Key Trends for Office Design in 2018
While it may not move as quickly as some areas of architecture, the design of the office has still undergone significant metamorphosis, particularly in response to changing working styles. Here we look at some of the key office design trends that are set to dominate in the coming year
Unconventional breakout spaces
Building on a relatively longstanding theme within modern offices, the breakout space has become particularly important in recent years as companies seek to attract top talent and mimic the inviting and trend-focused world of startups. Key to this trend is unusual spaces and shapes, providing areas for employees to work both individually and in groups, as well as socialise and collaborate. For many companies, these spaces play a vital role in encouraging employees to work long hours and take initiative within the business.
In the heart of Talinn, Estonia, the Rotermann grain elevator has been adapted to provide a variety of spaces, and combines the historic and the modern. Image courtesy of KOKO Architects
The Sarimanah office in Bandung, Indonesia, converted a house into an office space while maintaining much of the styling of the original home, in order to lend a more relaxed feel to the building. Image courtesy of Arkides Studio
Antao’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China, makes liberal use of natural materials and greenery as a point of comparison to the urban landscape around the building. Image courtesy of ANTAO group
The Sinergia Cowork in Montevideo features a blend between created and natural materials, centred by hanging plants that unite the various co-working spaces. Image courtesy of Marcos Guiponi
Greening the office
Biophilic design, which is characterised by natural materials and planting, has become an increasingly popular trend across a host of scheme types. In the world of the office, however, it provides particular value for employee wellbeing as numerous studies have linked the presence of natural materials and planting to improved mental and physical health. Wood and stone have become particularly popular materials in this trend, while planting, including green walls, have become increasingly widespread.
A contrast to the stark white walls found in many office environments, the use of multiple contrasting materials is becoming increasingly popular. Designed to create an environment that feels varied and inspirational, offices following this trend will often combine different finishes, paring glossy materials such as metals with matte wood or stone. Textiles are also gaining popularity as materials for office projects, in part due to their benefits for sound-proofing, but also to provide a warm, tactile environment.
The design for the Inseed co-working space in Osaka, Japan, combines a range of materials and colours to greet visitors at the entrance. Image courtesy of SWING
The Kiev, Ukraine, located UN.IT building combines more conventional office design with natural, wooden spaces. Image courtesy of M3 Architects
Carlo Ratti’s Office 3.0 in Turin includes heating, cooling and lighting that can be tuned to each worker’s preference. Image courtesy of Carlo Ratti Associati
Many offices are now including private ‘phone booths’ for employees to make calls, such MMNT Studio-designed Make Lemonade in Toronto. Image courtesy of Make Lemonade
Technology has for many years played a vital role in the typical office, but so often has remained an afterthought when it comes to design. However that is now changing. Communal technologies such as screens and videoconferencing suites are now being more carefully integrated into office projects, sometimes becoming key focuses on a design. In addition, technologies that enable energy efficiency are now widespread, and are increasingly being designed into the heart of office schemes.
While running the risk of appearing cheesy, corporate identity is increasingly being used to form the backbone of office design schemes. In many cases, it can be used as the basis of a colour scheme, but is also being used to inspire materials, shapes and lighting choices. In some cases, companies are even choosing to embed their logos into their office design, embracing increased customisation options available through many surface suppliers.