Designers And Architects - Are Aesthetics More Important Than Practicalities

 By: David Andrew Smith
As a cleaning company we get called in to carry out builders cleans on new builds and refurbishments. Time and time again what we see is that the designer has had something built, laid or put in place solely on the grounds that it looks good with no regard as to how it will stand up to use or the practicalities of trying to keep it clean and looking good. They produce their design, see it through to the finish and then walk away. Only later does it become apparent that it is completely impractical from a cleaning point of view but they do not seem to learn from their mistakes because the same ones keep being repeated.

Let us take some classic examples. Car showrooms are a prime example. Car dealers require a nice environment to show of their brand new cars. So what do you need? A large rectangular space in which to fit the cars. Large windows so that the cars can be viewed easily by passers by. Clean freshly painted walls with some nice pictures placed strategically. A potted plant or two. Modern desks for the sales people. Some colourful stands advertising the products interspersed between the cars. All pretty standard and nothing exceptional to allow the designer to soar into the realms of artistry. One thing however is missing from this list and that is the flooring. Now it is here that the designer has something to get their teeth into. What do they come up with?

Bright, shiny, white or cream floors in ceramic tiles. This is really good, because the light coloured shiny floors set the cars off really well because the majority of them are in relatively dark colours. So in the building or refurbishment programme this is the type of flooring detailed and once laid and cleaned it looks marvellous. Then they start to bring the cars in and the customers walk in and then the trouble starts. Invariably the cleaners are blamed for not cleaning properly. The tiles are smeary, or the trye marks are not being removed, water marks are being left and so the complaints go on.

What is actually happening is that oil and fuel spillages occur, even small amounts are sufficient to create problems. Tyre marks are left on the tiles and new tyres are coated with a resin to make them look shiny and clean and small amounts of this are deposited onto the floor.

Normal cleaning fluids will not remove these completely and they will become spread over all the tiles in time by the mopping or other cleaning process employed. So tyre impressions and footmarks will be clearly visible even after cleaning. The only answer is to clean with a scrubber and a degreasing solution. However this adds considerably to the cost of cleaning the showroom and most garages are not willing to pay this additional sum so they continue to blame the cleaners.

It could be easily solved if patterned tiles were used which would disguise these impressions and then normal mopping and cleaning would be sufficient followed every three months or so by a scrub with degreasing solution.

Have garages or designers twigged this yet? No, because plain tiles have continued to be used in showrooms up to the present day.
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Article Tags: designers, architects

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