Why were ’80s office interiors so cutting edge? Was it an abundance of corporate cash that translated to “sky is the limit” design? Was it a desire to fill a sleek space with equally sleek decor? Perhaps it was a wish to inspire employees and impress colleagues with decadent choices. Whatever the cause, we love the result! With the help of some of our favorite movies and television shows, we spotlight 1980s commercial design motifs:
According to ’80s film, you know you’ve made it big when you’re sitting in an office that showcases over-sized abstract art. J.C. Wiatt (Diane Keaton) knew it when she confidently walked the hallways of her New York workplace in Baby Boom, as did Brantley Foster (Michael J. Fox) as he climbed the corporate ladder in The Secret of My Success.
The angular piece in the image above and the monochrome artwork below prove that 1980s office art motifs were simple yet grand. Similarly, the still the top of this post makes it clear that a collection of interesting paintings can set the tone for a large commercial space, adding personality and intrigue.
Exotic Floral Arrangements
Mirror80 has taken time in past posts to spotlight the popularity of ’80s iris and lily motifs, especially when it comes to floral arrangements. From the looks of The Secret of My Success and Baby Boom, it seems that ditching these overplayed choices in lieu of tropical flowers really elevated the status of a vase. And these vases don’t look cheap either!
Let’s not forget the value of a well-placed potted plant. Or four. After all, glossy indoor greenery stands out when placed in cylindrical planters, such as the large black selections above and the metallic shelf-top piece below (at the right).
From Deco-style sconces to globular desk lamps, contemporary lighting added pizzazz to bold spaces in the 1980s. Take the floor lamp in the image above–even when off, it provides sculptural interest! On a side note, see the tropical flowers behind Michael J. Fox?!
When it came to accents on furniture, the shinier the better. Table and chair legs were two of the most likely places to find a touch of metal in the 1980s office. Michael J. Fox and his fictional boss dine in style in the image above, while Stephanie Zimblast stylishly reclines in the still below from the hit television show Remington Steele.
Who says shiny planters and contemporary lighting should be confined to work? Bring the upscale elegance home. Thrift stores, online vendors and current chains such as IKEA are great places to find modern furniture, lighting and accents! Here’s to a chic week ahead!
Your giving great ideas for my office:)
Thanks, Misty! Let me know if you come across any awesome '80s geometric art!
Those boardroom prints are by Frank Stella I believe.
Phil, thank you for this helpful information! I've been curious about those prints for a long time, and I believe I saw similar art in another '80s film (which I can't seem to recall). Thanks for writing in and solving the mystery!
Seems like I remember Remington Steele having a Morris Louis or Jackson Pollock painting in their Lobby.