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Expert Insights: Sara Malek Barney Discusses Office Interior Design

| Design & Architecture, Q&A| Views: 0

Sara Malek Barney, Founder + Principal Designer BANDD/DESIGN Studio. Photo Credits: Katie Jameson

For this installment of our Expert Insights series, we sat down with Sara Malek Barney, founder and principal interior designer of BANDD/DESIGN Studio in Austin, Texas.

A University of Texas alum, Sara holds degrees in corporate communication and interior design. She was named one of Austin Monthly Magazine’s “Women to Watch” multiple times, as well as one of the top three interior designers in the Austin area. She’s also a member of the American Society of Interior Designers and the Female Founder Collective.

Read on for her insights on office interior design.

Q: Tell us about your background and why you chose a career in interior design.

I spent the first part of my career working in the entertainment and sports industries with SXSW, Creative Arts Agency and The Ellen DeGeneres show. After several years, I wanted to pursue something new, so [after] many hours of research and tapping into my creative side, I decided on interior design. It’s been the best decision ever since. It has been both a compelling and attainable second act.

Q: What is your personal approach to commercial interior design?

I share the same philosophy in commercial design as I do residential: To identify the needs of the project and offer a functional, well-designed solution.

Q: Working from home became popular in the last few years. Do you think the future of office design will be affected by it? If so, how?

As our work culture has changed over the last two to three years, I think we’ll see more collaborative spaces in the future. People have gravitated to the ‘coffee shop’ collaborative environment. It’s out with cubicles and in with comfortable seating, cozy textures and alluring colors.

Q: In your opinion, what are 2022’s top trends in commercial design?

We will definitely see more adjustable spaces, where users can customize their workspaces to their needs. Organization, work space and technology will all see a change in how we approach the workplace.

Q: Are there any office design trends that you expect to see declining next year?

The stale, gray, chopped-up office feel and look is definitely out! So-called ‘assigned-spaces’ that include dark colors and large-sized furniture will be a thing of the past. Users want a more comfortable environment in which to work and gather.

Q: What trends — in terms of colors, textures and patterns — should businesses be aware of in the upcoming year?

More bright colors, more textures as part of the everyday environment. I think the look and feel is just as important as the functionality of the design. It’s all about comfort and function. I think we’ll see more corporate branding as part of the design. Colors, logos, etc.

Interested in being interviewed for our Expert Insights series? Feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] or check out other articles from our series here.

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