Guest post by Trevor Bowers, director at Washroom Washroom.
Gone are the rows of identikit office cubicles and vast open plan offices. Creative and tech companies continue to push the boundaries of office design, with slides, games rooms and funky colour schemes all appearing. While this may not be the future for all offices, there is no denying that offices are very different to a decade ago in response to a young workforce dominated by millennials and generation Z workers.
Washrooms are often used as a benchmark by which to judge the rest of a building so need to match the demands of this new generation and in this blog we look at some of the key trends which are shaping office washrooms of today.
One of the overriding features of contemporary commercial washroom design is the use of high specification finishes and materials, creating a washroom more akin to a high end hotel or leisure facility.
Bespoke finishing touches, like an integrated handbag shelf as part of the vanity unit, as well as full height, floor-to-ceiling cubicle doors add to the luxurious feel. Materials like glass, real wood veneers, anodised aluminium and Corian are also frequently specified to create a unique, high quality washroom design.
The balance of form and function is important and with more advanced materials available, specifiers can have the best of both worlds and create a design-led washroom space without causing a headache for facilities managers.
FENIX NTM, a highly durable acrylic resin surface material manufactured by Arpa Industriale using the latest nanotechnology, is ideal for commercial washrooms. As well as a host of high performance features, it is easy to clean, mould resistant and boasts enhanced anti-bacterial properties, while its ultra flat matt finish creates a truly contemporary style.
The advances in the manufacture of glass mean it can be used throughout a washroom from cubicle doors to panelling and even lockers. Specially toughened glass provides a highly durable finish yet also offers huge design versatility with textured glass, acid etching, back-painted glass and digitally screen printed designs all available.
The ‘wellness’ trend is everywhere and it’s certainly something to consider when creating an office to cater for millennials who place great emphasis on fitness, whether that’s cycling into work, taking a fitness class at lunchtime or hitting the gym.
As a result staff shower and changing facilities, which would once have been a luxury, are fast becoming standard for offices. Such facilities are not too dissimilar to luxury leisure facilities with special L-shaped lockers designed to accommodate a suit comfortably, developed with office workers firmly in mind.
One of the stand-out trends in recent office developments is the demand for washrooms to reflect or complement common areas such as lift lobbies and reception foyers. Utilising the same or similar materials such as real wood veneers with matching woodgrains and back-painted glass can create a firm sense of cohesion between the washrooms and other aspects of the building.
Self-contained ‘superloos’ which include a WC, vanity unit and hand drying facilities, all enclosed behind a standard, full height door have become an increasingly popular way to maximise available space while still reflecting the style of other common areas. Being self-contained they can also be unisex which offers a more flexible approach to traditional commercial washroom layouts and saves valuable floor space.
Washrooms are an integral aspect to any building, but for offices in particular, where workers spend the majority of their day, it is vital that they are not just practical but pleasant places.
The Loughton Seedbed Centre
Loughton Langston Road Essex
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