Work­ing smart

It’s al­most time to shut up shop for the year. Here are some of the lat­est trends in of­fice de­sign to con­sider for 2019 — and sur­prise: open plan is out!

Financial Mail - - CONTENTS - Ju­lia Free­man­tle

A hand­ful of ex­perts tells the FM about re­cent cor­po­rate jobs they’ve done, giv­ing tips, tricks and in­sider in­tel.

CASE STUDY 1: The Busi­ness Ex­change

Joburg de­sign out­fit Hessek­lein­loog cre­ated The Busi­ness Ex­change (TBE) co-work­ing space in Sand­ton.

Which trends in of­fice de­sign did you em­brace?

There is a real trend to­wards an “anti-of­fice”. Peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ate hav­ing in­ter­est­ing and in­vig­o­rat­ing spa­ces to work in, and be­cause of the ac­cess so­cial me­dia gives us to the world and the in­spi­ra­tion that comes with that, em­ploy­ees have greater ex­pec­ta­tions of their en­vi­ron­ment and de­mand more from their sur­round­ings. In TBE, we have fo­cused on thought­ful spa­ces, from very pub­lic to very pri­vate, and cre­ated care­fully tuned of­fice en­vi­ron­ments, as well as cel­e­bra­tory spa­ces.

What was your main con­sid­er­a­tions in terms of lay­out and aes­thetic?

There are ob­vi­ously cer­tain func­tional de­mands, which dic­tated the ini­tial lay­out — the num­ber of clients, of­fices, board­rooms, and so forth. The next con­sid­er­a­tion is how to max­imise nat­u­ral light.

How do shared of­fice pro­jects dif­fer from home of­fices?

We needed to pro­vide the best pos­si­ble can­vas for each client to make its own [ar­range­ment]. On the other hand, a per­sonal space is very much about one in­di­vid­ual’s own needs. stu­

CASE STUDY 2: Lemon head­quar­ters

De­sign com­pany Lemon cre­ated this of­fice space for it­self.

How are of­fices chang­ing in terms of lay­out and aes­thetic?

Peo­ple want their of­fices to feel like home. There is a def­i­nite move

to­wards cre­at­ing of­fice en­vi­ron­ments that are com­fort­able but still func­tional. Open-plan en­vi­ron­ments have been pop­u­lar for the past few years, but we be­lieve this is of­ten a cost­cut­ting ex­er­cise, and that it is not an ef­fec­tive strat­egy.

The com­pa­nies that con­sider the well­be­ing of their staff cre­ate mul­tiuse ar­eas that have been specif­i­cally de­signed for their needs, which has huge ben­e­fits in the long term.

How does your of­fice re­flect this shift?

It’s im­por­tant to con­sider your cul­ture and your brand when de­sign­ing an of­fice space. For Lemon we worked with our friends at Hessek­lein­loog to cre­ate a space that feels lux­u­ri­ous and re­lax­ing.

We work in a fast-paced in­dus­try and it is im­por­tant for our staff and our cus­tomers to feel a sense of calm in the space. That’s why you will see a lot of rich colour and tex­ture through­out.

Are of­fice spa­ces re­flec­tive of gen­eral de­sign trends?

We be­lieve that fol­low­ing a trend is ac­tu­ally not the way to go for an of­fice, and that you should rather con­sider your com­pany’s cul­ture and the way your team works.

CASE STUDY 3: Rain and Prodigy Fi­nance

Cape Town de­sign stu­dio Bone worked on the of­fices for both mo­bile data-only net­work Rain and Prodigy Fi­nance.

How are tra­di­tional com­pa­nies think­ing about of­fice space?

They aren’t look­ing for the huge vol­umes of space they would have wanted in pre­vi­ous years, be­cause there is so much outof-of­fice and hot-de­sk­ing that


What are the trends you’re see­ing?

There is a lot more em­pha­sis on en­closed pri­vate meet­ing en­vi­ron­ments that of­fer flex­i­bil­ity.

There’s a move away from open plan as a whole – it’s not con­ducive to fo­cused work, so now the em­pha­sis is on flex­i­ble spa­ces (meet­ing

rooms that be­come pri­vate of­fices, as well as phone call booths and so forth).

There is a huge shift, too, to­wards of­fice well­be­ing in the form of yoga rooms, gyms and “mind­ful” quiet zones.

Colours have gone from whites and greys to warmer, richer colours: dark tim­ber, emer­ald, aubergine, for ex­am­ple.

The Rain of­fice feels quite homy — is this a trend?

Be­cause one can es­sen­tially work any­where, com­pa­nies need to en­tice peo­ple back to the of­fice, and of­fer more than they did be­fore. So, cosy home en­vi­ron­ments that in­vite col­lab­o­ra­tion and con­nec­tion are be­com­ing nec­es­sary.

What did Rain want?

Its only brief was to source lo­cally. The build­ing oozed char­ac­ter, which we wanted to en­hance while re­main­ing site sen­si­tive. We en­vis­aged a quirky mu­seum of lo­cal tal­ent. bon­es­tu­

CASE STUDY 4: Tiny Em­pire

Marco Si­mal and Justin Rhodes con­jured up the Tiny Em­pire shared workspace in Cape Town.

How are of­fices chang­ing in terms of de­sign?

Open-plan spa­ces may have worked in the past, but we have come to re­alise that busi­ness own­ers are look­ing for pri­vacy and spa­ces that help peo­ple fo­cus.

Peo­ple are look­ing for a sim­ple, func­tional and beau­ti­fully de­signed work cock­pit

How does Tiny Em­pire re­flect this shift?

We have cu­rated our space into small of­fice suites, your own head­quar­ters within Tiny Em­pire.

This al­lows for per­sonal own­er­ship of space, with the ben­e­fits of a shared lobby when you do want to min­gle or meet in­for­mally or take a break from the fo­cus of the suite you rent.

What do you think peo­ple want from an of­fice space?

They’re look­ing for a sim­ple, func­tional and beau­ti­fully de­signed work cock­pit. We de­vel­oped a mo­du­lar shelv­ing and desk sys­tem, which in­te­grates the ne­ces­si­ties for work (ta­ble, shelv­ing and stor­age) and al­lows peo­ple to ar­range it and add art, ob­jects and plants. tinyem­


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