Schools of Tomorrow specify Formica® laminate

As part of the school’s construction and with a focus on design durability and hygiene the local government specified Formica® laminate for the walls doors and cabinets.

1 De Buiteling 825x550

Under the ‘Schools of Tomorrow’ initiative, the Flemish government pledged to invest €1.5bn into the renovation or building of 182 new schools in Flanders and Brussels over the next 6 years. The De Buiteling Lagere School Paal, a project undertaken by Labo Architecten, is one example of the new builds that have been constructed since the initiative began in 2013.

The new lower school building for 8-12 year olds hosts 12 classrooms and includes sanitary, technical and associated spaces.

Assisting students identify their location in the building was a prevalent theme in the design approach adopted for the school as reflected in the colour scheme used over the three floors. The use of brown on the ground floor represents earth, while Formica Group’s Lime and China Blue have been applied to the first and second floor respectively to symbolise nature and the sky.

2 De Buiteling 825x550

To act as a visual aid and to help with teaching, the school requested the incorporation of magnetic boards in the classroom. Formica® Magnetic Laminates presented the ideal option for facilitating the requirement and have been used by the school for communication and display purposes. The magnetic laminates can also be written on with chalk or special board markers, offering a further variety of application.

Fundamental to the “Schools of Tomorrow” is ensuring the building products specified are hard wearing, maintenance-friendly and easy to replace. Under the initiative, schools are designed to accommodate the possibility of subsequent change in order to respond to future education needs. The lightweight nature of Formica laminate, and the ease at which it can be applied to existing surfaces, presented the flexibility of design necessitated by the project.

The hygienic credentials of Formica laminate also proved instrumental in its selection for the school project, particularly for the bathroom doors where Formica Group’s grey tone, Fox, was applied. Doors that possess surfacing properties that are impervious to liquids are easy to clean, requiring little more than water and mild detergent. As an additional advantage the doors present a sensible option for the school environment where maintenance budgets are typically limited.

3 De Buiteling 825x550

The high traffic footfall of the school environment means doors are a surface that pupils regularly come into direct contact with. Pupils who do not wash their hands properly can spread illness by contaminating school surfaces. The use of door material that is inert and does not support microbial growth can help in limiting potential absenteeism and the spread of illness. To clearly identify the bathroom facilities, the Younique® by Formica Group service was used to place digital prints onto the doors.

The use of sustainable product was also paramount in the construction of the school. Offering an environmentally friendly surfacing solution, the manufacturing standards employed by Formica Group means its products can contribute credits to fulfil the Green Building Assessment.

Furthermore, as a component material, Formica Group can assist toward BREEAM credit for building certification, including indoor air quality and life cycle. The Schools of Tomorrow initiative emphasises the importance of occupant comfort, citing consideration for factors including ventilation and thermal efficiency. While in the instance of the De Buiteling Lagere School Paal project Formica laminate was specific for the interior. When used as part of a rainscreen ventilated system, VIVIX® by Formica Group panels can also contribute to a building’s thermal efficiency.


Labo Architecten

You're using an unsupported browser and some features may not work properly. Please upgrade to a modern browser, such as Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Safari.