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What Will Our Offices and Workspaces Look Like In 2020?

[ 0 ] Nov. 6, 2013 | SBO Editor

With concepts that span the re-imagining of office furniture to managing employee health through temperature and light to maximizing multifunctional space, more than 200 architects and designers have helped answer the question: how will we work in 2020?

Architecture and design visionaries shared their insights as part of a contest hosted by Business Interiors by Staples, the furniture and interior design division of Staples Advantage, and Metropolis, the magazine of architecture, culture and design. The Workplace of the Future design competition challenged students, emerging designers and industry professionals to submit innovative concepts for the 2020 workplace.

Designers focused on a number of trends, including:

  • Reclaiming urban space: Capitalizing on vacant building spaces in cities to provide workplaces for businesses, traveling workers and anyone in need of a productive work environment.
  • Re-imagining office furniture: Rethinking the way furniture is designed to facilitate mobile, pop-up workstations with self-sufficient, self-powering capabilities and interactive technology interfaces.
  • Employee-centric design: Creating all-encompassing workplace environments that consider comfort, sustainability and health of employees.
  • Hyper-collaboration: Pushing workspace layouts beyond conventional collaborative models to focus on interdisciplinary, multi-company and multifunctional arrangements that take the co-working trend to the next level.

Winning Designs

Business Interiors by Staples awarded the winner, Joe Filippelli (Seattle, Wash.) $7,500 for his Vertical Flux concept that radically re-imagines office space as a series of atmospheres where occupant comfort and health are at the forefront. This new approach focuses on thermal comfort made possible by advances in technology, as well as natural properties of temperature and light, to create fluctuating environments and comfort zones.

Features of the Vertical Flux office tower include:

  • Radiant heating and cooling
  • Solar-powered fiber optic ceiling that fluctuates in color and intensity
  • Thermally active furniture with touch screen capabilities
  • Multiple varieties of plant life local to each climactic zone in the building

“By thinking of light, temperature, and air as building materials, architects/designers can rethink the typical static office environment and put the worker’s individual comfort into the foreground,” said Filippelli. “I believe staging the office as a gradient, providing opportunities for both privacy and collaboration in a variety of atmospheric conditions, will be a significant element in future workplace design.”

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Category: Features