Designing Commercial Interiors
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Designing Commercial Interiors

Christine M. Piotrowski

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eBook - ePub

Designing Commercial Interiors

Christine M. Piotrowski

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About This Book

A practical, comprehensive resource for commercial interior design

Designing Commercial Interiors is the industry standard reference, now fully revised and expanded to reflect the latest developments in commercial interior design. This book guides you through the entire design process, from planning to execution, to teach you the vital considerations that will make your project a success.

This new third edition includes new:

  • Sustainability concepts for a variety of commercial spaces
  • Coverage of accessibility, security, safety, and codes—and how these factors influence commercial design
  • Chapters on design research, project process, and project management
  • Drawings and photographs of design applications
  • Supplemental instructor's resources

Commercial interior design entails a much more complex set of design factors than residential design, and many of these considerations are matters of safety and law. This book walks you through the process to give you a solid understanding of the myriad factors in play throughout any commercial project, including how the global marketplace shapes designers' business activities.

Whether it's a restaurant, office, lodging, retail, healthcare, or other facility, the interior designer's job is much more complicated when the project is commercial. Designing Commercial Interiors is an exhaustive collection of commercial design skills, methods, and critical factors for professionals, instructors, and those preparing for the NCIDQ exam.

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Commercial Interior Design

You interact with commercial interiors every day. Perhaps you visit a textile showroom to pick up samples for a project or join a friend at an athletic club to work out. You may have a meeting with a client at a restaurant or need to keep your doctor’s appointment for a checkup. Maybe you pick up your child at a daycare center. All these facilities and many others represent the kinds of interior spaces created by the division of the interior design profession commonly called commercial interior design.
Commercial interiors are those of any facility that serves business purposes. Facilities that fall under the category of commercial interior design include businesses that invite the public in, such as those mentioned above. Others restrict public access but are business enterprises such as corporate offices or manufacturing facilities. Commercial interiors are also part of publicly owned facilities such as libraries, courthouses, government offices, and airport terminals, to name a few.
These interiors can be as exciting as a restaurant in a resort hotel, or as elegant as a jewelry store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills or a casino in an international hotel (Figure 1.1). A commercial interior can be purely functional, such as the offices of a major corporation or a small-town travel agency. It may need to comfort and treat the ill, as in a healthcare facility. It can also be a place to relax, as in a spa.
Image described by caption.
Figure 1.1 High-limit area. Casino at the Venetian Resort, Macao.
Reproduced with permission of Wilson Associates.
Image described by caption.
Figure 1.2 Employee lunch areas are often places for teamwork and collaborative discussions.
Photo courtesy of Gary Wheeler, FASID. WheelerKänik, London, England.
Image described by caption.
Figure 1.3 Millwork drawings are one type of design document that is commonly prepared by interior designers.
Reproduced by permission of SJVD Design.
There are many ways to specialize or work in interior design and the built environment industry. Of course, the built environment industry includes those professions that are involved in the development, design, construction, and finishing of any type of building. Specializing can be very sensible, as the expertise one gains in a specialty can provide added value to clients. Be careful not to create a specialty that is too narrow, as there may not be sufficient business to support the firm. Numerous specialty suggestions are listed in Table 1.1.
Table 1.1 Common Specialties in Commercial Interior Design
Corporate and Executive Offices
Professional offices
Financial institutions
Law firms
Stockbrokerage and investment brokerage companies
Accounting firms
Real estate firms
Travel agencies
Many other types of business offices
Restoration and renovation of office spaces
Healthcare Facilities
Surgery centers
Psychiatric facilities
Special care facilities
Medical and dental office suites
Senior living facilities
Rehabilitation facilities
Medical labs
Veterinary clinics
Hospitality and Entertainment Facilities
Hotels, motels, and resorts
Recreational facilities
Health clubs and spas
Sports complexes
Golf clubs
Convention centers
Hospitality and Entertainment Facilities
Amusement parks and other parks
Historic sites (restoration)
Retail/Merchandising Facilities
Department stores
Malls and shopping centers
Specialized retail stores
Institutional Facilities
Government offices and facilities
Schools—all levels
Daycare centers
Religious facilities
Industrial Facilities
Manufacturing areas
Training areas in industrial buildings
Research and development laboratories
Transportation Facilities/Methods
Bus and train terminals
Tour ships
Custom airplanes, corporate vehicles
Recreational vehicles
This challenging and exciting profession has had a huge impact on the interior design and construction industry in the United States and throughout the world. Interior Design magazine reports on the industry’s 100 largest design firms. In the January 2014 issue, it reported that approximately $3 billion in design fees were generated by these firms in commercial projects alone in 2013 (“The Top 100 Giants” 2014, 84). This not only represents an increase from previous years, but it reflects only a portion of the total commercial interior design industry because it only relates to the top 100 firms reported by the Interior Design giants.
This chapter begins with a brief historical overview of the profession. An essential part of this chapter is the discussion of why it is important for the commercial interior designer to understand the client’s business. It continues with an overview of what it is like to work in this area of the interior design profession. A brief discussion of topics focused on design professionalism concludes the chapter.
These terms are relevant to discussions in this chapter and throughout the book:
  1. Business of the business: Gaining an understanding of the business goals and purpose of the client before or during the execution of the project.
  2. Commercial interior design: The design of any facility that serves business purposes. May be privately owned or owned by a governmental agency.
  3. Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment (FF&E): All the movable products and other fixtures, finishes, and equipment specified for an interior. FF&E is also called furniture, furnishings, and equipment.
  4. Stakeholders: Individuals who have a vested interest in the project, such as members of the design team, the client, the architect, and the vendors.
  5. Spec: This is a slang term used to indicate a building that is developed and built before it has any specific tenants. Developers of commercial property are “speculating” that someone will lease the space before or after construction is completed.

Historical Overview

It is always helpful to have some historical context for a topic as broad as commercial interior design. This chapter provides a brief overview to set that context. Other chapters also include a brief historical perspective on the specific facility type. An in-depth discussion of the history of commercial design is beyond the scope of this book.
One could argue that commercial interior design began with the first trade and food stalls centuries ago. Certainly, buildings that housed many commercial transactions or that would be considered commercial facilities today have existed since early human history. For example, business was conducted in the great rooms of the Egyptian pharaohs and the palaces of kings; administrative spaces existed within great cathedrals and in portions of residences of craftsmen and tradesmen.
Another example comes from lodging. The lodging industry dates back many centuries, beginning with simple inns and taverns. Historically, hospitals were first associated with religious groups. During the Crusades of the Middle Ages, the hospitia, which provided food, lodging, and medical care to the ill, were located adjacent to monasteries.
In earlier centuries, interior spaces created for the wealthy and powerful were designed by architects. Business places such as inns and shops for the lower classes were most likely “designed” by tradesmen and craftsmen or whoever owned them. Craftsmen and tradesmen influenced early interior design as they created the furniture and architectural treatments of the palaces and other great structures, as well as the dwellings and other facilities for the lower classes.
As commerce grew, buildings specific to business enterprises such as stores, restaurants, inns, and offices were gradually c...

Table of contents

Citation styles for Designing Commercial Interiors
APA 6 Citation
Piotrowski, C. (2016). Designing Commercial Interiors (3rd ed.). Wiley. Retrieved from (Original work published 2016)
Chicago Citation
Piotrowski, Christine. (2016) 2016. Designing Commercial Interiors. 3rd ed. Wiley.
Harvard Citation
Piotrowski, C. (2016) Designing Commercial Interiors. 3rd edn. Wiley. Available at: (Accessed: 14 October 2022).
MLA 7 Citation
Piotrowski, Christine. Designing Commercial Interiors. 3rd ed. Wiley, 2016. Web. 14 Oct. 2022.