The year 2020 brought about massive change to the commercial building landscape. From increased cleaning protocols to ensuring proper air quality and remodeling interiors, the pandemic has forced many building owners and facility managers to reconsider the way they both design and operate their interior environments.
As the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stressed over the last several months, social distancing is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Luckily, many manufacturers have adapted or created fresh products—including furniture, signage and materials—that allow people to stay at least six feet (about two arm lengths) from each other when needed.
Furniture that Puts Safety First
For example, to comply with social distancing guidelines in communal spaces, BuzziSpace recently launched an updated version of BuzziRing, a small “private room” with a wall mounting feature that optimizes space use. The hub has acoustical properties that absorb sound both on the inside and the outside, rounding an insulated cocoon for personal concentration.
The design comes with a built-in wooden table, a light with two USB ports for charging, and is available in a wide range of fabric and color options. An optional clear sheet of partition/barrier can be added in the booth for a two-person chat with safety in mind.
Scandinavian Spaces has also made modifications and updates to some of its furniture as a reflection of the demands of changing times. The furniture manufacturer’s BOB series has expanded to include a plexiglass divider named BOB-19, which is easy to add or remove from between the modules on any new or existing BOB sofa with no disassembly or tools required.
The divider can quickly be rearranged into any preferred position, though Scandinavian Spaces recommends placing the divider with no fewer than three seats between each divider to provide a safe and comfortable seating experience.
Don’t Forget the Details
Other interior elements like flooring and large panels can also be used to define spaces safely. Colour Interference from Patcraft is a dynamic carpet tile collection designed to guide movement and infuse energy within commercial spaces, particularly learning environments.
“With linear elements that give length to the pattern, the collection creates movement for wayfinding and definition of space,” said Shannon Cochran, Patcraft’s vice president of creative and design. The collection features 20 colorways that build in intensity throughout three different styles.
[Related Article: How Your Lobby Should Look Post-COVID]
For easier-to-install options that encourage social distancing, consider utilizing standing or hanging panels like Plectere from Filzfelt. Available in two designs—Plectere Aline or Plectere Curve—these panels divide space and soften sound with their thick wool felt strips, while still allowing light through. Hang the panels to define a corridor, create heads-down work nooks or simply break up a large room.
Another simple solution is signage. Large format graphic manufacturer iMBranded has developed a new product line called Safely6ft, which focuses on providing social distancing signs, shields and more. Whether signs are needed for a window, wall, door, tabletop or floor, designers can choose from dozens of styles, sizes, shapes and sayings to match any interior environment.
Creative Edge, known for its waterjet technology in flooring and surfacing, has also created a recent division within its company called Safe Distance Flooring. The new brand offers temporary floor stickers and semi-permanent floor tiles that incorporate social distancing messages. Choose from standard options or create a custom design to suit any aesthetic.
When modifying commercial spaces, it’s critical for facility managers to not forget the details, like keeping people connected while they are physically farther apart in an environment such as an office. Legrand offers flexible power solutions like the Wiremold ModPower system, the first code-compliant modular power system that allows for six feet of separation and can connect up to six separate units to bring power where it’s needed.
Because users have an increased craving for safety and wellness within commercial spaces, it is more important than ever to stay up to date with the latest products like these that encourage social distancing and in turn, help reduce the spread of germs.
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