With the advent of cell phones, smart watches and other similar technologies, the fundamental need for clocks to guide the patterns of our days has surely diminished. However, that does not mean they have become obsolete for residential or commercial interiors. In fact, clocks are enjoying a design resurgence with an emphasis on style and variety making them a valuable design tool for a wide range of settings.
Clocks as a Statement: Much like contemporary decorative lighting, today’s clocks are often oversized and available in a myriad of creative designs and colors to provide a distinctive focal point. The intrinsic motion of clocks creates added visual interest and can be more engaging than a static art piece. For commercial applications, we typically avoid models that “tick,” “bong” or make other types of sounds that can easily become distracting or even annoying in a short amount of time.
Clocks as a Versatile Design Tool: Simultaneously contemporary and classic, clocks are available in a myriad of styles to fit in with just about any design vernacular from Victorian to Contemporary Industrial. Clocks function effectively as a single element, but their versatility and range of styles enable them to work just as well on a wall with multiple design elements. Several clocks can also be hung together, simply as a decorative element or for informational value such as time zones for an office with multiple locations or a hotel lobby highlighting major cities served.
Clocks as an Economical Update: Clocks can be a budget-friendly tool to breathe new life into a wide range of spaces. This typically quick and easy to install addition can introduce a pop of color, create an interesting focal point or complete a design composition.
Clocks as a Functional Tool: Even with the myriad of technology tools at our fingertips, clocks can still serve a valuable purpose in many applications. For commercial venues such as conference rooms or performing arts centers, we recommend providing a clock on the back wall to allow a speaker or performer to easily track time without looking away from the audience. Just be sure the scale is appropriate to the space so that it can be easily read by someone standing at the front of the room. And anyone who has ever been in a meeting can vouch for the value of a prominently featured wall clock to keep things moving along and on schedule. Gymnasiums and fitness centers are other areas where clocks are valued to monitor game or class times, track workout intervals or phase stretches.
The ideal clock varies for each individual setting. It should be treated like any other artwork selection to reflect the design style of the space and reinforce your organization’s brand identity.
Abby Stewart, IIDA has been creating commercial design solutions for more than 11 years. She focuses on helping clients develop interiors that are not only beautiful, but also provide meaning and inspiration for everyone using the space. Clocks are a classic element that can provide the right touch of whimsy and interest for a distinctive effect.
Here are a few more great examples we found for using clocks as a design tool.
The following sites illustrate the wide range of options available to suit every style, space and budget.
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RLPS Interiors Blog Editor: Jodi Kreider, LEED AP