Fairchild Books Interior Design Library - Featured Content

Featured Content

Make Yourself at Home: Offices Home and Away

Bedford Square Bloomsbury office lounge
Image credit: Bloomsbury Publishing plc

The recent redesign of the Bedford Square Bloomsbury office in London by designers Kit & Minnie Kemp is a reflection of the post-pandemic work environment, which is comfortable for employees, inviting for guests and encourages sociability and creativity.

The shift to hybrid working has transformed not only people’s lives, but also the way offices and homes are used. In the United States about 63% of high-growing firms deploy the “productivity anywhere” type of hybrid working, supporting the increase in use of communal working environments such as WeWork. Going forward, it is important that both offices and homes are designed to accommodate for this shift.

Interior Of Home Office With Computer At Table
Image credit: Morsa Images via Getty Images

Office at home

"A building is not just a place to be but a way to be"- Frank Lloyd Wright

As higher than ever numbers of people are now working from home, the need for a well-designed home office setup is essential. It is frequently necessary to design the home office so that work can be conducted without distractions and without disturbing other family members. Research from the Royal Institute of British Architects states that a lack of space is the most common cause of dissatisfaction people cite in relation to their homes. This chapter looks at how space planning can be used to fit the requirements of a space together like a puzzle. The demands of a work space in the home, such as the need for a space separate from other household members, cannot always be met, especially in cities where life is typically lived in apartments. This chapter on the design of private spaces explores how design decisions can be made which utilise space to optimize focus and balance with domestic life. Designers must consider individual needs for personal space in residential spaces including good ergonomics for all sizes and diverse needs based on culture, gender, age, or other circumstances.

Two Colleagues Looking At Work Using Standing Desk
Image credit: Tom Werner via Getty Images

Home in the office

"Good design allows things to operate more efficiently, smoothly, and comfortably for the user. That’s the real source of advantage. Businesses have started to understand this, so good design will become the price of entry . . . Customers appreciate good design"- James P. Hackett, President and CEO, Steelcase (source)

As people in offices have various positions and perform a range of functions, offices should be designed to accommodate this variety as well as creating spaces for functioning groups. This chapter focuses on the example of support rooms and their importance to functional office design. Human factors which should be considered when designing an office to be a productive yet comfortable environment. In this chapter, various case studies are used to explain the different design stages of an office to meet standards and specifications.

Similar to how an ergonomically designed office environment can enhance employees’ performance, environmental issues such as noise, lighting, and colour are important to provide a physically and psychologically healthy space. This chapter explores the role of colour and light in the built environment in supporting well-being and uses evidence and recent research on the effects of colour on behavioural health.

Modern Office Shoot
Image credit: Kelvin Murray via Getty Images

Third places

Place and its influence on our sense of identity is an essential element of the human condition. Having a sense of place is necessary for the fulfilment of human connections and a sense of belonging. Urban sociologist, Ray Oldenburg, described the home as our first/primary place, the workplace as our second place and introduced the concept of ‘third places’ as the spaces where we choose to spend recreational and leisure time, such as gyms, parks and libraries. However, the introduction of remote working environments has usurped traditional spaces, with the lines between the distinct places blurring. Restaurants and cafes now play a vital role in local economies as they serve as places to conduct business, complete workplace tasks and gather with friends. This chapter explores how in a post-Covid world, there appears to be a decline in the role and value of second places with greater credence being given to third places and the impact of this trend on these spaces and human relations.

Images above and on the homepage are courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing plc and Getty Images.

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