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  • Writer's pictureRocio Alonso

Materials Monday - Marmoleum

Updated: May 11, 2022

A Deep Dive into MEL/ARCH’s Favorite Materials

At MEL/ARCH we are constantly looking for materials, new or old, that align with the sustainable and green design principles that are at the core of our firm. In this new series, we’re excited to share some materials we can’t help but frequently revisit, both for their functional and aesthetic qualities. These materials help achieve our design visions and ideas with a more sustainable and eco-conscious approach.

This week’s focus is on Forbo’s product, Marmoleum.

Marmoleum is a natural flooring material made of 97% raw materials composed of linoleum, linseed oil, wood flour, and jute fibers. These materials are 70% renewable and 43% recycled, making marmoleum an excellent sustainable option for flooring. Since the marmoleum is composed of so much natural material, it can have an extended lifecycle through biodegradation or incineration. In fact, when incinerated, marmoleum produces thermal energy surpassing the energy required to produce— the marmoleum is actually bringing benefits of energy production!

The basis of marmoleum, linoleum, is by no means a “new” product, having been developed in 1863 by Fredrick Walton. The longevity in the relevance of this product is attributed to the range of it’s applications ranging from commercial to educational and healthcare. Today, marmoleum is available in a range of colors, sizes, and patterns, and is used in a variety of applications, both as a flooring and wall surface.

At MEL/ARCH we’ve used and proposed marmoleum for a range of projects, both commercial and residential. While incredibly sustainable, marmoleum also has incredible functional qualities. Several marmoleum products can be installed in a sheet format, reducing the amount of joints and grout found with smaller format material options, such as porcelain or ceramic tile. Through this, marmoleum allows for ease in cleaning and visual homogeny. The sheet format also allows a smooth transition from floor to wall applications, eliminating the need for trim pieces that can visually break the continuity. In fact, this particular application, floor to wall, is found in the bathrooms at our CONNEX project.

To find more information about marmoleum and the endless options, visit the Forbo website. If this sustainable approach is one you’re interested in for your future MEL/ARCH project, contact us and we can begin the conversation!

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