2023 Top Trends in Commercial Architecture

Over the last two to three years, we’ve witnessed so much change in business – and at such an accelerated rate.

Our commercial architecture work has always included office refurbs and extensions, restaurant roll outs for large brands, and fairly niche projects, such as converting this doctor’s surgery into a veterinary practice. But fast forward to 2023, and we’re seeing a greater demand for remodelling and repurposing commercial buildings.

Whilst the appetite for change may already have taken hold, the pandemic was a game changer – it’s hard to think of a business sector that wasn’t affected in one way or another. But what impact has this had on commercial architecture?

Here’s a few of the common trends that have been emerging in our commercial work:

Flexible working

Where business owners employing office staff previously wanted big, impressive offices full of people, we now see forward thinking businesses moving towards a hybrid model. They still require office space, but it needs to be flexible and has to accommodate hot desking and flexible working.

Central areas that promote more informal meetings and sessions, whilst bringing an element of fun to the office are on the rise, and no office refurbishment can go through without factoring in digital technology such as video conferencing, much like this office reconfiguration and conference room refurbishment.

Changing needs

In some cases, businesses that previously operated with large amounts of warehouse space have had to completely adapt their business model. Consequently, they no longer require such vast amounts of space.

Instead, they’ve had to find ways to repurpose this space and move towards generating an income from the property. For example, we are currently working with one business owner to repurpose their now obsolete warehouse space.

We will transform the existing warehouse into a series of units that can be let out to smaller businesses. As well as designing the space, we will manage the planning application and oversee the building and fire regulations to ensure a smooth and speedy transition into the world of unit management and letting.


Pubs, bars and restaurants have bounced back, but some habits from the pandemic are here to stay. Pub gardens, for example, have experienced quite the transformation and are a great way to draw customers in.

But a basic pub garden is no longer enough! Customers are looking for an experience that goes beyond the quality of the food being served. They want something quirky, atmospheric…something to share on their socials! We’ve been asked to design some exciting pub gardens recently, and had great fun designing these beach shelters for a local client.

Beach Huts at Chequers Cutnall Green

There has also been a significant rise in the number of coffee houses and farm shops opening up for business. These social hotspots have been extremely popular and provide an important focal point for the local community.

Commercially speaking, they are relatively low spend, but provide a great addition to the local area. In our opinion, they are here to stay so expect to see more of them!

Celebrate the old…with something new

Whilst change can be daunting, breathing new life into a building really is such a joy. Watching a previously underutilised, or in some cases unused building, undergo a transformation and begin to thrive once again is incredibly special.

A few years ago we were asked to design and manage the conversion of a disused chapel to an authentic American burger shack – Annie’s burger shack!

Annie herself is a true visionary and wanted us to help bring her vision for the restaurant to life. As well as devising a concept that utilised the features of the building, it was also important to focus on the small, intricate details that would create a truly memorable dining experience. As a listed building, we also had to work within the necessary guidelines and ensure a sympathetic restoration.

Thankfully, our efforts were well received, and we actually gained an award from Derby Civic Society in recognition of a significant improvement to the built environment of the City of Derby.

We think the number of clients asking us to transform unused buildings is going to rise over the course of this year as business owners think of new ways to create an experience for their customers.

What changes have you noticed in the commercial world? Get in touch, we’d love to know.