The great office interior design revolution is now
Since the earliest days of the global pandemic, headlines, and opinion pieces about the changing world and interior architecture of office buildings, have been everywhere. In this new office design blog series, we cut through all the noise and shape our own, real workspace renovation project for you.
It’s not all about health and safety though: this blog series also plunges deep into the world of colour and interior design decisions that promote wellbeing and positivity our office workers. It’s less of a ‘welcome back to the office!’ and more of a ‘welcome home.’
Ready to get to work?
The global pandemic affords the world a rare opportunity to give office workers a ‘fresh start’. We’ve all learned so much about our own productivity and the impact of the work environment through creating our own workspaces at home…and now is our chance to apply this lived experience to the corporate built environment.
The design goal throughout this entire renovation build is to create a consistent, positive experience of the building. One of the ways we achieve this is through distinctive colour zones. The zone layouts are also functional, making it easy to book appointments with your co-workers – for example you can book an appointment in the Blue Zone with a colleague, and then you know where you need to go.
We are also working with garden architects to landscape outside of the main building, carrying that trail of biophilic design through to the interior office spaces. Plus, extending the offices into the open air gives us a perfect occasion to showcase our FibreGuard Outdoor fabric collections.
As we’ve been saying for a while now here in our articles: the open office is dead. We’re moving away from that towards new ways design can encourage genuine connection and collaboration between workers.
This ties into one of the overarching themes we’ve seen trending in 2022: Magical Realism. As a theme for the coming year, this theme invites us to dream about the future: what will we take with us back into the world after the lockdowns are over? Our 2022/2023 Trends Book covers 50 pages and 5 trends, exploring our overarching preoccupations within the worlds of design and culture. Learn more about it here.
Renovating office spaces after COVID-19
What technical considerations must you consider when renovating working spaces post-COVID? It’s a challenging question, with a wide-ranging answer.
Here are some of the key factors on the table:
This is a fundamental overhaul of office life as we know it, where we move from a fixed desk system in an open office layout to a more creative, homey space with flexible workstations, including several creative desk layouts.
Think of it more like a coworking space rather than ‘this is my desk’.
Acoustics are extremely important. As we wrote in an article on office interior design from 2019, “A whopping 70% of office workers, in fact, are not happy with the sound levels in their workplace, according to a finding by Leesman. Of all the aspects of an irritating workplace, bad acoustics is a heavy hitter.”
We’re taking our own advice from this article and are releasing the harshness of minimalist office design to invite softness in. Hard flooring and empty walls affect the acoustics of interior spaces intensely: our updated office interiors address this with flair.
Private areas for smaller groups
Gone are the days when you’d be looked at a bit oddly for booking an entire meeting room for yourself so that you can work in peace and quiet.
One answer for this is the implementation of partitions and room dividers made from anything from glass to plastic, to padding and upholstery. Work pods are enjoying their time in the limelight, popping up in office spaces everywhere in an attempt at creating a ‘confined’ workspace amid a larger open interior.
Related read: From Korea to the work floor: the rise of privacy as wellness >
Focusing on materials’ sustainability, durability, and anti-microbial properties
All of the materials used in this renovation work earn their place on the office floor because of their transparent sustainability, their proven durability in high-traffic spaces, and their undeniable visual or sensuous appeal. This includes wood, furniture structures, desks, any carpeting, and, of course, fabrics used.
Working with our own FibreGuard fabrics, for example, sets the focus on texture and aesthetics, acoustics, and warmth, all while benefitting from the anti-microbial qualities that many of our FibreGuard fabric collections now carry.
Where are your office spaces headed?
Are you seeing changes where you work? Weigh in on the conversation over on our LinkedIn page, and stay tuned for the next instalment of this design series.