Custom architectural millwork solutions are continuously evolving as design trends adapt and new technology or materials are integrated to allow for the creation of innovative features within a space.
 
Commercial environments in particular are seeking creative pantries, cabinetry, shelving, storage, banquettes, seating, reception desks, lounge or collaboration areas, and feature walls. Here’s a forecast from Joe Patrovich, the director of pre-construction and engineering at Modworxx, on the top architectural millwork trends we can expect to see more of in 2017:
 

1. Mixture of walnut and Corian 

Walnut has a nice medium tone and corian can mimic the appearance of granite, marble or stone, so naturally a trained craftsman can join the two nearly invisibly. We’re seeing a lot of corian product as a result of its malleability to bend into curves, which provides a more modern aesthetic. Its primary use is as a countertop or benchtop surface, though it can be utilized for many other applications.
 
Lobbies that are replacing typical lacquer wall panels in order to create an aesthetically pleasing focal point. Often, architectural millwork professionals are tasked with integrating LEDs or other elements into the woodwork. PHOTO CREDIT: Turner Construction Company

2. Integration of LED lighting

Recent developments in LEDs allow them to be used as both environmental and task lighting. In addition, their many advantages over incandescent light sources include lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, smaller size and more. In the millwork industry, not only do we have to figure out how to mount them (surface or recess), but we also have to account for more precise current and heat management. We’re seeing creative LED applications in lobbies that are replacing typical lacquer wall panels in order to create an aesthetically pleasing focal point. 
 
The most innovative architectural millwork solutions will find ways to incorporate technology in unexpected places. Office kitchens or pantries are just one area where we’re starting to integrate sensors hidden among the millwork. PHOTO CREDIT: Turner Construction Company

3. Technology in unexpected places

The most innovative architectural millwork solutions will find ways to incorporate technology in unexpected places. For example, we’re working on a project for a large financial firm that wants to track how much foot traffic their pantry gets. We’ve engineered a ceiling with angulated, wave-like walnut slats with hidden occupancy sensors. Our client will be able to track everything from how many people are by the coffee or soda machines, to what time of day employees are most frequently using the pantry. This data-driven technology will help inform decisions to help better serve their employees.
 
IT, data communications, HDMI and all other AV aspects play a significant role in the conference tables Modworxx designs and builds for clients. There’s a growing demand for the ability to sit in a room and plug in devices that allow for content to be shown on a screen. PHOTO CREDIT: Turner Construction Company

4. Wow-factor workspaces

Offices spaces now want a wow-factor in their pantries, communal areas, lobbies and reception. We’re seeing that IT, data communications, HDMI and all other AV aspects play a significant role in the conference tables we design and build for our clients. There’s a growing demand for the ability to sit in a room and plug in devices that allow for content to be shown on a screen. Architectural millworkers will provide the engineering and wiring needs so that the end user can use the latest technology to maintain productivity in the workplace. 
 
Modworxx provides the engineering and wiring needs so that the end user can use the latest technology to maintain productivity in the workplace. PHOTO CREDIT: Carlo David, Courtesy of Modworxx
Companies are fostering a much more relaxed and open dialogue through the choices they make with office design. Nooks for privacy, such as the one pictured above, allow for collaborative meetings between employees in a setting away from their desks. PHOTO CREDIT: Carlo David, Courtesy of Modworxx

5. High-end, budget-oriented millwork

Although now is the busiest we’ve been in years since before the recession, our industry will still have to think “out-of-the-box” and use a well-rounded set of resources in order to meet client deadlines and budget expectations. Planning and coordination with all involved parties, including the architectural team, contractors and the client, will be more important than ever. This includes everything from fabric-wrapped wood panels and base trim that runs continuously throughout the space, to suspended ceiling features and custom seating.
 
Modworxx was tapped by HOK to assist in the design, creation and installation of architectural millwork pieces for Teach For America’s new national headquarters in New York City. Upon entering the Teach For America lobby off the elevator bank, Modworxx developed a visual story and focal point on the walls constructed from recycled school gym bleachers sourced from across the country paired with staggered television monitors. Bolts and seat numbers from the antique bleacher boards were preserved, adding a rustic feel. PHOTO CREDIT: Carlo David, Courtesy of Modworxx
Joe Patrovich is the director of pre-construction and engineering at Modworxx, a New York-based architectural millwork company with an expanding portfolio of work across the commercial and retail markets.
 

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