Flexible and Safe Architectural Design Speaks to the Future

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(c) 2003 Padgett and Company
(c) 2003 Padgett and Company

When creating an environment of the future, how is future design Impacted? To answer that question, let’s look at an environment that came to fruition in 2003.

At a time when fabric architecture was still relatively young, this 9,600 sq. ft. environment for Bausch & Lomb at AAO in Anaheim was a game changer. Included in the space were six suites, each designed with softly illuminated white fabric, architectural square metal features with powder coated finishing and elegant wayfinding and light fixturing. As a brand known for pushing the limits of what frame and fabric can achieve, Fabric Images, Inc. was brought on board to execute the elaborate design.

This powerful design was not merely an exhibit space, it was a model for the optometrist office of the future. It showcases clean architectural lines, bright and welcoming lighting and definition of space, including six suites that surround a center lounge.

Fast forward more than 15 years, and not only has the industry naturally developed, but the lines of design between vertical markets is blurring. Here is how this “environment of the future” speaks to the dynamics in today’s landscape.

Bausch-Lomb-AAO (3)

A Space within a Space

As office space dynamics have evolved, the need for flexible workspaces has increased. The customization of open floor plans can take into account both privacy and interaction. Offering a mix of spaces for different activities and varying needs of privacy has become paramount, and it is possible to add architecture within a space that achieves this without major construction. That is where architectural fabric comes in, as we see in the Bausch & Lomb design.

Enclosed conference suites were created with a 2” square tube exterior that supported an interior fabric system covering three sides and the top. In this example, messaging was digitally printed on the exterior to support the brand story. As if this weren’t enough, the structure also supported an inner fabric canopy with custom-manufactured frosted acrylic and metal light fixtures. All wire management was strategically run and hidden within the frame and fabric components.

Bausch-Lomb-AAO (2)

Safely Walling Up

Although already a trend on the rise, offering separation between people or work zones has increased significantly as a result of the pandemic. Incorporating fabric walls affords the need for distancing while offering definition, opportunity for branding, flexibility and segmentation of space. This is relevant to a range of markets, including corporate interiors, retail spaces, hospitality and more.

In the environment for Bausch & Lomb the white walls present multiple attributes.

  • They define the suites and offer social environments that separate multiple conversations.
  • They introduce wayfinding with the integration of acrylic stand-off panels.
  • They brighten the space with the use of interior lighting, an effect which fabric beautifully achieves.

Bausch-Lomb-AAO (4)

Architectural Features

The devil is in the details and this design has a lot of them that are architecturally breathtaking. Leveraging exposed metal with tension fabric allowed the design to be fully representative of a modern (in today’s landscape) commercial interior. The melding between frame and fabric was beautifully crafted with decorative stand-offs and clean bracketry. These details can easily be re-imagined within a host of market spaces.

The relevance of past design is vast as we look at the landscape of today. While exhibit and event spaces are on hiatus, we can take what we have learned and apply that knowledge to a host of markets, experiences and branding opportunities.

Would you like more information on how to achieve your vision? Contact us here 


Fabric Images, Inc. was responsible for manufacturing the white illuminated suites- including walls and metal detailed fabric canopies with light fixtures; the blue suites- including exterior metal detail, digitally printed fabric interior, canopy and light fixtures; and hanging signage and theater décor.

Fabric Images

Fabric Images, Inc. is a premier manufacturer of printed and non-printed tension fabric architecture and material solutions. Our focus is on integrating structural frame and textiles into environments to enrich brand quality and the expressive identity of a space.

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