“You are here.”
Perhaps no other sentence better describes the powerful impact of design. The sense of arrival – or, in other words, the first and lasting impression – plays upon our imaginations. It takes bricks and mortar and renders them ephemeral. Eternal. It’s the stuff of memory: of the great chemical rhapsody blending serotonin with adrenalin. The external world dissolves away into the facade of a single building; dissolves further into a foyer; dissolving finally into our psyche.
But how, precisely do these interstitial points of ingress and egress harness this incredible power? If spaces are designed to tell a story – and form, fittings, fixtures and furnishings are the building blocks of its narrative – then the point of entrance is akin to “Once upon a time…”, setting the tone of the journey yet to come. As the space from which we set out and to which we return, the foyer is the heart of the building’s story-making potential where architect, designer and client must consider the impression made on the end-user and its relationship to the wider chronicle of the structure. The art of foyer design – specifically, foyer flooring design – is an eloquent one. One that Designer Rugs has honed meticulously, through numerous collaborations and commissions, over the last thirty years.
Particularly in the commercial sector, the more recent human-centric turn in design thinking has prompted a large-scale reassessment of how we balance the functional requirements of these foyer spaces with their dynamic potential to frame and precondition an end-user’s mechanosensory neurons.
Now tasked with hosting a variety of (often competing) functions – from concierge services to end-of-trip facilities, wayfinding to waiting, security to statement-making and beyond – balancing the comfort, traffic and design requirements of a foyer space presents a considerable challenge. Flexibility and adaptability understandably moves to the fore of such design resolutions where spaces must prove as useful to those seeking an impromptu meeting point, as to those in search of touchdown or expedited point of access. But, must the practical always cede to the impactful?
The following case studies are exemplary of Designer Rugs’ capacity to balance diverse practical and impactful requirements of three distinct contemporary commercial foyers.
For the most part, the foyer is not a destination. Inherently a space of transition or interstices, they are by nature zones of high-traffic, a space made to pass through, where impact should be quick and furnishings durable. What happens then, when the foyer becomes an active space, where it needs to assist transition but also serve a purpose onto itself? In the recent Marrickville Library project, BVN created a foyer space which melted into the library, where books, computers and couches transcended the foyer from transitional to usable.
Prolific in height and stature, Marrickville library recalls industrial sheds of English countrysides. With soaring ceilings and expansive structural columns, the space is largely open plan, with split levels maximising usable space while maintaining visual impact. With multimple mezzanines and a grandstand like reading area all working within the same space, BVN required a foyer that could balance it all, creating its own impact while balancing the overall affect of the space.
If foyers in their traditional form demand hard working products, then foyers that double as areas to work, read, study and play must have products whos performance is even greater. Indeed, Marrickville Library required a specification scheme which placed endurance as a key performance indicator of a successful design resolution. Working with Designer Rugs, BVN made use of custom rugs to segment and soften the foyer space, balancing the sprawling space with statement flooring features. Working with spherical shapes in sunset tones, the rugs in the foyer space zoned seating and relaxing areas, creating a strong visual impact that had performance and endurance at its core.
Designer rugs’ quality control measures were key to the success of the design outcomes for this high-traffic space. According to Designer Rugs’ founder, Yosi Tal, the brand’s investment in material and fibre research, designer collaboration, contemporary and artisanal manufacturing techniques and unique approach to improving appurtenance retention ensured the longterm performance of the rugs in situ in addition to balancing the various functional requirements of the library space.
Designer Rugs’ dedicated commercial sector specialists understand the pressures of today’s dynamic market forces. Where commercial success requires a revolving door of innovation, today’s commercial spaces evidently prize versatility and adaptability as an integral part of a brand’s best practice, a company’s due diligence across the balance sheet, and a service’s customer-centric philosophy. In collaboration with BVN, Designer Rugs sought to bring this versatility through a system of soft flooring elements to creating micro-zones segmenting the large and open-plan nature of the 12 Creek Street foyer space.
Connected to the external streetscape via several points of access, the Creek Street foyer’s footprint wraps the entire floorplate of the commercial building and represented the ideal canvas for making a design statement. Here, soft flooring not only provides the acoustic requirements for quiet moments of rest, but also for moments of quick collaboration, connection or focus. BVN saw the scale of this space as an opportunity to create design conversations between this large floorplate and significant contemporary art commissions installed throughout the structure. In collaboration with Designer Rugs’ commercial specialists, BVN used a custom handtufted floral design in a variety of sizes and pattern scales to reference the client’s connection to the Brisbane landscape, its brand positioning, and accented the generous use of Tasmanian Oak panelling throughout with little microzones of amenity: a space for meetings, for familiarising oneself with the ethos of the company, for multiple agile working behaviours, and for creating moments of connection, collaboration and creative collision.
In the last ten years, much has changed about the way in which people work. Macro-level behavioural shifts towards more collaborative ways of working and more flexible working arrangements have, in turn, influenced the rise of adaptive workplace design. At the forefront of such shifts was the development of 275 George Street, Brisbane. An iconic, ‘next-generation’ commercial office tower of its time, the building is situated within Brisbane’s culture precinct and boasts spectacular 360-degree views of the Brisbane River and cityscape. To set the stage for the A-grade, 32-storey office tower, Cox Architecture commissioned Designer Rugs’ to design and implement customised rugs throughout the foyer.
Running the full length of 275 George Street’s foyer, a number of distinct meeting and seating spaces are demarcated by zoned inlays of customised rugs. Contemporary yet timeless by design, the palette of the soft flooring takes its cues from the shared public plaza on the other side of the foyer’s floor-to-ceiling glass walls. On the journey from one end of the foyer to the other, the colour scheme and seating arrangements of the various meeting and seating spaces adapt to suite diverse modes and moods. Generous leather lounges and armchairs are anchored to a homey, burgundy-rich rug, framing a duo of nested coffee tables to form a comfortable space for visitors to wait. The rug inlays evolve gradually in colourscape, the burgundy lifting to give way to hues of blue and peach, then on to eventually to feature splashes of invigorating red and purple. The seating arrangements of each section change in tune with each iteration of the customised Designer Rugs rug; offering a variety of break-out spaces, communal work benches, and more private assemblies. This commercial foyer by Cox Architecture in collaboration with Designer Rugs is inherently forward thinking; delivering an adaptive workspace suited to an array of diverse end-user needs, well ahead of the status-quo.
Recognising the importance of first impressions, the simple beauty in authentic rugs by Designer Rugs not only delivers on the memorable, welcoming and inviting experience for end-users, but packs in an enormous degree of adaptability to answer to the radically various needs of these multi-functional spaces.
Speak to our commercial specialists to discover the potential of soft flooring.