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Another certification scheme? Fitwel is the new kid on the block.

Fitwel has been created from a desire for a wellbeing standard that could be applied to any property of any age and condition, not just the Grade-A city monoliths. Written by: Georgia Elliot-Smith, Director, Element 4

26/11/2019 3 min read

Interviews, opinions and profiles from industry experts

In conversation with Atul Bansal, Sheila Bird Studio

Introducing Mix Sessions: conversations with key industry influencers from the world of commercial interior design. First up, Atul Bansal, founder of Sheila Bird Studio, on how the studio got its name, all things Mix Design Collective and much more.

02/12/2019 2 min read

Key industry articles and insights looking at the latest news from the world of commercial interior design

Relax, don’t do it: the scope for relaxed office floorspace

We all need to relax – seriously. So is the office property business learning how to chill, or is it manic from too much coffee? David Thame investigates the scope for relaxed office floorspace. Stop. Calm down. Take a break. Above all, relax.

13/11/2019 5 min read

Discover the latest and most innovative products curated by Mix Interiors.

EGGER to launch new Decorative Collection

February 2020 sees the introduction of the new Egger Decorative Collection 2020-22: the company’s biggest product launch since 2017

23/11/2019 2 min read

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Industry Events

A-Z of trends: N-Q

Letters N-Q in our annual A-Z of trends.

13/11/2019 4 min read

N – Neurodiversity

We are living in a time of increased numbers of neurodivergents and awareness about ADHD, Dyslexia, Autistim and other neurological states. In fact, one in eight people are considered neurodiverse – however, fewer than 50% are aware. Neurodivergents tend to be high energy, out-of-the-box thinkers, excel in a crisis, and be bold problem-solvers, yet navigating the modern workplace can be a challenge. Not only is designing space to be inclusive the right approach, there is a compelling business case for this as well. Space today needs to reflect the diverse make-up of organisations to set everyone up for success.

Designers have an opportunity to influence the physical and cultural adaptation required to make workplaces more inclusive. All aspects of the space – colour, lighting, materiality and sensory stimuli – need to be designed with purpose and intent. There is no single solution for designing space that best accommodates everyone. When achieved within an organisational culture of respect and inclusivity, attention to design elements that consider the needs of the neurodivergent, whilst providing choice, can reduce the adverse effects. The neurological differences can potentially take full advantage of the many benefits, and support broader organisational values and goals.

Beate Mellwig, Practice Leader-Operations, HOK

Beate Mellwig, Practice Leader-Operations, HOK

O – Occupancy

The design occupational density of office buildings in the UK is typically one person for every 10 sq m.  The limiting factors are fire strategy, WC provision, cooling, power, lift capacity and ventilation.  Whilst life safety systems are often over-specified and other constraints may have some headroom, there is almost always a hard deck somewhere between 8 – 10 sq m per person.

The problem is that, in these days of max-packing, agility, intensive coworking and activity-based design, there are normally many more seats shown on a space plan than the base build specification would allow for if each chair represented an occupant, often down to one per 4.5 sq m.

Will that number of people ever show up on the same day? Almost certainly not. But how should we judge diversity of occupation? What controls should be put in place to limit occupancy? Should we be worried about people numbers or air quality? Are short periods of over-occupancy okay? Is it right that we blindly pump a litre of fresh air per sq m into offices, all day long, regardless of occupancy?

The use of office space has become more intensive and variable in the last few years and we urgently need to review our building regulations and base build specifications to suit.

Toby Benzecry, CEO and Founder, Workplace Futures Group

Toby Benzecry, CEO and Founder, Workplace Futures Group

P – Purpose

It’s been more than 25 years since John Elkington coined the term ‘triple bottom line’ and 10 years since Simon Sinek delivered his now-viral ‘Start with Why’ TED talk. Yet ‘purpose’ is still a growing buzzword in the workplace, with more businesses demonstrating a genuine desire to do things better – aiming to enrich rather than exploit the world.

Fundamental to ‘better business’ is a dedication to people and planet, as well as profit, and an onus on businesses to live and breathe their purpose in everything they do, not just what they make. It’s here that the workplace itself becomes a hindrance or a huge enabler in actually fulfilling your ‘why’.

Live what you preach: if you have set about to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, you need to ensure that nothing you’re doing is unintentionally undermining that. Residing in a sustainably/ethically built and run workspace is a non-negotiable.

People, people, people: by far the most cited advantage of being mission-driven? They should not only feel inspired and informed, but also supported to do their best work. Biophilic design, outdoor space, wellness and meditation studios, cycle stores, and good health and childcare all create the required culture of care.

Knock down walls: physically and metaphorically. The opportunity to find others who share your vision, and to be able to easily collaborate with them, allows everybody to move faster.

The workplace is no longer a place to put your laptop and hold meetings – it’s an important reflection and expression of your purpose and intention.

Phil Nevin, Co-founder, x+why

Phil Nevin, x+why

Q – Quality of indoor air

Clean air has been high on the political and media agenda throughout 2019 – and it’s not just outdoor air pollution that’s worrying people. In a recent study of 4,500 European office workers, we found that indoor air quality was cited as the number one concern for many territories, including the UK.

In many cases, this issue was placed above excessive noise – another current hot topic in the workplace sector – with employees craving greater control over their office environments. The emphasis was on people wanting to feel that workspaces are tailored – if only in some part – to their individual needs. This could translate into being able to adjust their climate, open a window or have access to outdoor space.

As we rapidly approach 2020, manufacturers and commercial designers alike are tasked with considering how best to address these increasing concerns, with some already blazing a trail in providing innovative design solutions to better satisfy employee needs.

Becky Pole, Design Manager, Tarkett

Becky Pole, Design Manager, Tarkett

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