A Touch of Graham

Considerations in Commercial Design

When it comes to commercial design, one size does not fit all. Every project is unique, with its own style, brand and function to consider. While there is no cookie-cutter solution, one can approach each project with a philosophy that guides the design. The core of the philosophy is functionality, around which the various other elements of commercial design will take their cues.

Typically, Graham Reese Design Group’s clients seek an upscale, boutique feel in which rich materials, understated design elements and sophisticated lighting are prominent. Regardless of the scale of the project, a business’s fundamental purpose will serve as the launching pad for our job of interpreting their brand identity in a physical space. After the primary function has been determined, we are tasked with making the space serviceable as well as visually pleasing.

Exceptional commercial design will result in an innovative and inviting branded environment with minimal wasted space. Appropriately laid-out corridors that make navigation easy is vital for customer experience. Design that is conducive to employee productivity is also imperative. Graham Reese Design Group likes utilizing glass where possible to take advantage of the benefits of natural light, which are not only aesthetic but also known to play a part in worker efficiency. Additionally, it is wise to consider incorporating areas that allow people to gather by providing employees with perceived “support spaces” in which coworkers can congregate.

Finally, but certainly not last, Graham Reese Design Group places an emphasis on creating a signature lobby. It is not only a customer’s first impression, but it also marks the beginning of an enterprise’s entire space and sets the tone for the experience one can expect beyond the lobby. If commercial design is executed properly, the foundation of functionality will naturally support a business’s personality as expressed through its brand story.

The Art and Function of Floating Ceilings


Floating ceilings are a trending design element, and they bring both style and function to any space. Adding a floating ceiling to a space will engage corridors and rooms, so that it isn’t just a plain and flat ceiling. This design upgrade is also relatively inexpensive to do, for the impact it will have.

Adding a suspended ceiling has a two way design function. Not only can you dress up your flat ceiling, but you also have the opportunity to conceal any wiring or piping, to avoid negative visual impact. Using a suspended ceiling will also add an engaging and dramatic impact, incorporates a way finding tool, and adds importance to an area of your space. An example in my portfolio is the High Cotton Brewery Tap Room, where I added a floating ceiling above the bar, utilizing colorful wood planks for design, while also highlighting one of the most important areas of the room.

Adding a floating ceiling to a commercial building can also highlight prominent areas for guests, like a reception area or a conference room. When I am designing a commercial office, I prefer to use floating ceilings in design, as the floor and walls need to remain functional. A suspended ceiling allows room for “play” in my design, and helps add an essence of contrast and design without compromising the function of the office. One of my favorite commercial spaces where a floating ceiling added a powerful design element to the space is at Metropolitan Bank, above the reception desk.

Adding a suspended or floating ceiling adds an incredible impact to the design of any space, while also easy on the wallet. I appreciate this design element’s ability to not only add dimension to any space, but provide function to those who use it.

The Orchid

A quick way to tell if Graham Reese has designed a space, is to look for an orchid. This flower is a go-to with this design group, because no matter the space, an orchid will add a sensual and simplistic element to any space; commercial, retail, or otherwise.

This flower will instill a zen or comforting feeling to your guests, which is why it is the flower of choice in our spaces.