Discovering The Devil In The Detail

Detail is everything

I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts’. In interior design this saying rings true. Focusing on the detail in planning a refurbishment is worth the investment in time for the finished project. Increasingly commercial designers and planners are realising the potential for creative detailing. For example, cutting edge online design magazine Design Milk has launched an Instagram account recently, dedicated to office space design.

We’ve been designing commercial spaces for 40 years and know that, when planning a commercial refurbishment, you need to start by defining what your space needs to achieve. Does it need to have better lighting, be more hardwearing, support an agile working approach etc? If you work with expert designers the whole solution will be comprised of a series of well-considered details that contribute to the overall success of the outcome. As with any project in any industry, it’s always best to start with a list of KPIs. The same is true for interior design. KPIs are a helpful benchmark so that the designer knows exactly what the space needs to deliver and can plan the detail accordingly.

So, let’s take a look at the type of detail that can really make a difference in a commercial refurbishment.

Detail of Flooring

Flooring is incredibly important within a commercial environment. It not only needs to be hardwearing due to the heavy traffic flow of people, but also needs to be aesthetically pleasing.

We are often distracted with wanting to adorn our walls with art and bright colours, at the neglect of our floors (and ceilings) as wonderful spaces through which we can express some creativity.

Engineering and manufacturing in flooring has surpassed expectation over the past few years with so many new opportunities opening up. Whether you prefer vinyl, wood, resin, concrete, carpet, bamboo, ceramic….there are seemingly endless options available. One of our #PerfectPartners, Forbo Flooring even offers a type of flooring that helps to reduce noise pollution thereby reducing stress levels in the workplace.

forbo flooring, cobus, floors, interior design
Image courtesy of Forbo Flooring

Detail of Colour

“Colours, like features, follow the changes of the emotions,” Pablo Picasso.

As highlighted in one of our previous posts, we know that colour can have a profound effect on a student’s ability to learn. For example, light coloured walls with bright accent displays foster a strong correlation with learning ability.

Colour affects us unconsciously in so many ways. It can affect our mood significantly, but also can affect our physiology. For example, there are colours known to increase metabolism and blood pressure. We all know that the human eye can see more shades of green than any other colour, but green is also known for its restorative and rejuvenating effect. This is why it’s often found in hospitals, as a means to encourage healing for the patients.

It’s believed that green also symbolises harmony and balance, which is why it’s a popular colour amongst interior designers as it has a calming effect on those it surrounds.

For workspace design colour is incredibly important. Whether you’re looking to motivate, and stimulate your team to increase productivity, or provide a sanctuary where people can feel at home and relax, getting the colour right is imperative.

Colour is the omnipotent factor in design as it doesn’t just limit itself to one element. Every detail about a space is represented by a colour, be it flooring, furniture, walls etc. Finding complementary colours that help to influence human response is an extremely exciting part of the design process.

Our #PerfectPartners, Dulux UK have an enormous wealth of knowledge about colour and its effectiveness within environments. In this video they talk about the colour grey and advise on its best usage.

Dulux UK, cobus, colour
Image courtesy of Dulux UK

Detail of Window Dressing

Windows can be a neglected concern during a refurbishment. We all like to bathe our spaces in natural light, and even use internal windows as a means to create a feeling of more light, and space. However, when it comes to dressing them we need to think carefully again about the detail.

The key factors to consider when thinking of windows within a workspace will often be ‘privacy’ and ‘comfort’. Internal windows often require an element of privacy as they will be surrounding meeting rooms and private offices. Semi-opaque films, or blinds can help to both limit distraction from the outside and also provide privacy for the rooms inhabitants where needed. These solutions ensure that the much-desired light isn’t always compromised however.

For external windows privacy is also a factor, but comfort is often the main consideration. You need to ensure windows are not letting draughts, and also won’t present an issue around sun glare. Sitting at work with bright sunlight glaring into your face can be both distracting and incredibly uncomfortable. Once privacy and comfort levels are considered you also need to focus on the style and design to ensure they’re in keeping with the overall project.

We work with #PerfectPartners Louvolite on many projects and have found they offer a great range of solutions for when we are considering internal and external windows.

Cobus interiors detail blinds

Detail of Lighting

As with flooring, lighting has experienced somewhat of a revolution over the past few years. Increasingly we’re seeing commercial clients turning their backs on the days of fluorescent strip lighting throughout an office, and embracing a more creative approach.

Not only does the quality of lighting have both an emotional and physiological effect on an environment’s inhabitants, it can now also contribute to the company’s wellbeing from a CSR standpoint.

Trends that have been identified throughout 2017 have included such elements such as motion-sensor lighting. Motion sensor units allow commercial environments to both lower energy costs and improve their environmental impact, by automatically switching lights off in rooms that are not in use.

Interactive lighting, utilising colours to enhance an element of play, or mood, is also an increasingly popular development in commercial design. It can help to stimulate the mind and create real engagement.

Lighting has now evolved so far that it is commonly becoming artwork in its own right within commercial spaces. This reception area feature wall designed by Softlab and Focus Lighting in NYC is a great example of how lighting can help to improve a space and create a real sense of fun.

Softlab, Focus Lighting, Cobus
Image courtesy of Softlab and Focus Lighting
Softlab, Focus Lighting, Cobus, Lighting
Image courtesy of Softlab and Focus Lighting

It’s A Small Thing…

For interior designers no detail is too small to care about. Every element working together in perfect harmony is what helps to create truly successful spaces, be them in the home, the office or outside.

In workspace design we keep a strong focus on the comfort and wellbeing of the employees housed within. Our key consideration is to improve their working lives through the use of elements such as lighting, flooring, window dressings and colours.

The devil may be in the detail, but so is the salvation.

If you’d like help in creating #InspiringSpaces

Please don’t hesitate to call us today on 01425 418789