The strength and durability of hardwood timber make it a suitable material not only for flooring but as a decorative feature to lift a commercial or residential space.
"Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen architects and designers incorporate more timber into their projects, extending its use beyond purely a flooring material, to achieve unique interior environments," says Andrew Dunn from the Timber Design Association.
"As a highly versatile product, I think the environmental benefits of timber, including the fact that it’s a renewable resource, will further encourage its use in the building and design sectors."
Hardwood timber is suitable for horizontal or vertical screening or as a partition between different spaces without fully closing them off.
It can also be used to enclose equipment to make an area tidier and lends itself to small touches such as detailing and edging on the walls.
Design practice Geyer recently used timber as a linking element throughout a client fitout. The aim of the project was to convey a contemporary interpretation of the traditional elements of the iconic 'Queenslander' in a commercial setting.
"Timber panelling on the walls and ceilings is a common feature in traditional 'Queenslander’-style homes. We've taken this idea and used the timber as a feature element, for example in the small meeting rooms where the same solid timber flooring material is wrapped onto the walls to add warmth and interest to an otherwise crisp white space," says Tony Alberti from Geyer.
"In some areas we've used wall panelling. However, instead of painting it, as is common practice, we've enhanced the natural properties of the timber. Its rich colour adds a human element to an otherwise restrained and modernist design solution."
Other elements of the fitout which have incorporated timber include door frames for large sliding doors; flooring at key junction points; high benches at gathering points; and hanging rails for newspapers.
"By applying the timber in an innovative way, a contemporary and inviting space that is truly reflective of the brand and brand values of the client has been created," Alberti says.
"We’re certainly starting to see designers and architects push the boundaries of what our products have primarily been designed to do," says Robyn Barnes from Boral Timber.
"Timber is ideal for adding depth and character to a space and whether it’s our solid flooring product being used for doors or our engineered flooring product featured on walls, it’s great to see it incorporated into projects in these ways."