Corporate Interiors. The name lends itself to a labyrinth of workstations, bland color palettes and an environment that you can’t wait to get out of as soon as the clock strikes that magical hour. You get to breathe fresh air and spend some of that hard earned cash on drinks with colleagues discussing how much you loathe working in that god-for-saken office. But, did you ever consider that it could possibly be the design of the office that you loathe more than your job?!
I myself being from a corporate interior design background am all too familiar with just how miserable some office interiors can be with their muddy color palettes of maroon, beige, “healthcare blue” and hunter green. Luckily for me, my job was to make it better.
That is one reason that I enjoyed corporate interiors- to see how people reacted in a space before renovation/relocation and after. It’s amazing to see how much color, spacial layout, graphics, way-finding and for god’s sake "views to the outdoors" can completely change people’s demeanor, work ethic and even attendance to work.
I recently had the pleasure of walking into the small, but dynamic corporate office of Ditherm- a refractory engineering firm located in Prague, Czech Republic. The space was designed by Czech architect Luboš Sekal (of A.A.L.S ateliér Architektonický) and makes use of color and graphic pattern in a unique and refreshing way. It didn’t blatantly say “corporate office” with the palette of tonal grays and a pop of orange. As opposed to the typical private office set up with a solitary colored accent wall, desk and two guest chairs- Sekal chose to create a painted graphic pattern accent wall and a posh "in office" meeting area equipped with designer furnishings and a unique light fixture. The painted wall graphic is featured on most accent walls throughout the space, but I also really enjoyed how the workstations and storage units became features in the back office area with their intersecting planes of color, and also the sliver of orange glass accent in the bathroom doors with the cute gender graphic.
Would a pink bathroom make you happy? Well that is what the New York Times article quoted Nancy Burns as saying about her vintage pink bathroom that she spared while renovating her 1959 split level home. So how did this mid-century love, and subsequent design trend, for pink house fixtures come about you may ask? The answer is simply the late former first lady Mamie Eisenhower.
“Mamie Pink” or “First Lady Pink”, as it became known, was a popular color trend in the 1950ʼs amongst bathroom and kitchen fixtures as well as other notable post war era colours such as turquoise, chartreuse and candy apple red. The influx of colour into the home was said to show the exuberance of the time, and demonstrate support to the return of women to the home after WWII and their complete remaking of the American domestic landscape. Little did they know that times would be a changinʼ again with the 1960ʼs around the corner!
Unfortunately, as trends come and go- so did the love for colorful bathrooms. We thus now resort to renovating those beloved post-war bathroom gems into, most likely, solid white with a splash of colour. However, Pam Kueber (of Retro Renovation) has a different idea in mind. About a year ago Pam developed a website dedicated to the preservation of pink bathrooms called SaveThePinkBathrooms, or as her mantra states:
Wallpaper is making a come back! Although the current “green design” movement would make you think otherwise.... vinyl wall paper is despised, and for good reason--its completely non-biodegradable.
Meet Aimee Wilder and Hanna Werning, two of the many independent product designers offering new and different ideas about what wallpaper can and should be. The patterns are not only bold, colourful and fun--they also make use of sustainable manufacturing methods and materials.
Aimee is a product designer with diverse interests in design and trends. Her wallpapers are:
“responsibly manufactured with responsibly-sourced fiber, and all suppliers adhere to one of the globally recognized forestry or chain of custody programs. All patterns are hand silk screened with care on clay-coated paper. All left over inks from the printing process are salvaged and reused–nothing is wasted or washed down the drains.”
Doshi Levine is an eclectic industrial design studio based in London, UK and operated by Nipi Doshi & Jonathan Levien. The design duo combine their diverse backgrounds and disciplines to “celebrate the hybrid and explore the coming together of cultures, technology, story telling, industrial design and fine craftsmanship.” Check out these colourful furniture pieces sure to add some dynamic to any room.
The design for “My Beautiful Backside” was based on a illustration called “The Garden of Life” by Indian illustrator Naveen Patnaik in which a princess is “surrounded and supported by multiples of pebble shaped cushions.”