Up to 89% of Australian population is living in urban areas. As a result, more and more people are getting disconnected with nature. It’s human’s innate need to be and feel close with nature. But due to urbanisation, the distance is getting further.
That’s why the trend in commercial interior design is incorporating more natural elements as possible. This 2018 alone we’ve seen many workplaces and commercial areas that have plants, water features, wood and other organic elements. It’s likely to continue on through the succeeding years and decades as more jobs and businesses are getting more heavily concentrated in cities.
Stability & sustainability
Apart from incorporating natural elements (e.g. wooden wall panelling and feature ceilings), more and more workplaces and commercial areas also now signal stability and sustainability. Aside from environmental awareness, these two factors also get more attention because of rapid technological and social changes.
Almost everything’s dynamic now and the future is likely to be far from what we’re expecting. As a result, most people feel insecure or even fearful of the future. Although we seek variety (especially in terms of food, entertainment and experience), in our core we still crave for consistency and stability. For example, even if a more flexible work life is available through freelancing and entrepreneurship, many of us still seek the structure of having a 9 to 5 job.
That’s why many workplaces and commercial areas now communicate stability in one way or another. One way to accomplish this is by incorporating noticeable horizontal elements in architecture and engineering of many buildings and spaces. One reason is that horizontal lines suggest a feeling of rest and stability. These horizontal lines or objects are parallel to earth at rest. There’s almost no chance of tipping over which signals stability and a strong foothold.
Vertical elements are still used to signal growth and achievement. This can be clearly seen in highrise buildings wherein you feel that humans are trying to reach the sky. It’s like going beyond human capabilities and achieving what’s impossible. With the combination of vertical and horizontal elements, the place can communicate both growth and stability.
Another way to communicate stability is by incorporating wooden features on the area’s ceilings, walls, floors and furniture. After all, wood also signals heritage, value and stability. You can clearly see that in large wooden boardroom tables and antiques.
We humans also feel safe and secure when there’s a wooden element around. Perhaps we’ve evolved to rely on wood for warmth and safety. Wood gave our ancestors fire which they can use to warm themselves or cook food. They also used wood to create weapons to protect themselves against wild animals and competing tribes.
In other words, wood provides a sense of stability and safety. It’s a bit similar to improving our mood whenever we get close to nature (hiking, kayaking, yachting). After all, nature provides most of what we need. Whether we’re aware of it or not, our bodies always seek safety. And with wooden elements around, we’re more likely to feel it than when we’re surrounded by metal or plastic.
About environmental sustainability
Wood is a renewable resource and it’s also a strong material ideal for many construction purposes. After all, trees can withstand strong winds and weathering due to their strong wood material. All organisms (including plants and trees) have a strong “will” to survive and reproduce. Through millions of years of evolution, organisms have developed (and/or time has selected) favourable features so these creatures can survive and thrive.
We can see an amazing example when we look at trees. How can tall trees withstand a hurricane? How is it possible that they survive through decades (and a few trees actually survived for centuries)? Why they are good at resisting insects, bacteria, fungi and other microbes? In fact, archaeologists consistently find wooden remnants of a tool, a boat or a structure that dates far back thousands of years ago.
Wood has excellent antimicrobial properties. Many microbes (and even insects and animals) can’t just eat and digest wood. In addition, the tree’s structure can endure prolonged strong physical stress because of the tiny cracks that absorb and spread the forces. Although using an ax or chainsaw makes it easy to cut wood, against natural forces (strong winds and heavy rains) wood still does a pretty great job.
With all these excellent features and properties, wood has become an ideal construction material. Its durability and resistance against degradation made it popular for homes and even in early buildings. And recently it has experienced a huge resurgence because of the people’s desire to reconnect with nature.
Wood & craftsmanship
Whenever you come across the word craftsmanship you’re more likely to think of wooden creations instead of the ones made from metal or plastic. You can easily imagine craftsmen working on wood in detail instead of people welding and working on metals.
It’s a traditional craft and that trait transfers readily into the place where the craft will be placed. Just add a few wooden elements and the place will suddenly look traditional (especially if those wooden structures are dark brown or clearly show the wood graining).
Also, excellent craftsmanship stands the test of time. In fact, as time goes on wooden masterpieces consistently increase in value. These creations are also resilient which means they can withstand failure and even perhaps emerge stronger than before. Resilience is a great trait a business or workplace should have. Changes and temporary setbacks will always come. But if the place and its people are resilient, there’s always a good chance of coming out stronger.
Resilience, stability, sustainability & craftsmanship
These will dominate the commercial interior design trends 2018 and beyond. This can be achieved through a variety of means and one way to accomplish that is by incorporating wooden elements on your area’s walls, floors and ceilings. To go a step further, many business managers also requested for wooden fitted office furniture and management suites to make the place feel more natural.
There are other ways of making the place feel more natural (or make the people feel closer to nature). For instance, more natural light should be allowed in (e.g. design of bigger windows or installing glass that allow visible light but block heat). Water features might also be added (ponds, waterfalls, streams and fountains) to make the area appear more natural.
Architects and interior designers also emulate the design of nature when it comes to their works. In fact, even scientists and engineers draw inspiration from nature when designing stronger materials. There’s a growing scientific field about this which is called biomimetics (mimicking biological systems). Truly, trees can be a source of knowledge, safety, strength and stability. Coupled with the expert hands of experienced craftsmen, you can have a commercial interior that will stand the test of time and make people feel safe.
What are your options?
You can start with adding wooden features in your commercial interior. After all, this option could be the most cost effective and long lasting. As discussed earlier, wood is an amazing construction material because of its excellent antimicrobial properties, strength and durability.
Many Sydney workplaces now have custom wooden doors, staircases and separate spaces that display strength, resilience and the unique values of the business or department. These workplaces may also have the following:
- Fitted office furniture for open office spaces or individual rooms
- Modern snack bars & traditional office canteens with a majority of wooden elements
- Traditional-looking or modern board tables and management suites
- Accent wall panelling & feature ceilings
- Custom media suites with advanced speaker cabinets & sound insulation systems
- Desks, coffee tables, seating arrangements, and counter units for your reception area
In all those projects commercial joinery experts should be there to ensure high quality and craftsmanship. This way it’s guaranteed that the wood materials to be used are of the highest strength and durability. After all, one goal is to display strength and resilience. The wooden structure or furniture should stand the test of time and impress employees and clients.
If you require such level of craftsmanship, contact us today here at Signature Joinery & Design (SJD). We have experience handling and completing custom joinery projects for various businesses and industries such as hospitality, restaurants, offices and retail. Our commercial joinery experts always maintain a world class standard while completing each project according to the planned timeline and budget. Contact us today and let’s discuss your ideas.