More and more, offices remind us of homes or coffee shops – and homes of design hotels. Interior Architects Fyra and Finnish Design Shop Contract Sales have an unrivaled perspective on the fusion of styles in homes and public spaces.
AN INVITING VELVET SOFA and flourishing green plants on shelves welcome visitors to the interior architecture firm Fyra’s Helsinki office.
“We wanted to make this space one in which people feel good and feel welcomed right away,” says interior architect Tiina Närkki.
Fyra’s office is an example of a growing trend: workplaces and other public spaces have more and more home-like elements. And, respectively, many people are inspired by coffee shop interiors or want to give their homes a boutique hotel feel.
Fyra’s designers have an unrivaled perspective on this, as their firm focuses on designing work environments, and the interiors of hotels and other public spaces. A recent sample of their work is the Helsinki office of online fashion retailer Zalando, where some of the furniture was supplied by Finnish Design Shop Contract Sales. The heart of the office, which was designed with a young and mostly male workforce in mind, is a living room-like event space with swings and a table football. The office was designed to be a place that was not only great to work at, but also a place where employees could bring their families for a visit. There is a separate, calmer area defined for work.
“The space is a big deal in terms of enjoyment and the attractiveness of the job. As such, it’s a trump card for companies that are hiring,” Närkki says.
The convergence of public space and home aesthetics has not gone unnoticed in Finnish Design Shop, where a growing share of sales comes from public space projects. An interesting client group is office hotels in California and New York with an eye for design.
“Behind this overlap of styles is a change in how and when people work,” says Finnish Design Shop’s Contract Sales Manager, interior architect Kaisa Kivelä.
When the boundary between work and free time is blurred, work becomes a part of many people’s lifestyle. “The global hotel and workspace concepts have gone farthest in this idea: these are places where people can, for a monthly fee, live and work where they want all over the world. They’re somewhere in between design hotels and IT offices,” Kivelä says.
Regular offices, too, are influenced more and more by leisure spaces. Office kitchens, for example, can feel like coffee shops where you can have a pleasant chat about work. A library-like room steers you, as if by itself, towards calm and silence.
“You can support your employees’ enjoyment at work in many other ways than just by providing standing desks.”
“You can support your employees’ enjoyment at work in many other ways than just by providing standing desks. For example, you can give everyone a suitable place for each task they need to do,” Kivelä says.
Organizations are no longer as hierarchical as they used to be, meaning that the face of the company is less separate, closed spaces for welcoming guests and more common lobby or multipurpose spaces. These are also Finnish Design Shop Contract Sales’ strong suits, as they are often spaces in which companies want to invest in design.
The overlap of various spaces and functions affects the furnishings and materials that are bought for public spaces and homes. For example, the products used in hotels are nowadays often available to regular shoppers. Before, finding designer furniture that was used in public spaces could be difficult.
The products used in hotels are nowadays often available to regular shoppers.
There are still certain differences, to be sure: the fire regulations for furnishings and materials in public spaces are stricter, and they have to be able to withstand greater wear and tear than consumer products. Public spaces have to look new in five years. In addition, everything needs to be easy to care for and clean.
“When a room needs to be vacuumed every day, it makes a difference whether a side table is attached to the wall or standing on the floor,” Tiina Närkki says.
Materials have got softer, though: wood is more frequently replacing metal in offices. More attention is being paid to lighting in public spaces, too. More atmospheric spot lights are taking the place of strip lighting.
“Textiles have made a lot of progress, too. There are now alternatives to hard, institutionally colored upholstery fabrics for public spaces,” Kivelä says.
The home decorator can pick designer ideas to suit their own taste from public spaces. One example is the industrial style that has spread to homes from coffee shops, and the loft apartments converted from old industrial properties. As a result of the trend, industrial lighting and new lights inspired by it have become firm favorites. Many, on the other hand, would like to give their home the design hotel feel they’ve gotten to know on vacation. And they can get it with holistic planning and quality products.
The design hotel feel can be achieved at home with holistic planning and quality products.
“After all, the starting point for hotel design is generally a long service life and timelessness,” says Närkki.
Närkki and Kivelä agree that getting rid of everything unnecessary, and carefully chosen details can bring the familiar luxuriousness of hotels and other public spaces into the home.
“With so much to choose from out there, a lot of people just want clarity,” Kivelä says.
Contract Sales for companies and professionals
Finnish Design Shop Contract Sales supplies furniture, lighting and accessories to public spaces, offices and high-level private spaces. The online store’s own warehouse in Turku makes deliveries for demanding schedules possible.
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Text: Taina Ahtela Images: Kaisu Jouppi, project images by Fyra