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Design Inspiration

Exploring 2024’s Commercial Design Trends: Creating Spaces that Promote Wellness, Collaboration, and Sustainability

January 9, 2024

The commercial industry’s design trends are expected to shift significantly towards creating dynamic working environments that offer employees revamped functional spaces in 2024. Gone are the endless rows of beige cubicle walls, drab lighting, and symphony of office machines.  

Experts predict that modern workspaces in 2024 and beyond will focus on promoting wellness, collaboration, and sustainability. With the pandemic changing how we work, the focus shifts to employers focusing on meeting the needs of their employees.   

In this blog post, we will explore the top trends of commercial design in 2024 that are expected to shape the future of workplaces.  

The Modern Office Experience 

This office space features wood tables, black chairs, a leather sofa and four work booths. There are Arktura baffles above the space with bright lighting.  
“Faegre Drinker” Chicago, IL, Interior Architects. Photo by Tom Harris.

Recent research shows employers are seeking ways to entice employees to the office by creating more collaborative and dynamic work settings. These spaces function better and attract more employees by offering a welcoming, inviting, and productive space that supersedes at-home workstations. They encourage collaboration and create a serene space with proper acoustics to achieve this.  

These elevated spaces also offer flexibility in hybrid offices, catering to those who still want the balance of working at home and in the office. In addition, creative spaces, breakout areas, and flexible office spaces will be on the rise in the coming year. These flex spaces can take the form of a café, lounge, or meeting room where employees can relax and connect with each other. 

By refocusing on employees, these workspaces inspire creativity and foster a sense of community, making people want to be in the office. By creating a more flexible and collaborative work environment, employers can attract and retain top talent while improving productivity and employee satisfaction. 

The Design Trend Colors of 2024 

Photo render courtesy of Arktura.

Industry experts predict soft, playful color trends will be popular in the coming year (but it is likely neutrals and muted palettes will always remain in fashion). While minimalist backdrops are still a safe choice, you can have the best of both worlds by using bold colors and dynamic elements as focal points. 

Expect to see a lot of softer tones, including blues. According to color theory, this calm, soothing color is used in therapeutic settings for meditation and relaxation because it helps you unwind, find peace, and become more comfortable expressing yourself. 

  • Blue Nova” was named color of the year by paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore®. 
  • Rival Sherwin Williams® named “Upward,” a blue/grey hue, as their color of the year. 
  • Pantone® has revealed “Peach Fuzz” to be their annual color of the year, bringing more soft hues to future spaces. 

This trend towards soft, natural tones aligns with the recent launch of Arktura’s Elementals Collection of Soft Sound® acoustic finishes. These ten new colors feature tints inspired by nature, including three blue tones named after various bodies of water. This collection includes Caspian, Baltic, and Cortez. 

Immersive and Branded Experiences 

“Amazon Block 18” Seattle, WA, Graphite Design Group. Photo by Benjamin Benschneider.

Create spaces that are one-of-a-kind with fully immersive, branded experiences.  

This can be done with the tailored perforated panel systems found in Vapor® Graphic Perf® and our Solutions Studio®. This custom process brings dynamic imagery, patterns, and even branded logos onto perforated panels perfect for wall and ceiling applications.  

Other general design trends highlight creating more memorable spaces for guests and employees. Walls do not have to remain flat with the addition of ribbed and scalloped wall panels. These grooved panels provide visual interest and break up the flat surfaces of typical walls. 

Sustainable & Biophilic Design 

Photo render courtesy of Arktura.

Did you know that sustainable design has a significantly positive impact on the commercial real estate market? The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has found that sustainable commercial buildings can achieve a 56% lower vacancy rate and a 13.4% increase in net income.

We expect to see more green building projects going up, especially as builders require suppliers to have transparent materiality reports available as they seek LEED and WELL certifications. This coincides with a rise in sustainable materials being more readily available.  

Another way to add some green to your project, regardless of material choices, is by incorporating living plants into a space’s overall design. Green Walls, full of moss, succulents, and a wide array of living flora, liven up an office or lobby with color as well as provide a connection to nature. 

Biophilic design is a popular approach incorporating natural elements into the workplace to improve employee productivity and well-being. This can include features such as workstations surrounded by flora (plants) or made of organic materials (wood). Having refreshing outdoor green spaces available for collaboration or unwinding from work stressors can help attract and retain talent. 

Bring biophilia to your next project with the nature-inspired acoustic cloud systems from Arktura, including Arborisa™. These modules resemble topiary structures, with branches of acoustic Soft Sound® material blanketing busy workers below. These systems can be specified in our new Elementals Collection or Soft Sound® Wood Texture to help create natural and calming environments within the workplace. 

Emphasis on Holistic Wellness 

“Kroll” Chicago, IL, Unispace. Photo by Christopher Barrett.

Overall wellness is becoming a top priority for many businesses, including the well-being of all building occupants, from employees to customers. Employers also recognize the importance of work/life balance and emphasize its significance in the workplace.  

This leads to the rise of building healthy spaces created to ensure the comfort and safety of inhabitants. Acoustics, air quality, and lighting are critical elements that make a space healthy. By improving these factors, individuals can work, learn, and live in a space that promotes their overall well-being. 

Proper acoustic attenuation creates a more pleasant and calm workplace as the number of noisy distractions is reduced. At the same time, improved air quality can lead to more productive workers, allowing employees to work longer comfortably.  

All these wellness staples are part of our parent company, Armstrong World Industries’ “Healthy Spaces Initiative,” which focuses on creating healthier, more sustainable spaces through improved Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ). 

The Importance of Lighting 

“Confidential Client”, Jersey City, NJ, Gensler. Photo by Connie Zhou.

Proper lighting, temperature, and brightness create a productive work environment. One way to achieve this is through utilizing smart lighting systems that can adjust color temperatures to differentiate zones and create different atmospheres.  

For instance, in work areas, higher color temperatures can enhance focus and productivity, while in shared spaces, lower color temperatures can encourage relaxation.  

Energy-efficient occupancy sensors can automatically turn on and switch off lights depending on when a room is occupied or vacant, reducing energy consumption and improving cost efficiency.  

By optimizing lighting conditions, employers can help create a comfortable and productive workspace for their employees. 

Accessibility & Inclusivity 

“VRBO” Austin, TX, Rios Clementi Hale Studios. Photo by Hunter Kerhart.

Aside from lighting and acoustics, organizations should prioritize accessibility and inclusivity for their employees. This emphasis creates a welcoming environment for everyone regardless of age, gender, mental health, mobility, and other factors.  

Create these inviting spaces by designing quiet zones that reduce sensory overload and provide a comfortable environment for everyone. In addition, adjustable desks and flexible workstations can accommodate individuals with varying mobility needs.  

Going beyond design trends, by creating an inclusive workplace, organizations can help all employees feel valued, supported, and empowered to do their best work. 

Bringing Your Office’s Design Trends into 2024 and Beyond 

“Accenture” New York, NY, HOK. Photo by Eric Laignel.

The commercial design industry is rapidly evolving to meet the changing needs of employees and employers alike. These 2024 commercial design trends above emphasize creating workspaces promoting wellness, collaboration, and sustainability.  

By incorporating biophilic design, immersive branded experiences, sustainable materials, and flexible office spaces, employers can create dynamic and collaborative environments that attract and retain top talent while improving productivity and employee satisfaction.  

Let the design experts at Arktura outfit your next commercial project with innovative, design-forward systems. Contact your local rep to learn more! 

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