As we come to the end of 2022, Benoy’s Interior Design (ID) team is celebrating a successful and productive first year. Having grown from just four people to a 30-strong team of diverse and creative individuals, Benoy ID are looking to 2023 with confidence. Here, Director Jon Grant considers key trends for interior design in the coming year.
Over the last year, we’ve seen a number of emerging design trends in our client projects around the world. The following are those we believe will feature strongly in 2023, shaping our approaches as we continue to deliver creative and commercial ID solutions across Europe, Asia-Pacific, the US and the Middle East.
The future’s green
One of the major interior design legacies of Covid-19 is the expansion of biophilia in retail, work and public environments. As we know, the pandemic trigged a major reconnection with nature. And with the lifting of lockdown restrictions and the repopulating of offices, malls and hospitality venues, developers are seeking to ‘bring the outdoors indoors’ by embracing biophilic design.
The use of plants, trees and green walls in buildings has been shown to reduce stress and improve mental and physical wellbeing, and the post-Covid focus on wellness is driving widespread innovation in this area. Biophilia is also becoming popular as its connects health and sustainability, which resonates strongly with younger generations of employees and consumers.
Across the regions in which we operate, we’re seeing increased efforts to bring greenery, water and open space into interior design. Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore – a former Benoy project – is a prime example, with a live rainforest and waterfall at the heart of a luxury retail complex. Indeed, clients are becoming bold and aspirational in their visions for these ‘externalised interiors’ – particularly in hot climates (where warm air can be cooled through transpiration), but also here in Europe.
Currently, the Benoy ID team is working with a top London retailer on a major biophilic design scheme. Looking to convert a cold and shiny consumer environment into a softer, leafier, more family-oriented experience, this project reflects the general trend for the greening of urban interiors.
Creating flexible and collaborative space
As people continue to adjust to hybrid working arrangements, ongoing flexibility in interior design will be vital. Across our projects, we’re seeing increased need for flexible design schemes that can provide both privacy and collaboration within office environments. Fixed desking and private meeting spaces, for example, combined with collaborative work zones and open areas, enable a blended workplace approach.
Research tells us that the work-from-home model can leave people feeling cut off from their colleagues, which weakens workplace culture and cohesion. Interior design solutions therefore need to enhance opportunities for social contact when people are on site.
Centralised communal areas and breakout spaces can help to reinforce social connections and enhance collaboration. The Loft in Benoy’s London studio is a case in point; a communal interior that combines creative workspace with an open kitchen and coffee zone, enabling seamless interaction that’s both social and professional.
As companies reduce their office footprints, capacity control will be key issue. Clients often struggle to manage the peaks and troughs of remote and on-site working. Interior design therefore needs to allow for a smooth flow of people in and out of office environments – for example, by supporting tech systems that enable the pre-booking of desks and meetings rooms, or by creating spaces that can expand and contract to accommodate shifting workforce numbers.
Across multiple sectors, brands are looking to reflect and promote local culture. In a deliberate shift away from the cultural homogeneity of globalisation, interior design is championing diversity and individualism.
In our design concepts, we spend a lot of time researching local trends and influences. Seeking to achieve what we call the ‘localisation of experience’, we draw on indigenous culture and architecture, incorporating uniquely local patterns and shapes into our design schemes. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, the Red Sea Airport is inspired by the surrounding desert, mimicking the curvilinear forms of the landscape in its external and interior design.
Through localism and individualism, brands can build distinctive design narratives that help to reinforce local identity and pride. In the UK, through initiatives such as the Northern Powerhouse and the Towns Fund, we’ve seen a vigorous celebration of local heritage and history. And with regional distinctiveness remaining high on the political agenda, we expect localisation to become further entrenched within the design landscape.
Experience is live
With retail, aviation and hospitality now fully reopened post-Covid, experience is live once more. Across sectors, we’re seeing experiential design as a key driver of engagement, helping to boost footfall in retail, attract talent into workspace, and secure bookings in travel and hospitality
More and more, people are looking for physical space to provide a powerful and positive brand experience. Through brand-led, experiential placemaking, design can help to forge a sense of place, bringing interiors to life and enabling people to feel more connected to the space around them. As ever, for a range of sectors and building typologies, hospitality provides a successful template to maximise the end-user experience. By reimagining interior spaces through the lens of hospitality, with a core focus on service, comfort and convenience, developers can create vibrant destinations that inspire and delight.
Our design work with both Mercedes-Benz and the Red Sea Airport follows this model, creating luxury hospitality-based experiences in the heart of automotive and aviation environments.
Above all, creating opportunities for ‘sharable moments’ will be essential. With the static ‘Kodak capture’ a thing of the past, people want to leverage the immediacy and fluidity of social media to record their live experiences. By building clear vistas and ‘million-dollar views’ into our design schemes, we can enable those ‘Instagrammable moments’ that define modern interactions with the world around us.
Soaring energy costs are likely to influence people’s utilisation of building interiors for some time to come. Design therefore needs to consider how organisations and individuals heat and power the spaces they inhabit, and how efficiency gains and savings can be made.
As designers, we work closely with our analytics sister company Pragma, leveraging data that helps us understand how people move around and use interiors. In this way, we can define how buildings need to respond, in terms of heating, cooling, lighting and air quality, in an efficient, systematic way. Maximising the use of motion sensors and insulation, energy efficient lighting and materials, are just some of the small but impactful interventions we can make.
Companies are likely to continue downsizing their building interiors, shifting towards more open, collaborative spaces over single floorplates. As they do so, we need to find alternative means of powering these spaces by looking at a building’s potential to harness renewable energy sources. Exposure to sunlight and wind, or proximity to water, can all be exploited to make building occupancy more financially viable and environmentally sustainable.