Commercial offices are continually looking for ways to improve their architectural merit – and for a good reason. If you move to a beautiful workspace, you can attract top talent and retain the staff you already have.
This year, trends are changing again, opening up all kinds of possibilities for firms considering hiring commercial movers and switching to new premises. We’ve seen a lot of innovation, both on the style front, as well as on the environment.
Offices That Feel Like Townhouses
Whenever you enter a townhouse, it immediately puts you at ease. The high ceilings, crown molding, and white-painted walls create a serene atmosphere that helps you feel like you’ve really escaped the hubbub of the city.
Now a few companies in the San Francisco area, including Zetta Ventures, have decided to incorporate this unique vibe into their corporate offices.
Walking into one of these spaces feels very much like you’re in somebody’s home. There are sliding interior doors, open plan kitchens complete with cooker and refrigerator, and breakfast bars. In fact, these spaces force you to do a double-take when you first see them. Yes – they’re functional offices, but all the design cues make you think of home.
It is all deliberate, of course. Firms want people to feel as if they can really get into the flow of their work when they show up at the office. And what better way to do it than give their premises a strictly domestic feel?
Functional Offices That Reflect The Style Of Their Host City
For years, commercial organizations erected pillars of glass and steel that you could transport from one city to another without anyone noticing. But now, there’s a movement among commercial office architects to change the status quo.
Turin-based Nuvola Lavazza believes that the best offices are those that are faithful to their host cities but do something new. Perhaps the best example of this is the company’s own new headquarters. The business is located in the Turin region of Italy. But with more than 600 employees, it recently needed to expand. The company, therefore, set about setting up a new campus for itself that respected the relationship between the building and the rest of the urban area.
The firm doesn’t believe in zoning – the current paradigm of town planning. Instead, it thinks that cities work best when offices meld into the existing forms – and respect them.
In many ways, this feels a lot like the return to the pre-enclosure medieval era. Back then, people would graze their animals on vast tracts of land and have small holdings with no physical separation from their neighbors. Lavazza’s idea seems to be to create the philosophical successor of that form of human organization in the modern world. The building appears to twist and turn in concert with the rest of the city and provides public walkways that anyone can use.
There’s been a strong movement towards the building of so-called accessible offices in recent years. Please note that we’re not talking about offices set up for people living with disabilities. We’re talking about those that anyone can access and take a look around.
Of course, random members of the general public aren’t allowed to walk around employees as they work at their computers. Instead, organizations are creating secure public spaces that funnel them into specific areas.
Organizations are doing this for several reasons. For starters, it allows them to get a bit of brand exposure – that’s always helpful. Second, it puts oversized lobbies and atriums to good use. And finally, it provides them with a chance to educate their audiences.
As regards the final point, this is precisely what the Institute is Physics is doing with its accessible office in central London. It has essentially transformed it into an exhibit where people can learn about the science of Isaac Newton using interactive displays.
Architecturally, the space is impressive too. It used to be a retail unit, but the Institute has opened it up, providing a double-height ceiling, balcony, and sand-blasted brutalist concrete. Perhaps you could move to an office with a similar setup.
Offices That Looks Like “Streetscapes” On The Inside
If you find it jarring walking from the street environment to a regular office, you’re not alone. It is something that profoundly impacts the feelings of thousands of people every day.
Now, though, architects are taking note. Is there really any reason why you can’t have stylistic continuity between indoors and out? In their view, there isn’t.
If you head over to Transurban – a Melbourne company – you’ll find something interesting. The interior of the office beautifully mimics the stylistic properties of the street outside. The interior features cobbles, plenty of plants, and public seating areas that would look at home in a park. There’s also an unusual timber-vaulted ceiling and tree beds that merge with the floors.
Sometimes employees want to leave the hustle and bustle of the office proper and “break out” into alternative areas with an entirely different vibe. For that reason, many companies are now investing in office projects that provide just that.
NYC wellness company Nureca, for instance, has fundamentally reworked its office interiors to provide colleagues with more options. There’s a mix of private offices, meeting rooms, kitchens, cafes, bars, and even a pantry for those who like to spend time with food.
The inspiration for the space comes from the historic town of Firozabad in India. It uses the same baked terracotta finish on the interior surfaces creating a unique effect, unlike practically anything else in the western hemisphere.
Colour Palettes That Reflect Working Styles
Most offices carry out a range of different types of work, from creative to analytical. But research suggests that some colors complement these tasks better than others.
That’s why blockchain software startup, Consensys, has created an office with multiple color palettes. Colleagues can choose their color environment depending on the type of work that they wish to do. They simply stand up from their desk, pick up their laptop, and move to a new space, depending on their needs.