Creative Spaces: When Steelcase met Microsoft

You may have noticed that on my recent visit to Clerkenwell Design Week 2017, I mentioned a seminar by Steelcase about Creativity in the Future of Work.

It teased an innovative collaboration between the global office furniture manufacturers and Microsoft, where they designed ‘Creative Spaces’ which integrated Microsoft’s ‘Surface’ products into the workplace.

It’s such an exciting project, we thought we’d look at it in a bit more detail.

Enabling Creativity

Microsoft recognised that creativity is now a trait that’s encouraged and nurtured in most sectors. In fact, they called it the 21st-century job skill.

Working with Steelcase, they wanted to show how the right combination of place and device could unleash creativity within employees.

Sharing ideas and encouraging collaboration have been the driving forces behind workplace design for some time now. Something that the concept of Activity Based Working in particular embraces.

Microsoft knew that the architecture and furniture of an office could help to encourage people to share their creativity with colleagues.

They also saw that it happened most fluently when people had access to the right place and the right device at the right time.

They wanted to create somewhere that made these chance encounters even more achievable.

An office that matched the rhythm of your day

Moving away from workplace design that was based around linear, siloed and hierarchical layouts, they wanted to create an ecosystem of spaces.

Using Steelcase’s expertise they wanted to evolve the workplace into a space that reflected the fact that the rhythm of a working day is fluid rather than rigid.

They wanted a new way of unlocking creativity

Environment & Technology - Physical & Digital

For every job that needs focus and solitude, there are projects that require collaboration and teamwork.

Both organisations wanted to create a workplace that didn’t get in the way of how its staff wanted to work and embraced both of these working styles.

Combining the environmental design skills of Steelcase with the technological innovation of Microsoft, they wanted a workplace where the digital and physical met.

Creative Spaces

Their combined efforts resulted in Creative Spaces. These five workplace designs integrate with Microsoft’s family of Surface devices and have their own specific purpose and function.

Ideation Hub

Featuring the Microsoft Surface Hub, their huge multi-touch screen, this space actively encourages high-tech collaboration and idea sharing with colleagues.

Respite Room

Sometimes inspiration comes when you get away from it all.

Focusing on furniture that allows relaxed posture, this private room gives staff some much-needed alone time.

Focus Studio

Designed with Microsoft Surface Book or Surface Pro 4 laptops in mind, this space can adapt to the flow of a project.

Perfect for initial individual creative work, it can accommodate two-person collaboration as well as larger groups for sharing final concepts.

Maker Commons

Everyone needs that informal corner to catch up and share our thoughts with colleagues. It’s often where spontaneous creativity occurs.

Ideal for a mix of devices, this social space is designed to encourage quick switching between conversation, experimentation and concentration.

Duo Studio

Designed to encourage working in pairs, this space features the Microsoft Surface Studio. Upright, it can be used as a large monitor and tilted, it becomes a drafting table.

With its lounge area, you can invite others in or simply put your feet up while sharing ideas.

Creating your own Creative Spaces

The epitome of activity based working, these Creative Spaces give staff the freedom to choose how and where they want to work, based on the job at hand.

While some businesses may not have the budget to combine all of these elements, the concept behind the project can certainly be adapted to suit most office layouts.

Working with Steelcase ourselves, we have access to their innovative office furniture solutions. So if you’d like to see how we can help design your own creative space, get in touch today.

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Categories: Office DesignOffice Design TrendsOffice Furniture

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