5 Design Trends for the Modern Office

As 2012 comes to a close, many of us in the design world are looking forward to the creative ideas and solutions that are sure to unfold in modern office design in the next 365 days. As we plan for 2013, it is important to look back on 2012 and consider the trends that had the greatest impact on how we do business in the modern world.

Open Workspaces
Open workspaces were very popular amongst our clients this year. Open office systems incorporate some or all of the following design elements: team workspaces, shared workspaces, alternative work areas, space for large meetings/training, huddle rooms, broad main aisles, activity space and focused workspace. Get specific details about open workspace here.

A particularly popular design element of the open workspace in 2012 was the use of benching applications. In the modern office, benching is comprised of work surface spaces with a central technology infrastructure. Benching is a very community-centric approach to working individually yet collaboratively, which leads us to the next design trend of 2012 that will certainly continue on into 2013 — collaborative workspaces.

 

 Benching Application in an Open Workspace
Low Horizon Workspaces
Low Horizon, Frameless Glass

 

Collaborative Workspaces
Collaborative workspaces bring employees out of private, heads-down, doors-closed environments into an open environment designed to encourage exactly what the name implies — collaboration. Collaborative workspaces are an essential component to the open workspace plan. Rather than using framed glass or glass with frosting, both of which promote privacy and separation, modern offices in 2012 were designed with a generous use of frameless, frostless glass. Designers lowered horizons in order to create more open and visible spaces. Collaborative workspaces are designed to encourage people to get more involved and connected with one another. Workplace psychology indicates that creativity happens via collaboration, not isolation. 2012 modern office design embraced this concept, and we expect to see a continued use of this design style in 2013. Learn more about collaborative workspaces here.

Open Collaboration Workspace

Open Collaboration Meeting Space

 

Efficiency of Space
As the economy continues to recover from the 2007-2010 recession, corporations are shifting from a “bigger is better” mentality to an appreciation of maintaining a smaller real estate footprint. This shift in culture has affected both the actual size of a company’s office building or space and the individual workspaces. Designers are tasked with the challenge of making every square inch of an office workable space. The trend for creating the most efficient spaces possible has increased the use of demountable walls such as the Infinium wall systems.

 

 Infinium Wall System

Individual workstations are much smaller, and collaborative spaces are used generously. By cutting back on personal workspace and private offices, modern offices are able to increase the size and use of break rooms, lounges and breakout areas. Gaming systems are becoming increasingly more popular in these collaborative spaces. Designing the work environment more efficiently enhances the work experiences, and therefore, retention of employees. Open, collaborative, and yet, efficient spaces create an environment that optimizes creativity and connectivity.

 

Integrated Technology
Open, collaborative workspaces must integrate technology throughout the office design in order to be effective. Without effective technology integration, collaborative workspaces simply will not work. The entire workspace must lend itself to a holistic embracing of technology. From iPod and iPad docking stations strategically installed throughout the space to large screen monitors for Facetime and Skype conferencing, 2012 modern office design trended to the embracing of technology throughout the workspace.

Technology Integration

Technology Integration with Screen Sharing

 

Tangerine Explosion and Other Uses of Color
Pantone named Tangerine the color of the year for 2012, and modern office designers and end-users alike agreed. Two years ago, the trend was monochromatic design, but 2012 experienced the incorporation of color and mixed-material design that brought a much-needed, upbeat energy to modern office design. A 2012 trend we expect to see continue into 2013 is the incorporation of woods with white laminates, as well as the use of brightly colored paint and textures to creatively zone open workspaces. Color and mixed-materials create visual centers or zones, eliminating the use of walls, physical barriers and signage.

 

Tangerine Accent and Platner Chairs

So what is new for 2013? We agree with Pantone … emerald green! We expect to see lots of emerald green in textures and paint this year.