Workplace Design

The layout and programming of contemporary workspaces has been evolving fast to meet the demands of digital working, and the expectations of new generations of workers.

As in all our project sectors, the first stage in designing a workplace environment is to develop a concept from first principles of client collaboration and brief development. We will work with you to understand your requirements and apply space planning principles to unlock the potential of your space. Some of your aspirations will be direct and functional, while others fluid and aspirational. We will interpret your ideas into practical and innovative design solutions.

Often the understanding of a workspace design at an early stage is best expressed through narrative and metaphor. This helps consolidate the design in concept, as well as the appreciation of constructed space by its users. We will work with you to develop the story of your workplace, that will unfold through discussion and design experimentation. Your workspace concept will be communicable, rather than vague.

The space in which we work must be designed in a way that is truly ergonomic, and non-detrimental to the physical and mental health of its users. We apply contemporary standards of design for well-being that cross references the criteria of certification and research offered by the International WELL Building Institute.

When designing for the workplace, it is important to take into consideration the diverse array of valuable activities, interactions and events that contribute towards the success of the operation. Some of these activities are private, and some are collaborative. Formal and informal. All are valuable and space should be designed and allocated to offer opportunities for a wide range of workplace activity. Whilst these are common to all service orientated workplaces, we will help to develop a spatial brief through deep discussion around a particular process and desired outputs.

In the past the desk has been the primary place for individual work, people would base themselves there for the day and move out to other spaces as required. The desk would be taken up for the day although may have been left empty for large periods of time and not available for others to use as it was perceived to be ‘owned’ by whoever had been sat there. However, there an alternative in agile and activity-based environments: a perpetual motion selecting the best space for the type of work at the time. Perception is shifted from ‘work gets done at a desk’ to ‘work gets done anywhere’, including remote locations as well as the office. The desk forms part of the spectrum of spaces to work and is left free for others to use when people move to their next activity. However, these conditions are very much to do with the culture of the practice, and the nature of the service that is being provided. There are strong arguments for creating constant defensible space for workers – the traditional personal desk set-up in space that is conducive to productivity and focus. Our approach as workplace designers is to understand your expectations and those of your staff before we start to design.

The contemporary workspace takes influence from many other building types. Our experience of designing innovative social learning hubs for universities, or communal co-working space for residential buildings offers many interesting parallels with new workspace design. The city of the future will be much more fluid in the way we use it, and new interior space can reflect this shift.