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Office Design Trends: GIO Looks at the Changing Work Environment

Work environments are changing–and those who design and furnish offices are striving to keep pace. Over the last decade, we’ve seen a major evolution in office space design as companies migrate toward more open, flexible, and communicative workspaces.

As designers develop solutions that reflect the needs of the modern day workforce, we’re seeing trends that foster spontaneous collaboration, mobility, reconfiguration, and more. Here are 5 cutting edge office design trends that are transforming work as we know it.

1. Diversity in the Open Office

The open-plan office has come a long way since its beginnings: cubicles are out and shared desks, hot-desk pods and lounge seating areas are key furnishings and design trends that foster and encourage collaboration. The cutting edge open office of today offers numerous configurations of collaborative space, community space and private space that make it easy for workers to tailor their workplace to their liking.

Noise management is the single most important consideration of any collaborative space. Proper spacing between workstations, intelligent placement and use of noise absorbing materials and dividers, and integration of spaces for private work are keys to a successful open office plan. Interruptions and noise can kill productivity and are the number one complaint of employees in open workplaces. It’s important to have diverse spaces–make sure you have adequate space for employees to work alone or have some quiet time when desired.

2. Style and Culture

We’re seeing residential and hospitality design influencing the more informal areas of an office, such as a lounge or a break area. And boring colors are out–studies show that certain colors like red and orange stimulate productivity, so get ready for some colors and fun patterns in offices!

Research also shows the more extra facilities an employer offers, the greater chance staff will find the workplace an attractive office. Competition for talent is high, and employers are luring the cream of the crop with enticing extras such as communal kitchens, cafes, sleeping pods and yoga rooms.

3. Bringing the Outdoors In

People work better when they don’t feel like they are cooped up inside all day. Spending time around greenery can improve concentration, boost creativity and increase attention span.

4. Home for Events

Creating spaces within an office environment to hold events and engage with clients and collaborators is becoming important. Bringing the industry to your workplace is a good way for a business to go about making a mark in its sector. We’re seeing more offices designed with spaces for events, exhibitions, team meetings or industry lectures.

5. Authenticity

There are no set trends when it comes to workplace interiors–except authenticity. People prefer being in heritage buildings to traditional generic office buildings which can often feel fake and contrived. Layers, textures and heritage are what’s in for office interiors.

Look to GIO for on-trend, sophisticated tile and stone products that cover a range of styles to transform commercial spaces. From retail and restaurants to hospitals and hospitality we’ve assembled an assortment of collections in styles befitting the gamut of spaces you may be called to design.
























Thin Is In: Get The Skinny on Thin Porcelain Tile

Gio_Thin 1.0 Tile for floors, wall and countertops
GIO _Thin 1.0 is on-trend, yet practical for floors, walls and countertops.

Thin tiles emerged as a hot trend in Europe a few years ago and are just now trending in the United States. These thin tiles start at thicknesses of about 2.5 mm for walls up to about 6 mm thick for floors and offer a range of advantages, including the ability to install over existing floor and wall tiles which eliminates having to rip out existing finishing materials in renovation projects, saving on renovation waste and time and money in labor costs.

Though it might seem that that thin tiles would be brittle, that’s not the case. They’re actually some of the most versatile surfacing products on the market. Just like traditional porcelain tile, thin tile is durable, hygienic and easy to maintain, but its thin profile creates a lightweight and flexible surfacing solution for floors, walls and countertops. And it is just as durable as its thicker counterparts.

Thin tile also has a positive impact on shipping and fulfillment. Because the thin tiles weigh less, up to twice as much product can fit in a shipping container, helping to manage shipping costs and reduce environmental impact, as well. Though the thin tiles may be up to half the weight of traditional tiles, you will not know how thick or thin they are when properly installed.

A big plus in commercial tile installations is that the lighter tiles mean less weight in and on a building.  And, as porcelain tiles have become thinner, lighter, and stronger, manufacturers are making them in larger and larger formats, as large as five by ten–-and that’s feet, not inches. These large panels can be used in elevators, main floors and bathrooms to tile over large areas.

From a design perspective, these large panels offer visual advantages. Used vertically on walls, the tiles can help add height and openness to a space.  The format also means fewer grout lines, which can help make a small room appear larger. The design capabilities of these super-sized panels are endless and the looks can span the range from sleek and modern to rustic and traditional.

GIO offers sophisticated large format thin tile for floors, walls and countertops, developed expressly for your commercial design projects.  The result of revolutionary design, research, and technology, GIO_Thin 1.0 is a lifelike marble porcelain stoneware, available in brilliant gloss or intense matte.  See more of this versatile collection here.

GIO Looks at Restaurant Design Trends: Quick Service Brands are Getting Makeovers

Good design is an imperative in today’s restaurant climate and the quick-serve sector is increasingly attuned to this reality.

Old Mcdonalds
McDonald’s when it looked like McDonald’s.

With baby boomers reporting an 18% decrease in fast food (quick-serve) restaurant visits and a 20% increase in visits to fast-causal restaurants, many quick service restaurant brands are getting makeovers–for their menus and their in-store designs. The quick-serve brands can no longer compete on cost and speed alone. Just as food offerings are evolving for today’s discerning customers, quick-serve executives are acknowledging that restaurant aesthetics are just as important. Design plays as much of a role in showcasing food as the menu board.

Quick-serve ambience has been focused on function, with plastic seating and table tops, fluorescent lighting and the chains’ branded graphics. The “get them in, get them out” mentality has reigned, but a new shift in the quick serve industry is encouraging guests to linger.  Quick service chains are are paying closer attention to design and architecture and are beginning to adopt the upscale decor of its casual-dining competitors.

Take the updated McDonald’s stores, for example:  gone are the fiberglass tables, industrial steel chairs and neon interiors. The new McDonald’s interior boasts wooden tables, plush faux leather club chairs arranged in conversation areas and muted colors replace the bright red and yellows we have come to associate with “McDonald’s.” The chain no longer wants to rush you in and out; it wants you to stick around and watch TV or tap into free Wi-Fi service as you sip a cappuccino or have a Snack Wrap. The company even ditched the hallmark double-sloped Mansard roof for a more modern look.

New McDonald's interior
Comfortable club chairs arranged in conversation areas encourage guests to linger longer.
Mcdonalds exterior
Just a suggestion of an arch graces the flat roof at the new McDonald’s.

Captain D’s is another player in the quick-serve arena that has realized they’ve really got to up their look to lead in the game.  Updated stores have a more beach-like feel, with surfboards hanging as wall art, communal seating, and bright colors and materials.  With a revamped menu and free wi-fi with additional outlets for laptops, the brand is aiming at recruiting new customers who like to be connected wherever they dine.

Captain Ds seafood restaurant interior 03
Captain D’s new look focuses on creating a vibrant coastal experience and welcoming atmosphere.


Captain Ds seafood restaurant night exterior
The inviting new restaurant exterior combines some of the traditional design elements with a blend of new features.

Across the spectrum, quick-serve restaurants are putting more weight on design because it’s become a necessary competitive advantage. Customers today are more sophisticated and have higher expectations–-and the environment where they get their food says a lot about what they’re eating.


Tile Can Play a Vital Role

Tile is a premium material for both its look and its performance. As quick-service restaurants transform interior design to be increasingly appealing to modern guests, tile’s prominence in these environments is poised to grow. Contact GIO for ideas about how tile can update your restaurant space stylishly.


GIO brings you a carefully curated selection of tile and stone products developed expressly for your commercial design projects.  Our looks cover a range of styles to transform commercial spaces. From retail and restaurants to hospitals and hospitality, we’ve assembled an assortment of collections in styles befitting the gamut of spaces you may be called to design.