Every creative industry has design trends that come and go. Remember avocado green appliances and harvest gold shag carpeting? For Stranger Things, the Duffer Brothers have leveraged long-gone graphic and style trends to give their Netflix show an undeniably ‘80s look and feel.
Trends are no less important in commercial architecture and interior design. And while every building and workspace is tied to the era in which it was designed, following trends too closely can make a project look dated. We polled the PlanForce staff of Minneapolis architects and interior designers to see which design trends they will be all too happy to see die. Here’s what they had to say:
“Fake brick, wood beams, and concrete floors.”
While interior designer Elizabeth Lari loves the look of exposed brick walls and polished concrete floors found in late 19th and early 20th Century industrial spaces, she doesn’t think we should be trying to fake that style in modern buildings. “It works in buildings where it’s authentic,” she says. But today’s buildings deserve a contemporary aesthetic, not to be copying from the past.
“Using too many materials to make a building look like a village.”
Architect Dean Madson is ready to see the last of office and multi-family buildings that use different materials for different parts of the building. “They’re trying to look more complex than they are. It’s too busy,” he says. Instead, architects should commit to a style that’s appropriate for the building’s end users.
PlanForce partner and architect Ryan Schroeder doesn’t have anything against the common fiber-cement exterior siding (or the numerous copy-cat products). “They’ve just been overdone.” He’d like to see Twin Cities commercial architects use a wider variety of materials as they design new buildings.
“I’m just hoping postmodernism doesn’t come back.”
Architectural Associate Chad Berreau is happy to see architecture that’s a little more “sane.” In place of the modernist doctrines of simplicity, postmodern buildings of the ‘80s and ‘90s featured complexity and contradiction. They also borrowed freely from prior architectural styles. “I’m glad we’re past the point where every building has to have weird forms, decorative elements, and bright colors.”
“Shipping container apartments.”
In the past few years, shipping containers have been used for everything from urban farms to off-the-grid getaways. When made from surplus containers, these homes can be an eco-friendly alternative to traditional building materials, says Architectural Associate Shawn Wochnick. But, “it shouldn’t be a look that architects copy to be trendy.”
“Styles change so quickly. Don’t do the trend of the moment.”
Senior Design Consultant Dave Clark has been in the industry long enough to see many trends come and go — including on buildings he’s designed. His advice: “Rather than chase the latest trends, try to design something that will hold up over time.” That way your commercial real estate will retain its value for longer.
Got a commercial architecture and design trend you’re ready to see die? Drop us a note to let us know what’s not working for you. To see contemporary designs that won’t look stale next week, check out our portfolio of architecture commercial interiors, and branding projects.
Image courtesy of Christian Odendaal.