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King County Library System: Tough Carpet That's Easy To Create

Posted on Feb 24, 2016, by Mollie Williams

Effective learning spaces utilize every inch to ignite the imagination. Each element carries the potential for dual purpose – to be incredibly functional and inspirational. King County Library System in Washington – one of the busiest library systems in the United States – believes this to be true, taking full advantage of advanced environments that can be created with Milliken floor covering.

Partners for more than ten years, King County Library System has worked with Milliken to create unique learning spaces for 48 community libraries – the majority of which were custom designs. Through these one-of-a-kind environments, King County Library System is able to create inspiring and functional ‘third-spaces’ for youth and life-long learners.

Tough carpet that’s easy to create


Newcastle Library, Newcastle, WA, © Benjamin Benschneider

Every single person in a library walks across the floor. It provides the biggest opportunity to reflect the user experience – particularly children as they sit, play and read. David Scott-Risner, architecture and interior design coordinator at King County Library System, noted, “From a specification standpoint, Milliken floor covering is remarkable. However, what empowers the product is the ability for it to be more than just great. It can transform into what King County Library System represents and initiate a unique sense of place for each project.”

Milliken’s advanced design and printing technologies allow designers to create custom floor covering through a simple process. The advantage for King County Library System: intentionally bring out the unique, emerging voice within a community – with unlimited possibilities of what the floor plane can be. In fact, nearly 90 percent of King County Library System facilities feature custom Milliken carpet.

Here’s how we help bring their larger design vision to reality, without sacrificing performance:

  • Milliken design software displays all surfaces and palettes; designers fine-tune for patterns that reflect their desired aesthetic and intentions.
  • With Milliken’s étage tool, designers can add or remove layers of pattern from an existing collection, or create a custom motif.
  • Industry-leading print technology extends the availability of patterns – even ten years later – as they are not limited to a production year.
  • Layers of pattern in various colors not only provide an imaginative environment, but also minimize visible stains for increased carpet longevity.

“Our library environments should represent everything King County Library System wants to accomplish – to provide an intellectual adventure for community members,” shared Adrianne Ralph, facilities design coordinator at King County Library System. “We can achieve this through custom floor covering with Milliken.”


Federal Way 320th Library, Federal Way, WA, © Lara Swimmer Photography

For example, at Federal Way 320th Library (above), designed in collaboration with SRG Architects, the interior uses a lot of color to enliven the library experience and reflect the diverse energy of the community, on the edge of a commercial corridor. Custom carpet features a repetition of circles, which look hand drawn. The perimeter seating area features the same pattern, but in blue to mimic water and encourage a more reflective space.

David summed up the process of creating custom carpet: “You can be on pins and needles when designing custom carpet. It’s a mutual experience of intellection and intuition. There is nothing like the moment it is installed – it’s formative.”

Click here to read the full case study on how Milliken floor covering enables King County Library System to provide optimal environments for life-long learning – functionally, aesthetically, experientially and fiscally. 

Feature photo - Vashon Library children's area, Vashon Island, WA, © Benjamin Benschneider. For more on this project, you can:

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Topics: Design, Performance

Mollie Williams

Written by Mollie Williams