antimicrobial fabrics blog post image

Antimicrobial Fabrics & Surfaces: The Post-Pandemic Design Solution

While we continue to wash our hands, stay at our homes and abide by social distancing recommendations; there’s still the elephant in the room — how will we, as a global community, prevent something of this magnitude from happening again? It’s our social responsibility, as a brand, to create solutions within our industry to prevent a pandemic like COVID-19. The commercial furniture industry needs to re-evaluate its choice of textiles and materials used in product designs. Antimicrobial fabrics and surfaces are quickly moving to the forefront of designers’ minds, due to their microorganism-resistant properties. Here are some examples of materials that can either lessen the spread of contagions or easily be disinfected:

Antimicrobial Fabrics

Antimicrobial fabrics are fiber-based materials imbibed with antimicrobial agents, which have either been applied to the surface or infused into the fibers to inhibit the growth of microorganisms. This is not a new innovation, commercial textile manufacturers already have these types of fabrics available. For example, Mayer Fabrics uses silver ion technology to create their antimicrobial fabrics. This technology works to fight microbes in three ways: the silver ion can puncture the bacterial cell wall, the silver ion can disrupt and inhibit cellular respiration and lastly, the silver ion can interfere with DNA and cellular replication.

hand sanitizer and surgical mask on sofa

Antimicrobial Surfaces

A recent study by Princeton University analyzed the longevity of both SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus) on surfaces. The study found that these viruses were still detected up to 72 hours after application. However, certain surfaces experienced a much shorter exposure time. Within 4 hours, copper no longer housed any viable SARS-CoV-2. Copper’s antibacterial properties were first acknowledged in the 19th century when copper workers appeared to be immune to cholera. Now, copper is recognized by the EPA as the only solid surface material capable of killing bacteria. Along with copper, copper alloys like brass and bronze are significantly more resilient to viruses than stainless steel or plastic.

antimicrobial copper table in living room

 

Easy-to-Clean Textiles 

If antimicrobial fabrics are simply not feasible for a project, an alternative solution is polyurethane or vinyl. Polyurethane is incredibly durable, blocks moisture and is environmentally-friendly. Cleaning polyurethane is simple, just use diluted bleach or mineral spirits. Vinyl, another equally viable solution, is inherently resistant to bacterial growth. Vinyl is impermeable to moisture and immensely easy to clean, making it the leading textile in the healthcare industry.

polyurethane couch with polka dot colorblock

 

In the coming months, we should all be cognizant of the choices we make as industry professionals. Choosing textiles or surfaces based on an aesthetic appeal is no longer an easy decision to make with alternatives like antimicrobial fabrics on market. Taking public health into consideration must be paramount. We design for commercial settings — hospitals, schools, offices, restaurants, etc. If protecting our community is as simple as choosing an antimicrobial fabric over a decorative one, then let’s do it. At Venue Industries, we are beginning to offer antimicrobial textiles as a standard option on all orders. Please contact us if you have any inquiries about antimicrobial fabrics or need a quote.

office pod in work environment

Reinventing the Cubicle: Office Pods & Their Advantages

Conventional cubicles have experienced a slow death over the decades. Their own creator, Robert Propst, even despised them. His intention was to create personalizable spaces where workers could experience privacy and reduced distractions. The actuality of the cubicle was far from this ideal. What was intended to liberate employees, instead confined them and stopped the flow of ideas within the workplace. Since the demise of these dystopian contraptions, open office floor plans have been seeking a new iterance of the cubicle — one that satisfies the need for privacy without stifling individualism. So, along came the seating pod. Seating pods offer a haven from distraction and a place to convene with coworkers without formalities of a conference room.

office seating pods

We designed our seating pods with the downfalls of the cubicle in mind. We know that the evolution of the open office space has created divots that need to be filled. Sitting in one spot all day can be mentally exhausting, that’s why pods are a great alternative for escaping the desk. Although, they can be used as a permanent work station; the seating pod represents a choice of locale. The phenomenon of giving workers an option as to where they can work, led to what Robert Propst was trying to attain with the cubicle — workplace liberation. Now, more companies are implementing these kinds of values into their own office floor plan to attract more candidates.

office seating pods

Our seating pods cut down on noise and distractions while serving as a place for alternative office tasks. We created these secluded spaces to help envelop people in their work. The Q-Bo was the first pod we ever designed. It was created with the intent to give workers a semi-private, less formal meeting space. The Bondi Escape Pod was next, offering even more space and the ability to fit up to 6 people. This pod is optimized for teamwork and brainstorm sessions. The walls are fully upholstered, which provides excellent sound insulation. The Honeycomb is a one or two person seating pod. It’s octagonal shape gives it a unique look and provides an excellent space to hide out. Our newest pod, the YingYang, offers a simplistic design that is available in two heights and can be conjoined to form a variety of seating layouts. Any of these seating pods can be installed with power outlets and USB ports.

office seating pods

With over 70% of office floor plans in the U.S. being open and a majority of workers complaining about a lack of privacy and inability to concentrate, it’s no surprise seating pods have become a cost-effective alternative to office renovations. Seating pods can eliminate the stress and anxiety workers have in an exposed environment. Our seating pods serve as the best solution for last-minute gatherings with co-workers, client meetings and brainstorm sessions. They also come equipped with noise-reducing technology, so employees can focus and enjoy some peace of mind in an otherwise cacophonous work setting.

 

Hospitality Furniture Trends for 2020

The problem to solve in 2020 is, ‘How do I turn my restaurant into a destination, not just a source of food?’. Creating an environment that is overtly Instagrammable is becoming a must. Restaurants are buying into pop culture trends and expanding their social media presence to capture the buying power of younger generations. However, a brand needs substance and not just flashy, digital prowess. Keeping quality in check, while maintaining a charismatic, enticing persona is 2020’s gold standard.

A multitude of factors can affect how long a customer will stay in a restaurant, or how likely they are to return. The key focus should be ambiance. The overall character of a restaurant is comprised of visual, physical and intangible counterparts. Furniture is a huge defining attribute of any restaurant. Restaurant owners need to be able to recognize trends and seek inspiration for furniture layouts that will provide the right feng shui for their clientele. Let’s jump into some furniture trends that we’re anticipating in 2020.

 

Banquettes & Booths

You know that moment when the hostess leads you to your table and only one side of the table has big, comfy padding and the other side is just sad, metal chairs? You and the rest of your party start bee-lining it to the booth side and the weaker of the pack settles for the chairs. Yeah, we know the struggle. Luckily, 2020 is going to bring with it the resurgence of booths and banquettes. These types of seats scream ‘luxury’ and customers will certainly appreciate the comfort. Booths and banquettes are elegant and easily customizable. There’s a variety of tufting options to explore. There’s the classic diamond tufting, biscuit button tufting, single-line tufting, vertical & horizontal channel tufting, and button-less tufting. All of these upholstery techniques can be applied to give your booth or banquette their own personality and add to the tone of your restaurant’s brand.

Luv Child, Tampa

Mixed Materials

The switch from minimalism to maximalism is coming, combinations of textiles and patterned prints will make it big in 2020. Textured tables, extremely detailed upholstery and mixed metals are expected. Bold, statement pieces, like these barstools, will be a defining characteristic of a restaurant’s brand identity. Multiple fabric choices will pair together to create visually indulgent and memorable furniture. Complementary organic and geometric patterns make for unique backgrounds for social media content and instagram-worthy scenery.

Steelbach, Tampa

Shapely Furniture

Another trend we’re seeing popping up everywhere is geometric, 3D-esque furniture. Bulbous chair designs with architecturally inspired frames are eye-catching pieces that work well on restaurant patios. Outdoor furniture is sometimes an afterthought or seen as less important to the main dining room. However, it’s sometimes the first impression a passersby will get from a restaurant.

Nest Chair

The hospitality industry is evolving in such a way that demands the innovation of all aspects of eating out. No longer are restaurants places where you drop in for a quick bite, now they’re fulfilling more than just our basic need of hunger. Restaurants have grown into spots to gather, socialize, co-work and host business meetings. People are staying longer and the longer they stay, the more they spend. Finding the right furniture to keep your customers happy and comfortable is our main priority. Look no further than Venue Industries.