A master class given by Nikolay Milovidov (UNK Project architectural bureau) on the topic «Trends in designing office interiors, are there any?», organized by NAYADA, was held in Moscow. The event was part of the business program Batimat-2014 and the competition of architectural and design projects for interior space, the Batimat Inside of RIA ARD.
During the master class with the stated provocative topic, the Managing Partner and Chief Architect of the UNK Project Architectural Bureau Nikolay Milovidov outlined the main trends in the design of modern office interiors and the relevant aspects of interactions between customers and architects. The fundamental fact is that office fashion is not born only in designers’ offices. All the emerging trends are due to very specific customer needs and a focus on business development.
It is worth noting that since 2014, the priority is being given to the full-time work in the office, as statistics show that «e-commuting» work is not profitable for business. Even large companies like Yahoo or HP, which practice outsourcing, have officially announced the return of full-time jobs in the office.
The employer is trying to diversify the workspace and make it similar to the «home», as the office today is rather a living space than just a place of work. The beautiful «picture» of the office and a variety of bonuses in the form of lounges, gyms and coffee points serve as an image component of the business, and as an instrument for the HR department to motivate employees to achieve a greater efficiency in work. The fashion, which seemingly tends towards self-expression, in fact, implies a strong rational basis — given the visual component, each office design project has a tough functional and economic design.
The master class logically focuses on the basic functional areas of the office.
Starting with the «welcoming» area of the office, Nikolay mentioned the penetration of the «hotel» trend in the office reception areas. Similarly as in the hotels, one can obtain the necessary information at the reception desk of modern offices, use this space for negotiations or just wait there for a meeting. The development of such a «transit» zone is due to the need for an intermediate space for communication. In contrast to the negotiation rooms, which are more suitable for formal occasions, a soft reception zone allows for meetings that are more informal.
The trend of the unusual design of coffee-points is also caused by the need to expand the communication zones. Modern office food zones are also focused on communication with colleagues and partners. From the psychological point of view, the employees need to have a change of scenery, to have the feeling that they are not at work, therefore, the interiors of cafeterias or large canteens, more and more often, look like restaurants or other abstract places.
The working zone of the office is no exception in this respect. The Open Space principle, the share of which up to the 1990s equaled the share of the cabinet system, is now implemented in almost all the offices. However, according to Nikolay Milovidov, it is impossible to have an absolute open space. New zones appear within the system, for example, offices of the executives. Besides this, business, built on closed communications, will always exist (e.g., law firms, where confidential information is transmitted). Speaking of furniture for the employees, acoustic solutions are gaining great popularity. Consequently, new office zones are evolving — lounges, plush booths, and small meeting rooms. Acoustic furniture allows for privacy in open space conditions and is useful both for personal interviews and for isolated work activities.
The office is becoming a self-sufficient territory, where a person can feel comfortable for a long time. Laying emphasis on socialization within the team, companies are trying to improve work efficiency and the success of their business.
Thus, all the trends of office space designs arise because of the development and emerging needs of the customer. For the architect, the creation of a new office space is clearly conditional on business requirements. «The expertise of the architect, concluded Nikolay Milovidov, is like a mirror: it is necessary to reflect and capture the customer’s needs and even when designing the same functions of the office, we need to be unique every time.»
After the master class, all had an opportunity to ask questions. We would like to thank all the visitors, as well as the organizers of the Batimat-2014 Exhibition and our partners RIA ARD for their assistance in holding this event.