US elevators collectively log about 18 billion passenger trips per year. They’re one of the most frequently used features in multi-story buildings. While safety is a top priority, aesthetics play an important role in elevator interiors. A cab carries an average of five people per trip: that’s 10 eyes looking at the design details as they ascend or descend. What are they seeing?
The Importance of Thoughtful Elevator Design
In Building Systems for Interior Designers, Corky Binggeli writes: “An elevator cab’s interior is an almost inescapable and highly intimate place. It is important for a cab in a commercial or institutional building to make a positive impression.” Cabs can be perceived as just a necessity of a multi-story building – or they can become a unique feature that capitalizes on their frequent use.
If you can alleviate the apprehension, claustrophobia, or boredom many people experience when riding in elevators, you can create an opportunity for the user to interact with the building in a meaningful way.
Beyond the handful of square feet of space in the elevator itself, designers and architects have to consider the overall building design. How does the elevator interior tie into the rest of the building? What does it say about the building from an aesthetic point of view? Does it, as Binggeli writes, provide a positive first impression?
Innovations for Your Design
An elevator’s an elevator? No! The interiors can – and should– represent the buildings in which they operate – and the design best practices of the times. Recently, for instance, SnapCab has started to integrate Corning® Gorilla® Glass into many designs. This glass, also used in billions of consumer electronics, opens the door to exciting new possibilities for designers and architects.
Thin and lightweight, Gorilla Glass positively affects weight and the energy efficiency of the elevator. It can be customized with anything from patterns and logos to images of wood and stone, and just about anything else in a photograph. The ability to produce “pure white” glass enables crisp, clear, vibrant color representation and exact matches truly bringing to life a designer’s vision.
In the not-so-distant future, Gorilla Glass could enable elevators with touch screen capabilities and interactive technologies. Elevator riders may be a captive audience; there’s no reason they can’t be an engaged one!
Innovations allow you to stay at the forefront of your industry. Keep a finger on the pulse of cutting edge developments with Gorilla Glass, as well as other innovative materials and methods that are continually being introduced to the elevator interior world.
Customized Without Custom Prices or Lead Times
To create welcoming and aesthetically pleasing elevator interiors (that are also durable and functional), a myriad of materials, finishes, and accessories are at your disposal. Whether the building is edgy and contemporary, serene and soothing, or classic, you can choose elements that will complement the overall design.
SnapCab has over 40 standard designs in their catalog. If that still doesn’t quite meet the needs of the project, catalog models can be modified to achieve the exact vision. Additionally, customized designs are available, especially those that integrate Gorilla Glass. Through Lean manufacturing principles, SnapCab can keep lead times short and reliable: panels and ceilings arrive on time, so that they don’t hinder the overall schedule of the project.
How Long Will It Take To Get A Quote?
Unlike the lengthy estimating processes used by custom companies, SnapCab’s quoting process takes only 15 minutes for models in their catalog. Provide them with your elevator weight capacity, height and your selections from the catalog and an estimate will be on its way.
From Samples to Expert Advice: Support for Your Project
Specifying an elevator interior system means you also have access to a dedicated partner who can help with the restrictions and nuances specific to the elevator world.
SnapCab offers support through every step of the elevator build or remodel. In the early phases, our design team can provide complimentary presentation boards, 3D renderings, and interactive design sessions. We can ship you material and finish samples so you can be sure that they match your vision completely. Sometimes, just seeing and getting a tactile feel for a product can make decisions easier and help answer client questions.
This enables you to see how your designs “feel” as they come to life and to make adjustments quickly and easily. Boards and renderings also support client presentations, without any hassles or major time commitments.
Focus On The Vision: SnapCab Handles Compliance And Safety
Design considerations aside, you also have to consider the nuts and bolts of elevator interiors:
- Elevator interiors must comply with federal, state, and municipal codes.
- They must use fire-rated materials and be tested in their end-use configuration. For instance, wood veneer, substrate and glue may be fire-rated materials, but the finished panel assembly must also be tested.
- The interior elements must conform to specified weight restrictions.
It can be arduous to keep track of applicable codes and regulations, especially if you work in multiple jurisdictions. Why not let someone else handle this so that you don’t have to? SnapCab makes sure our products are compliant, so you can concentrate on the project. SnapCab values aesthetics and innovation – but we always put safety and compliance first.
Seize The Opportunity To Create A One-Of-A-Kind Space
Elevators are an opportunity: an opportunity to take a frequently overlooked space and make it an experience that’s part of the building. With so many people using them day in, day out, it simply doesn’t make sense not to consider all the design possibilities SnapCab has to offer.
To learn more about the author, Eric Farah, please read his full bio here.
Elevator interior design isn’t just “regular” interior design in a 4.5 x 6 foot space. Size constraints can create challenges – but so do fire codes, weight, and other safety standards with which interiors must comply. You need solutions that meet or exceed all applicable regulations and maintain the architect’s design intent of the elevator. Here’s how to preserve the integrity of a beautiful design – without facing non-compliance charges.
Balancing Design and Building Code
Those “Maximum Capacity of This Elevator” signs are there for a reason! Engineers have to figure out the resistance and pull of the entire system to set a weight limit. This ensures the elevator functions properly. If there is too much weight inside the elevator, the doors will stay open, and the cab won’t budge until some of the burden is removed.
Redundant safety features virtually eliminate the risk of a freefall or other accidents caused by excessive weight. Property owners face another problem, though. When they have occupants who need to get to their homes, offices, or appointments, a stalled elevator is not only an inconvenience – it reflects poorly on the building.
Sometimes, a specifier creates a design that is simply too heavy to implement. If it exceeds weight limits, it doesn’t meet code. And if it is non-compliant, it doesn’t meet the customers’ needs. It’s that simple.
A Convenient – Compliant – Answer
The solution can be equally simple. To ensure the initial design is executable, work with an experienced elevator interior company that knows how to preserve inspiration and vision – and lose the code violations.
Say, for instance, that the architect wants to recreate a building’s granite entryway in the elevator interior. Any material can be used in interiors – as long as they meet code requirements. But because granite is so heavy and is susceptible to damage from vibration, it is often not a feasible option.
But this is: printing a granite pattern and then laminating it with durable Corning® Gorilla® Glass panels. As good as the “real” thing? Well – better! Because, while it looks like granite and delivers ultimate sheen and protection, it is ultra-lightweight and easy to integrate into a fully compliant design.
If an architect specifies products that are too heavy or costly, there are viable alternatives that look as great and meet code and budget requirements. A knowledgeable elevator interior partner will help them find solutions that allow their designs to come to life – and pass inspection.
Up to Code
Designers and architects are driven by vision – not code. Working with a trusted partner gives them the coaching, advice, and expert knowledge they need to ensure their vision can be safely and properly executed. This support, from concept to implementation, ensures that they don’t have to spend time worrying about:
- ADA Requirements. In buildings with more than three stories or larger than 3000 square feet per story, elevator hall and call buttons must be mounted 42 inches from the floor.
- Lighting Issues. Elevators must have proper lighting, and canopies need clear, unobstructed passages to a ceiling emergency exit, which needs to be at least 400 square inches, with a minimum length of 16 inches per side.
- Fire Safety Compliance. Materials used on the walls, ceiling, and floor have to be end-use configuration tested. For example, a laminate panel has to be tested with the substrate and adhesive that will create the complete assembly.
These regulations don’t even begin to scratch the surface! It can be a huge headache to coordinate – and an even bigger expense if the interior doesn’t comply with applicable codes. The proper partner can save you time, money, and a lot of Aspirin by handling compliance issues.
The right design team and technicians can flag elements that are not up to code in the design and take over the heavy-lifting. You’ll be sure of two things: that you’re installing an aesthetically pleasing interior that meets your architectural goals, and that you are getting a fully functioning, compliant elevator.
When you work with an experienced elevator cab company, you get the expertise and experience of both a designer and a code expert in your corner. The result? Elevator interiors that impress both building inhabitants and elevator inspectors! The winning combination of outstanding aesthetics and code-compliance means projects that are completed on time and without headaches.
Want to learn more about the expert? Read Eric Farah’s bio here.