Bold colors, light and sustainability bring life to modern architecture

Cris Collingwood//February 24, 2023

Bold colors, light and sustainability bring life to modern architecture

Cris Collingwood//February 24, 2023

Members 1st Headquarters incorporates indoor and outdoor “third spaces” for employee comfort – Photo courtesy of Steve Hulbert

Bold colors, sophisticated lighting and sustainability are leading architectural design trends this year.

Daniel Gagliano, director of design for Mowery Construction, Mechanicsburg, said bold colors are on the rise. “Yellows and blues are being used on accent walls and even exteriors,” he said.

Daniel Gagliano

In addition to bold colors, architects are using mixed metal finishes, including steel in different colors.

“We are seeing more and more natural concrete and stone for a natural look as well,” he said. “And simulated wood is still a trend.”

Gagliano said the use of lighting has become an important part of building design. Not only are the fixtures more modern and subtle, but the use of color temperature has become important for employee and customer comfort.

“There is more thoughtfulness put into lighting,” he said. “Companies are being more mindful about using lighting consultants to get the best benefit from the fixtures.”

Those benefits, he said, include more light from less fixtures and softer lighting for comfort. The fixtures themselves are also less noticeable in the décor, unless the design calls for the fixtures to be a showpiece.

“We all know what looks old and what looks new,” Gagliano said. “I don’t understand the psychological phenomenon, but I think it’s safe to say a refresh or reinvention every seven years shows companies still have a pulse on the culture.”

Sustainability goes along with that pulse, he said. Companies are willing to pay upfront for systems in their buildings that, in the long run, will not only save them money, but will reduce their carbon footprint.

Gagliano cited HVAC systems as an example. More companies are investing in systems that reduce energy consumption and are moving toward certifications that show they are committed to helping the environment.

Obtaining certification, he said, shows corporate responsibility, investment in employees and can lead to long-term economic growth.

“Certification ensures that a project makes the greatest environmental impact,” he said.

Since the pandemic, when people were forced to work from home, Gagliano said companies are also looking for designs that incorporate more amenities for employees. A current project Mowery is working on is a manufacturing plant that offers break rooms, showers, small meeting rooms, a cafeteria and even a gym on site.

“They are providing for the whole person as they look at employee health and growing productivity,” he said, adding that some companies are even offering nursing rooms.

Providing these amenities shows people the company is looking out for its employees and their well-being, he said.