Whats Happening in Interior Design?

March 21, 2012

Over the last few months we’ve been watching what’s hot in Interior Design around the world and within Australia. Often criticised for being led by overseas trends we found that this is no longer the case. Interior Design in Australia has come into its own, bringing bucket loads of success stories in every state.

Here’s what we found.

1. Colour, Pattern and texture are being used like never before.

The use of colour in a variety of environments is welcomed. The days of the corporate coloured office are gone, standard finishes are now available in so many options at the same cost that they are utilised by Designers and Architects everywhere. Colour in Interiors is used to soften, enliven and identify spaces. And a combination of colour, pattern and texture are most desirable.




ANZ Melbourne-Hassell, Macquarie Bank-Woods Bagot, McMahon Clarke Legal-Ellivo Architects

2. Loud is acceptable.

The conservative approach is certainly out the window with Corporates, Developers and Individuals looking to differentiate their shopping centres, apartments and homes from their competition and their not afraid to make a statement while doing it.

Westfield Sydney is a great example of a redevelopment that is leading the way with a 6 Greenstar Shopping Centre which is designed to identify brands and differentiate levels from urban through to International labels across the different levels. The feel of each level varies from slick and glamorous to edgy and urban to identify with tenancies on that level. The newest edition also includes a sexy dining level [it’s hard to call it a food court], concierge services, fine dining restaurants and our favourite – a champagne bar!




Westfield Sydney – John Wardle Architects, Wonderwall, Westfield.

3. Working spaces are being redefined.

Our lives are fast paced and complicated. Our environments seem to do everything to hide this and provide comfort and practicality. The technical side is hidden; our lives are plug-in and wireless amongst uber comfortable furnishings, greenery and all about users being comfortable within. This is extending beyond the home to the workplace and other shared spaces such as retail.

Large Corporates such as CBA, Macquarie Bank and ANZ are moving into new headquarters vying for the highest Greenstar ratings and changing the way they work and the spaces they provide to be the employer of choice. They are using the opportunity to move to make statements about their sustainability, both environmentally and socially, implementing change in the working environment and have successfully delivered new spaces of activity based working where striking and inviting interiors are key to their success.

Some of these offices are very impressively paperless. Meetings are paperless and staff are given a locker and laptop. They don’t have dedicated individual desk but are happily working in their ‘neighbourhoods’ and making constant use of shared meeting space, again which remain paperless. Funnily enough they don’t want to personalise their new spaces and seeing the workings in person it makes you wonder why we ever had paper in these types of offices!




Commonwealth Bank Place, Dalring Quarter – Davenport Campbell.

4. ‘Green buildings’ have moved from talk to reality.

With the rise of ‘green’ buildings and the cost of living, more and more product and businesses are leading by example. The number of five and six star Greenstar buildings throughout Australia is increasing. With Corporates seeking out Greenstar spaces the gap between A and B grade is also increasing.

B-grade Commercial and Shopping Centres are now also taking up the Greenstar initiatives and NABERS incentives which equal better resale and higher tenant occupation, not to mention the reduced carbon footprints. The reality is that if they are not being upgraded they will be left behind – if they haven’t already.

5. Smaller living spaces are more accepted and socially responsible.

Driven by the cost of living and the fast pace of live there is certainly a lot of people most happy to buy or rent small apartments. Whether they do so to reduce their carbon footprint, whether its cost prohibitive or because they are a one or two person house hold people are more accepting of small spaces that are well designed.

Equally Developers are stepping up providing interesting interiors and storage to support the thinking & living.

6. Comfort combines with slick and edgy.

Within homes, retail and workspaces the emphasis is certainly on comfort and style. Massive fit-outs and tiny apartments are using a mixture of classic and modern to create layers of interest, texture and colour that deliver inviting spaces.




 Clayton Utz, Bates Smart, Photography Richard Glover.

The thinking around the value of interiors has certainly changed and the understanding that your office, you restaurant, retail outlet or the presentation of you apartment building extending beyond the commercial value is very real. Employers place value on happy, productive staff and clients and are providing the environments to support this. Shopping centres cater for different shoppers and understand providing comfortable environments to help sales and keep their centres buzzing. Interior Designers everywhere are key to this process of understanding the desired outcomes and helping deliver on them – and it looks like they are achieving some amazing outcomes.