Materiality plays a critical role in defining a space and influencing occupants as they interact with their surroundings. While the mental process may be somewhat unconscious, human beings translate the texture of materials from the visual to the tactile, enriching the sensory experience and amplifying meaning. One can create “warmth” with soft, plush textiles or “coolness” with glass and metal. Or, one can animate a space and create interest through contrast and the dualities of burlap and unfinished plywood paired with lustrous marble and supple leather.
Primo Orpilla, principal of San Francisco architectural firm Studio O+A, has noted that people in today’s tech-driven workplace have an “appetite for the tactile.” In an interview posted on ideapaint.com, he says, ”I’m talking about brick and steel, reclaimed wood, raw concrete, stone. When much of the work you do is virtual, when each day you send your work product into the cloud, there is something satisfying about retiring to a coffee bar clad in red oak and walnut or going down to another floor by way of a blackened steel staircase.”