Contemporary Industrial Design: Merging Residential and Commercial

Once there used to be a clear line between the residential spaces and the rest of the world. Homes were relaxing and comforting, while cafes, hotels, and shops kept an air of formality. However, just as the line between work and home has blurred, so has the interior design of public and private venues. Post-war homes with imperfect brickwork and overhead beams have given inspiration to a whole new architectural style in residential and commercial design.

Inspiration high above

Instead of rendered brick, bare surfaces and concrete slabs are becoming more common in residential architecture, while elegant floor-to-ceiling windows replicate the skyscraper aesthetic. These oversized windows are constructed using thick double-glazed industrial strength glass, while door openings both internal and external have grown to appear imposing. While this trend wasn’t born yesterday, it appears that commercial and residential solutions are merging into one style.

One style chasing another

While authors argue whether it’s residential that is mimicking commercial architecture or the other way round, the concept of a dream home isn’t what it used to be. Some even say that residential is moving away from commercial, but the commercial is flowing up. More and more hotels and cafes look like living rooms, while residential kitchens are taking on a commercial aesthetic of gourmet TV shows. In some parts of Sydney, like Parramatta Road, commercial clusters look pretty bland, with buildings offering little excitement, while in residential design, it’s all about materials. 

Honest materials

With the current trend of exposed bricks and timber roof trusses, timber paneling and polished concrete are becoming more mainstream. When you get to see the structure, the building feels more honest, and with timber boards used to line whole walls, the texture is abundant as well. Specialized for industrial design, this design studio in Sydney, for instance, stocks a variety of natural and composite materials that support their custom designs which often walk a fine line between residential and commercial. The white, boxed, and minimalist rectangular forms of the ‘90s seem to be gone for good.

Basic building elements

From timber-panelled walls to polished concrete floors and metals used for both fictional and decorative fixtures, apartments in Sydney have also drawn heavily from the industrial design of the past. With multi-residential buildings rising in suburbia, the NSW capital is becoming more like London and Hong Kong, where developers are eagerly using raw building materials in apartment blocks of between 50 to 100 apartments. The use of brick, concrete, and timber, however, is common for both residential and commercial, as old buildings are being stripped down to their original forms, while new construction embraces raw materials. Metal and steel are also used in both residential and commercial roof construction.

Design equals comfort

Apart from mimicking trendy commercial hubs, the new trend seems to bring up a spiritual awakening. There’s a lot of talk about how architecture affects people’s sensibilities, while media channels like Instagram and Pinterest see tons of photos shared with a single idea – you can achieve a comfortable home through design. Today’s home design is simple and sensual, with a strong back-to-the-Earth vibe. While beforehand people didn’t have this access to media and information, now this trend of accentuating natural materials has struck home with both buyers and renovators.

Mixing business with pleasure

The industrial trend has affected the interior design to the extent that now home buyers actively look for products that are edgy and different. The scales have increased disproportionally, and now everything is more open. Big black borders that are used in shop fronts are being installed in homes, for example, as room dividers in toilets with a steel frame and opaque glass. Rectangular subway tiles, once traditional in shops, have exploded on the residential scene, going hand in hand with exposed pipework. They are often painted, though, to make the transition easier, while instead of smoothness, textile products are finished rough.

Value-adding design

Aside from improving the visual appeal of your property, contemporary solutions as industrial design also boost boost the market value of your home. For example, in case of an FHA inspection, which is an in-depth analysis of the home looking for structural issues and making sure that your home is in good livable condition while meeting the FHA minimum property standards, implementing such industrial design solutions will add value to your property in the event of the property appraisal.

With the trend adopted by many establishes architectural studios and schools of design, we should prepare to see it evolve in the following years, as young designers entering the market are typically instantly drawn to the industrial trend in both residential and commercial planes.