Get Your Design Right to the Finish

Experiential Innovation

3M merges science and design to give businesses affordable and functional décor options.

Creating a work environment that is both functional and attractive can be a challenge. From floor plans to interior décor, creating a space that optimizes productivity and reflects your brand’s image requires attention to many details.

Among the unsung heroes in this process are “working finishes,” also called architectural finishes. Affordable and versatile, these film products can be used to transform walls, windows, fixtures, and other surfaces to create a slick new look, enhance privacy, or improve workplace interactions. Here, Tammi Johnson, a business development manager in 3M’s commercial solutions division, answers some key questions about these useful products.

What are architectural finishes?

Tammi Johnson: They’re any type of surface material for your architecture or physical space. At 3M, they’re our DI-NOC™ architectural finish film, which is a film that can cover substrate, walls and other surfaces to give them an aesthetic element, such as a color or wood finish. We also have FASARA™ Glass Finishes and Crystal finishes that can change the look of doors or glass walls. Our DI-NOC Whiteboard film can be applied to surfaces and works just like a traditional whiteboard—employees can write on it with whiteboard markers to collaborate and share ideas. When your team is finished, just wipe it down, and it’s a clean surface ready for the next team or project.

Why are these finishes popular with businesses?

TJ: Architectural finishes provide the benefit of giving you a design element, so they help in your aesthetics around your office. Aside from our whiteboard finish, others can make your walls or other surfaces look like wood or stone. If you’re viewing them from more than 10 feet, you likely wouldn’t know that they weren’t exotic wood or stone. Glass finishes can add your brand imprint to opaque areas, blocking unsightly views or providing privacy to help eliminate distractions or protect sensitive information.

Why choose finishes over the real thing?

TJ: There are several reasons. The first is cost. Architectural finishes can often be installed for a fraction of the cost of the materials they replicate. In addition, such projects can often be completed in far less time with much less construction debris. You can give a dingy back room an upgrade or create a rich new look for the front of your restaurant with less downtime, investment, and waste. They’re easy to clean and protect walls and other surfaces.

Do these finishes offer smaller businesses a competitive advantage?

TJ: Yes. Many independent business owners try to emulate what they see out in the marketplace for the big box, but yet they can’t really afford that. Let’s say you own a local boutique hotel. When you look at some of the major brands, with monumental hotel facilities and lavish décor, it can feel impossible to compete. But with creative applications like architectural finishes and an attention to detail, you can stay relevant and have beautiful décor touches without the higher cost outlay on an ongoing basis. You can choose specific projects and still make your business look like a new facility. Those are the kinds of advantages that can make all the difference in a small business.

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