And in the world of commercial interiors, in 2023, it’s all about taking bold leaps. Whether it’s pushing boundaries with sustainable materials. Or opting for a splash of colour in your projects. The next 12-months will continue the renewed, post-pandemic momentum of the previous, with an added dose of playfulness, and an emphasis on demonstrating a true sense of purpose.
Without further ado, here are our favourite design trends tipped to dominate commercial interiors in 2023.
While striving for sustainability in our environments cannot be referred to as a seasonal trend, there has certainly been a recent shift towards the repurposing of heritage buildings over from-scratch construction always being the go-to for developers. Take New Century in Manchester’s NOMA district, for example. A 1960’s gem of a building that was in desperate need of some TLC, it seemed for many years that the once-glamorous entertainment venue would never again facilitate the fun and frivolity it once had.
Fast forward to the 2020s and acclaimed interior design studio Sheila Bird set its sights on a complete renovation of the architectural icon. Breathing new life into each and every space, including the original 1960’s ballroom with mirrored wall panelling, Art Deco-style murals and illuminated ceiling, the multipurpose venue, which opened its doors to the public in 2021, hosts live music almost every night of the week. In addition, it offers guests delicious drinks and small plates from its street food-style eatery – New Century Kitchen – and bar on the ground floor, while also being home to music college dBs Institute.
In order to restore New Century to its former glory, careful consideration had to be paid to merging elements of both old and new. Speaking to Material Source, Jon Humphreys, creative partner & co owner at Sheila Bird, explained: “It’s a period piece, so you’ve got to pay homage to that, but rather than recreate the sixties, it’s a few little nods.” This is something we were thrilled to support with, creating a mid-century-inspired washroom aesthetic that, while tipping its cap to the venue’s heritage, is thoroughly contemporary.
In the basement, our Superloos feature panelling in a palette of blue, purple, and green contrasting against neutral shades for a chic sixties’ inspired finish. And on the ground floor, Rouge Amarante laminate duct panels make a bold pairing to the statement checkerboard flooring. Over the coming year, this combination of old and new will continue to feature throughout commercial interiors, as a circular system of refurbishment, renovation and retrofit takes prominence over the favoured linear consumerism of the past. Forget pastiches, this movement is about taking inspiration from what’s gone before to instruct a brighter future
When Pantone announced its Colour of the Year 2023 as Viva Magenta, the design community’s response was extremely positive. Despite its bright pink exuberance, which might have once been considered too bold to be commercial, this ‘joyous’, ‘optimistic’ shade has garnered much fandom this year, in part due to feeling very in tune with the more ‘rebellious spirit’ of current interior design.
We’d already began to see a lean from clients towards this braver stance when it comes to colour. Our washroom project for Urban Playground last year featured a striking, contrasting palette of red and black. Red, black, and teal also makes up the palette of the washroom scheme at the aforementioned New Century, providing a vivid Instagrammable backdrop for visitor selfies.
PANTONE’s 18-1750 Viva Magenta incorporates these red tones and seeks to drive “design to create a more positive future”. With many of the pandemic-related challenges now, thankfully, long behind us, 2023 is about looking ahead while celebrating the day-to-day. And it’s fun, youthful colours that are set to evoke this celebration, even in commercial spaces.
When we talk about visual aesthetics, we are of course only referring to one element of an interior design scheme. With four other carnal senses to go at (plus potentially more depending on your point of reference), designers are increasingly highlighting the importance of tactility, scent, and sound in their work.
At Dutch Design Week, a myriad of exhibitors put the spotlight on sensory design with wellbeing in mind. Materials such as wool were championed for their raw, tactile qualities, with Hollands Wol Collectief introducing its first products made from industrially processed Dutch wool – turning a by-product into a thing of tangible beauty. Biomaterials were also highlighted for their sustainability credentials, but also for their natural sensory features. The Mycellium House project, for example, showcased a “fungal approach to life”, rich with unique, varied texture.
In commercial interiors, the scent and feel of a product is increasingly being guided by nature – from replicating the subtlety of woodgrain to the cooling finish of marble – everything an end user touches, smells, hears or sees will continue to be carefully curated in the coming year.
We recently dedicated a blog post to the curves trend, spotted at many of the design festivals last year, and still going strong at the London Design Festival in September. For 2023, it shows no signs of dissipating. Inspired by a societal craving for comfort and connection during, and following, the pandemic, curvaceous, rounded edges are popping up everywhere, from furniture to architectural structures and, in washroom design, on basins, vanity units and even cubicle doors.
With this trend, the aim of the game is to promote relaxation and calm. Whereas linear, sharp corners can evoke a sense of danger, curves are far more appealing to the human eye. It’s something we’ve been asked to incorporate into almost all of our recent washroom schemes – from curved cubicles as part of a refresh at The Richard Pate School to curvy Corian sinks at the historic Marlborough College, and installing the Curve cubicle range for its rounded pilasters at the prestigious Wimbledon AELTCC (All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club), alongside circular Corian solid surface basins.
As we enter month two of 2023, curved products continue to remain a popular choice amongst clients for this year, and beyond.
To chat about how we can help you incorporate the year’s top commercial interior trends in your upcoming washroom project, please get in touch with our team.