Often the best ideas don't, sadly, come out of thin air. This is especially true when it comes to office design.
Here at Area, our designers seek inspiration not only from the latest thinking in interior design and groundbreaking artistic concepts, but also from the organisations and employees we serve. Our design ideas are inspired by the culture and needs of the business we are working with, meaning that any innovations in workplace design are tailored to fit in with both the ethos and objectives of any given company.
Aside from workplace analysis, one of the best ways of getting inspiration is by consulting with the employees themselves and seeing how staff use the office space. What is their experience of the current workplace? What would they like to see changed? How does the working environment reflect on the employer? What kinds of space do they appreciate and admire? Getting this feedback is essential to come up with ideas that strike the right balance between artistic brilliance, practicality and employer identity.
Many organisations want key aspects of their brand to influence workplace design. For example, when EasyJet appointed Area designers to transform its head office (which had moved into a 1970s hangar at Luton Airport), it wanted a design that reflected its low-cost appeal and strong corporate identity. This was achieved by creating large open-plan areas, without a single cellular office. The outside cladding was painted orange, giving the 'low-cost' airline visibility, even from space.
When Area designers worked with Nintendo, they had to come up with ideas that represented its fun and vibrant culture but also met specific requirements, such as the need for a demo room for journalists testing new games. Bright colours and heavy branding may have been an obvious choice for this kind of business, but Nintendo didn't want to go over the top. Bright colours, yes, but the branding, visible in glass partitions, was very subtle. One of the focal points is the "snug" in the centre of the office where the company wanted employees to relax while having lunch - play games or have informal meetings. Curving walls, ambient light and forest digital wallpaper with a grass effect carpet helped to develop this from idea to reality. The demo room was also made as comfortable as possible, after Nintendo informed the design team that games testers and reviewers tend to spend several hours in there at a time!
At Area, we seek inspiration from the needs of our clients and the personality and interests of their employees. Where do you get your ideas?
Or why not take to Twitter with #OfficeDesign? You can direct tweet us @AreaSq (follow us here) to tell us your ideas for your own workplace.