Top 5 Design Trends for 2014
As we head into a New Year, our Design Team dug out their crystal balls and decided to share what they believe will be the next big things in office interior design. If you want your office to be ahead of the game, here are our top 5 design trends for 2014.
Gareth Davies – Indoor-Outdoor
I believe that in 2014 the increased awareness by businesses of their surrounding area and environment will influence architectural design and interior spaces. People are striving to break away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life by breaking down the divide between indoors and outdoors and creating a living and working environment that enhances well-being.
Whether it’s through commercial interior breakout spaces or central courtyard areas in domestic architecture, the boundaries between indoors and outdoors are becoming less clear. You can achieve this by opening the façade of a building up to the environment, merging an indoor space seamlessly with an outdoor area, or by incorporating vibrant colours and natural textures into an interior space to give the sense of being outdoors. Japanese architects have explored this indoor-outdoor theory in the past but I feel 2014 will bring more of this architectural style to our offices and workplaces where better working environments are needed.
Rachel Rees – Communication Overload
In 2013 we saw ourselves slowly start to emerge from the doom and gloom of recession. As a result, in the world of office interior design, we were bombarded with many fresh ideas and exciting, new products and I can see this continuing in 2014. The products may have taken on varying forms and functions but they all had one thing in common, to combat or improve upon the effects of ‘the open plan office’. As many people will recognise, the biggest problem you can face in an open plan office is too much ‘communication’. The daily office-scape can be a noisy, distracting and not always conducive to productivity or private conversation. As a result, the opportunity to ‘get away from it all’, or at least reduce noise levels, is essential. This can be achieved through the use of specialist products like freestanding self-contained pods, funky self-supporting acoustic screens, high-backed booth style seating, and acoustic panels.
In my experience, new ‘trends’ take a while to filter through to the mainstream. I predict conscientious employers will embrace these working enhancements and that they will prove to be big in 2014. We are always looking ahead, so we’ll definitely look to use some of these solutions and also keep on top of what’s going to be big in 2015.
Ceri Bowden – Feeling Blue
15 years ago, when I started my career in office design, my very first scheme was heavily influenced by the other designers in the office. I watched as they picked out chairs, carpets, screens and wall coverings in cool corporate blues. It was an easy choice and, as a result, they were used everywhere. To this day, when I walk into an office to take a brief for an office fit-out, if all I can see is blue I can predict the last time it was refurbished. Needless to say, I quickly got fed up and vowed never to use it again…or so I thought.
I predict that 2014 will see the return of blue with a vengeance. I’ve always thought that blue was special anyway, a reassuring colour that means business without the harshness and self-importance of black. Unsurprising then that Pantone picked Dazzling Blue as the colour for the season, with the other big paint companies, like Dulux, Crown and Farrow and Ball, unanimously predicting blue as the colour for 2014. So it looks like I will be going back to my design roots for 2014!
Mark Russin – Rethinking Green
The strong ongoing application of sustainability and austerity principles initiated by necessity in 2013 will continue to manifest themselves in 2014 and beyond. One example is the Green Rethink championed by the Architects’ Journal. Here we see the definition of sustainability itself being questioned with the trappings of costly eco-bling rejected in an effort to find long lasting core principles that have a value to builders, owners & users.
Quality adaptive reuse, in which existing buildings are completely rethought and integrated, will continue to grow. The existing part(s) of these projects are often difficult to pick out of the completed building. Sadly much of the office to dwelling house conversions championed by the current government will not aspire to such lofty heights. Aesthetically we see buildings, inside and out, pared back with elegant restraint in response to shrinking budgets. Design and details harken back to the works of the Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne. This will bring craftsmanship back into the limelight, which was previously eschewed for ‘warrantied systems’ in plusher times.
Jon Foster – Workstation Changes
The global use of laptops and flat screen technology, coupled with flexible working could have an effect on the footprint of the traditional ‘office desk space’. With the advancements in technology and pressure to increase occupancy levels in buildings, we may see a trend towards smaller and, more specifically, narrower depth workstations to reflect the changing technologies of the modern workplace.
Combined with the change in the workstation size, the emphasis and importance of the ‘office desk space’ will focus even more on the operator’s chair. Wireless technology, the use of mobile devices and flexible working practices may see workstations becoming simplified significantly over the coming years – the need for a heavily engineered workstation to accommodate heavy IT kit may simply no longer be required. Workers will still need somewhere to sit for work when they are not standing or collaborating, but a simple desk and a good chair may become more widespread in the workplace.
It’s entirely up to you whether you carpet your boardroom with AstroTurf, give your staff a free standing pod to escape to, re-paint everything blue, go green for 2014 or re-assess your office desk space. But at least you can say that you’re well and truly ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest trends in office interiors.
Posted by Helen Bartlett on
22 January 2014 at 12:00 AM
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