Marks & Spencer (M&S) has long been a British institution – more of a way of life than just a department store. With 852 stores across the UK, it is the mainstay of the UK high street.
For its flagship store on Oxford Street in London, the M&S Pantheon, it was important that the interior design reflected the significance of the brand. To ensure that this look was achieved, M&S Pantheon turned to Tarkett for a flooring collaboration as part of its refurbishment.
M&S Pantheon is a prime location in London – sitting on the busy Oxford Road next to Oxford Circus, ensuring that there is plenty of footfall and interest. The building, built in the 1930s, still maintains its historic feel with a classic black and white façade, reminding shoppers of a more traditional store.
Tarkett has provided flooring for M&S for over five years, but this is the first time that they have collaborated to create a bespoke
design, especially for the Autograph brand. The new product is being trialled first with the Pantheon store in the Autograph section, the
modern, luxurious arm of the women’s clothing department, before being rolled out across the other outlets.
Tarkett provided 150m2 of Abstract Vinyl Gris Timber for Autograph. The light grey ceramic-effect luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) were designed in conjunction with M&S, to ensure that the style was right for the store and fit seamlessly with the M&S brand concept.
Bringing clean lines to the Autograph area, the plank-style tiles help to zone space, while their light reflecting properties brightens the store. The soft colour palette also makes the section appear clean and open – a look that the store was keen to emulate, to help appear more welcoming.
As well as a stylish design, it was important that the flooring was easy to install and offered flexibility. Abstract Vinyl Gris Timber fit this criteria well, as the plank design provided ease and speed of installation.
While traditional ceramic tiles are difficult to replace if damaged, the advantage of using LVT is the simple maintenance – the planks are easily replaced. For a store such as the Pantheon with such a high footfall, this was an imperative aspect of the product.
Paul Brackstone, UK & International Store Design Manager at M&S, worked closely with Tarkett to achieve this modular flooring design. He comments on the collaboration, “We have worked with Tarkett for over five years, but this is the first bespoke product that we have created together. We wanted the look of the new product to be as close as possible to the feel of the previous ceramic flooring, but offer a more practical solution to our needs.
“Trialling the Abstract Vinyl Gris Timber tile in the Pantheon store meant we could see how the product fared in an area of such high traffic and how it would fit in line with our brand concept. Collaborating with Tarkett allowed us to be there through every step in the design process – from initial development to the installation – and this meant we were able to create a stunning floor in the Autograph section for our flagship store.”