By William Atkinson
“When it comes to fabric commercial interiors, changes we are seeing these days are that more clients are looking for products with sustainability,” says Deborah Beckett, design director for Gensler, a global architecture, design, planning and consulting firm based in Chicago, Ill. Beckett is a branded designer, not an interior designer, and she does branded environments, so her perspective is somewhat more targeted. “I specialize in helping to create branded environments in corporate workspaces,” she says.
In Beckett’s experience, clients see the benefits of fabric in a number of ways:
- First, it is lightweight. “For example, we have done trade show pavilions, and weight is a big consideration there,” she says.
- “It is also less expensive, by far,” Beckett adds.
- Some clients also like fabric for its acoustic properties. “I just did a project where we had very large tapestries made for a ballroom,” she says. “We did this mainly for acoustics.”
- Beckett is also using a lot of mesh fabric in installations because customers like the natural light features. “In addition, we are always looking for new fabrics that have a matte, glossy or metallic look and feel,” she says.
- The flexibility of fabric adds options for designers and their clients. “While some fabrics are attached with adhesives, others hang like curtains on a rod, so they are easy to change,” she says.
Beckett doesn’t see building codes getting in the way of the growth of this market. “Building codes are an issue only in terms of flammability,” she says. In the future, she believes that cost and sustainability will continue to be important issues.