6 material trends ruling in commercial design

For any structure, commercial or residential, the materials that build it define its true essence. While designs are imprinted onto paper, it is the perfect blend of materials that help in shaping a structure effectively, bringing a designer’s vision to life. 

The right kind and type of materials have first a lot to do with what the purpose of a building is. While approaches for residential designs are more laidback, the materials used too are done in a way to create softer and comfortable spaces. 

On the other hand, commercial spaces signify activity, work and alertness making their design approach a lot different. The overall purpose of a commercial building dictates a large portion of it’s design so as to nail down the functionality and aesthetic to perfection. 

Secondly comes the need to identify and pick materials that are most appropriate for the present and future. In simpler terms ,this would mean making sustainable picks over regular ones considering the demands of today’s times. Ultimately, materials are the make and break factor of a design, crucial to its appeal.

Commercial buildings in particular have been seeing somewhat of a trend in terms of the materials being most used to meet the practical and aesthetic demands of such a space. Each of these materials has a reason and purpose for being the choicest pick specifically for this segment. 

Here’s a roundup of material trends that are building today’s commercial construction to what it is, literally!

CROSS LAMINATED TIMBER 

 

Cross laminated timber is a new age material that has been making waves in the commercial building segment in particular. Cross laminated timber is basically wood engineered and layered to create a more durable option for the market. Wood as a building material is a rather timeless and classic one.

Even in the simplest designs, wood can find a place with ease. Be it a wooden facade, baffle ceiling or simply interior features, utilizing cross laminated timber opens the avenue to include the wooden texture into the commercial space with less of the worry.

Since it is engineered in a way to be lacquered, it ends up being a lot more durable, strong and resistant than conventional wood. This eliminated the need for constant worry and maintenance. Further, since the panels are pre engineered, they can be brought in ready to install, cut to size, from the manufacturing site reducing installation time which is rather crucial for this segment.

It is also extremely cost effective which is why a lot of architects have been incorporating CLT into commercial building designs in different ways. From sleek facades to chic interiors, this material is here to stay. 

 

SWITCHABLE SMART GLASS

 

Switchable smart glass is a tech powered material that has truly switched commercial interior design to a new era altogether. Glass in itself is a material that is perhaps common in almost all commercial designs, and plays a rather prominent role in most of them.

Glass has a certain bespoke and clean quality to it that makes it a hit in commercial buildings, not to forget its amazing insulation properties. However, utilizing glass in the interior is a lot more tricky as opacities have to be kept in mind.

Nothing truly beats the aesthetic appeal of an all glass interior, but ensuring privacy in cabins and rooms while utilizing glass is difficult to manage. Step in, switchable smart glass. Smart glass is powered in such a way so as to automatically or through manual command to modify its opacity.

It is made to stay transparent most of the time to preserve the aesthetic and neat look with the option to switch up the opacity as and when needed. This simple switch has made it a material being welcomed increasingly into commercial designs giving a rather stunning design while being super practical. 

 

METAL FACADES 

 

A building’s facade has to be its best foot forward, it is the first thing that one notices even before entering is how the exterior looks. The facade one picks can make or break their first impression making it a key feature.

While there are a lot of different materials that have been used to deck up the building facades, the most appreciated one so far has to be metal. Metal facades have been ruling the sport of commercial buildings for quite a while and continue to do so.

With their strength, durability, and ability to give off a sleek and neat finish, metal facades are an undeniable favorite for the commercial segment. Metal facades are able to withstand even in the tallest structures over long stretches of time. The versatility comes first from the textural element brought in by different metals.

Metal facades are made out of a lot of different metals including aluminum, galvanized steel, cast iron, wrought iron amongst others. Each metal has a unique look and finish which can be worked into the design as needed.

Further variety can also be brought in through the shade of metal. Be it a bold black, classic metallic or a unique gold, there’s a lot of hues to try making it a fun yet classy pick for commercial setups. 

SOLAR SHINGLES 

 

Solar shingles are yet another material that have become a rather frequent pick for commercial space designs. Solar energy is being harnessed a lot in the AEC industry as a bid to pursue the goal for sustainability.

Especially the commercial segment has been trying to incorporate the solar power features into their design to be environmentally friendly while also saving energy. Solar shingles in particular are being picked increasingly.

Solar shingles are slim photovoltaic sheets that can be placed across the roof of a building to turn it into a farm harnessing the energy of the sun. They have a tile-like build making it easy and quick to install. The rooftop of commercial buildings is a space less utilised. Solar shingles however, offer the opportunity to make the most of the space. 

Solar shingles essentially help convert the solar energy into usable electricity to power the building in a sustainable and cost effective manner. A lot of commercial buildings are opting for solar shingles to coat their exteriors and dead spaces for a resourceful approach. 

INSULATED TILT PANELS

 

Insulated tilt panels are yet another new age material that has been getting much of a welcome in the commercial building segment. The tilt panels material has a lot to do with the modular concept which has been gaining momentum over the past few years as a new way of construction.

Insulated tilt panels are basically formulated, poured and set on site to simply be lifted and fitted into place through machinery. This process has largely cut down on the time needed for construction of spaces of such magnitude making it a practical pick.

Not only does one save time by opting for such panels, but they are also very strong, energy efficient and cost effective as the transportation and heavy labor costs get eliminated. 

Insulated tilt panels also assure a lot more safety from disasters which is why they are being widely used to set up commercial spaces. Since they are pre insulated, they facilitate a comfortable internal environment for less of the hassle and money making it the ideal pick. 


Overall, there are a lot of different materials, some timeless, some new age, some emerging that modify the way we picture designs and deconstruction. The commercial segment in particular has been witnessing a shift in the material being used while some things have remained as a classic. This above list is a roundup of some of the top innovative as well as classic materials that are set to rule the commercial building segment. 



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