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Trends... Looking Ahead

The easiest way to second guess the design inclinations that will ride the crest of the wave over the next 12 months is to look at the trends that were gaining some momentum in the previous year and consider the longevity of the most popular; the concepts that generated the most requests.

Breakout areas seemed to appear on most lists last year. I don’t think we took on a single, large office project that didn’t include some form of breakout space – and the funkier the better !

Employers have wised up to the fact that all members of staff need an area away from their desks to relax, have lunch, grab some personal space and recharge a little bit. As a consequence, breakout areas have become a part of the very fabric of contemporary corporate workspace, playing to the benefit of all and promoting a more harmonious office environment. If you give workers such a space in the office environment, they’re unlikely to disappear for long periods of time during the day and they become more wedded to the facilities on offer around them.

What I expect we will see, during 2017, is a raising of the bar when it comes to such areas. We will be looking at high-design concepts; on trend colour schemes and furnishing, with a focus on the comfort and the style of the seating; good coffee (always a must !) and other light refreshments.

I also forecast a change in the mix of space and how that space is divided. Open plan spaces require an alternative offering to the general melee of desks for those who require some privacy or who need to work without visible distraction. Workers want to be free to move around and to mingle but they also want to be able to retreat when specific aspects of their work require it.

In the past, meeting rooms and boardrooms have provided the solution for sought after quiet time and the need for discretion however, pods and booths are moving us away from the older model and providing a less formal and more accessible alternative.

I think we’ll see a wider variety of working space offered, within the office, moving forward, to allow workers to work in the style that suits them best and to fit with the specific tasks that they are undertaking at any given time. Pods and booths will sit alongside, and complement, closed meeting spaces to accommodate all working preferences and requirements.

I predict a general call for reduced operating costs based on the conversations that we were having in the last quarter. Businesses are looking for more efficient appliances, LED lighting, zip taps etc – companies don’t want to cut corners but they do want to save money.

Natural light will also continue to feature strongly if the project allows. This is primarily a well-being issue but it also fits with reduced operating costs (see above) and underlying environmental concerns.

Finally, now more than ever, it’s all about the brand and many clients will be keen to go big and bold this year, with large logos in reception, feature walls, use of corporate colours and bespoke reception desks.

At Saracen, we’re looking forward to exploring new and innovative ways of incorporating our clients’ brands into our designs, as the year rolls out, and so we’ll be embracing the current trends and supporting our clients’ aspirations while creating spaces to inspire creativity and nurture wellbeing.

 


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