The landscape of Australian interior design is constantly evolving. New and reimagined styles frequently come and go, with designers seeking fresh ways to utilise classic materials or introduce modern features to represent the architectural climate of the time.
One quintessential design staple that has made a grand resurgence in recent years is plywood. Trending throughout home and office interior design alike, plywood has become firmly entrenched in today’s zeitgeist thanks to its warmth, versatility, and clean lines. The fact that it’s also environmentally sustainable is just an incredible bonus.
Formed into panels comprised of several thin layers of wood veneer sheets, plywood is available in a range of different grades, colours, and finishes, providing both function and form, making it highly adaptable and suitable for many different applications.
Due to its aesthetic appeal and extreme flexibility, plywood has become the on-trend item in office fit out design in 2022.
History of plywood in Australia
With the prevalence of plywood in modern interior design, it’s easy to assume the versatile product is a newly discovered material. However, despite appearances, Australia has a long and storied history with plywood spanning generations.
First manufactured in 1911, plywood production originated predominantly in Brisbane, making Queensland the centre of plywood activity, producing about two-thirds of all Australian plywood.
Production levels received a significant boost with the onset of World War II, with plywood playing an instrumental role in the construction of marine vessels, aircraft, and the construction of wartime buildings.
Following the second World War, around 1960, the industry experienced expansion across the country, with around 63 mills processing timbers sourced from indigenous forests.
Today, Australian plywood manufacturing utilises mainly plantation timber to produce wood veneer products used in both structural and interior applications.
Benefits of plywood in your office fit out
Plywood offers the opportunity to optimise your workspace by incorporating dynamic features that enhance organic elements in your office space and stimulate feelings of positivity and creativity. More than just a fly-by-night trend, plywood provides benefits beyond aesthetic charm – its style and function will last you for many years to come.
“Plywood has been a favourite of architects for decades,” says Agero’s Head of Design and Architect, Geoff Skellern. “It’s an incredibly versatile product and cost effective. Architects love anything really cost effective. You can buy basic stock standard plywood or go more expensive and premium. There’s an unlimited palette of materials and finishes you can apply depending on your budget. It’s also interesting from an aesthetic view as it comes in a variety of textures and patterns.”
Strength and durability
Despite common misconceptions to the contrary, plywood is an extremely hardy building material. Layered hardwood and softwood veneers provide stability and strength when bonded together, with the resulting plywood sheets able to withstand heavy impact. This makes it ideal for high-traffic areas within the office including stairs.
With a minimalistic profile and lightweight composition, plywood is practical and functional, especially where space is limited. From wall panelling to ceiling lining, plywood provides a lighter alternative to natural wood making it easy to work with and reducing the need for additional structural support. It’s particularly useful in office refurbishment and renovation projects.
Curved or flat, textured or smooth – plywood is extremely malleable and capable of being shaped to fit practically any space or design. Balustrades, beams, and stairs can make effective use of plywood, with smooth edges and pliability making it quick and easy to install. This means less downtime and disruption in your office when undergoing renovations or repairs.
Plywood sheeting is able to cover a large area at minimal cost to you. One of the most cost-effective building materials available, using plywood for your walls or ceilings will save you money in the long run. Additionally, thanks to the durability of plywood the need for replacement or repair is greatly reduced.
Plywood is highly effective at dampening sound – very useful when it comes to the office environment. Sound eliminating plywood panels are specifically designed to soften noise, making them perfect for quiet spaces or to contain sound leakage from communal areas in the workplace.
Produced using renewable resources, Australian plywood is contributing to a greener future by harvesting timber from sustainably-managed plantations. By incorporating plywood into your office interior design, you are investing in an eco-friendly, sustainable material.
Overall, plywood offers sustainable and functional design possibilities that make it an ideal addition to your office fit out.
Key design features of plywood
Inspiring a fresh outlook on Australian interior design, plywood has become the pinnacle of innovative style thanks to its versatility, natural beauty, and sustainability.
When it comes to creating the optimal workspace, environmental factors contribute significantly to physical and emotional health, as well as affecting employee productivity. That’s why it’s essential that office interior design is done right.
Plywood is one of the key building blocks to developing a dynamic, collaborative, and efficient working environment. Suitable for a variety of applications throughout the office, plywood can be used to add warmth, generate space, or define work areas.
Plywood design in the office
Plywood can be used to delineate individual workspaces, and create simple, organised, and functional task-based areas. Plywood partitions are inobtrusive but eye-catching, adding texture and warmth to your environment.
Plywood panels are effective when used for visual and acoustic separation. This is especially handy for meeting rooms, or quiet areas, and aids in dampening sound in gathering places. Where traditionally you may have found plasterboard, plywood creates interest and provides a natural, welcoming ambiance for your space.
With lightweight construction and warm tones, plywood is an effective material for your office ceiling. With panels able to cover large areas, plywood gives a larger impression of space which is useful in smaller office settings.
Plywood can be utilised as a multi-functional room divider/storage solution. Especially effective where space is an issue, plywood shelving or bookcases can be used to separate work areas and provide space-maximising storage.
Plywood steps or staircases can add natural beauty to your office space. With the inherent strength of plywood, the material is not only visually appealing but hard-wearing and durable, making it a practical choice in areas that experience a high level of foot traffic.
Plywood is moisture resistant and structurally sound due to the way it is bonded, making it highly durable and eco-friendly choice for office kitchen joinery and cabinetry. With its clean lines, plywood creates a modern contemporary look for the kitchen.
Inspirational office fit outs ideas
Looking to incorporate plywood design in your office fit out? Take a look at some of our projects for inspiration or contact the expert design team at Agero. Our innovative office interior design solutions will optimise and future-proof your workspace and help inspire and energise your environment.