A confluence of factors influences the design of spaces for work. Company culture, project location, generational shifts, urbanization trends, technological evolution, systems and furnishings innovations, employee health and safety, and the importance of recruiting and retaining top talent are among the top.
Our approach to workplace design goes beyond trends to understand an organization’s culture, their priorities, and how employees work in teams and as individuals. We then add expertise on shaping environments for interaction and innovation, collaboration, flexibility, sustainability, health and wellness.
Workplace Priorities: Changing Behaviors
Wellness in the workplace
We have become preconditioned to stay conscientious about preventing the spread of viruses and disease. Technology and innovation are rising to meet these needs. Healthy air handling systems now include new strategies for controlling, filtering, infiltrating fresh air and compartmentalizing airflow to ensure air quality. Interior plantings also contribute to clean interior air and offer the calming qualities of nature. Water conservation and purification systems and fixtures bring added health benefits. Companies are adopting whole-health programs that make fitness and healthy eating part of their culture.
Hybrid Offices & Operations
Choose where to work based on your to-do list
Workplace variables can change on a day-to-day basis, including the amount of people in the office, the distance needed between desks, the type of work being done, or the type of equipment needed for hybrid meetings. Adaptability is a necessity of the hybrid work environment. Providing options such as team conference rooms, independent focus zones, comfortable lounge areas, and outdoor patio areas, either for soloists or teams, could make returning to the office feel safe and desirable. Furniture and workstations need to be reconfigurable depending on current needs. Furniture that is easily moved, whether lightweight or on wheels, is desirable when adapting a workplace.
Commuting without a car
Many workplaces seek to be part of forward-looking urban sites or new office and mixed-use “lifestyle centers” with high-density residential and retail nearby to capture the spirit of downtown and create less car-centric solutions to commuting and parking. Whether for a high-profile site, an underutilized urban block or a suburban area, we capture the spirit of a location to fuel the imagination of companies and their employees.
One of our firm’s foundational design philosophies is the inclusion of outdoor terraces, garden areas and plazas in all buildings. Since the firm’s founding, we’ve created over 30 workplace projects with significant outdoor areas—those large enough for company-wide groups—and more than a dozen projects for academic, wellness and cultural clients. This means thousands of square feet of functional, inhabitable, flexible outdoor spaces that present the potential to improve users’ sense of wellbeing.
The success of exterior workspace hinges on effectively extending the work environment and culture outside. Diverse, moveable and clustered furnishings, power access and WIFI infrastructure provide flexibility in how a space is used. Garden areas with plantings and trees reduce heat island effects, control sound transmission and provide shade. Wind is controlled with higher railings, windbreak structures, and step-backs from a building’s edge—all features that improve users’ sense of safety and reduce the impact of high winds in tower garden terraces.
Outdoor terraces and sky gardens for the workplace can reclaim low-use areas such as the top of a parking structure. Mitigating nature’s forces like sun and wind is important to ensure these spaces are used regularly. The goal is to be adaptable for everything from meetings, events, individual work, respite and spots for exercise sessions.
Spatial and Material Qualities
Use of natural and ecologically sound interior materials improves interior air quality and employees’ sense of wellbeing. Bringing daylight deep into office spaces advances sustainable features and provides workers a sense of connection to nature and its health-giving qualities.