It’s important for workspaces to create an environment that adopts creativity and innovation. Now more than ever there is an increased focus on the ‘office experience’. Employees are craving engaging spaces that give them the freedom to thrive at work. Here, Anthony Millington, Creative Director at Amron Architectural explains how metal mesh can contribute to this solution for interior design.
To future-proof workspaces, designers need to design spaces that are predominantly based around an open floorplan which in turn is adaptable to suit a variety of different working styles. These include breakout areas to replace board rooms, multi-purpose furniture, and flexible layouts permitting multiple configurations.
Metal mesh has a long tradition of outdoor use spanning hundreds of years. Over time, metal mesh has earned a reputation as a practical, durable yet surprisingly versatile product thanks in part to its uncanny ability to meet a wide range of specifications. With a variety of practical exterior applications including vent panels, cages, and baskets it is little wonder that metal mesh was eventually introduced to the world of interiors. Its inherently superior performance properties led to its adoption as the go-to material for radiator grilles the world over.
Fast-forward to the present day, metal mesh is an invaluable material asset, its reach permeating every industry from agricultural to automotive. Yet, despite metal mesh’s popularity and prevalence in industrial markets, both architects and interior designers alike continue to probe its potential for architectural and creative applications.
Most recently, forward-thinking practices have implemented mesh partitions as a means of mediating the compartmentalised cubicles of yesteryear with increasingly popular open-plan office environments. Not only do moveable woven and expanded mesh walls and space dividers provide a good interface between open and closed office layouts, but they also enable airflow whilst providing a visible demarcation. This can have a multitude of benefits including better access to natural daylight, increased levels of concentration amongst the workforce and may even help some people curb social anxiety in the workplace.
Statistics show that 40% of the population identify themselves as introverted, these partitions, albeit open/punctured ones, have a somewhat similar psychological effect as a completely closed-off cubicle would, i.e., being walled off from the world and able to fully fixate on tasks at hand. This, in turn, can benefit the quality of life immeasurably for those who would otherwise feel a relative level of discomfort at work and perhaps not perform as well as they could.
Product in practice
Metal mesh is becoming the ceiling material of choice for commercial interiors, in keeping with the industrial style which is an on-going trend. Again, great for airflow, plus a strong creative solution in making the ceiling space a feature, especially with a powder coated finish. We are also seeing a demand for delicate meshes laminated in glass for use in furniture or as room dividers to build transparent meeting rooms.
Home to a pharmaceutical company, a 320-acre office space had invested £50 million to rejuvenate their headquarters. The refurbishment offers a flexible, open-plan, modernised space with bright colours and a relaxed environment. Spread across 7 floors, the revamped office space features onsite restaurants, a café, gym, and meeting rooms.
Working alongside the interior designers at Uni Space Global Limited, we were asked to specify a ceiling using expanded mesh to give a seamless look. Based on these requirements, our bespoke AC900 ceiling system was the most suitable. It utilised a modified clip-in mild steel ceiling panel where our Zircon 50 expanded mesh was welded to the underside of the frames. We recommend this mesh due to its compatibility with the panel sizes to assist in giving them the look they required.
To complete the project, the ceiling panels were then powder coated in a warm white. This was accompanied by a black acoustic pad, which gave a shadowed presence behind the mesh tiles. Against lighting and modern furniture, the ceiling really complemented the overall finish of the space.
The opportunities that these working practises bring for designing are inspiring and architecturally interesting, and the future of workspace design cannot come soon enough.