Advancements in essential materials, production techniques, mechanical equipment design and energy efficiencies have transformed the agenda of “possibilities!” Once cumbersome and out-sized equipment has evolved to substantially increased efficiency, greatly reduced space displacement and new and graceful unit design. Albeit, beauty cannot be allowed to compromise function; conversely, function doesn’t need to be ugly!
Color has been one of the greatest transformers. Remember when medical and dental facilities, hospitals and other care institutions all had to convey “sterile” with blazing, blinding white? Some of those transitions might have been facilitated by our increased understanding of “sterile;” i.e., colored flatgoods can be just as sterile as white! Today, those same institutions actually compete with each other! Hanging art, sweeping murals, patient friendly suites and labor rooms almost look and feel like your Interiors at home!
The Interior space itself of bathrooms and kitchens has expanded measurably – like a declaration that: Hey! It’s OK to linger! Amateur gourmet cooks want their guests to hover in their beautiful kitchens and observe the process while talking and sipping just the right wine for the evolving meal! So, such kitchens are also designed for the guests to enjoy and linger.
Commercial restrooms are now quite user-friendly – that is, if the business owners have come-up-to-speed with the current expectations of employees, customers, visitors and associates! Those expectations can range from baby diaper changing tables and s-p-a-c-e to maneuver, right up to comfort amenities historically reserved for extremely posh hotels and resorts. A comfortable chair or couch on which to catch one’s breath is more and more welcomed and expected.
Some residential bathrooms begin to rival glamorous spas with mini-versions of bathing pleasure and relaxation units! Larger, and more geared to the theatrics of self-care, they no longer need to be get-in-get-done-get-out cubbys! It’s much more enjoyable to soak and soothe, do make-up with flattering and appropriate lighting and then face one’s day refreshed and beautiful! (Even the old trend of separating the commode from the sinks and tubs has been upgraded and treated as two equally pleasant places to linger!)
Other commercial “very high function” areas have also modulated from rows of dull grey metal desks into pleasant, colorful and more privately defined areas with more person-friendly treatments. More and more frequently, break rooms are moving out of a corner of the janitorial storage dumpsite, and into areas where one can really take a break (or even a catnap).
Robert Boccabella, B.F.A., Certified Interior Designer
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Collaboration & Writing: Ms. Zoe Tummillo