Commercial space interiors evolve continually, reflecting our shared appreciation of style and well-being. From room layouts and furniture to art and décor, designers try to reinvent the office by incorporating some of the latest findings and creative solutions. Following product developments from Milan to New York, SENTIENT pays attention to ergonomic design and quality materials, to create high-end commercial furniture worthy of recognition. Tethered to the pulse of the industry, we remain at the forefront of design trends and manufacturing optimization.
In this article, we focus on commercial interior design and take a look at trends and ideas related to commercial space furniture for 2023 and beyond. Addressing some of the current issues associated with the workplace, we share insights on how furniture can bring employees back to the collaborative work environment, improve their experience, and promote a sense of well-being.
High-end commercial furniture materials that engage the senses
Coming back to the office in 2022, most of us were hungry for interaction. Robbed of our rich social experiences and sensory excitement, we wanted to experience our surroundings with a Carpe Diem attitude. To be enthralled by the visual spectacle, to touch, smell, and connect with spaces in an attempt to enjoy the present moment. For high-end commercial furniture, these circumstances have created the necessary backbone for a design renaissance.
Trying to provide a pleasant sensory overload, furniture architects realized that visual interest alone is insufficient. To truly evoke curiosity and a drive for exploration, luxury furniture must engage the sense of touch.
Wool, for example, which is not a popular fabric for high-traffic areas, is now increasingly used to upholster office furniture, as is leather, velvet, and plush. Maintenance aside, designers are looking to offer tactile experiences that anchor people in the here and now. Adding textual diversity, these trends spice up the visual canvas.
For high-end desks, organic shapes, and natural hardwoods are gaining significant prominence. Cookie-cutter design is no longer appealing, as people want original forms. These offer unique tactile feedback that is valuable and hard to replicate. Conference room furniture often follows biophilic design principles, which combat the fatigue associated with long meetings and indoor confinement. Wood and stone can elevate our sensory experience, especially when combined skillfully to highlight the visual characteristics of their organic form and texture. Custom conference tables are by far the best investment, dictating the rest of the boardroom layout, and solid wood models have become increasingly popular over the last decade.
Bold forms through sophisticated craftsmanship
Inspired by the search for novelty and excitement, furniture manufacturers embrace the idea of bold forms as a way of creative expression. From imposing angles to exaggerated curves, contemporary designs can promote a sense of calm that extends beyond seat comfort, to offer psychological tranquility.
From custom bookshelves made of thick solid wood to tall armchairs with curved and plush backrests, the office layout must dispense with the conventional. Abandoning the sterile design preferences of decades past, architects are now free to explore.
Blurring the line between work and hospitality
The “hotelification” of the workplace is a contemporary design phenomenon that emerged as a result of significant behavior changes among employees. One survey published on May 2023, by the WFH research project, funded by Stanford University and the University of Chicago, reveals that less than 60% of employees remain to work fully on-site. Of the remaining, 28.8% are in a hybrid environment, whereas 11.5% work exclusively from home.
To invite these people back to the office, and have them reconsider their arrangements, interior designers must insist on comfort, well-being, and pleasant interactions, as these should constitute the core of high-end commercial furniture.
Comfortable lounge areas can include cozy sofas, large armchairs, and appealing coffee tables for impromptu work sessions. The aesthetics of the workplace should be front and center, but never at the expense of ergonomic design and user experience. Furniture must offer seat comfort through larger surface areas and premium upholstery, which can include the customer’s own material that blends into the overall stylistic theme. Comprised of durable fabrics and generous padding, each furniture item must become multifunctional, allowing employees to relocate their workstations without much deliberation.
Upholstered furniture will also contribute to noise reduction and better space utilization within the collaborative workspace, so it is safe to assume that demand will increase in the near future. Modular sofas, for example, are already popular in lobbies and office areas and appear among the top commercial space design ideas. SENTIENT has years of experience manufacturing upholstered furniture, and we believe that the use of high-quality materials may cement this trend as it starts to enjoy unparalleled adoption within the commercial environment.
Recent years have also seen a sharp increase in ADA-compliant furniture, as commercial spaces have become more inclusive in their overall design. Working with regulatory guidelines, we enjoy giving support to this trend as it changes our commercial environment for the better. Simply put, ADA-compliant furniture is a necessary component of every area where people interact with one another and a prerequisite for the modern office.
Outdoor furniture models are gaining prominence in the work environment, as many commercial entities become aware of the health benefits, and productivity increase, associated with nature. Solid wood models borrow from the natural world, offering a splendid display of teak, guarapa, Ipe, and tigerwood, for exceptional durability under harsh weather, which minimizes the need for maintenance and furniture replacement in the long run. All of these hardwoods are imported from South America, and manufacturers are doing their best to source responsibly, following the relevant certifications.
Space-saving furniture, especially in the outdoor setting, is also important, as it maximizes the layout through the introduction of built-in models and creative seating options. Custom models, in this regard, greatly outperform retail furniture which is difficult to incorporate into the overall design concept.
Creative furniture ideas for small spaces
From modular seating to built-in sofas, small layouts strive to utilize every available inch towards a cohesive office design. At SENTIENT, we champion bespoke models through a comprehensive service that involves on-site measurement, design iteration, and furniture installment.
Working with domestic and international brands in the retail and hospitality industry, we have come to realize that furniture manufacturing is only part of the service. A holistic approach takes much more dedication, care, and alignment, and we pride ourselves on being able to adjust every step of the process to serve our clients.
Large communal tables have a significant base profile but blend perfectly with other co-working space furniture ideas. Promoting a collegial spirit and social interaction, they are one of the most interesting additions to the modern office, especially after the pandemic. Handmade models in solid wood unite many of the principles that we’ve discussed throughout this article, making for an exceptional design addition to any office.
The small office space can also benefit from custom commercial millwork, as it solves most of the storage requirements of the modern work environment, without compromising on the layout ot the aesthetics.
Moving towards eco-friendly high-end commercial furniture
High-end commercial furniture must follow current ethical sensibilities. Our shared concern for the environment is slowly being integrated into the mission statements of businesses the world over, and interior design efforts reflect this reality. SENTIENT believes in the importance of sourcing responsibly harvested wood species and eco-friendly fabrics, as well as the continual improvement of our manufacturing process.
The goal is to minimize our carbon footprint while remaining competitive in terms of quality and scale. This is why we optimize transportation and the use of power tools, and it is why we made a transition towards eco-friendly furniture as early as our inception.
From the client and customer side, eco-friendly models are much more desirable, as they utilize natural materials, handcrafted manufacturing, and selected finishing options that greatly reduce VOC (Volatile organic compounds).
From upholstery fabrics such as leather, organic cotton, wool, and linen, to hardwood species such as black walnut, cherry, maple, and oak, our products utilize a variety of materials in infinite combinations and aesthetic arrangements.
Statement colors and geometric patterns in high-end commercial furniture
To create visual interest in the workspace and spice up commercial interior design, decorators must consider the use of bold colors and sophisticated patterns. From rich brown, dark orange, and purple, to azure and canary yellow aesthetic contrast can greatly elevate the interior décor and emphasize furniture pieces irrespective of their type.
Some office areas may benefit from calm, earthy tones, so designers can consider upholstery options in umber, musky pink, olive, and moss green.
Patterns can range from angular geometric shapes to natural and organic forms, depending on the overall aesthetic layout. Metal highlights and upholstery seams can offer straight lines, whereas hardwood species like American black walnut can provide a sophisticated grain pattern, further accentuated by a quality protective coat. For custom office furniture, designers and manufacturers might consider the golden ratio to ensure that the pattern or the statement color doesn’t overwhelm the space. The optimal range is to fill up the canvas with 60% neutral colors, which adds vibrancy once a highlighting shade is introduced.
According to an article by Open Access Government, there are many studies that highlight the importance of ergonomic furniture. As Coldrick, the managing director of the digital publication, writes, standing or hybrid desks can greatly reduce sedentary habits, and indeed improve musculoskeletal problems. He cites a report of year-long research conducted by the British Medical Journal, where the results are overwhelmingly positive. Many designers are promoting ergonomic interventions even in reception area furniture, hoping that it can yield a positive brand association.
At SENTIENT, we have worked with many furniture architects and interior decorators to help them manufacture exceptional items aligned with the best ergonomic design principles. We provide technical expertise and advise them on the feasibility of certain materials and techniques, helping them stay within a specified budget as we materialize their creative vision.
By following ergonomic principles, such as proper alignment, adjustability, support, and accessibility, manufacturers and designers can help minimize discomfort, which is often associated with the work environment. The payoff is significant, as ergonomic office furniture can greatly increase employee wellbeing, and promote a health-aware company culture.