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!
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. studiohk.co.za
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. bonestudio.co.za
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. tinyempire.co.za