It’s that time again – when we take a look at what’s trending in the fit-out sector – both UK-wide and globally. This time, here at Steampunk we’ve decided to look at several sectors at once – restaurant/pub, office and retail. Are there any overlapping elements? Well, read on and find out!


Restaurants/pub fit out

Right at this very moment in writing, restaurants and pubs in the UK are facing a temporary closure ban. Due to the government’s attempts to prevent Covid-19 spreading, the ban is expected to last for at least four weeks initially. Dare we say, with no staff and customers around, now could be the time to make some changes you’ve been planning for some time? Personally, we were in our local DIY store the other day and it was full of customers! Lots of people it seems are intent on passing the time self-isolating painting and decorating. Anyway, we digress… Here’s what’s ‘hot’ for eating and drinking establishments in-the-know this year:

Mixing Textures

Combining and layering different textures and finishes together is big news in restaurant design for 2020. What does this mean? Well, for instance, it could involve plush velvet and leather restaurant seating with unfurnished reclaimed wooden flooring. Or, think vintage chandeliers with smooth concrete flooring. Both of these mixed medium designs could produce quite a vibe.

What we mean is, natural materials mixed with man-made glamour definitely works when planned correctly. And talking, of natural materials, living walls are still in – and not just in offices or hotel receptions. These days restaurants are also showing their biophilic credentials. And it’s not before time…

Locality matters

For years now, chefs in restaurants and cafes have been making a ‘big thing’ about sourcing locally-produced ingredients. Now it’s the time of the interior designer of the restaurant or café to show those local leanings. Done with plenty of research and sensitivity, the interior of a new bar and restaurant fit out can help retain a feeling and likeness of the original building.

Examples of this could be a pub in a former cotton mill featuring some of the old spinning wheels, machinery and even carpets and other items once produced there. A former bank-turned-pub might have the original teller desks incorporated into the bar and wood panelling to give a ‘stately’ feel. In this way the new ventures are using the purpose of the original building as a theme and, at the same time, giving the community back an (albeit repurposed) much-loved former building. And that’s sure to bring in plenty of delighted custom.


An office Fit Out for Tag Games completed by us


Office fit out

Working from home is becoming more the norm these days – coronavirus self-isolation notwithstanding – and which has big implications for office design. It began with hot-desking, where staff shared a desk, then progressed to ‘quiet areas’ where staff could work from a laptop. Finally staff frequently now work from home some of the time. This results in smaller, but more bespoke office fit out, and areas where designers have been encouraged to be very creative.

Natural light

Who doesn’t like feeling the sun streaming in a window and, at the same time, beaming in feel-good Vitamin D? Floor to ceiling windows aren’t just for residential projects; commercial buildings are being fitted with them too. And then there’s rooftops. These are a great way for staff to use their break getting fresh air and daylight.

Doing away with board rooms

The big terrifyingly formal boardroom with the round table and flip chart at one end is, today, dead and buried.  With many companies looking at democratising the office set-up, ‘multi-purpose’ areas are being used for ‘top tier’ meetings. This could be a glass ‘hut’ which also doubles as a chill-out zone for staff during the working day and a yoga area at lunchtimes. It doesn’t need to take up as much space as in the past since some staff will be joining the meeting via Zoom or Skype anyhow.

Workspace choice

Staff don’t have to sit at their desk anymore but, depending on their mood, can head for a personal booth with their laptop if they feel like a bit of privacy. Then again, they might want to sit at a rooftop table and work. That’s because offices today are giving staff a choice of locations with a different feel – and it’s up to the fit-out team to ensure the office does just that – creates differing ambiances depending where that member of staff happens to be sitting.



Retail fit out

Retail, has, of course, changed incredibly over the past decade or so, with more and more people shopping online. It means physical shopping outlets have had to ‘up their game’ as it were. Shops today are more concerned with creating an atmosphere and experience that the customer can’t simply get online.

Flexible spaces

What a lot of this boils down to is the creation of ‘pop up’ counters and displays offering samples etc. For the fit-out arrangements it’s about flexible design ie making sure it’s possible to create these spaces whenever a particular promotion is on. This could be via clever partitioning, having modular furniture that can be used in many different ways and in various fixtures and fittings such as lighting that can itself help to ‘zone’ an area.

Sustainable materials

In offices and restaurants/pubs using sustainable materials in is important. However, it seems to be even more crucial when it comes to retail environments (and we’re not just talking about recycled packaging).

Reclaimed wood and natural stone are great sustainable materials to build with in a retail environment. Also, papier-mâché wall panels and biodegradable mannequins anyone? Meanwhile, if you think sustainability is not that important compared to the goods being sold, think again. That’s because a recent global survey of 30,000 millennials showed that 63 per cent of those interviewed said they wouldn’t shop at a store they knew was not sustainable ie harmful to the environment in some way. Now, that’s an awful lot of potential customers not even prepared to step over the doorway…

Smart technology

New technology will also help change the layout of retail stores. Take the new four-storey Adidas flagship store in London, for instance. The virtual mirrors they have installed in their ‘interactive changing rooms’ allow customers to order different sizes and colours by touching the screen; a member of staff will then bring them. By the same token, using the Adidas app a customer can ask a member of staff to bring him or her a particular item while they are browsing instore. In all, there are 100 digital ‘touch points’ – all of which are powered by means of sustainable energy.

Get in touch today

Looking for a redesign of your current premises? Want to add a bit of wow? Or perhaps you want to be more sustainable with the materials being used to furnish your office. Whatever your design needs do get in touch with the expert team here at Steampunk. We’ll be happy to offer a free consultation on your premises. To find out more you can call us on 0800 197 2922  or contact us via our website There you’ll also find photos of recent fit outs we’ve completed.

On a personal note, considering what’s happening in the world today we want to wish you well and hope that you’re all staying safe and as unaffected as possible in these challenging times.