Design season is now in full swing. With a line-up of events and exhibitions having already taken place – from Germany’s Heimtextil to Stockholm Design Week, and the UK’s Surface Design Show, a wealth of creative inspiration is available – and it’s still only March. With this in mind, we’ve sifted through the key trends across workplace design to highlight the main themes from the world’s most innovative makers.
  1. Nature-inspired

Showing no signs of slowing down, the trend for ‘bringing the outdoors in’ has continued to feature at the recent design shows. This has spanned patterns inspired by nature – some literally, through leaves and floral prints, and others more subtly, mirroring the textures and colour palettes found in our natural environments.

In office fit-outs, this is increasingly being introduced through the installation of physical living walls. At the Surface Design Show, for example, exhibited its Evergreen moss. Other designers are opting for flooring and wallcovering solutions with an understated aesthetic, drawing direction from marble, stone and volcanic rock.

  1. Sustainable solutions

Tying into the natural trend, the ethical sourcing and manufacture of interior products is arguably more important to designers and makers than ever before. As we saw from the discussions at Davos, we’re facing an ongoing environmental crisis. And in the business world, many are making changes to ensure a brighter future.

This has extended to the architecture and design communities, where sustainability is more often than not a top priority. At Stockholm Design Week, this was also evident.

Designed with the workplace sector in mind, acoustic specialists Baux partnered with a team of scientists to develop a range of plant-based, biodegradable acoustic panels called

Utilising a paper-like material, the product causes no harm to the environment – a true industry revelation.
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  1. Pursuing play

While living in these uncertain times, filled with environmental issues and political instability, there is an emerging movement within the design community that’s urging us to be more playful.

Bold graphic pattern, bright colour palettes and touches of humour all add to inventing spaces that are fun and functional. Inspired by the 1980s, and especially the Memphis Group, maximalism succeeds in achieving creative flair.

Bold graphic pattern, bright colour palettes and touches of humour all add to inventing spaces that are fun and functional. Inspired by the 1980s, and especially the Memphis Group, maximalism succeeds in achieving creative flair.
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Seoul-based Studio Seung Jin Yang exhibited its latest pieces at this year’s Heimtextil, and its balloon figurine-inspired furniture is guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face.

Similarly, for Stockholm Design Week, Note Design Studio teamed up with Tarkett to create gigantic snow dunes, installed on a rooftop. Described by designer Charlotte Ackemar as being “skate park”–inspired, the idea came from visitors being able to take off their shoes, “walk around, slip, slide and interact with it”.

In the workplace, the trend is embraced in graphic prints and a primary colour palette, used sparingly to add flashes of vibrancy.

  1. Indulgent opulence

Taking this theme one step further is the trend for luxurious decadence. With inspiration rooted in the Art Deco period, and a focus on rich textures, deep tones and elements of pure elegance, the aim is to create appealing surroundings steeped in glamour.

For this season, the trend has been updated through putting elements of modernity alongside heritage design. And when it comes to the office, aspects of the theme can be featured in dark wood, brass lighting and introducing key pieces of furniture, ordinarily specified in the hospitality sector.

At Heimtextil, India Mahdavi showcased the clashing of old and new for a thoroughly contemporary take on the classic look.

  1. Seeking sanctuary

The flipside to the luxury trend is a simpler, reflective scheme. In an attempt to quieten the noise in our ever-connected daily lives, designers are looking to create functional spaces that are minimal and calming, with an emphasis on quality.

In response to this, innovator Lee McCormack has created the Orrb – a fully immersive platform that encourages office workers to take some time out. The one-person, womb-like pod can be used for downtime, to support quiet learning or even for power napping.

So, with a wealth of creative inspiration gathered from the recent A&D events, we’re geared up for our next stop – Salone del Mobile. In the meantime, we have an article from Evelien Reich, editor-in-chief at ELLE Decoration NL on how to use some of these key trends in your next workplace project.

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Anette Timmer EMEA Marketing Director Workplace and SSHL, Tarkett Full bio and articles

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