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The Art of Balancing Form and Function for Elevator Interiors

July 19, 2018

Elevator interiors are the most apt example of compromise. Whereas every building manager would like to make their elevator interiors as snazzy and modern as they can be, within the limitations of technology, factors such as cost and restrictions on cab weight hold them back.


Elevator interiors are all too often chosen to be neutral and inoffensive for all passengers. And sometimes the best elevator interiors are those which are simplest.


There are other practical considerations too. An elevator being used to ferry people but also freight or goods will need to be capacious and sturdy. Too many fanciful accoutrements and it is more likely than not that they will come tumbling down the first time a box or crate brushes them. But a simple elevator interior or a staid design has its advantages.


  • Cleanliness – Elevator interiors that are simple, not overly layered and do not comprise intricate filigree in their design are going to be easier to clean and easier to keep clean. With fewer places for dust to settle, keeping the cab looking fresh and new is much easier. Moreover, with robust materials, such as steel, a regular cleaning regimen can be followed without fouling the finish.
  • Maintenance – The more you add, the more something is likely to break. That adage has become slightly out of date in these modern times when technology and engineering has added a great deal of reliability, but it remains relevant. Add touchscreen controls or fancy lighting to elevator interiors and the maintenance requirements shoot up immediately. Why? Wear and tear, breaking, and the occasional ‘glitch’ are all to blame.
  • Sturdiness – Simple elevator interiors can be sturdier than something which is more ornate. As an example, consider elevators in airports and hospitals. The materials and design are simple, and are designed to maximize space and be hard-wearing. Whether a bump from an airport trolley or a patient bed, these interiors will shrug off knocks.
  • Cost – The ever present bugbear, cost, is a major factor in deciding the level of complexity and design elevator interiors are going to be imbued with. Technologies such as cameras on the outside of the building projecting onto screens in the elevator, interactive features, multiple surface finishes, and complex lighting will all add to the cost of the elevator cab. This will ultimately have to be absorbed either by the building manager or be passed on to the building’s occupants.