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Dynamic Walls Help Make Return to the Office Worthwhile

Jan. 5, 2022

Designers are using vibrant and dynamic wallcoverings to energize open office spaces.

With remote working here to stay, many offices are transitioning to collaboration hubs where employees come together to plan, brainstorm and catch up. Sixty percent of organizations are redesigning their offices for the COVID era, according to a worldwide poll of large companies by CBRE commercial real estate. The study noted that working spaces are being updated to include fewer private offices and more conference rooms, café-like areas and amenities such as auditoriums and baristas.

The shift away from private offices to more open floorplans, public spaces, meeting rooms and amenities makes walls a more prominent focal point. Wallcoverings manufacturers and distributors are responding with dynamic designs that make coming into the office worthwhile. 

With an eye toward crafting office environments that are stimulating, stylish and comfortable, members of the Wallcoverings Association are exploring a range of influences for wall surface design—from graphic geometrics and upsized botanicals to new applications of cartography, fine art and biophilic design.

Glorified Geography 

The Geographia collection from Astek harnesses the map medium as a tool for visual and conceptual exploration. By manipulating and at times breaking mapping conventions, Astek pushes the medium to explore the intersection of psychology and geography. Unlike traditional maps, these patterns focus on the psychological experiences of space, revealing emotional and experiential interpretations of cartography. The final murals were created with digital and analog techniques such as collage, painting, weaving and relief sculpture.

Tropical Twists and Turns

Explore the Road to Hana with Vycon’s new collection, Hula. Inspired by the winding road in Hawaii that connects Hana and Kahului, the Hula collection projects tropical flair on a deep grass cloth texture. The hand-drawn artwork creates just the right amount of tension between positive and negative space to feel modern. Lush colors and soothing neutrals offer an air of relaxation for a balanced collection. Choose from three patterns that provide varying degrees of drama, with Hula Big Hana being the largest scale option.

Graphic Geometrics

The bent edges and tilted triangles of Studio Source’s Cutting Edge pattern create a canvas of irregular geometrics balanced on a ground of vertical, textural cascading channels. Available from Momentum Textiles & Wallcovering, Cutting Edge features six colorways that offer a calming counterbalance for ease of use in any space. Printed on a vinyl surface with non-woven substrate backing, this highly durable commercial wallcovering smooths effortlessly, is easy to remove and meets Type II requirements.

Supersized Botanicals

Luxurious with a hint of nostalgia, the Natura Collection from HD Walls focuses on green living and comfortable surroundings. Oversized botanicals bring the grandeur of nature in, inviting the viewer to get lost between the leaves and flowers. Classic and refreshing, Natura clarifies the mind and space with lush interpretations of the environment. Available in three colorways, Natura wallcoverings can be customized to perfectly suit the space. 

[Related: Wallcoverings Create Immersive Design Experiences in Post-Pandemic Spaces]

The Rise of ‘Resi-mercial’

York Contract dials up the design quotient for contract spaces with the launch of Designer Gallery, featuring collaborations with three industry-leading creatives: Carol Benson-Cobb, Barclay Butera and Aviva Stanoff. The portfolio is inspired by everything from nature to art and global travels to couture fashion. Wallcoverings capture the growing “resi-mercial” trend that combines the best of residential and commercial design. Responding to the need for highly durable wallcoverings that are easy to clean, the collections come with York Defender, a new antimicrobial coating with an active ingredient certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and measured to reduce human coronavirus on dry surfaces. Designer Gallery is distributed exclusively by MDC Interior Solutions.

Standards That Look Custom 

Koroseal makes digital wallcoverings effortless with Design Standards, a collection of high-quality, digital images that are available as is and are print ready. Koroseal’s design team carefully curates and updates this collection. Their in-depth trend and color research saves the designer the time and energy of sorting through endless image options. Once an image is selected, it can be applied to three white, textured wallcoverings: fine texture, linen or satin. If more alterations are needed for color, repeat or substrate material, Koroseal’s Digital Lab team can collaborate to customize the design.

Walk the Line

Celebrate geometry with Peninsula Edge from Wolf-Gordon’s contract wallcovering collections. The design references the simple forms and clear lines that inspired Mario Botta’s design of San Francisco’s MoMA. Peninsula Edge is a contemporary, large-scale graphic wallcovering with linework printed in metallic inks. It can be paired with its coordinate Peninsula, a grasscloth with matte finish.

The Warmth of Wood

Add a decorative wood feature wall to interior design with Woodwerx by Odyssey Wallcoverings. These stunning three-dimensional wood panels come in more than 40 styles in a wide range of species, designs and textures. The handsome, complex effect created by their natural grain, warmth and color only gets better with age. Designed and crafted in Canada, Woodwerx is a sustainable, eco-friendly product. A new tree is planted with every Woodwerx Wood Panel order, supporting One Tree Planted, a charitable organization whose mission is to strengthen world reforestation efforts. 

About the author: Matthew Jones is executive director of the Wallcoverings Association (wallcoverings.org), a nonprofit trade association that represents wallcoverings manufacturers, distributors and suppliers. The WA educates consumers, designers and specifiers about the beauty and use of wallcoverings. The association keeps the industry at the forefront of sustainability with specifier tools such as NSF 342, Sustainability Scorecards and Environmental Product Declarations. Designers and design students can obtain an industry sample book from the WA at www.wallcoverings.org/samplebooks. 

Read next: How Wallcoverings Are Helping Designers Provide Interior Comfort and Inspiration

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