Mar 16, 2018
11:28 am

Canadian Commercial Architecture Trends for 2018

What makes architecture so exciting is that it is constantly evolving. So what are the Canadian commercial architecture trends for 2018 that are too important to ignore? We’ve assembled the following list.

1. Making your store “Instagram-worthy”

You may not know it, but there are thousands of people out there willing to advertise your store absolutely free of charge. Hip businesses are finding ways to build a wow-factor into their stores, with the hope people will proudly share selfies of their shops on social media.

It could be something unique: like a waterfall with a wishing well, a 15′ stuffed gorilla, a gourmet coffee station, or a giant gum ball machine. If you want your store to photobomb that Instagram post, you need to be original.

Last year, many businesses introduced pink interiors (a favourite colour choice among Millennials). In many cases, the pink is used to take the edge off of harsh elements – such as exposed concrete. When it comes to trends, the good thing about paint is that it is easy to change!

2. Integrating retail to fit the surrounding environment

While this isn’t entirely new, we are seeing the proliferation of natural design elements. For example, our firm has been designing gas stations and convenience stores with alpine themes to meet architectural guidelines in places like Banff, Canmore and Revelstoke for years. However, the desire to create buildings that complement natural surroundings is now proliferating to transit stations, restaurants and commercial retail strip malls in urban settings.

Perhaps it is part of a desire to make shopping experiences more authentic and natural – and less corporate. In Western Canada, we’re seeing a lot more natural materials such as stone and hewn wood, or large wooden beams within exterior and interior designs. Barnwood, corrugated metal (like that on grain silos) and textured steel have all been used to great effect. The inclusion of plants and living walls is another way nature is being brought to the forefront in today’s storefront.

3. Conveying a sense of craftsmanship and local-cred

Locally owned businesses continue to set themselves apart from the big guys through architectural design features that elicit a unique experience that puts the emphasis on craft or artisan experiences. Heritage or vintage design elements are popular. It could be as simple as putting old tools on the wall. Or, it could involve removing a wall so customers can see your staff working on their creations… whether it is a window into a kitchen or having a seamstress doing alterations in front of the customer.

4. Minimalist design

Another Canadian architectural design trend that isn’t going away is exposed concrete, duct work and lighting features that look like something right out of Thomas Edison’s workshop. This unpolished, minimalist look has the advantage of cutting down on design and finishing costs. You may wish to bring more polished, more vibrant design work to the walls, sales counters and other interior elements to counter the sparseness of the walls and ceilings.

5. Light, bright and colourful

Today, customers appreciate settings that offer plenty of natural light. In areas where there is not a lot of window access, businesses are introducing unique lighting features – such as LED strips. This is even popular in gas station canopies. Projection walls are another way of attracting attention of passers-by.

6. Linking brick and mortar with e-commerce

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Some forward thinking retailers are integrating online shopping within their retail stores as a way of enhancing the shopping experience: appealing to both traditional and tech-driven customers alike.

7. A collaborative approach to design

Independent retailers are starting to become more engaged in the building process, and want to work more collaboratively with the architects, engineers, project managers and construction managers. Teaming up with an integrated design firm that offers all of these services under one roof improves the ability to put your minds together.