Having watched Helvetica, another great documentary by filmmaker Gary Hustwit, I knew this documentary was going to be a valuable source for forecasting the present and future trends in workplace design.
“Workplace is a documentary about the future of the office. It looks at the thinking, innovation, and experimentation involved in trying to create the next evolution of what the office could be.” - Gary Hustwit
If you have the time, I would recommend watching it.
This is going to be a long post as I am going to attempt to summarise some the main points with a combination of screenshots from the documentary.
MODULARITY + FLEXIBILITY
The office is about high performance, productive, universally adaptable spaces.
“People want choice now.” So, RG/A with the help of Foster + Partners aimed to provide, customisable furniture, adaptable to different uses such as team-room to individual-use; people can rearrange their desks, put storage in places and move them back if need be. They are provided with hanging white board panel from the ceiling. They want their employees to know that have the power to change their workplace the way they want while providing informal collaboration spaces, sit-stand desks, desks with wheels - with high level of control.
But they haven’t forgotten about privacy; for the sake of productivity, every now and then people seek isolation so the space also has huddle-rooms for 2-6 people as well as bigger conference rooms.
They have paid a close attention to the acoustics of the rooms to create a pleasing room to carry out conversations, especially with the use of technology.
Residential furniture is making its way into the office – feeling like it’s curated for the employee.
The new open space within the interactive space and the accessible layout, encourages conversations that would never happen at the old place.
SPACE AS A STORY
The Screens: data visualisation, case studies being shown, office conversations and connection reported (i.e. communication between offices in Chicago and LA, or NYC and London)
These screens not only help with the light around the office while proving calmness, they also are a great source of content delivery, while allowing employees to understand the capabilities via content.
On top of the modular furniture, and the immense use of telecommunications and technology to enhance collaboration, the installation of Bluetooth Beacons (Bluetooth device that sends signals to handheld mobile devices) around the office allows employees to locate themselves around the large footprint, can navigate themselves around the office while having access to information about various rooms, clients, and meetings. For instance, they can walk by a room and understand the project and the clients of that room.
The top requirement for their employees was having natural light for everyone (employee survey).
As it is not possible due to large footprint, they found Ketra lighting system – each light has a microchip and a wireless device so the entire system connects and talks to each other. This allows circadian rhythm – are physical, mental and behavioural changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism's environment.
How it works? Lighting on the external signals lighting in the interior so they cooperate.
Everyone inside gets the same amount and quality of light outside.