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The rise of sociable spaces

Posted on the 23/06/2019 by Karndean Designflooring

You may or may not already be aware, but there has been something of a rise in the number of sociable spaces in office, retail and hospitality environments. It’s mainly down to the increase in coworking and flexible working, and more of us looking to engage with colleagues and customers in open, engaging and relaxed settings rather than formal boardrooms and conventional meeting spaces. We’re also spending less physical time in formal offices and more time moving around.

Coworking in particular has made a big impact in hotels and bars of late with owners opting to open up areas to subscription based coworking agreements. A great example of this is Clerkenwell’s Zetter hotel in partnership with Central Working. During the day it is a subscription based coworking lounge with fixed desks and open meeting rooms downstairs and, at 6pm, the coworking space reverts back to the hotel’s public bar. The interior functions equally well for both and demonstrates a really clever way to get the space to work that bit harder.


Above image features Limed Cotton Oak RP99 and Limed Linen Oak RP98.

Whereas workplace designers have previously accommodated sociable spaces in creative office environments such as Regatta’s Head Office, it’s now rolling out in retail and hospitality spaces alike. The design brief includes stylish seated areas in shopping centres, hotel entranceways and public spaces. This trend has naturally evolved to offer sociable and accessible zones for any professional to meet and work, and there are more areas like this to come throughout the UK. It just means this type of interior needs to function for dual purposes. Watch this space.

Impact of floor design

As well as seating and furniture, the floor can make a big impact when designing a sociable area for users to engage. It can even quite literally spell out what we should be doing in these spaces with bespoke cuts of flooring like Hello Clerkenwell’, as well as zoning out and creating a sense of direction for users. It almost defines these areas as places to work, meet and collaborate.


However, much more than this the floor can create an emotional connection with users, whether that’s making a statement or ensuring users feel at ease. This can be dictated by design, hue, detail and plank or tile size. Detailed patterns from our Heritage and Kaleidoscope collections will offer users a different experience to our more classic and traditional Art Select and Van Gogh designs.

What’s more, the specification needs to meet the demands of the area. This can be for high traffic areas in retail and hospitality where we recommend products with at least a 0.5mm wear layer. It’s important to remember the thicker the wear layer the more durable the floor, and for the most demanding environments we recommend our Art Select or Da Vinci range. 

Our top five floor trends to watch out for in sociable spaces

1.            Mixing wood and stone

Consider placing our wood and stone designs side by side to separate formal and casual areas. Using mixed materials can also bring extra visual interest in large commercial spaces.

2.            Zoning casual areas

Define sociable spaces in public areas and retail environments by zoning. This could even be a rug effect to differentiate meeting zones and independent working pods.

3.            A sense of direction

Open plan can be challenging and leave users feeling lost. Perhaps use our planks or tiles to achieve a sense of direction?

4.            Wall to floor 

A seamless wall to floor design can capture the imagination of users and encourage creativity. We recommend opting for a geometric or monochrome design.

5.            Bringing the outside in

Biophilic design continues to influence surface materials and their interaction with interiors and concepts. Bringing nature into our indoor spaces is therefore fundamental to creating healthy spaces.

Why not share your sociable space with us @karndean_uk on Instagram?