Following on from our article on the application of charred timber in modern architectural design, we explore commercial interior design.

A walk through any town will show that this is a tough time for retailers. Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) reported that, in the first half of 2019, 2,868 stores closed across the U.K. This includes 924 restaurants. Despite these figures, many retailers and restaurant owners are not only surviving but thriving. What can we learn from these brands?

Interior Design to Provide an Immersive Customer Experience

The success stories tend to come from emerging brands. As small, often independents, they are able to adapt to changing customer expectations. They understand that they need to offer something which cannot be bought online. They are creating an immersive customer experience.

The interior design of boutique hotels, shops and restaurants has to delight the customer. The style and ethos must resonate with the customer, inspiring them and encouraging them to explore. Their senses must be brought to life, making the brand and experience memorable.

Incorporating Nature for the Feel-good Factor

Charred Accoya Cladding used in a bar

Anyone walking through the door should be lifted by the experience. With plenty of evidence to show the connection between nature and positive well-being, contemporary interior design is making good use of lighting, uses natural materials and includes plants. This year, the trend is moving towards Asian-inspired exotic planting. This is paired with natural tones such as sage green and coral, lifted with patterned wallpapers or fabrics.

Shou Sugi Ban™ is a method of charring timber, based on the ancient Japanese art of Yagisugi. The charring process can really emphasise the grain of the wood and delivers a strong, neutral backdrop to any interior setting. It offers eye-catching, biophilic cladding behind a boutique hotel reception or a restaurant bar and works beautifully with natural planting.

If you are looking for a fantastic example of a nature-inspired interior, take a look at The Ivy in Spinningfields. Entering this leading restaurant in Manchester is like stepping into another world. The restaurant includes a retractable roof, which allows natural light to flood into the tropical interior.  A taste of Asian can be found in the Ivy Asia bar, as well as in The Geisha Room, which is available for private hire. Our Shou Sugi Ban™ timbers feature in this stunning restaurant interior.

The Importance of Sustainable Interior Design

Whilst there has been a trend for pop-up shops, the tide is turning in favour of sustainable, quality materials that will last. The throw-away culture is out. In its place comes a stylised neutral backdrop that can be updated with décor and detailing.

The process of charring timber was developed as a means to preserve the wood. The heat alters the structure of the timber and gives it greater protection, adding to its resilience and longevity. In Japan, there are examples of Yagisugi buildings which date back hundreds of years.

Shou Sugi Ban™ is a high-quality interior design cladding material. Like the little black dress, it is a timeless classic. Both in terms of durability and aesthetic, it is built to last. These qualities made it the ideal choice for the interior shelving in the Copenhagen branch of Hotel Chocolat. The rich dark charred timber shelves perfectly complement the indulgent chocolate.

Never Forget Function in Interior Design

Great design has always coupled form and function. In commercial interior design, the materials, layout and styling have to be practical, as well as desirable. With a potentially high footfall, the flooring, fittings and displays need to stand the test of time. Designers are seeking out robust, durable solutions that will not look shabby or damaged, even with plenty of use. Shou Sugi Ban™ charred timber cladding can certainly fulfil that requirement.

Experimental Interior Design for Memorable Experiences

Larch Burnt White cladding used in a Restaurant

If the aim is to produce an impactful environment that captures the interest of customers, it is important to take a unique angle. Be sure to really reflect the spirit and ethos of your brand with an original approach. Stand out from the crowd.

A great example is Chotto Matte; another restaurant to use Shou Sugi Ban™ in the interior design. This Soho restaurant serves Nikkei, a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine. The fresh flavours excite taste buds and deliver something new. In terms of the interior design, our dark charred timbers offer a striking contrast to the colourful Manga art that decorates the walls.

UK Charred Timber Specialist

If your boutique hotel, shop or restaurant is looking for a natural, sustainable, functional and experimental interior, Shou Sugi Ban™ could be the ideal material. Our charred timber range offers a selection of finishes, which are handcrafted by our skilled team in our Buckinghamshire workshop. To find out more and request a sample, please contact Exterior Solutions on 01494 711800 or get in touch via our website.