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Performance Floors at Clemson University's Madren Conference Center

Posted on Oct 12, 2015, by Mollie Williams

When pride is the mantra instilled throughout a university, from academics and sports to personal actions, it must be reflected through the physical spaces of the university itself. This project highlights how Clemson University and Southeastern-based design firm LS3P partnered with Milliken to maintain a sense of pride for the Madren Conference Center at Clemson University.

The Madren Conference Center has hosted a number of university and community events for nearly 20 years. As the only International Association of Conference Center members in the South Carolina Upstate, the facility offers a unique caliber of full-service venues – an important factor that drives the selection of interior finishes throughout the space.

When it was time to rejuvenate the main ballroom and pre-function spaces, Penland Hall, the Madren Center general manager, knew that focusing on the floor would deliver the greatest impact.

“We needed a floor covering to work as a blank canvas: enough pattern and interest to hide stains and dirt without compromising our customers’ visions for their special events.” - Penland Hall, General Manager, Clemson University Madren Conference Center

As frequent hosts to catered events, the venue’s floor covering requirements were strict and finite:

  • Durable carpet that is easy to maintain and will perform for 10+ years
  • Subtle pattern and color that hides food stains and traffic wear, yet accommodates a variety of additional designs for special events, such as weddings
  • Luxurious and welcoming aesthetics that are not cost prohibitive
  • Environmentally conscious products that align with Clemson’s sustainable building initiatives

To select the best floor covering solution, Penland assembled a collaborative team that included the Madren Center’s directors of catering, operations, and planning to consider all of the rigors and roles of the carpet. LS3P Interior Designer Jessica Burgess brought modular carpet samples from multiple manufacturers to consider, but Milliken’s Allegory collection uniquely resonated with the Madren Center team upon first viewing.

Allegory’s dynamic texture and depth made the collection an ideal flooring selection for Jessica, too. “I wanted to introduce scales to enable wayfinding. The various scales and patterns within Allegory traverse the spectrum, from linear designs to organic forms. By strategically alternating the patterns, I was able to incorporate a tangible crescendo within the corridors to direct visitors through the space,” she shared.


Color was a critical design component as well. For a fresh and modern environment, Jessica selected a variation of grays, moving away from the center’s existing gold broadloom pattern that highlighted food stains and foot traffic. The soft grays also complement the orange and purple school colors.

Skeptical of the carpet’s performance, the Madren Center’s director of operations spilled beverages on various tiles to test the stain protection capability. Milliken’s patented StainSmart® three-way stain and soil defense technology proved its worth by repelling and preventing hard-to-clean stains from soaking into the light gray carpet.

The Madren Center experienced the benefits of Milliken carpet firsthand when a substantial amount of red wine was spilled on the floor just three weeks after installation. This alone validated Penland’s flooring choice. 

“We were sure we would have to replace the carpet,” Penland shared. “However, between the expertise of MilliCare and the quality of Milliken carpet tiles themselves, the stain came right up and the carpet looked like new. That proved we had a fantastic flooring solution in place.”

Click here to read the entire case study on rejuvenating the Madren Conference Center.

Photography courtesy of LS3P Associates LTD 

Topics: Design, Performance

Mollie Williams

Written by Mollie Williams