Over the past decade or so, the industrial-style office has been a real favourite among young businesses and startups. This type of workplace was borne out of converted warehouses and industrial buildings, as manufacturing areas gave way to commercial businesses. They tend to be common in more hip areas, and attract businesses in the marketing and tech fields.
Industrial-style offices can look fantastic, and they often provide plenty of space and functionality. However, they have their downsides as well. At Niche Projects, we’ve designed and built many different types of offices all over Sydney. We understand that every business has different needs… and some workplaces are better suited than others.
We’ve worked with our fair share of industrial-style offices, and have a really strong understanding of what makes this kind of workplace truly great. We also understand where these kinds of workspaces fall down. Therefore, below, we’ll take a closer look at the industrial-style office fit-out, and whether it’s a good fit for your business.
What are the characteristics of an industrial-style office?
There are a few things that characterise an industrial-style workplace.
First and foremost, the structure itself is usually an old warehouse or factory. This is exactly where the term industrial design hails from, and it’s the structure itself that forms the basis of the style. While it doesn’t exactly make sense with the term ‘industrial’, many materials used in industrial office design are in fact, natural materials.
This is the result of older building practices, where less plastic and fewer manufactured flooring options were used. Therefore, in a way, industrial-style offices are actually more environmentally friendly. If a business tries to replicate the style in a building that isn’t actually a former industrial structure, it’ll probably be using far more virgin materials.
That process will be very expensive and it’s likely that the end result won’t look very good.
The most common types of flooring in an industrial building or office include polished concrete, hardwood, or sometimes, tiles. Most of the time, the floor finishes that are used are original materials from the base structure. These materials often require rejuvenation, such as polishing for concrete and hardwood.
Converting an old industrial building may also involve replacing floor finishes entirely. This is often the case with timber and tiles, such as slate. That’s where a quality office construction and refurbishment company is essential. At Niche Projects, we’ve helped businesses of all sizes refurbish and build their very own industrial-style office. Therefore, we know exactly what’s required when it comes to floor finishes and the materials present.
Many industrial-style offices actually keep the original ceiling of the building that they are occupying. This is known as an exposed ceiling. Much of the time, this means that the piping, lighting fixtures, beams, and other components of the ceiling will be visible. It adds to the rustic, industrial feel that will already be utilised in other areas of the building and the office.
An exposed ceiling might look great, but there are some downsides too. These can include poor acoustics and difficulty with ventilation in both extreme heat and cold. Therefore, it’s really important to weigh up the aesthetic and budgetary benefits, against the potential downsides of an exposed, high ceiling.
While the exposed ceiling is the most common option in an industrial-style office, it’s not the only option. Depending on the building itself, ceiling tiles can be used, along with other ceiling types. This should be decided on a case-by-case basis, which is where having an expert office design firm in your corner is essential.
Traditionally, the walls in an industrial-style office fit-out will also maintain the original materials. That might include brick, stone, or polished concrete. Again, they might look great (depending on their condition), and offer an affordable option, but there can be downsides. We’ll discuss these in more detail below.
The final component of an industrial office fit-out is the furniture. While there may be more leeway with which furniture you elect to use, furniture is the most important complimentary element to your fit-out. That means it’s essential to include pieces that work well with your existing materials, meaning natural materials should be prioritised. Again, the best way to ensure this is the case is to work with an expert Sydney office design and fit-out company.
As we mentioned earlier, an industrial-style office fit-out comes with plenty of positives. Let’s take a closer look at those below.
Fitting out an industrial space and maintaining that style is an affordable way to build your office. This is because making the most of the existing structure and materials means you’ll be spending less money on a new fit-out, and there will be less time required during the refurbishment and the building process. In the long run, this means there’s more money saved to spend on furniture and business expenses, which is always a great result.
A quality industrial office fit-out will always look excellent. Every business wants an office that is visually appealing, as well as functional… and these types of workplaces always do the job. At Niche Projects, we know exactly how to create a visually appealing workspace that is sure to impress clients and employees at every turn.
Using natural materials makes for a much more environmentally friendly office environment. Every genuine industrial-style workplace will inevitably make use of natural materials like timber and stone, which means less plastic and man-made materials. In the end, that saves virgin resources, along with water and energy. An industrial fit-out is certainly a more eco-friendly option when it comes to office design.
It’s impossible to have the good without the bad. And an industrial-style office fit-out does come with some downsides.
The nature of a former warehouse or factory means that inherently, the acoustics will be poor. This is because the sounds of your workplace will naturally bounce off concrete, brick, and hardwood floors, and reverberate throughout the office. An exposed ceiling makes the problem even worse, turning your office into a kind of echo chamber.
There are measures that can be taken to improve the acoustics of your industrial-style office. This includes utilising acoustic partitions, implementing plenty of greenery into the workplace, and even installing acoustic panels on your walls and ceilings. At Niche Projects, we’re well-versed in improving acoustics in the office.
It can be incredibly difficult and costly to keep an industrial office at the right temperature. The materials used, along with high ceilings and exposed walls, make these spaces much more susceptible to cold and hot weather. That means that in winter, heating will be working overtime, and in summer, your air conditioning units will be toiling hard.
Some industrial buildings simply don’t have the longevity to make them appropriate for an office space. Walls may be crumbling, or beams may well only have a few more years of life in them. And this is the risk that comes with an old warehouse or factory space. However, due diligence and a quality office condition report will go a long way to ensuring your new space will be standing strong for years to come.
Designing a new Sydney office
If you’re looking to design, refurbish, or build a new office in Sydney, we’re here to help. At Niche Projects, we’re the experts in office fit-outs in Sydney. And we’d love to discuss your needs. Simply get in touch with us today. We look forward to hearing from you!