Designing the Year Ahead

January 30, 2024 • Sam Cejda

Read what WSA designers see in store for 2024.

Sure, we’ve heard of resolutions, but at WSA, we’re just as interested in New Year’s predictions. The most recent episode of our podcast, Workplace Crafted, explores navigating design trends and what 2024 might have in store for architects – but design is multidisciplinary. To get a better picture of what this year could look like, we picked the creative brains of some of our interior design and experience design team members. What trends will take over this year? How will technology continue to transform design? What’s inspiring designers’ creativity? Read on to get their predictions for designing 2024.

Interior Design – Character, Comfort, and Natural Moments

 

Tyler Hatton, Assoc. IIDA, WELL AP – Interior Design Specialist

What do you think some of the big interior design trends will be in 2024?

I think we will continue to see emphasis on sustainability and biophilia. These are no longer novel concepts, but requirements within the built environment with designers looking for innovative approaches to today’s needs. The ideas of comfort and hospitality are also gaining traction with spaces being softer, more welcoming, and personalized.

How do you see technology continuing to influence design?

In most cases I see technology being a tool that improves processes within design by making them more efficient – streamlining communication or assisting in iterative design, for example. There is the dark side of technology, like relying on AI for design, where we could see interior spaces become homogenized – like the Pinterest effect. As for incorporating tech into spaces, I think this ties into the idea of hospitality and personalization. I see it kind of like omni-channel retail. Technology needs to work seamlessly for people regardless of if they are at home, in the office, or in a third space.

What inspires you lately?

I’ve been inspired by mid-century design, celebrating materials, and creating connections to nature. I’ve also been inspired by residential design. There are some beautiful details and connections to study.

What’s a design choice you think will be big this year? In other words, what’s your hot take for 2024?

Earthy color palettes will be big. We have already been seeing interior spaces getting warmer. This ties back to the trend of hospitality and comfort, as well as biophilia and sustainability. Clay, terracotta, mushroom-tones are having a moment.


Leslie Hoerig, NCIDQ, IIDA, LEED GA – Interior Design Manager

What do you think some of the big interior design trends will be in 2024?

Within workplace design I think we’ll continue to see a shift in how offices are programmed to accommodate the waves of people coming back, especially as more companies opt for more formalized return-to-office policies. We’ll see more collaborative and social spaces, so the office feels special and is worth the commute, and more acoustically private spaces to accommodate employees’ transition away from home offices. Generally, I agree with Tyler that we’ll see biophilia influence design aesthetics – emphasis on natural lighting, fractals, earthy colors, botanical motifs, et cetera.

How do you see technology continuing to influence design?

Flexibility with location is one of employees’ biggest concerns. Technology needs to be considered early in projects for efficient integration and easy user experience, whether in person or remote. Technology can help us become better designers. It’s easier to automate things that are repetitive and easier to change and iterate on things quickly. AI is at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds. I think the value of AI comes from understanding what it’s good at (quick iteration) so we humans have more time to do what we’re good at (curating and refining).

What inspires you lately?

With the creation of “third-places” within the office, I look more to hospitality and residential spaces for workplace inspiration: softer, warmer, more color, pattern and texture.

What’s a design choice you think will be big this year? In other words, what’s your hot take for 2024?

I agree with Tyler. Mushrooms and other nature-inspired colors and motifs were huge at Neocon and I think will stick around.


Jess Edington, NCIDQ, IIDA, LEED GA – Interior Design Manager

What do you think some of the big interior design trends will be in 2024?

Alongside sustainability and biophilia, I think opportunities for connection and hospitality offerings will continue to be at the forefront of workplace interior design to reinforce the prioritization of employees and the cultural atmosphere. People want a flexible, comfortable, and welcoming space to work. And if they can’t find it at their office, they will relocate to their home office, favorite coffee shop, or cafe. Today’s workplaces need to support the unique roles, work styles, and personalities of each individual and provide a range of space types, furnishings, and multi-functional common areas that draw people in and keep them wanting to come back to the office.

What inspires you lately?

I have been seeking inspiration from nature (earthy color palettes and biophilic connection), traveling (vibrant cities, textural street markets, cozy cafes, and sophisticated bars), and residential design (soft curves, jewel tones, and minimaluxe).

What’s a design choice you think will be big this year? In other words, what’s your hot take for 2024?

Fluted, tambour details will bring a captivating, unique texture to surfaces and furnishings. It adds depth and sophistication to enrich any space, especially when paired with light and shadow. I also think ‘quiet luxury’ will be popular this year, in that innovation and timeless design will merge, resulting in spaces that inspire and elevate the everyday. It will feature sustainable materials, technology integration, and a revival of classic design elements that celebrate the modern era.

 

Experience Design – Personalization and Tech-Driven Storytelling

 

Carolyn Price – Experience Design Manager

What do you think some of the big environmental and experiential graphic design trends will be in 2024?

Bridging the connection between people and nature in the built environment through biophilic design continues to be popular. With advancements in AI technology, personalized and data-driven design is beginning to become more popular to create more dynamic and responsive environments. This can create a more immersive experience into a brand. As adaptive reuse of existing structures becomes more common, we are seeing graphics that celebrate and highlight a building’s past while embracing its new purpose.

How do you see technology continuing to influence and enhance environmental graphics and storytelling? 

AI is beginning to lead the charge in aiding the merger of technology and user experiences to create a more immersive and personalized environment. AI can be used to adapt graphics based on user behavior, time of day, or environmental conditions. Algorithms can analyze and interpret large amounts of information to communicate complex data visually in real time. Responsive graphics that react to a user’s gestures can engage users in new ways, further immersing them into a brand.

What inspires you lately?

I would love to see more activation in schools. As a child of the 90s, I grew up in schools where the walls were cinderblock and painted awful pastel colors that did not inspire. These spaces should be bright, engaging, and inspire the next generation. Make school a place that tells a story and where stories are made. Heck, make it fun. Make it magical.

What’s a design choice you think will be big this year? In other words, what’s your hot take for 2024?

I am seeing a lot of playful, large typography, bright monochromatic color palettes, and bringing more art into a space through hand painted murals and materials with a handmade feel or texture. Life is serious enough, bringing in subtle humor to the graphics and copy can make a space feel lighter and welcoming – it can create a fun break with the possibility of becoming an Instagram-able moment.


Conner Sell – Experience Design Specialist

What do you think some of the big environmental and experiential graphic design trends will be in 2024?

I see some of the biggest trends this year being multisensory experiences, environmentally sustainable design, mixed/virtual/augmented reality, and AI-driven creativity. I recognize that the use of technology is evolving in the space of environmental and experiential graphic design and to start to embrace the new set of tools that are quickly becoming an industry standard.

How do you see technology continuing to influence and enhance environmental graphics and storytelling?

I see environmental graphics already using technology to influence or enhance an environment and its storytelling. Especially in instances of hospitals and airports, where emerging tech like Augmented Reality (AR) is integrated into space to help users with specific directional wayfinding to specific destinations.

I also see the application of technology being used in more interactive multisensory experiences where brand storytelling or placemaking is more prevalent. An example could be a digital timeline or exhibition in a Corporate or Higher Education Building.

What inspires you lately?

I am excited about the direction environmental graphic design is going as it continues to merge with innovative technology. I am most excited for the future of immersive exhibitions that showcase experiential art in a multisensory, designed environment. The potential for brand storytelling and placemaking incorporating a mix of sound texture, vibrations or even scents can enhance the overall design and allow for diverse background to come together for a common purpose and be engaged, which creates a sense of belonging and shared identity.

What’s a design choice you think will be big this year? In other words, what’s your hot take for 2024?

I think environmentally sustainable design solutions will be a large theme this year, using recycled materials that are eco-friendly, designed for longevity, and reduce waste will in return education people on impact of sustainable options that can influence cost or design.


CHECK OUT WSA’S PODCAST, WORKPLACE CRAFTED, FOR MORE ON THE CONVERSATION AROUND WHAT 2024 HAS IN STORE FOR ARCHITECTS AND DESIGNERS.

 

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