As a part of Trend report 2017 series, last, but not least we look at workplace design. Pratyush Sarup, design manager at Dubai-based Spencer interiors explores planning, materials and colours, stating that the office of today needs personality.
The way business is conducted has undergone a seismic shift. The way we design workplaces must reflect this. From planning and materiality to the final touches, we will see more humanity in the way we approach workplace design.
Our studio has designed corporate spaces for the likes of Herman Miller, Lasvit, Loreal, Google and MasterCard. Globally, the debate on open-plan offices versus its stuffy, hierarchal planning ancestor wages on, in the Middle East, only a balance between the two truly works. Within that, we see a mellowed approach to office interiors gaining ground.
As business owners seek to reflect a more inclusive work culture, the face-lift is evident right from the reception where the typical monolithic desk is replaced by welcome zones and lounges. Meeting rooms are moving away from board-room sternness to taking inspiration from dining rooms. With an eye on staff well-being and nodding to flexi-time culture, a good percentage of the floor area is being designated to break-out zones. Google-ish break-out spaces are giving way to café culture inspirations.
The move away from oppressive floor plans is manifested in the third dimension by a warmer, timeless palette. Say goodbye to dark-stained woods, patterned wallpaper and cold steel. The walls are lighter and devoid of overtly loud manifestations; the wood is blonder, while the browns and greys are tonal. Brought together by black powder-coated hardware and indirect lighting (warm of course), the effortlessly chic Scandinavian palette is relaxing yet efficient. Easy to maintain and cost effective to achieve, this minimal palette requires exemplary finishing quality, but the prospect of having a work environment that will out-live fickle trends usually empowers clients to look at Scandinavian design beyond IKEA.
Attention should be paid to innovative materials and exceptional textures. Made by sophisticated raw materials used in the glass, porcelain and quartz surfaces production, Dekton by Cosentino offers infinite application possibilities such as worktops, flooring and cladding for the most demanding of office spaces. Dubai-based Kens & Company is known for its range of semi-precious stone veneers, laser-cut marbles, supple leathers, hand-embroidered wall coverings that make for sumptuous office interiors.
Leading carpet manufactures Interface have introduced World Woven. For the first time, this range incorporates hand-made materials and hand weaving in commercial carpet production. The result is a unique flooring solution perfectly in-line with our view of bringing a bit of home to workplace design.
The final flourishes
The office of today needs personality. For an office in Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT), we commissioned bespoke art pieces that took inspiration from the client’s branding colours. At another project, we appointed a bicycle in the reception. For Google, we even created a meeting room inspired by camel racing. The bottom line is – accessorise and layer. In supporting the creative class we deploy originals. Be it an Eames classic or an original Artemide light piece – like a house, it is the finer things that really make the office of 2016, a more fulfilling place.