Originally published in Interiors & Sources

03/01/2005

Trends in Office Design

Karen Tom

Flexibility, technology and security continue to drive corporate spaces

 

Trends in Office Design
Flexibility, technology and security continue to drive corporate spaces.

By Karen Tom

The Southern California's corporate office scene is forever evolving. As the new year unfolds, companies will look toward designs that provide open, technologically advanced, flexible, comfortable and secure spaces—all the necessary components to attract and retain high-caliber employees and maximize productivity. To achieve this type
of environment, several trends have emerged as popular features of today's contemporary office environment.

COLOR SCHEMES

Offices are incorporating a range of color selections, based on the intended look and feel of each space. Color affects moods and concentration. Warmer tones, for example, are being used to create more comfortable environments. For relaxing and quiet areas, natural materials are used to define a soothing space. In contrast, bolder colors, such as oscillating reds and oranges, are added to spaces to evoke an upbeat, energetic atmosphere.

LIGHTING

Natural lighting remains popular because of its proven energy efficiency and ability to enhance productivity. One current office design trend is to open up a space with as much natural light as possible, incorporating taller windows, skylights, solar panels and atriums. For other sources of lighting, uplights and LED lighting are popular because they are more energy efficient and last much longer than standard fluorescent lighting.

MATERIALS & FINISHES

Natural materials and finishes such as stone, slate and medium to dark wood finishes are growing in popularity. Environmentally friendly recycled carpets in earth tones also are becoming more common.

With the use of "green materials" there has been substantial reduction in the off-gassing of pollutants into the interior environment. This is true of carpets as well as systems furniture finishes.

ROOMS AND AMENITIES

With the continued popularity of open office space comes the need for more conference rooms, both formal and informal. Common requests are for one large boardroom and several smaller conference rooms or meeting areas.

High-tech conference rooms continue be a strong trend, complete with such features as video conferencing capabilities, flat screens and gas plasma screens that offer brilliant images. Also, liquid crystal display (LCD) flat screens, although expensive, continue to gain stride over the standard CRT monitors. LCDs take up less space and power, and also provide clear-cut imagery.

Offices now feature more spacious lobbies that have a strong visual impact to create that first impression. Lobbies are highlighted by sophisticated lighting and finishes, high-end reception desks and less guest seating.

Other amenities incorporated into corporate office campuses include gyms, higher-end staff lounges and outdoor lunch areas. For example, the world headquarters for data capture and conversion company ADCS in Poway, CA, features a full cafeteria, sleep lounge and exercise areas so employees working on a deadline can work 24 hours around the clock.

FURNITURE

Now more than ever, businesses look to create more efficient workspaces that achieve a sense of comfort and flexibility. The feeling of free mobility is important to employees. In terms of providing quality, flexibility and durability, systems furniture in particular has become more advanced than ever before. Knoll Furniture recently unveiled its A3 Office System, which features "high-performance" workstations and other furniture that offer optimum flexibility, comfort and durability for the price.

Ergonomic chairs also continue to be in demand due to reduction in employee stress and injury, as well as enhancement of comfort and good posture—both of which can
significantly impact a company's productivity.

ADVANCED INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Speed requirements of information technology devices are driving the communication
infrastructure of businesses. Advanced fiber-optic cable and the sharing of broadband Internet access has accelerated e-mailing, browsing and downloads. Computerized communication and information storage systems have become so sophisticated that increasingly smaller, more efficient computers are becoming the standard. American Mortgage Express (AME), a mortgage company with huge data storage requirements, can now store all their data on simple rack-mounted file servers.

SECURITY FEATURES

In the post-Sept. 11 business world, security has become an immense issue, and more companies are cautious about how secure they are in their environment. Many office designs now incorporate highly advanced security systems—from mini-cams, access cards and ultra-sensitive alarm systems, to x-ray and screening stations (for larger companies).

Some offices even go beyond access cards to biometrics, which involves thumb, hand and retina scanning; proximity cards, which track employees and monitor access; and specialized ventilation systems at mail distribution sites. These systems are controlled and monitored through a central security station.

ACHIEVING A FEASIBLE DESIGN

There are a number of interior designers and space planners that specialize in helping businesses create office environments that incorporate some or all of these elements. A qualified, reputable and creative design consultant can help strike a balance between an extravagant concept and a realistic, cost-effective design that will best meet a company's needs and reflect its personality.



  • Karen Tom is director of interior design for Smith Consulting Architects. Founded in 1988 by Cheryl (Dennie) Smith, NAIOP San Diego Chapter's
    2001 Architect of the Year, Smith Consulting Architects is an award-winning architectural design firm providing full-service planning, architecture and
    interior design. In addition to corporate headquarters and office facilities,
    the company has specialized expertise in retail, golf, manufacturing,
    telecommunications and biotechnology facilities. More information about
    the company can be found on the Web at www.sca-sd.com.



  •  


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    Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


    Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


    When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

    We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

    Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
    CLICK HERE to find out how.

    Add highly responsive multi-zone comfort to any building project, in any climate. Our CITY MULTI H2i R2- and Y-Series VRF systems give you flexibility to fit the needs of any building. Enjoy 100% heating capacity at 0°F outdoor ambient, and 85% heating capacity at -13°F outdoor ambient.  For more information, log on to www.mitsubishipro.com


    Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.


    Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

     

    Replace core drilling with Connectrac In-Carpet and On-Floor Wireways, the proven connectivity solution in open interior spaces of all kinds. These elegant low-profile wireways are great for AV / telecom connectivity wherever it’s needed.

    Bluebeam® Revu® simplifies digital facilities document management from design review to leveraging as-builts, maintenance manuals and O&Ms submittals.


     
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