite, and specialist treatment rooms, as well as the 24-bed inpatient ward and staff areas on the first floor. 

Ingle said: “From a design perspective, the soft and subtle sparkle effect of the Colour range was perfect for brightening up the consultation rooms and breaking up the bays in the chemotherapy suite, without being overpowering. 

Hi-tech and durable

“We used calming pastel shades, where the pared-back patterning provided the ideal canvas for the furniture and equipment to sit on top of.”

Due to the calandered backing and balanced construction, Eternal products ensure the lowest-possible residual indentation, which is ideal for the cancer centre’s use of heavy equipment, furniture, and rolling loads. 

The high-tech PUR Pearl finish and PVC wear layer also mean that staff can be confident that the flooring will maintain its as-new appearance even after years of intensive use.

Ingle said: “For all of the wetrooms and areas that might be prone to spillages, such as toilets, shower room en-suites, utility rooms, and the tea point, we specified Surestep Star safety vinyl for its guaranteed lifetime slip resistance. 

The team opted for a timber effect in all circulation spaces
The team opted for a timber effect in all circulation spaces
As the building is curved, the ground floor is essentially a loop that is split into three zones
As the building is curved, the ground floor is essentially a loop that is split into three zones

“Using Step Crystals in the wear layer, this makes for a clean, fresh design, and the Trout colourway works nicely with the concise colour palette that we had opted for throughout the interior. 

Achieving a vision

“We took a holistic approach to the design of the centre and all of Forbo’s solutions have come together to help us to achieve a beautiful and practical integrated flooring scheme that seamlessly connects the spaces.”

Alison Sandaver, Macmillan lead chemotherapy and a teenage and young adult nurse at the hospital, added: “Staff and patients alike really appreciate what has been created and the aesthetics of the building provides a spacious, bright, and clean environment for all affected by cancer. 

“The design has enabled an improved flow throughout the department which, ultimately, has improved the experience of patients.

“We had a vision of what we really wanted for our patients and this building has achieved it, and more.”

The cancer centre project was delivered through the ProCure22 Framework, for which Forbo is an approved supplier.

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