The Big Question – July 2018

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The current workplace ‘revolution’ is actually just another stage in its evolution. Whilst the interior design world understands, lives and breathes this, are property developers and agents up for it?

Mark Alcorn, Managing Director, c2 concepts
Agents and developers are as excited as we are and they demand more dynamic possibilities from real estate because tenants are onto it! The coworking brands are, in a sense, leading the charge with dynamic, connected, humanised environments that make people and businesses more communicative and somehow more extrovert. It’s also a catalyst for a new phase in fit-out spec from building services to look and feel, departing from the more tired modules and iconography of austere office design for new creativity in interiors. It’s a pretty exciting time for workplace design!

Jill Bancroft, Director, Brown & Bancroft Interiors
In short, yes! We have seen a huge change in both attitude and approach from commercial developers, who are more prepared to commit considerable time and money to work alongside interior designers in a bid to create buildings that excite and wow. And with the current trend of occupiers wanting more ‘bang for their buck’, the lettability of commercial premises depends on it.

Helen Barlow, Director, Harrison Ince
Yes. Agents and developers should be occupier-led – essentially their aim is to let space. While there may always be a need for some conventional office spaces, the growing trend among occupiers is for flexible and more creative space. Large corporate companies are looking at the workplace as an investment to attract talent and retain it, whereas smaller business are now seeking spaces that allow flexibility, collaboration and community. The workplace will always evolve – and agents and developers will need to evolve with it to meet the demand.

Chris Birch, Director of Sustainability, Hilson Moran
I see a mixed bag both from the technical and geographical perspective. Developers and agents are definitely feeling the advantages of agile working practices and wellbeing in the workplace. In the last 12 months, we’ve seen some great examples of innovative workplace design that’s starting to put people first. I believe the sector needs a Post Occupancy Evaluation evidence base, demonstrating the benefits of agile working in terms of efficiency, wellbeing and staff retention.

Louise Grimes, Associate,  AEW Architects
Whilst economics is high on the agenda, developers are embracing the cultural values of the Workplace Revolution. Third spaces are being generated in making viable use of dead space such as a concourse of agile work settings, transformation of an undercroft, creating flexible event spaces or a biophilic inspired rooftop social idyll. Advancing technology as an enabler of anywhere/anytime, offering investment return by way of occupier preservation, portfolio marketing and brand awareness.

Atilla Denis, Senior Interior Designer, SpaceZero
I believe developers and agents are not only ‘up for it’ but are encouraging the further catalysing of the movement. The recent revolution in workplace design has redefined the way an organisation perceives their workspace. As designers, we are tasked with conceiving revolutionary environments to accommodate increasingly bespoke needs for the client. Without the support of engaged developers and agents, the next revolution may never be discovered. They facilitated the last one – long may they support the next!




Top Row  (L-R), Mark Alcorn, Managing Director, c2 concepts. Jill Bancroft, Director, Brown & Bancroft Interiors. Helen Barlow, Director, Harrison Ince.

Bottom Row (L-R), Chris Birch, Director of Sustainability, Hilson Moran. Louise Grimes, Associate, AEW Architects. Atilla Denis, Senior Interior Designer, SpaceZero.