As we know, modern buildings and the offices in them can be soul-destroying places with very little character and acres of glass, steel and shiny flooring.
They’re the sort of places you often see on TV as the standard working environment of the modern-day office dweller.
Post-Covid, there is a trend towards more natural, comfortable and user-friendly spaces in which to work.
More and more people want to bring their home working conditions into their corporate life, having experienced the convenience and comfort of these places in their homes.
Studies have shown that productivity increases exponentially if people are happy and contented in the place they’re working. So, rather than a soulless bright fluorescent ceiling, for example, a timber ceiling adds warmth and character to a room, making it a far nicer environment in which to work.
Meeting rooms can be particularly functional and cheap meeting room chairs can be uncomfortable to sit on for long periods of time and don’t look terribly impressive to any important guests or executives who are visiting your company.
Of course, workplace chairs, boardroom chairs and executive conference room chairs come in all shapes and sizes. Your chairs should make an impact. They should complement that curved timber wall in reception, for example. Contemporary conference room chairs should be the aim if you are looking to make an impression.
Function room furniture is something else to consider if you hold sales conferences or have a permanent display or exhibition of your products or services on site. Function room chairs serve a completely different purpose than chairs in the meeting rooms.
For a start, they are unlikely to be used as often or sat on for long periods of time, unlike office boardroom chairs or office meeting room chairs, where conferences, presentations and meetings can sometimes last long into the night.
Using wood within buildings, either as timber construction or interior design features, is becoming popular. Building materials like laminated timber are easy to use and increasingly available in modular form.
These mass timber products, especially flooring, have many advantages over “real” wood, not least that of not having to use timber floor paint across wide areas throughout the building.
Sustainable building is now the name of the game, and timber buildings and landscape architecture are becoming more and more common.
Mass timber vs concrete is the new battle for planners and developers everywhere. The rise of vertical planting and environmentally friendly materials in buildings along with mass timber benefits will really make an impact in the future.
Materials for buildings have historically been a limited choice, but architects are starting to use build materials in novel and exciting ways – and not just in wooden frameworks and external cladding.
Using timber in interior design styles and designing with wood is becoming increasingly prevalent as tastes change.
This phenomenon has led to a huge uptick in interior design courses and orders for timber furniture polish. But, seriously, the sustainability and adaptability of wood are undergoing a new Renaissance, with modern interiors and projects for living room, dining room, and kitchen designs fitting this brief.
Timber in architecture has been unfashionable in many circles recently, but the modern wood architecture and the use of wood in modern interior design is going to be the future.
Ticking all the boxes of environmental concerns, sustainability and that of popular demand means that the benefits of wood in architecture, and the uses of timber, are being looked at with a more open-minded attitude than has been the case for a long time.
Of course, using timber in your home office is going to be easier than in the corporate environment of the city office block.
Using reclaimed wood in your own home office design is something that might be a big no-no to a fashion or image-conscious advertising firm or law practice.
Joinery and woodwork design is something that is becoming newly familiar to thousands of Australians who have never had the opportunity or needed to even consider their carbon footprint and sustainability before.
Many have discovered the delights of the local timber yard – the differences between softwood and hardwood timber – and tools they only ever saw tradies using.
This shift in attitudes and adaptability must be a good thing, from now on. The environmental effects of producing concrete and other “traditional” building materials have become all too apparent.
The carbon dioxide emissions, fly ash and energy use of cement kilns in concrete production is staggering. The environmental impacts of the cement industry, the air pollution involved and the quantity of furnace slag produced – along with its contribution to climate change are now a major concern.
Massive problems In the production of concrete include the contamination of water, air and soil in any area which has a concrete production facility.
It doesn’t stop there, though. Pollution from the effects of fleets of trucks coming and going, and from site diggers and conveyor belts being used all day (and sometimes all night) means noise and disturbance to local people.
Because construction is easily the largest industry in the world and is present in every country, the world is waking up to the damage current production methods are doing.
For example, concrete production takes nearly 10% of the world’s industrial water supply alone. This means that farming and domestic water supply suffer as a result, especially near areas of high population, like cities and towns (ironically, where most concrete gets used).
Unfortunately, in less developed countries, the siting of concrete production is often in areas that have suffered water loss and drought for years and the continued draining of the water table is devastating.
To give you an idea of the impact, the construction industry in China employs some 55 million people to sustain its building boom and shift from rural to urban lifestyles.
This is unsustainable in the long term, and not just because of the use of the natural resources necessary to make the concrete. The impact of vast areas of concrete, and the absorption and reflectivity of sunlight, mean overheating and an increase in the overall air temperature of the entire planet.
None of us can afford this cost.
A move to timber, more environmentally friendly building materials, and new construction techniques will avert many of the worst effects of the concrete economy.