By Penketh Group Insights Team
11th February 2020
You might be wondering of late if it’s just you, or do recent office design schemes look a little… undone and we would say that no, it’s definitely not just you. Last year, we spoke about ‘defurbishment’ as an office interior design trend and what some of you might be witnessing at the moment is sort of like a progression of that motif.
Defurbishment is the (rather ironic) process of embarking on a refurbishment project in order for a workspace to look more stripped back and industrial. Think bare bricks, exposed steelwork, original ceilings and visible structural elements – what Savill’s dubbed ‘corporate cool’. This stylised aesthetic has developed, or at least branched out into what we’re calling ‘exposed craftsmanship’.
What do we mean by exposed craftsmanship?
Exposed craftmanship comes about when design deliberately avoids doing anything to conceal the construction of something. In fact, as part of the growing trend, designers are actually doing more to showcase construction.
This theory, of course, applies to a whole myriad of design artifacts – from a pencil case or a pair of shoes right through to world famous architecture. Just take the Le Centre Pompidou in Paris, for example, with its iconic industrial façade.
In this article though, we’re going be looking more specifically at modern interior decoration in commercial design and contemporary office furniture to explore the trend of exposed craftsmanship further.
Turning function into a feature
The mark of exposed craftmanship is a design element which makes a feature of something which is typically used solely for function. Fabric stitching, joins between table legs and tops, exposed lips and gaps left deliberately between edges like a 3D pattern are all perfect examples. Of course, function is never compromised – the exposed craftsmanship is an addition – as is demonstrated in the new Frovi furniture Flord collection pictured below.
But why? Why are architects, designers and business owners leaning towards this stylised deconstruction?
Growing interest in personalised office design – We’ve spoken before about the growing appeal for personalised workspaces, which has also given rise to a new category of office fit out which has come to be known as CAT A+. An emphasis on craftmanship allows for more choice, more variety and more ways in which businesses can stamp their brand identity on the physical environment.
A preference for bespoke interior decoration – A natural progression from wanting more personalisation is an increased demand for bespoke designs and furniture pieces. Again, this is an arena where visible craftsmanship can flourish and benefit the overall aesthetic of the space.
The benefits of unfinished business in modern interior design – In workspaces of the past, every surface had to be polished to within an inch of its life and finished without flaw. These days, designers and their clients are seeing the visual intrigue, environmental benefits and advantages for cost that can come of ‘unfinished’ designs’.
By this we mean raw materials, metals with no polish, wood with no lacquer, plastics with no varnish and granite that hasn’t been smoothed. It also means something as small as frayed fabric edges or exposed seams. Keeping things as close to their original state as possible – or at least seemingly so.
Want our advice?
Enlist the help of specialist interior designers
When it comes to incorporating trends into your office design, we always recommend seeking out the advice of somebody who knows what they’re talking about. Trends can be easily overdone and very quickly turning into nothing much more than gimmicky design. Our Liverpool and Manchester based experts are on hand to help make exposed craftsmanship work for you and your workspace.