If you are a regular user of passenger lifts in high rise buildings you will no doubt have been struck by the fact that people tend to stare at the side, floor, control, mirror or the ceiling panels rather than make eye contact with their fellow travellers. While studying these features, they may be noting the details of the finishes, any posted notices, lighting, and general cleanliness.
The aesthetic appearance of an elevator that complements the style and architecture of a building will create the right ambiance and user experience that building owners desire. Finishes on lifts also incorporate safety features such as fire-resistant properties as well as assisting persons with disabilities.
The largest and most visible aspect of the interior of a lift is its side panels. The type and quality of materials used in the manufacture of side panels are largely dependent on the application. In heavily used lifts it is generally preferable to use bushed metallic or plastic laminates with curved corners that are easily cleaned.
Plastic laminates are available in fibre, stone, wood or painted looks which give suppliers more flexibility in their designs. In more upmarket or luxury buildings lifts panels can include exotic wood laminates in a variety of hues and tones. These help to add to the ambiance and feel of the building. Handrails are provided in passenger lifts as aids to support users. This is useful particularly for the elderly or young, to protect side panels from damage and add to the structural strength of the lift.
As part of the side panels, mirrors in lifts perform an important role. From a personal safety perspective, they allow users to monitor the behaviour and movements of fellow passengers. They also enhance the ambiance of the lift by making the interior of the lift appear larger and more spacious. Mirrors also provide a distraction from the boredom associated with traveling in lifts. In addition, they provide a valuable tool in relieving the claustrophobia many people experience in lifts.
From a safety angle, it is important that floors in lifts are made from non-slip materials such as rubber, granite or vinyl. As lift floors are subject to substantial amounts of abrasion and chemical cleaning the materials need to be robust and of high quality.
Ceiling height from the floor should always be a consideration for safety and aesthetic reasons. Research has indicated that people’s moods can be affected by the quality and colour of ambient lighting. Lift designers, therefore, give considerable attention to getting this detail right. They offer options to change light settings at various times of the day and match the lighting in the building. This makes the transition between building and elevator appear more seamless.
It is important that the control panel and the floor level indicator are clearly visible to everyone, even in a crowded lift. Modern lifts tend to incorporate audible floor signals as well as digital/LED floor position indicators. Important safety information such as overload indicators can also be incorporated as well as braille letters on all buttons.
The doors and the interior of an elevator are the only parts of a lift visible to the general public. Lift designers put special emphasis on creating a product that is functional and safe but also has aesthetic elements that improve user experience by incorporating appropriate interior finishes.