Space with feeling
Office space moves beyond ergonomics to the emotional
Philadelphia Business Journal – March 4, 2016
Office space and how it’s designed has gone beyond just building out a place for people to work. One of the challenges to designing space today is that it has to appeal to, and accommodate, four different generations that approach work differently. That makes planning a space more complicated. Regardless of the generation being catered to, there are five workplace issues driving how space and the furniture that goes into it is now designed, according to Janice Leone, a principal with Corporate Interiors of Conshohocken that sells Steelcase office furniture.
A space must:
- Optimize real estate to benefit the employer and employees,
- Enhance collaboration
- Attract, retain and engage employees
- Build a company brand and culture
- Take care of the psychological, emotional and physical well being of employees.
“These trends are driving everything we act on,” Leone said.
To that end, Corporate Interiors is establishing an interactive showroom. After searching for the right space and location, it leased 10,000 square feet at CrossPoint at Valley Forge for what is essentially a “living studio.” The fit-out is expected to be completed by this summer.
The showroom displays furniture, audio-visual equipment and other products in a variety of arrangements to give customers an idea how spaces and furniture can be laid out. It’s akin to a Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn for the corporate office but with some twists.
The company also has a 3-D computer-generated video of the space to show clients different colors schemes, fabrics, finishes, arrangements, heights and sizes of products at the press of a button. A client can then look at the items, from chairs to fabrics to veneers, while on site.
“It’s built so that our clients and the architectural and design team can have a studio to come to help them create and design space,” Leone said. “This is the interwoven story of physical space.”
The center will serve a few functions. First, it is an actual office for Corporate Interiors so it will seek to execute on those five workplace principles — from branding to well-being — for 50 of the company’s 165 employees who will be working from it.
The studio will also show how everything is integrated in a space. That goes for wall systems, cabinetry, lighting, technology and audio-visual equipment, as well as flooring. All of which will be in different spaces typically found in an office environment such as cafés, conference rooms, offices and huddle areas. After selecting what they want clients can put on virtual-reality goggles so they can “see” the space as it would be when completed.
Lastly, it will translate trends into a physical space and as new products become available they will be incorporated into it.