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GIO Looks at Workplace Design Trends in 2016

Paintwood tile
Rustic elements with colorful finishes are a 2016 workplace design trend.

Late in the first decade of our current century, major dot-com’s like Google and Facebook began to influence how office environments are designed. Since then, we’ve been witnessing the gradual death of the cubicle farm and the birth of shared workspaces that encourage networking, creativity, and collaboration. But what else is happening in office design? Here’s a look at some of the top work design trends in 2016.

Flexible Workspaces
Traditional designs with permanent layouts are giving way to flex spaces with modular components that that can be mixed, stacked and moved around. The needs of today’s work landscape are dynamic and ever-changing, with modern workspace design eschewing rules-based planning in favor of using clever re-configureable elements.

Designated Lounge Areas
The extreme opposite of the rigid work station, designated lounge areas  are now included in most new workplace designs. Wireless technology that is lighter and more powerful than ever has set us free, and  quite simply, these more laid-back lounge areas stimulate relaxed collaboration and make work more enjoyable.

Personal Space
While the open plan has many advantages, it may not be for everyone, or the best solution at all times. Workspace designers now look for ways to provide quiet personal space around the office, from updated cubicles to cocoon-like furnishings with integrated technology.

Community Tables
Gone are the days when communal tables were relegated to cafeterias and beer halls; the community table today reflects a cultural shift. As people have been looking for more interaction in public settings, these shared tables have been making an appearance in restaurants and hotels for some time. Today, the community table has emerged as a relevant feature of the evolving workplace.

Dressed Up Rustic
While salvaged or reclaimed wood looks made their way from coffee shops and restaurants to well-designed workplaces a few years ago, designers are now dressing up those rustic touches with colorful finishes for more modern looks.

New Office Building in High Point Features GIO’s “Midtown” Porcelain Stoneware in its Lobby

Home Meridian Lobby featuring Midtown by GIOHome Meridian International, the parent company of Pulaski Furniture, Samuel Lawrence Furniture and other brands, recently relocated its High Point, North Carolina corporate headquarters to a new office building near its existing location at the Premier Center business park. The 48,000-square-foot, two-story building was designed by West and Stem Architects and the interiors were designed and specified by Workplace Strategies, both of Winston-Salem. The design team turned to GIO for architectural surfacing materials that could meet the demands of a high traffic lobby, while being stylish and attractive to future tenants.

Kristin Hollingsworth, senior interior designer with Workplace Strategies, says the design team selected GIO’s Midtown’s elegant yet edgy style because it “delivered that transitional look that the client was after, providing a modern twist on a natural stone looking product.”

The handsome new headquarters was constructed by Landmark Builders of Winston-Salem, and the flooring was installed by Sharp-Carter Corp of Greensboro. Click here to learn more about how this office was designed to maximize efficiency, help recruit employees, and better showcase products.

Home Meridian Lobby featuring MIDTOWN by GIO


The richly striated Midtown collection is available in five distinct looks and a variety of generous sizes: 12 x 24, 18 x 36, 6 x 36 and 6 x12, as well as 2 x2 mosaics and bullnose trim. You can see more of this sophisticated collection here.

Here at GIO, we not only know tile, but we also deeply understand the needs of interior designers, architects, and commercial product specifiers. Turn to us for the latest solutions in architectural surfacing for your projects. We’re here to work with you!

GIO Looks at How Interior Design Affects Health and Well-being in the Workplace

Farmhouse by GIOAs the workforce has become more mobile, workdays have become longer, and the lines between work and personal life are often blurred. As a result, it’s become imperative that designers have a deeper understanding of health and well-being in the workplace. The decisions interior designers make concerning the size and arrangements of indoor spaces, as well as the selection of surface materials, furnishings and accessories all directly impact human health and well-being. Here are some things to consider when addressing this newest layer of complexity in design.

Interior designers can influence emotional health and work performance.
There is a growing body of evidence emphasizing the role that design aesthetic has on brain functioning and behavior, affecting everything from worker productivity to feelings of wellness.

We now know that lighting, colors, and even the shape and texture of furniture and accessories all work together to influence how we feel and how we perform, both consciously and subconsciously.

Natural light and visual access to the outdoors enhance both task performance and attitude, so space arrangement should provide access to natural light and views for the users. Color also has a great impact on emotions and feelings. Certain colors can make us feel warm or cold, happy or sad,  introspective or talkative. Some colors have been linked to aggression, while others have proven to increase productivity.

Interior designers can allocate space for effective and safe circulation.
When allocating space for circulation, designers should arrange exits and furnishings to make sure that all individuals, regardless of their range of functioning, can access all parts of a space and conduct all desired activities. These elements should also ensure that people can safely exit a building during an emergency.

Interior designers can help maintain good indoor air quality.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), found in many interior finishes and products, contribute to a wide variety of health problems and are a significant cause of “sick building syndrome.” Today, there are a number of products with indoor air quality labels and certifications a designer can specify, including Greenguard and Scientific Certification System’s Indoor Advantage for furniture, GreenLabel and FloorScore for flooring, and Green Seal for paints.

While measuring the emission of VOCs is more commonplace, semi-volatile compounds, like phthalates found in PVC plastics, halogenated flame retardants (HFRs) found in electronics, foams and textiles, and perfluorochemicals (PFCs) which are found in stain- or water-resistant fabrics and furniture, are not always measured. While these chemicals are being voluntarily phased out by some manufacturers, they are still present in many building materials.

Instead of waiting for regulation to prove that a material is harmful, designers should err on the side of caution and look for materials that are known to be safer.

Interior Designers can have an impact on concentration, collaboration, and creativity in the workplace.
In this context, interior layout incorporates workstation density, workspace diversity, active design, and social space allocation.  

Workspace density is one of the most important elements of interior layout.  High density spaces may be detrimental to well-being and productivity if people feel they don’t have enough personal space.

Research suggests that designing for a diversity of working spaces is key to a productive office. This allows people to choose the most appropriate space for the task, whether quiet concentration or creative interaction.

Active design allows for design features that enable movement around an office building, helping to support healthy metabolic function, combat obesity, and get the blood flowing after prolonged bouts of sitting.

Social spaces where staff can congregate and relax and not be disturbed directly by the working environment are vitally important to workplace well-being.

Health and wellness in the workplace are becoming critical issues as companies fight against the health issues of an aging, sedentary work force. In addition to making important design decisions, interior designers can advocate for policies that encourage things like healthy eating, fitness programs, and stress relief strategies.

Look to GIO to enhance and health and wellness in your commercial design projects with sustainable, clean and durable porcelain tile. 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.