But in recent years this trend has started to dissipate and there has been a noticeable shift towards so-called ‘broken plan’ living and a demand for flexible, more private, intimate spaces.
There are several reasons for this change not least the increase in the number of people working from home, both permanently and on an ad hoc basis.
This has led to a need for living rooms that can be divided to incorporate a home office, kitchens with a quiet corner to take a business call away from the hubbub of family life and areas that can be closed off in order to hide the mess should an important meeting need to take place!
Integral to this development has been an increase in the use of internal metal and glass screens and doors, with their ability to partition living areas without losing the sense of fluidity and interconnectedness we have got used to with open plan living. With internal screens, cosy rooms within rooms can be created, yet the overall perception of light and space remains.
As with most interior design trends, this one is not purely the domain of domestic environments. Just as the home has had to adapt to become more than one thing, so we are seeing retail environments that double as restaurants and yoga studios and offices that incorporate bowling alleys, slides and coffee bars.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the use of metal framed doors and screens is on the rise in commercial spaces too.
In the workplace spatial planning techniques are being employed to create an internal architecture which is above all flexible – there is a demand for areas for meetings and collaborative working, for intimate ‘thinking’ spaces and for informal zones where workers can relax and chat with colleagues – and internal screens can provide these divisions without making people feel they are isolated or that their co-workers are unapproachable.
Above all, the workspaces of today have a duty to promote the wellbeing of staff not just through a good work/life balance but by also providing a healthy environment.
To this end, architects are frequently utilising metal screens to bring the outdoors in or to provide the optimum amount of natural daylight.
188 Fleet St, formerly the home of Coutts and Co, was recently refurbished by HD Architects to house a publishing company.
Staff in the overhauled office building enjoy a dynamic daylighting system which controls the light intensity and colour of the office in line with a sensor that is positioned in the roof, thus helping to maintain the natural body clocks of the workers.
Clement Windows provided the internal steel screens which feature throughout the office and contribute to the amount of natural daylight that filters through the space.
Architect Martin Helyer of HD Architects said of the project: “The lighting scheme was an important feature of this office refurbishment. Clement’s internal steel-framed windows maximise the amount of light in the office, thus contributing to the overall wellbeing of the office workers. We chose Clement windows due to their external aesthetic aiding the feel that the space was not purely internal.”
Clement metal-framed screens are made of steel meaning exceptionally slim frames which can be moulded into any design and which will last a long time.
Modern steel frames come in a range of styles and colours with the option of double glazing where particularly good acoustics are required.
If your property has steel windows and/or steel doors then the screens can be matched to the windows for greater visual unity.