Designing Office Interiors
Design trends in the corporate office scene are constantly
changing with new technological advances, environmental concerns, and space
availability. As 2007 approaches, companies are looking toward designs that are
energy conscious, flexible, comfortable, and reflective of their corporate
brand. To achieve this type of design, several trends have emerged as popular
features of today’s contemporary office environment.
As green products continue to grow in popularity, many
designers are specifying sustainable products, such as bamboo veneers, which
are less wasteful than their wood counterparts, and terrazzo flooring with
recycled glass content. With more clients becoming aware of the environmental
and economical benefits of the U.S. Green Buildings program and Leadership in Energy
and Environmental Design, the demand for such sustainable products is
Using green materials in carpets as well as furniture
finishes and paints leads to substantial reductions in the off-gassing of
pollutants into office interiors. Because of this, environment friendly
recycled carpets and paints with low volumes of volatile organic compounds are increasingly
Natural light is another characteristic of energy-conscious
office design. Natural lighting improves a property’s energy efficiency and may
enhance employee productivity. A current office trend is open space designs
that incorporate tall windows, skylights, solar panels, and atriums to supply as
much natural light as possible.
Designers are going back to basic and natural hues. Today’s
interiors include neutral and calming color schemes in an attempt to balance
fast-paced technology with quality of life. Natural materials or the use of metallic
materials with a hint of glimmer capture the upscale feel many business owners
seek. A few examples include glass tile wall accents, wall coverings with a
hint of metallic shimmer, and metal-clad soffits.
Color affects employees’ moods and concentration. For
example, warmer tones are used to create a comfortable environment, while
natural materials provide a soothing, relaxing, and quiet aura.
Spa-like or Zen-type environments also are popular design
themes, especially in high-traffic reception or waiting areas. The look is
achieved by using clean lines and uncluttered spaces to evoke a sense of
serenity, luxury, and comfort.
Incorporating a company’s identity continues to be an important part of office design
in 2007. As companies strive to distinguish themselves from competitors,
branding has become more large scale. A strong corporate branding strategy can
assist a company and its management team by implementing its long-term vision, creating
a unique position within the marketplace, and unlocking leadership potential
within the business.
For instance, Callaway Golf uses neutral colors in its
offices to express the company’s brand. Designers worked with the company to
create a neutral palette to blend with its product lines. As merchandise is
developed, the office interiors adopt several accent colors that complement the
Carpet tiles have made a strong comeback as technology advances
have made them cost effective. Tiles now come in a variety of textures, patterns,
Tiles typically consist of bonded carpet, the main advantage
of which is damaged or worn areas easily can be replaced without having to re-carpet
the entire area. For example, tiles sitting underneath furniture can be swapped
with those in high-traffic areas to even out wear and tear. Carpet tiles also
provide easy access to under-floor wiring or plumbing.
Flexible space is in demand. Workspaces are slightly smaller, but require more
acoustical privacy. Private, quiet spaces as well as team-oriented meeting
areas for co-worker collaboration are essential to any office.
Telecommuting is growing in popularity as employees have the
option to work from home or various other locations. Conference rooms are more
numerous and multifunctional, whether used as a temporary office or a
High-tech conference rooms continue to be a strong trend,
complete with features such as video conferencing capabilities, flat-screen TVs,
and gas plasma screens that offer brilliant images. Liquid crystal display flat
screens are gaining strides over standard monitors. LCD screens use less space
and power, and provide clear-cut imagery.
These new ideas in design represent a healthy progression
from yesterday’s corporate office scene. These new trends can enhance property
values, lower overall expenditures, create better resale values, and lead to
healthier and more productive workers.