As the country stirs from its Summer stupor, mid-September is a time that we can finally concentrate on moving on and achieving a fresh start. This is why London Fashion Week kicks off when it does – this year from 14th to 19th September. What on earth has fashion to do with decoration, you cry?! Well, rather a lot actually. We’re not claiming to be the most trendy decorators in town though; we don’t turn up at a commercial refurbishment project kitted out in asymmetric jackets and skinny jeans. However, the principles of aesthetics are universal, and a commercial space should have its own ‘Autumn Wardrobe’ to be the best workable space for your organisation.
The industry surrounding London Fashion Week is, of course, already moving on from the Autumn and is looking forward to Spring. Temptingly optimistic though this may be, for any space be it commercial, educational or for leisure, the focus should remain firmly on the here and now. The UK experiences vastly ranging weather systems over the course of a year so it is important that a working or learning space functions whatever the weather.
No, not the dazzling flashes of the London design press, but an aspect of workplace design that can entirely change the nature of a space when used intelligently. Your reception area can be transformed into a social space; a meeting room into a learning environment; or an open plan office into zoned areas. The correct light is necessary for staff to work efficiently and healthily and this changes with the seasons. As Autumn progresses, space will become more reliant on artificial light, so consider how the use of glass in an original design can maximise how natural light is dispersed as the nights draw in.
By adding or removing a layer of a workspace, an area can become more fitting for the season in which you find yourself. These are simple considerations which can make a huge difference to your staff – like ensuring that there is sufficient space for an increased quantity of coats, umbrellas and hats, or positioning large, absorbent foot mats for wet or snowy shoes. The ‘base layer’ for a comfortable workspace to see you through everything that British seasons can throw at you is down to the infrastructure. An efficient heating and cooling system to maintain an ambient working temperature is often taken for granted but is integral to how a space can transcend the seasons.
When choosing the colours of your commercial decoration, try not to get too swayed by fashion! It may be that reports from London tell you that everything is spotty this season, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that this will work all over your meeting room walls! Maintaining some level of natural warmth, through the use of wood, natural light or colour is an approach which can suit any time of year. Your brand or business should also be reflected in your use of colour, helping to foster an atmosphere of camaraderie among your workforce.
Just as the London catwalk is adorned this month with accessories to beggar belief, the finishing touches to your workplace can make the space personable and appealing. Seasonal flowers, vinyl graphics and current news or images projected on any communal screens can easily, quickly, and relatively cheaply refresh a space.
Key to the flexibility of everything that we’ve talked about here is to ensure that the layout, core decoration and furniture of your space are enduring, appealing and representative of your business. Much as the darlings of the London fashion scene will extol the virtues of a classic base wardrobe, your space should be influenced, but not dictated by, fashions and trends.