Solutions at Work: Moscone Center

Solutions at Work: Moscone Center

2019 | San Francisco , California United States

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From flooring manufacturer to design partner.

Businesses are as unique as the people who lead them, so every design project comes with different requirements and challenges. As the largest event center in Northern California, the recently expanded Moscone Center in San Francisco offers more than 504,000 square feet of exhibition and conference space, covering more than 20 acres on three adjacent city blocks. When the building’s original footprint was ready for an update, several departments were involved as stakeholders, and each one brought an important perspective on the daily activities within the space.

Challenge 1: Health & Wellness

As a city-owned property in San Francisco, the Moscone Center needed to comply with the city’s strict requirements for healthy, sustainable flooring materials. Tarkett’s ethos® Modular with Omnicoat Technology is one of only three carpet tile products the city has approved for its non-PVC backing, 45% total recycled content, low TVOCs, and lack of hazardous chemicals. After months of strenuous research, San Francisco officials found that ethos met or exceeded all their high standards for people and planet safety and their dedication to circular economy. Between 2004 and 2018, Tarkett diverted close to 23,500 tons of PVB film from 22.8 million windshields in the making of ethos Modular, and the carpet tiles are 100% recyclable at their end of life. ethos Modular was also an easy selection for the Moscone Center as an efficient way to soften acoustics in expansive lobbies and corridors. According to Jen Jackson, San Francisco’s Toxics Reduction & Healthy Ecosystems Program Manager, “The development of the city of San Francisco’s carpet purchasing regulation was a lengthy and iterative process. Tarkett staff were responsive and very helpful in providing a substantial amount of information and documentation to verify environmental claims.”

Challenge 2: Sustainable Maintenance

In addition to installing healthy materials, the Moscone team was committed to maintaining their floors with sustainable practices. Tarkett’s Eco-Ensure™ was a great start to this endeavor. This fluorine-free, PFAS-free soil protection comes standard on every soft-surface product we make, and is Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Platinum. Products featuring Antron fibers were specifically selected for their resilience, elimination of traffic patterns, and overall durability and cleanability. Tarkett’s Abrasive Action was installed in areas that see extreme wear and tear, particularly those heavily traveled by forklifts and catering services. Tarkett is also supporting Moscone’s staff by developing a customized maintenance program for the entire facility—including the spaces that are not finished with Tarkett flooring products. “The Moscone maintenance program details the everyday cleaning procedures for both hard and soft surface flooring, occasional spot cleaning, and the deeper monthly regimen needed for long-term success of the space,” explained Andy Bayler, Product Care Manager for Tarkett North America. “There’s a common misconception that effective maintenance routines must involve harsh chemicals. But we’ve found that natural solutions do the job as well or better than traditional chemicals.”

Challenge 3: Design Aesthetic

The renovation project did not include a design firm, so a collaborative team was assembled with professionals from Tarkett, Hoem Associates (Flooring Contractor) and the Moscone Center. The team knew their selection needed to coordinate with existing fabrics and furniture, look consistent in a variety of natural and artificial light, and offer a great deal of color variation for future tile replacements. Tarkett’s Halftone pattern from Suzanne Tick was chosen for all these reasons, but additional custom work was needed to adjust the color and pattern scale. Because convention and exhibition halls have such large volume, flooring is often the only design element in the space. Tarkett’s Design Director, Misty Lewis, worked closely with the local team in scaling the Halftone pattern, developing custom colorways and adjusting Tarkett’s manufacturing process to create a version that is in keeping with the volume of the space. According to Bob Sauter, Moscone Center’s General Manager, “We think it looks stunning, as in a bright and bold statement that doesn’t detract from the purpose of the space. Grand Slam!” AIA California has named the Moscone Center as Merit Award recipient in the 2020 Design Awards. Moscone Center, the only convention space in the nation to achieve LEED Platinum status, has also received a Leading Edge Award for its design excellence as related to sustainability and resilience.

Challenge 4: Flooring as a Guide

We know that good design both visually expresses an organization’s personality, and functions well for everyone in the space—from clients and visitors to C-suite executives and hourly employees. Tarkett adjusted its manufacturing routine to create the Halftone tiles in a custom 36” x 36” size, instead of the standard 24-inch square. This allowed employees to use the modularity of the pattern as a guide for spacing tables and chairs during event setup. MetalEdge was also used to guide the team to certain areas of the floor. The transition strips were placed around loose-laid carpet tiles that concealed power access panels, helping employees quickly find the panel locations. The streamlined design of MetalEdge was a perfect solution as it was flush and durable enough for forklifts to pass over. As Tarkett’s sales representative, Tonya Sharma, said, “The most rewarding design projects take into account the individual needs of everyone in the space, and then offer real solutions. It was such an honor to work with a diverse, collaborative team on the Moscone Center project. We’re already hearing how these unique solutions are improving the daily job functions of the Moscone staff and visitor experience.”


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Northern California’s largest convention center utilizes Tarkett’s customization services to solve everyday challenges.