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The changing face of the Office: Furniture and Beyond

Posted by
on April 18, 2014 at 04:30 PM

Humans are social animals and want to be able to interact with each other. Modern offices are often designed to encourage collaboration, as employers understand that employees’ being able to interact while they work is beneficial — rather than detrimental — to long-term productivity. We need composed, clutter-free spaces to work in; nobody wants to work in a windowless cubicle anymore, which is why the office space needs to be fashioned otherwise- to cater to a fresh perspective.

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Furniture makes up the building blocks of any space, residential or otherwise -  forming  up a giant jigsaw puzzle with its various components. Considering they are the ancillaries that help a space function, it is no surprise that much thought needs to be given while considering a setup for an office space- a space where every person sends a considerable time of their week.

The stereotypical corporate office has often been portrayed as a dingy, stuffy, and cubicle-ridden space that drains creativity and prevents collaboration. Thankfully, such traditional corporate offices — with their uninspiring décor and segregation — are in many ways a thing of the past. Many employers have realized that the office environment directly influences employee satisfaction, creativity, and productivity. Offices need to funkier, brighter and most importantly, smarter.

While the cubicle system offers some semblance of structure to any workspace, establishing a certain element of order in the spatial sense; it has the added disadvantage of making the office seem monotonous and boring. Spaces of work need to be exciting; they need to inspire you to work. A cubicle system more often ends up doing the opposite, creating creative-restrictions with its partitions.

But things are changing now! With reducing office sizes, workstations are also shrinking, and also becoming more open. Partitions are either being junked completely, or their height is being lowered to foster greater employee interaction. Individual workstation square footage is being slashed dramatically; in some cases, to less than half the traditional size - in part to allow organizations to devote more space for meetings and informal interaction. We are looking at smarter, more chic workstations. Considering, an employee spends so much of his time at the workstation; it needs to be a creation of art.

As people who work all day, we love the chance of having multiple sitting spaces. After all, moving around can prevent boredom, and distraction.  An office space that is spread-out and airy allows that. Humans are social animals and want to be able to interact with each other. Modern offices are often designed to encourage collaboration, as employers understand that employees’ being able to interact while they work is beneficial — rather than detrimental — to long-term productivity. We need composed, clutter-free spaces to work in- Nobody wants to work in a windowless cubicle anymore, which is why the office space needs to be fashioned otherwise- to cater to a fresh perspective.

The smartest way to go for the fresh elegant look is by going for the artistic theme. It inspires a sense of elegance and luxury in the office space, making it look professional and unimposing at the same time. The furniture is plush, stylish and chic, and in no way overshadows the function of the space. At the same time, we want comfort, and a sense of relief from the usually-cluttered space. The trend is to go minimalistic, and simple, in such cases. While budgets are important parameters in deciding how an office space looks; the bottom line is that if you want top-quality work, you need to give your employees a top-quality office space.  Investing in a couple of work stations is always a great idea, along with a set of comfortable chairs and a sturdy hardwood table to create an informal meeting space. 

In any interior space, whether commercial or residential, patterns play an important role in creating themes for spaces. For now, geometrics are the patterns that we’re craving in 2014.  Chevron is still a favorite, but it’s being joined by more shapes that have strong lines and simple colors.  Herringbone, honeycomb, and fish scale patterns are growing in popularity. Similarly, traditional motifs are also the rage, and finding their way in workspaces not only as stenciled art on the walls, but also as fabric patterns on upholstery.

Apart from the bare furniture essentials, incorporating design elements into an office help make it a more intimate space. An office can never have a dearth of planters, and you can create a focal point in the workspace by curating in art, either in the form of a painting or a sculpture. Using fabrics and rugs are interesting tools to make the space more elegant. For office that wants to go that extra mile, shallow basins of still water can also be a design innovation.

Also wall finishes, upholstery and lighting play an important role in giving a room character. So a good amalgamation of accessories, mix of colours and textiles is highly desirable. Always follow a colour palette when you are deciding on the type of furniture for your office; whether you going for an artistic look, with hand carved hardwood furniture, or a funkier setup with bright tones of linoleum, make it a point that your colours complement each other. On the other end, choose furniture that is comfortable, light and un-imposing - the three requisites of great office furniture.

Office spaces are personal to the employee’s tastes just like residential ones cater to the tastes of the homeowner. Colour therapy has always been an essential tool in deciding how spaces work, and creating moods in the environment. Usually light colours such as beige, off-white and cream are tones that most people prefer.  Dark colours should not be used in office rooms, because they are overwhelming, depressing, and cold. Very bright colours are not recommended either, since they cause anxiety and make it difficult to concentrate. Colours that are light-toned and warm are excellent for creating moods of serenity and at the same time, help structure thought.

Remember one thing in the end -  it’s not only important to create spaces that work, but even more so to create them so that you wish to work.

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