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The Big Question

Which property/interiors discipline
has had to adapt the most to the significant changes in the workplace sector?


2 min read

Rob Hopkins, AHRRob Hopkins, Regional Director, AHR

Awareness of air quality in the modern workplace, which has a major impact on productivity and cognitive function, is a growing issue. With contributing factors ranging from furniture and paint to doors and carpets, architects and interior designers are increasingly looking to specify only products with low volatile organic compounds (VOC). Manufacturers now need to reduce or remove these toxic elements and develop innovative product ranges with low emissions and non-toxic components.


Caroline Atack, Sales Manager, Davison HighleyCaroline Atack, Sales Manager, Davison Highley

I’m going to be entirely biased and say manufacturers – especially upholstery. We’ve seen huge changes in the workplace, fuelled by shifts in technology, which have allowed people to move away from their desks into more agile, collaborative areas. Our role has gone from designing reception pieces to populating the whole floorplan with upholstered designs – all of which need to meet the latest design trends, technologies and sustainability guidelines

Alex Wateridge, UK & Ireland Contract Sales Manager, Kettal

With a complex global environment, change has originated in many locations and therefore all disciplines have had to adapt rapidly to shifts in the market. Whether designer, manufacturer, developer, dealer etc, this requires a working knowledge of market needs and taking a strategic approach and vision to how they can evolve. As trends have emerged and fragmented, some have followed, whereas others have strived to innovate and lead the way. To drive future progress you have to initiate innovation, rather than adapt to the changes made by others.

Simon Rogers, Marketing Director  UK & Ireland, TarkettSimon Rogers, Marketing Director UK & Ireland, Tarkett

There is a growing call for greater materials transparency – the ingredients used in a building’s fabric and its furnishings. This trend has greatly impacted the flooring industry, as it is one of the largest components of a building’s interior. If specified correctly, flooring plays a key wellness role – by improving air quality, sound control, comfort and light reflection. Providing this information on products allows contractors and designers to make informed choices that benefit the working environment.

Alistair Higgins, Chief Executive, Allgood

The role of design is becoming more important in creating flexible environments, which also enhance individual wellbeing and therefore productivity.  More colours and textures are emerging to stimulate our experience of the contemporary office, and we also see the development of biophilic design to keep a connection with the natural world. Product companies must also innovate to meet these demands, right down to the detail of every fixture and fitting.

Kerry Knight, A&D Manager, Yarwood LeatherKerry Knight, A&D Manager, Yarwood Leather

All changed mindset and work patterns have to come from the top. Designers have to implement new ideas and changes whilst embracing the company’s values and brand. To accommodate the needs of end users, combining traditional workplace design with hospitality and home features creates productive yet relaxed spaces, giving end users freedom to choose how they work.Without true buy-in from the start, these new and exciting designs wouldn’t keep pushing workplace design forward.

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