WPP invest in the future of campus workspaces
WPP is bringing landmark buildings back to life – and, in doing so, revolutionising the workplace.
An awful lot has happened to the interiors world since the inception of Mix Interiors. Here, we’ve asked a selection of industry friends to tell us their favourite projects, products and major changes in the workplace over the past 20 years.
Mother at the Tea Building – a really inspirational working environment. This is a solution to arrival, flexible central working space and an advocate for coworking developed with landlord, designer and end-users.
Freedom to roam. Laptops, mobiles, Zoom technology – allowing effective sustainable communication, reducing travel and carbon footprints.
The art of the reassessment of architecture is a palimpsest to an interior’s adaptive use. Technology allows freedom, creates cultural significance with the redistribution of work, rest, and movement.
Parcs by Pearson Lloyd for Bene – now 10 years old. I believe the initial launch of this range was a catalyst for new workplace design and influenced the increasing demand for ‘acoustic’ seating and localised booth working in open plan working spaces. Their design research and subsequent design brief was excellent.
I am increasingly impressed by our awareness of the environmental impact of the work we do and the materials we use. The structures and legislation that have been introduced to improve and control this are more relevant than they have ever been.
Palestra London, designed by Alsop in 2006. For me it was the moment I saw modern architecture and design move in a new direction.
The rise of the pod! Many of the furniture pods are striking, visually, and a great place to work or meet. A real fit with the focus on agile working.
The focus on people, their health and wellbeing – and the fact that mental health is openly discussed. People matter more than anything. I love the fact that this is visually happening within our industry and the wider world.
Great Glen House, Inverness – the first BREEAM ‘Excellent’ office in the UK.
Pixel Unit by Office Electrics. This cute unit captured the direction of integrated power in furniture. It boldly sat on the desktop, shouted ‘tah-dah’ and led the way.
The home has moved into the workplace, and the workplace has moved into the home. Couple this with the constant access to email through mobile devices – are we now always at work?
The Rio-Antirio Bridge, which is the world’s longest cable-stayed suspended deck bridge. It is a technical masterpiece.
The iPhone – which changed the communications paradigm.
Mobility – which has been the greatest change in the workplace as technology has allowed people to work remotely and seamlessly on different continents.
British architect Thomas Heatherwick’s Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, in South Africa. The inspiring conversion from concrete grain silo to museum is a great example of adaptive reuse architecture.
The Dyson Open Bladeless Fan – both the innovative engineering technology and sleek design make it a revolutionary piece.
The user experience becoming the top priority when creating happier, healthier working and learning spaces – and rightfully so!
Vitsoe Factory – rarely do we see factory spaces that are such important workspaces. Vitsoe have created a stunning, flexible and light working environment.
TipTon Chair for Vitra, designed by Barber Osgerby. This chair is democratic, affordable and 100% recyclable, with the forward tilt encouraging movement – a key factor in ergonomic wellbeing.
Working environments now address a more blended balance of work and life with the influence of millennials and tech-enabled self-starters looking for more from the workplace than just a 9-to-5.
Automotive Industry, Salzburg.
Bosse human space.
The open plan office enables today’s collaborative work. Although effective, it can be noisy and have a negative effect on employees’ wellbeing and productivity. Large and small companies across the world are now investing in solutions that create quiet work zones to overcome these issues.
WWF’s exemplar headquarters in Woking set the bar for sustainable thinking in every aspect of a building. From raw materials and construction, to furnishing and use.
Although sit/stand desking is relatively new to the UK, it has been the norm in Scandinavian workplaces for far longer. The evolved innovation is the height-adjustable meeting table, such as HAL.
Activity-based working has evolved from an emerging trend to become common practice. Consequently, how we use workspace and how it is perceived has changed dramatically.
Maggie’s Cancer Centres, each one is unique, wholesome and beautiful. Their support centres are open to all and you always feel welcome, with each centre across the UK having a warming aesthetic and an open door policy.
I’m probably biased as I used to work there, but the Mater Ocean Chair is a product that has always really excited me. Having such an iconic designer, like Nanna Ditzel, who has always been known for her innovative designs and has taken this to the next level by producing the chair using ocean waste plastic. It’s so simple – and well priced too.
Sustainably minded furniture dealers as well as responsible furniture manufacturing. We as manufacturers need to think about our environmental impact, A&D need to specify smarter, but we also need dealers to help facilitate all of this. Dodds & Shute are paving the way within the industry and have been building a collection of brands over the past few years they wish to work with due to their environmental policies.
The Manchester Rentalcars project was a standout when it happened. There was the size (38,000 sq ft), the challenge from the CEO to create the coolest office in the UK, and the change in culture and behaviour that it brought.
I think the perfect product that stands out in the last 20 years is one which shares its 20th birthday, just like Mix: Humanscale’s Freedom chair. Most great product designs are born out of simple ideas. Even today, when we take the chair for clients to trial, they love the design and the comfort and think it’s a brand new model. It’s a true design icon.
Agile working has been the standout change in the workplace in the last 20 years. Giving people the freedom to work flexibly, in any way they choose, has now become the norm, and is expected, rather than hoped for, by GenZ graduates coming into the workplace. Technology, especially wireless, super fast connectivity has been one of the key drivers that has brought this change.
The recent Tottenham Hotspur stadium redevelopment – which many distributors and manufacturers were part of – definitely stands out due to the sheer scale of the project and its iconic nature.
The shift from static desking to sit/stand desking has been dramatic and reflects the vast change in attitude towards health and wellbeing within the workplace over the last 20 years.
The technological advancement has been the biggest change, making every facet of the industry faster and more streamlined. It has also fundamentally changed the way people work and the products they require.
Inspiration for your next read
We sit down with Kathryn Cripps, a Partner at Knight Frank with 11 years’ experience in the property industry. Kathryn joined Knight Frank in 2008 and works in the London Office Agency Department, specialising in the West End market.
Back in the days when Mix Interiors was in its infancy, the furniture dealer was viewed with suspicion by many, seen as somewhat irrelevant by others and even as the evil exponent of the dark arts by some. Today, the dealer is king in the UK furniture market. We've handpicked some of the leaders to tell us more about the current market and what the future has in store.