The technology in our lives has previously necessitated the use and ownership of physical hardware. And technology has changed how we work and live through the architecture we build around it. For instance, the TVs entrance and existence in our homes has changed our domestic architecture and design to fit its space demands, from hiding it in furniture, to creating furniture – altars almost – in order to place it centre stage, to becoming a slim, discreet screen on our wall.
Yet unlike domestic design, office design has worked more in harmony with computer hardware. Obvious examples are the wire-managed panel systems of the 80s and 90s, and the corner core desk designed to deal with the depth of CRT-monitors. Less obvious are the similarities in IT infrastructure and office layout, and the similarity between the formal style of interior design as well as the form of computers and circuit boards they housed.
Future corporate workspaces will look and operate in fundamentally different ways from how they have in the past. The traditional office design, layout and aesthetic that we have become used to over the last 50 years is becoming obsolete with new technology. What organisations need to allow for their employees to be productive has changed – and the design of what we call an office must change radically to respond to this development.
I think there’s going to be a lot more freedom in how we design in the future, whether it’s in architecture or furniture, or whether it’s in recreating and re-establishing work processes or supply chains.Paul Wheeler, Head Of Workplace Strategy, Hewlett Packard
On an individual level, one of these changes is that employees will have an ever increasing expectation of not only the way their workplaces look and feel, but also expectations regarding the technology they are able to use in their work, since the choices are wider than ever. To meet this growing expectation, some companies have let go of the control over employees’ technology, giving rise to the Bring Your Own Device trend – where employees get to use whatever digital means necessary to help them get their job done and even have a budget to buy their own device.
On an architectural level, this means having an open mind toward diverse workspace solutions. In the past, technology set dominant design demands on the workplace, but today there are more eye-soothing options where we can put aesthetics and digital tools in harmony with each other through smart solutions. The workplace is now also taking notes from the domestic market to a further extent, and companies can create their own design demands rather than technology setting the demands on the office design. In fact, technology previously led the design in the workplace and a diluted version ended up in our homes. Now we see the availability of technology in the domestic market coming into the professional workspace, along with its design. Simply put: We are now free to choose interior architecture with regards to technology design rather than technology demand.
This article has been taken from the Kinnarps Trend Report 2015. Click here to download the full research paper.