Red dot of approval for waterproof wooden flooring
Who said you can’t have wooden flooring in the bathroom? An Austrian manufacturer has just been awarded the prestigious ‘Red Dot’ European design award for its beechwood flooring that has a unique feature – it is water resistant.
Mafi Naturholzboden natural wooden floorings are based in Austria, and have developed the unique Mafi Carving Club I, a natural wooden flooring that is resistant to water and can also be produced in a variety of designer patterns, making it a stylish alternative to laminated flooring.
How does it work?
Carving Club I is lacquer-free, but its surface is sealed using a natural oil, which mafi claims makes the floor extremely stable. However, it is still breathable and simple to maintain using just soap and water.
To protect the floor against mould and rot (the two most common problems with wet wood and why most people avoid having wooden floors in a bathroom!), the beechwood is thermally treated at a lower temperature. This makes it water-resistant without the use of chemical additives. The lower drying temperature also means that the beechwood has a naturally darker colour, and any natural swelling or shrinkage is reduced, making the floor far more stable than ordinary wooden flooring.
Colours and patterns
But the innovation doesn’t stop there. Mafi have also developed a system of ‘haptics’, which is a technical term for optical effects and allows the manufacturer to produce a range of patterns and designs. For example, one of the most popular patterns so far is a ‘Burberry’ design. To achieve this effect the surface of the wood is engraved and then sanded in a set pattern to allow the characteristic checker design to come through. This isn’t just an aesthetic thing though, as the design also has a tactile purpose as an anti-slip safety measure too.
Using Nature as a designer
Mafi may be innovators, but they still say that Nature is their best ally when it comes to designing wooden floors. “We always treat wood with respect and in the most natural way possible,” says Friedrich Fillafer, CEO of mafi. “Characteristics like knots, cracks and structure are our base on which we create our products. Nature is our best designer.” By incorporating the natural flaws and patterns in the wood, mafi flooring takes on all the unique properties that you would expect from a natural wooden floor, but with the advantages of using modern and innovative techniques to achieve a unique product that is perfect for wet rooms, wellness centres and gyms. Equally stylish for both commercial and domestic environments, mafi’s new system pushes the boundaries of what is possible with natural wooden flooring.
It also opens up new possibilities in areas that were previously ‘out of bounds’ for wooden flooring, such as bathrooms and kitchens. The water-resistant surface is also easy to clean, meaning that spillages are not a concern. And most importantly for anyone concerned about the use of sustainable materials, the natural waxes and staining used means that no harsh chemicals are used in the process. The company prefers to rely on a complex but entirely natural heat treatment method to give this extraordinary flooring its unique properties, rather than chemical additives.
Mafi have set a new standard for wooden flooring, and it is little wonder that the judges of the Red Dot awards were won over by its innovation, style and the ease with which it could be applied to almost any situation. Expect to see mafi’s name appearing in interior design publications across Europe over the next few months, as more people become aware of this groundbreaking new product.