Commercial Interior Design

Interior design is responsible for the planning, design and implementation of interior concepts into spaces across many sectors including residential, medical, entertainment, educational, professional and commercial. Each one of the above sectors can be broken down into specific areas and we are going to take a closer look at the commercial design process and focus on Hospitality interior spaces.

The commercial sector is made up of brands and businesses such as restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels, workspaces, offices and retail spaces. Whilst there are crossovers between residential and commercial interior design it’s important to point out that they are very different and require completely different levels of skill in various areas. Commercial interior design isn’t just about getting the design or aesthetics right, it’s much much more than this. As mentioned above commercial design is purely for businesses and therefore there is much more to consider.

Commercial interior design refers to interior design specifically carried out for businesses and projects are usually carried out in commercial environments. When designing a commercial interior space it’s incredibly important for the designer or design agency to be able to understand the business’ needs and the intended functionality of the space. As well as understanding these fundamentals the designer is also responsible for balancing this with the design aesthetics and implementation of the design concept too. It is essential for commercial interior design that the space has been designed to elevate the business and meet it’s short and long term needs. Interior designers will ensure the experience for both the staff and customers compliments the function of the space and more importantly the future vision of the brand.

 



What is a Commercial Interior Designer

Interior designers – often referred to as interior architects are responsible for overseeing an interior transformation from start to finish. Commercial interior designers in particular have a wide skill set and their role often includes spatial planning, general arrangements, FF&E schedules, architectural drawings, 3D rendering, visualisations, budgeting, client negotiation, and contractor management. They are professionals and creatives who work with businesses to create brand storytelling through interior environments, whether this be office spaces, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, retail stores.

The right interior designer will work with the business to understand the brand, the functionality of the space and the intentions of the business, they will then use this as a foundation to start researching, developing and shaping initial interior concepts. A commercial interior designer will collaborate with many professionals and contractors throughout the entire process and will be responsible for making sure the interior concept comes to fruition. Commercial Interior Designers don’t just deal with the interior detailing and problem solving they also make sure that the entire design concept and building works are aligned and applicable to the industry standards and regulations. Commercial interior design practices mostly align, and work to the ‘RIBA’ plan of work. This is an industry recognised process that organises the process of briefing, designing, constructing and operating projects into eight stages set out below.

Stage 0: Strategic Definition
Stage 1: Preparation & Briefing
Stage 2: Concept Design
S
tage 3: Spatial Coordination
Stage 4: Technical Design
Stage 5: Manufacturing & Construction
Stage 6: Hand Over
(Stage 7: Use)

 

Commercial Interior design for hospitality
Hospitality Interior design in itself can have many types of interior projects. The hospitality sector covers the main 3… Hotels, restaurants and bars but also includes cafes, coffee shops, entertainment spaces and leisure venues too. Each interior design project will vary however there are some key principles within hospitality design that if carried out correctly can transform a hospitality brand.

Key things to think about within hospitality design include brand strategy and how the interior design company will genuinely integrate the brand’s vision and values across the materials, messaging and interior. This process should fall into the early stages of the project and inform all decision making moving forward through each stage. A key part of this is the designer/company being invested in the company and their vision. 

Spatial planning is hugely important in commercial design but especially in hospitality design. Understanding the needs of the staff and the customers should not be overlooked. A customer’s entire brand experience can be affected by the spatial planning of the interior, similarly an employee’s role and job satisfaction can be defined by how well the space functions. Finding a balance between beauty and function can be challenging and this is why working closely with a commercial interior designer is key. Not only does spacial planning have to be considered for design and functionality purposes but it also has to comply with industry regulations. Access is one of many other key areas that needs close attention when designing a hospitality space, these include regulations around w/c’s, alarm systems, fire exits, product/furniture specs, Kitchen and abc of house standards.


Many elements of a commercial interior can have direct impacts on the reputation and financial success of a hospitality brand. At the end of the day as a brand you want the customer’s experience to be seamless, enjoyable and memorable and this can be achieved with the skills and experience a commercial interior designer or agency will bring.


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