Commercial Interior Designs For Cutting-Edge Offices

Gauging the amount of widespread information available today may have you thinking office spaces must be metaphorical beehives — buzzing with borderline instinctual, relentless efficiency and productivity. While design commercial interior design strategy may be a common subject for the corporate crowd, actually putting that knowledge into practice is an entirely different beast.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve completed numerous interior commercial builds for our clientele. Our main goal is always to improve environmental factors that elevate office structure and growth – but it’s the little things that matter most.

Here’s our greatest hits list of three recent cutting-edge tech/law office builds that Aura Office Environments has helped transform.

 

Westside Family Law

Proudly serving the west side of Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, and New Westminster, Westside Family Law HQ lies in the heart of the South Granville neighbourhood.

They came to Aura looking to revitalize their office space to usher in a new era of customer service and project a renewed brand identity. We tackled this law office revamp using a three pillar system, addressing each issue with our trademark innovation and creativity.

Eco-Friendly

The existing Westside Family Law space wasn’t cramped by any stretch, but its footprint presented a unique challenge in that there was no buffer or transition zone from the lobby to the offices of the business. We developed a fresh and modern design using reclaimed and salvaged cedar timbers in a dynamic, angled floor-to-ceiling partition to add warmth and humanity. Using these eco-friendly and reclaimed materials helped develop a unique identity synonymous with second chances and helped to create pivotal transition zones in the space.

Detailed

It’s all about the little touches. Offices aren’t the boring, stale spaces they were during the corporate cubicle surge of the 1950s; today’s cutting edge modern spaces require a zest of life that helps differentiate them from their predecessors. Office art is a staple of any space, but we chose to present geographic representations of Greater Vancouver, the ocean, and the temperate rainforest in a unique way by suspending canvases from the ceiling, rather than have them conventionally hung on the wall. The result is a much taller space, helping the eye gaze upward and to a more modern installation process.

Materials & Linear Lines

Materials are every bit as important as the layout of a cutting edge office environment. We used a polished concrete to create a flashy focal point for clients entering this new space. Polished concrete is an incredibly hot material right now in many aspects of architecture and home design. We used strong linear lines to help create an artistic juxtaposition from the reclaimed timbers behind the receptionists’ desk for a powerful intersection of organic and industrial textures.

Owen Bird

The Owen Bird Law corporation is a full-service law firm located in downtown Vancouver. When we began working with this well-established brand, we integrated an office aura plan to maintain the traditional energy of the space, while integrating modern technology, some modern aesthetic changes, and successfully utilized the panoramic view of the city to bring the outdoors in.

Focal Points

We needed to help the space feel more open and inviting, so the team at Aura worked to select a unique carpet pattern that was both warm, modern, and assisted in carrying the eye throughout the space, rather than creating a solid block of texture on the floor. The result is an opposing linear carpet that creates a vibrant, stone-like appeal that carries throughout the lobby and private office settings.

 

Traditional Style & Modern Tech

This is an established and respected brand, and the team at Owen Bird were adamant that they pay respect to their past, and to the traditional pieces that help identify the space as a key player in the Vancouver law community. We integrated traditional pieces like leather chairs and sofa sets, dark and warm desks and wood accents, and modern neutral colour palettes with modern technology, and innovative modern accents here and there to update and differentiate the appeal of this stately and dignified space.

Utilize the View

We borrowed some of the ample daylight projected into the space via the large floor-to-ceiling glass windows in an effort to help Owen Birds’ clients feel welcome. A view from an office is rarely as stunning as the one from these windows, so we embraced the water view, the mountains, and the urban centre below to solidify a stunning aesthetic that informed much of our material choices for the rest of the space.

Brand Alliance

Brand Alliance is a North American leader in promotional marketing. They began as a Canadian grassroots company and soon expanded to work with some of the most respected and biggest brands in Canada. They hold a very strong dedication to environmental standards, strengthening community, and social compliance to develop their brand as a good neighbour involved with many local, national, and international charities.

The came to Aura invested with a belief that their space should represent their brand, and we jumped at the opportunity to work collaboratively with this like minded creative team.

Vibrancy

We used vibrant colours in furniture, and furniture accents to reaffirm Brand’s dedication to multiculturalism, diversity, and flavour in the workplace. Using colour in this regard is a surefire way to develop a reinvigorated, fresh space with little time or investment.

Open Space / Open Communication

We created more open and airy seating areas for both staff and clientele to communicate openly. With greenery and a nice view as a backdrop for our revamped seating areas, this office space encourages inter-office creativity, open collaboration, and chance encounters that build upon a legacy of close-knit teams and enviable company culture.

We built a rooftop patio to assist in developing a dynamic work-based approach to work/life balance, giving the team a place to escape the hustle of the office and recharge their batteries, while simultaneously creating an in-house lunch/break room that’s comfortable, inviting, and peppered with sleek modern touches like innovative media/tech and clean modernist lines.

Retro Style

Using an aesthetic that blends old industrial remnants found in their building like brick, exposed beams, and mortar, we integrated glass walls to keep the space open and inviting, while using warm wood accents and doors to continue a made-by-hand approach to the office design to incorporate the grassroots and human beginning of this continental powerhouse business.

Retro style played a big role in our environmental influences during this build, ushering in a sense of playfulness, humanity, and community. Littered with modern furniture pieces and comfy, warm leathers and pleasant fabrics, we think we hit the nail on the head.  

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Designs for cutting-edge offices are as varied and as engaging as they come. They’re all about integrating employee satisfaction, work/life balance, and corporate efficiency into a realm of innovation, creativity, and vibrancy.

Further to the psychology of the office, the modern landscape of commercial office design is all about bringing the outdoors in, seamlessly introducing new technology, and making a statement about your environment.

5 Breakthroughs In Commercial Interior Design Technologies

The very first iterations of a so-called modern office were rolled out to the masses in the early 1900’s. Most of them featured an open concept layout to support collaboration and communication – but they also contributed to massive levels of noise and distraction. Cue the 1950’s cubicle revolution, which went a little too far in the other direction and inspired unintentional isolation and a drop of office worker morale.

The most up-to-date commercial interior design mantra does something in the middle, option to include aspects of both to accommodate the individual working styles of different employees who need different environments to accomplish different tasks – but the biggest breakthrough of 2018 has proven to be the inclusion of more and more advanced commercial interior design technologies.

Here are our top 5 breakthroughs in commercial interior design technologies.

 

Virtual Reality Communications

Remember the hologram meetings the Empire or Rebel Alliance would host in Star Wars, with the fuzzy life-size visual of Darth? While virtual reality conferencing may not quite be on that level just yet, virtual reality communications are soon to be the mainstream choice of tech-savvy firms the world over.

With current teleconferencing, individuals can carry on with their everyday tasks, or ignoring the meeting altogether because they’re not visible to the other attendees; alternatively, video conferencing has similar issues with participant engagement – a meeting attendee can still do their own thing on-screen in privacy, rendering the meeting ineffective. Virtual reality conferencing allows users in different locations to literally meet in a room together to present CAD 3D models of new products, or share plans.

Skype and Zoom are proving to hold onto their relevancy, as these technologies have become a staple of modern office experiences, and help take meetings to new levels with reliable and high-quality face-to-face video conferencing.

 

Visual & Collaborative Brainstorming

Video conferencing and screen sharing are nothing new – but more and more offices are embracing these tech advances as the primary go-to technology for boosting efficiency in the office and communicating creative ideas in real time.

Screen sharing technologies give meeting attendees a front row view of the presenters screen from anywhere in the world, helping them gain unprecedented access to Powerpoint presentations, product designs, or brainstorming ideas for discussion.

Think back to an old school in-office presentation. Much like an elementary classroom, the presenter would use a black/whiteboard to illustrate and take notes of the topic at hand – but in 2018, these visual supports have received a much-needed makeover.

Google recently introduced a revolutionary G-Suite tool called Jamboard, a virtual whiteboard conferencing app, enabling individual employees from multiple different departments or offices to collaborate and view a singular screen for multiple meeting attendees to draw on and contribute to during brainstorming sessions.

 

Video Communication

Inbound giant, Hubspot, tells us that over 50% of marketers agree video is still the king of creative content, and it provides the best ROI for organizations, prompting some tech groups to embrace video as a means of email communication as well.

Similar to rapport building video conferencing technologies of 2018, video communications are also changing the ways people interact and exchange ideas and correspondence when they’re not live or in a meeting. Programs like Vidyard allow office employees to record and create simple, short video messages as emails, eliminating text, and adding a personal touch that text messages and voice messages can’t come close to.

Videos also help to better communicate context, voice, and tone, helping to more authentically engage workplace communication needs and eliminate any unwanted misinterpretation.

 

Gamification Culture

Gamification is a growing and expansive methodology used predominantly in education and training circles, but more and more commercial office environments are using games as a way to build company culture. Hosting a trivia, or video joke session via Slack, for example, which can be used to boost company morale as a way of introducing and familiarizing staff with each other.

From a team building perspective, gamification is easy to accommodate, fun, and a great way to connect individuals who may not get the chance to interact at work otherwise.

Advancing the fun-having identity of gamification and connective apps like Slack, Google Drive, and Google Hangouts, organizations are voluntarily employing the concept of “remote week” wherein they encourage employees to work from their favourite location — a coffee shop, the cottage, home, etc — as a way to encourage them to better understand these fun and engaging modes of communication and collaboration, but also as a way to introduce and familiarize themselves with telecommuting and the many benefits of a liberated and mobile workforce.

 

Voice Recognition & Activation

Studies show nearly half of all American routinely use digital voice assistants like Apple’s infamous Siri, Amazon Echo, and Google Home – so it’s no surprise that more and more office employees and organizations are using these computing voice assistants to accelerate tasks and minimize the impact of small tasks.

Voice assistants are excellent for scheduling meetings, sending messages, setting timeline-based goals and reminders, and typing notes; so they’re literally like an extra set of hands, and a quick and painless way to make staying on top of your day-to-day office life a breeze.

 

Easy accessibility, remote capabilities, advanced communication tools, and the rapid rise of the telecommuter demographic have prompted technology to make rapid changes to keep up with the ever-evolving office. Similarly, offices are also using consumer technologies in more professional capacities to bridge the gap between work and personal life – and that to us means people are happier; using commercial interior design office tech is making office life easier and enjoyable.

Office Space Utilization for Growing Tech Companies

After staff, office space is likely the biggest expense felt by most growing tech companies. As demand grows and so does your staff, office space utilization becomes a hot commodity.  Knowing that you’re using your existing space in ways that support and suit your growing needs is key to making use of every square inch of the space you have.

Making adjustments to office aesthetics by altering furnishings and floor plan strategies that improve space utilization from horizontal to vertical is a good place to start. Storage, organization, decluttering, and repositioning space to suit the changing demands of an ever-evolving workforce can hugely help growing tech companies to develop their offices into spaces that suit their changing needs.

 

What is Office Space Utilization?

Office space utilization is the process of understanding how and why existing office space is used, and underused by its organization, and combating wasted space with new ways to better utilize extra square footage through redesign, re-imagination, and shifts to layout and existing spaces.

 

Tech Office Design

In modern tech office design, office utilization rates typically range between 60-70% – meaning 30-40% of existing space isn’t being used well during a typical workday, and when office real estate is usually one of the top two expenses for most organizations, managing office space is key to increasing efficiency, and reducing costs

The majority of modern tech office designs are activity based working (ABW) offices and they’re continually growing in size and scope. These types of office spaces are divided into different areas to support different working styles and tasks.

  • Quiet spaces
  • Shared workstations
  • break / common rooms
  • conference /meeting rooms

 

This allows staff to pick and choose where and how they choose their time, and lends itself well to determining which spaces are taken advantage of, and which ones can be placed on the chopping block to better utilize the space.

 

Find Out What’s Working

When companies take stock on continual space utilization measurements, they’ll begin to see trends and collect data to help save space, energy, and costs. Once or twice per year, measure space utilization to help identify areas that can benefit from further development, and make corrections to address usefulness and productivity.

 

Aesthetic Changes

Horizontal to Vertical Layout & Storage

Horizontal office layouts are inevitable. People need space to work and space to move around. But office space utilization is as much about practical storage solutions as it is useable work environments. Transitioning existing storage solutions that get in the way of everyday employee traffic aren’t very practical, or an efficient use of floor space. Vertical storage solutions are organized, space efficient, and allow growing tech companies to make use of freed up floor space for collaborative work spaces, or private work zones to hire new staff to keep up with demand.

As the millennial workforce continues to dominate the employee landscape, more and more eco-friendly staff will end up biking to work as a way to reduce their carbon footprint and save money. An increase of bikes in the office space can be easily combated – and aesthetically pleasing when vertical wall storage for staff bikes is implemented in entrance ways and/or common areas. The aesthetic is charming, gives a sense of the identity of the office, and gets a bunch of bikes up and out of the way.

Cloud storage technology and digital file sharing has largely done away with the majority of physical paperwork, especially in the tech sector – so eliminating old school filing systems is another great way to free up some traditionally spoken-for space. Use vertical shelving units to store tech-related publications and references for employees in a vertical manner not only saves space, but it also gives eye-level access to employees seeking information.

 

Floor Plan Changes

Sometimes the office outgrows mismatched furniture or items that take up too much space. Agile interior design in the office is meant to boost square footage, accessibility, and productivity by giving employees the ability to choose where, when, and how they work, eliminating any shred of preconceived obligation to sit at a specific desk location all day. Eliminate the majority of stand-alone desks, and increase floor space and freedom for your growing staff.

Collaborative work zones, open concept common space, and private zones demonstrate agility in the office by re-evaluating existing floor plans and optimizing office space by allowing people to be mobile, to change one’s surroundings, and to explore differences in working environments.

If your collaborative spaces are being used a lot, but quiet spaces are seldom used, make some changes by better utilizing some quiet space as additional collaboration space in an effort to make room and ramp up productivity.

 

Adaptable Furniture

Agility in your floor plan uses a combination of adaptability and mobility to encourage employees to use existing space in ways not traditionally supported. When tech office space layouts embrace human personality and spirit, style, efficiency, and practicality often emerge.  

Modular furniture options re another fantastic way to maximize office space utilization. Modular furniture is mobile, portable, and multipurpose, allowing it to take the place of multiple bulky furniture pieces. Height adjustable desks and privacy walls are perfect examples of space-savvy furniture that can quickly and easily transform spaces for growing teams while keeping the bulk of traditional furniture to a minimum.

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When your tech office design isn’t working, it’s costing your company money and stopping your staff from having access to the space they need to maximize their efforts.

As your tech company grows, spaces will inevitably have to change as demand for more optimized working environments becomes more and more noticeable. The first step to maximizing office space utilization is always taking a step back to recognize what you’re dealing with, and where advances can be made. Don’t be afraid to change things up, it’s good for you.

3 Must-Haves of Collaborative Office Spaces

Trends in modern collaborative office design can change rapidly. As more and more millennial employees enter the workforce, the spirit of the office changes with them, and adaptability is proving to be the critical overarching must-have of collaborative office spaces.

Every aspect of an office space contributes to this positive shift in company culture; furniture, architecture, openness, layout, colour, and even access to privacy are key pillars of collaborative office spaces that are contributing to the reinvention of how we use work environments.

The most important must-haves of collaborative office spaces aren’t the materialistic company perks you may be thinking of, like office kegs, ping pong tables, and espresso machines. While those round out the experience, the most sought after designs cater to human connectivity first and foremost.  

 

Flexible Technology, Connectivity & Power

Gensler reports that 80% of Millennial and Gen Z employees believe that technology including mobile devices, laptops and mobile workstations, video conferencing capabilities, and wearable technology have all benefited the workplace. Thanks to millennials making up the majority of the modern workforce, and modern offices depending on immense levels of constant connectivity, integrating state-of-the-art flexible technology and access to power is integral to the success, productivity, and usefulness of collaborative office spaces.  

New technology allows collaborative office spaces flourish in ways never before achievable. Modern capabilities of mobile technologies like laptops allow employees to customize their work environment daily, and adapt their space to the specific project they’re working on at any given moment. Encouraging the use and inclusion of flexible technology and reliable connectivity allows organizations to cater to and support the spontaneity of their employees.

One of the larger items on the wish lists of millennial employees is the ability – or opportunity – to work remotely, making video conferencing and modern communication technology a vastly useful tool to increase efficiency and productivity. With organizational communication apps like Slack, Google Hangouts, or join.me, office/worldwide tech allows employees to collaborate and exchange info and ideas over huge distances almost instantaneously. These options make use of screen-sharing, virtual whiteboards, and file sharing to optimize the virtual office experience.

 

Collaborative Work Spaces

Must-have modern technology is also dependant physical work spaces that cater to, and support the mobility of employees within the office environment. Both the physical layout of the space, including the flow of energy in the room, its architecture, openness, and layout – as well as the furniture and objects that occupy that space should always be tailored to optimizing the functionality and collaborative spirit of the office itself.

 

Layout & Flow

90% of polled employees agree that room is not enough – intuitive office design is integral to the flow of energy within an office space and its direct link to organizational and individual productivity. The atmosphere that’s produced by an office layout must be designed to distinctly cater to positivity and efficiency.

Gensler surveyed 4,000 employees to find that companies with more functional, better designed office environments were more likely to earn the reputation as innovative. Traditionally, open concept offices have been beneficial for companies that occupy the creative sector, utilizing conversation and openness as a front for establishing conversation and sharing ideas. On the other side, the classic cubicle and individualized private spaces have fared better with organizations that require private conversations with clients and/or customers and quiet space for specific tasks. Finding a happy medium with collaborative office layout is key to giving employees the option to have either or depending on their way, working style, and personal preference.

 

Furniture

Consider when companies hire a new employee, they’re more inclined to hire someone who brings more than one skill to the table – collaborative spaces need to include adaptable furniture that serve more than one function so they benefit a number of situations.

Multipurpose and adaptable furniture helps ensure employees are empowered and able to change the spirit and function of a collaborative space at any given time to address their specific needs. From simple things like rearranging seating and tables at a moments notice to facilitate a group brainstorm session, to adapting an open concept space into more private workstations, furniture can play a big role in the transformation and comfort of a collaborative office, giving teams and individuals the power to build spaces that serve them best.

Moving desks together, creating private work spaces, allowing impromptu meetings to take place, and encouraging the likelihood of positive brainstorming sessions and change meetings are just some of the ways adaptable furniture can benefit a collaborative office space. Multipurpose furniture can also encourage staff to utilize furniture in ways that support physical wellbeing.

Height adjustable desks give sedentary positions a new lease on life by allowing employees to sit and stand as they please encouraging mobility and healthy ergonomic posture in the workplace. Standing at work can lower risk of weight gain, promote lower blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce potential back pain associated with sitting, and improve mood and energy levels.

 

Purposeful Designs that Focus on Nature

The Millennial workforce is now the single largest employable demographic in the modern working landscape, and they come with their own quirks, values, and must-haves. Of considerable note, millennials are much more environmentally conscious than the previous generation, and are dedicated to contributing to the health and sustainability of their own environments, both at home, and at work.

Must-haves in this regard for the modern collaborative office are sourcing sustainable products, and taking steps to reduce the carbon footprint of the organization — reflect their values by choosing to do the same.

Living Walls

Offices can begin their pursuit of a more eco-friendly space by integrating natural elements in purposeful interior design, like including plants and greenery in open and collaborative spaces, or even opting to include a living wall as a way to both increase the exposure employees have to green spaces, and as a way to refresh and improve the air quality in the building.

Living walls, also referred to as vertical gardens or green walls, are a fantastic addition to office spaces that are hellbent on improving their spaces by adding a natural element to its design, and identity. They’ve been proven to benefit employee morale and enhance the overall aesthetic of the environment, while boosting air quality by acting as a living filtration system by metabolizing harmful toxins like carbon monoxide and benzene. Alarmingly, 58% of offices neglect to include living plants in their environments.

Living walls also assist in reducing the energy costs of an office building via evapotranspiration – a process that functions to cool the air in summer months, and warm it during the winter. The greenery acts as additional insulation that can effectively lower surface wall temperature by up to 50°F. They’re also beneficial to the reduction in ambient noise, assisting in the acoustic design of collaborative office spaces that respect and cater to private zones dedicated to brainstorming, or client discussions.

Views of Nature

Human beings are intrinsically linked to nature. We’re social creatures who are naturally explorative and having access to nature while at work is statistically linked to both feelings of wellbeing in the workplace, productivity, and creativity.

A study titled Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace recently polled 7,600 employees around the world, and found that employees who work in collaborative office spaces with natural features reported a 15% increase to overall feelings of wellbeing, while 6% reported increased productivity and 15% reported a boost to their creativity. Despite the direct correlation between employee satisfaction and views of nature, nearly half of companies don’t have access to natural light. This can be easily attained through a staunch revaluation of practical layout and purposeful interior design.

Windows should be optimized to allow for maximum sunlight, while including forms and patterns commonly found in nature, including leaf outlines, honeycomb, waves, etc. helps to integrate a connection to natural spaces. Having access to a physical connector, like a rooftop patio, common space, or break space can offer employees an opportunity to retreat from the office. Water features, or views of rivers, lakefront, or shoreline also help perpetuate a feeling of serenity and tranquility amongst employees.

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The modern office environment must be a welcoming and enjoyable place to work, helping foster an atmosphere of collaboration geared towards optimizing productivity and efficiency.

Utilizing any of these tips for collaborative office must-haves can help to spearhead the transition to a more satisfactory workspace, but key to developing a unique space that’s tailored to the needs and working style of your staff is open communication and the willingness to make meaningful change. The ideal collaborative office is within reach – ironically, sometimes all it takes is collaboration to reach the right solution.  

Boardroom Design

These days, there’s a wealth of opinions and info available about how to design and host effective meetings – but not a lot of info on how to design an effective boardroom. In order to impress , stakeholders, and clients, board room designs have to have serious impact, and while video conference calls and virtual meetings may be on the rise, a professional and modern board room is still a core piece of organizational identity.

Effective and powerful meeting spaces hold the power to affecting and influencing how your business is perceived by your partners, competitors, and clientele, which is why boardroom design is such a surprisingly important aspect of modern office design.

Here are our top picks of client-facing board room ideas that have serious impact on their businesses, their brands, and their success.

 

Showcase & Use Technology

The world is becoming increasingly interconnected through digital and mobile technologies, so state of the art digital media and audiovisual communication technology is critical to the success and effectiveness of any boardroom design.

Rooms with adequate technology are used 5X more often that rooms without, and Herman Miller Research tells us that limited technology causes smaller conference rooms to be used only 10% of the time – so some key pillars of required tech should be screens, displays, and communication devices – but different organizations will require different tech in their spaces, so suit according to your specific needs.

Technology can also be used to implement effective and streamline booking efforts to alleviate conflict and accidental double-occupancy of a space to improve investor perception of your company’s internal organization.

 

The Impact of Colour & Lighting

Physical environments are extremely important to the positive impact of your boardroom spaces. Conference and boardrooms typically benefit from brightness and alertness, and as such the impact of colour and lighting play big roles in the perception of a space.

It’s been found in innumerable studies that natural light affects the cognitive performance of the brain and causes us stay alert and engaged longer. The ideal boardroom is situated close by a view of nature, and/or allows ample amounts of natural light to flood the space – artificial fluorescent lighting can contribute to meeting attendees feeling drowsy, unmotivated, and frankly, bored.

 

Materials

Choice of furniture and feature materials can play a massive role in the way a boardroom impacts its occupants. Aesthetically, there are many different ways to ramp up the visual appeal of your boardroom. Modern design themes implement brushed metals, glass, leather, and crisp monochromatic colour palettes to exemplify a space that’s up-to-date, professional, and efficient.

More comfortable and laid-back boardrooms can successfully utilize materials like wood and stone to portray a more organic and authentic atmosphere. Alternative to visual aesthetics, materials like cloth, microfiber, and felt can play a role in the physical comfort of boardroom occupants. If the room isn’t comfortable, it will prove difficult to achieve the desired results from those who use it.

 

Smaller Footprint

Modern conference and boardrooms are chronically ill-equipped and underused. Herman Miller Research tells us that out of a standardized 12 chairs, only 3 or 4 are occupied at any given time, meaning that the quintessential boardroom is much too large, and that gives the illusion of an unmotivated, absent, or disengaged staff.

Working in and implementing smaller boardroom spaces not only saves physical space contributing to a wealth of other office space uses, but it can also contribute to increased efficiency, connectivity, and productivity. Smaller, more versatile boardrooms and meeting places are ideal for surprise meetings, unscheduled huddles, and conference calls.

 

Tie the Company Into the Space

Your core values and brand need to be reflected in the design of your boardroom. A great way to do this and simultaneously inject your boardroom with a zest of professional aesthetics is to add a video background display that reflects the spirit of your brand. It represents a great way to get creative and put some innovative thought and reflection into your space.

For example, rather than a massive logo, consider the video conference background in your boardroom with the Why statement of your business, or a quote or mantra delivered by your company founder, or an influential figurehead of your industry to help exemplify your brand’s dedication to greatness.

Use company colours in this important background wall, get creative with textures and try to exemplify a digital presence that helps raise your brand to new visual heights.

 

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It’s critical that your business is able to grab hold of investor and stakeholder attention in the increasingly competitive and fast-paced business landscape of 2018.

Board room design idea that have serious impact are all about colour, light, digital tech prowess, and ensuring that the physical spaces themselves are conducive to collaboration, efficiency, and professionalism – ensure your space is positioned on those pillars, and you’ll have to trouble impressing the key prospects of your business.

 

Office Design For Productivity

The Digital Age has changed a huge number of modern office trends – both physical, and psychological. Speed, efficiency, the need for immediate answers have sparked some innovative interior design techniques that encourage office productivity – but office designs that promote adaptability and collaboration are some of the most popular topics in that conversation.

Continue reading “Office Design For Productivity”

Regain Productivity with Well Planned Office Acoustics

An open concept office is a beautiful thing — studies show a wide open space that supports collaboration and cooperation on a large scale cannot only help boost employee productivity and efficiency, but overall happiness and well-being as well.

When offices combine a large number of people in a single space, there’s inevitably going to be more noise that accompanies working together. This can be accentuated even more when employees resort to raising their voices to get their point across – creating a slippery slope for noise control efforts.

Cue office acoustics — powerful sound deadening solutions that help dampen and reduce the reverberation of sound while preserving the open concept layout of an innovative and modern open plan office space.

 

Elements of Control

Optimizing the sound quality of an open plan office environment is priority #1 when enlisting the help of improved office acoustics – but a close second is upholding a design-centric aesthetic that supports a cool, modern office that prioritizes workplace satisfaction.

 

Walls, Panels & Tiles

Having an open concept space doesn’t mean that your office won’t need a small space dedicated to individual conversations and moments of solitude. Employee lounges or meeting spaces are worth considering when investigating the addition of acoustic panelling.

As a general rule, hard surfaces reflect sound, while soft surfaces absorb sound. Having an exposed brick wall in your office – while that’ll score you major points on the style charts – perpetuate the reverberation of sound energy. Covering them up, at least in chunks with acoustic wall panels, helps control and limit the movement of sound in wide open spaces.

Acoustic tiles can be installed on walls in seating areas that prioritize meaningful communication.  They come in a variety of acoustic materials that help dampen the reflection of sound in open spaces and create customized and stylish accents that add to the overall design aesthetic of your office environment. They can be tailored to match your brand identity, its colours and shapes, to reflect your organizational mantra and logo.

For situations that call for a fixed workplace solution, modular screens or erectable walls can give instant privacy and improved sound control to separate certain sections of your open plan office for more optimal concentration. Further, they can be left in place, or taken down and moved elsewhere, contributing to the open concept design and providing flexibility for employees who like to move around the office depending on their mood. Plus, when you need to open up the space, they can be stacked away neatly.

 

Furniture

The very ideology of an open concept office is to empower employees to freely set up their ideal workstation wherever they please. To do that, modular spaces and furniture is critical – adding an acoustical aspect to office furniture is a powerful and effective way to target both sound control and office flexibility.

Acoustic furnishings are purpose-built with acoustical materials and integrated sound absorbing panels precisely where they’ll be most useful – right in the thick of the action, while eliminating impediments and interruptions to the office design itself. Everything from chairs, storage/filing solutions, desks, bookcases and shelves can easily be purchased or modified to include acoustic-sensitive materials.

Ceilings

Commonly known as baffles or clouds, ceiling mounted acoustic panelling is a great way to help reduce the reverberation of sound in spaces with tall ceilings, especially if your particular office space doesn’t have much to offer in the way of surface space to install classic panels.

Baffles typically are mounted downward so they can hang lower into the space, and so they can be installed with lighting in mind. Baffles are great solutions to sound pollution in an office because they can help minimize excess sound while not relying on the addition of walls that would otherwise crowd your open space.

 

Floors

The ground we walk on plays a huge role in how sound is able to transport itself. Imagine for a moment, being on a deck on a lake somewhere. There’s no breeze, and the water is flat as glass. There’s nearly a guarantee that you’ll be able to hear the conversation of the group across the lake, because of the way sound is able to travel in such a controlled environment. Open concept offices are much the same in that the flat, hard surface of the floor acts similarly to the lake – sound is able to easily traverse across it.

Area rugs, carpeting, and different types of sound-sensitive flooring material, like cork for example – offer fantastic sound proofing for more beneficial office acoustics.

 

Noise-masking systems

While most acoustical additions like the ones we’ve discussed work towards the elimination of unwanted sound, these innovative systems are responsible for the addition of sound created via specialty digital generators and distributed through hidden speakers within an open concept office or other environment to reduce distractions and/or provide privacy.

Commonly referred to as white noise, or pink noise, noise masking systems produce broadband random sounds that conveys no identifiable sonic information – like dialogue, or a glass breaking, for example.

 

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Open concept offices routinely develop a certain culture that revolves around a physical and psychological identity that we associate with partnership and collaboration. This aura of energy is responsible for the creation of company identity that all great brands strive for.

While the open concept office space are perfect for opening the communication and partnership floodgates, they’re also responsible for bringing their fair share of unique obstacles – namely increased noise. To combat unwanted sounds within the office, an investigation into the benefits of how office acoustics can play a beneficial role to optimizing productivity and happiness is always a good idea.

The Psychology of Colour in Office Design

Colours have the power to influence our thinking, and spark our imaginations. They can also have a profound effect on our moods, and the ways we behave in the office.

The colour choices we make to showcase the energy and identity of our office spaces say a lot to employees and clients – choose the wrong colour that helps manifest the wrong emotion, and they probably won’t want to stick around to do business with you.

 

Colours Affect People Differently

While colour psychology and theory isn’t a universal science, using the right colours in the office have been shown to motivate employees to ramp up their energy and think creatively and collaboratively. The wrong colour has also been shown to do the opposite.

A study from the University of Texas has shown that bland and drab colours in the office – like white, beige, and grey – help induce feelings of sadness and depression – particularly in women. Strangely enough, men felt the same way when exposed to purple and orange workspaces. Other studies have successfully shown that certain colours also impact productivity – both for better and for worse. This is tied to the way humans interpret colours and the firing of brain receptors.

Low-wavelength colours, like green and blue, for example, are two of the most common colours found in nature, and being as views of nature and greenery have shown to increase workplace satisfaction and overall happiness, it’s no surprise that blue and green in the office have been shown to boost efficiency and focus, as well as a general sense of happiness and well-being.

High-wavelength colours, like red for example, are immediately tied to intensity, alarm, and even chaos. Consider the colour of fire, fire extinguishers, and passionate objects meant to get the heart racing, like Valentines, lingerie, and exotic sports cars. Red and other high-wavelength colours are perfect for drawing your employees eye to something – like an empowering and motivating company mantra or brand statement.

Certain Colours Provoke Certain Emotions

Yellow is an interesting colour that triggers a hugely beneficial set of office emotions: innovation and optimism. Known to colour psychologists as the “Optimism Colour,” yellow is perfectly suited for use in offices that rely on the creative impulses of their staff members who work in the creative field:

  • Writers and content creators
  • Designers
  • Developers
  • Artistic Directors
  • Producers

Green has been proven to help combat fatigue and invigorate the spirits of offices, meaning that use of green in spaces that can consistently benefit from the refreshing of spirit.  Turquoise is often mentally associated with mass communication, and can play a good role in a conference room or a training room, while dark green is often associated with wealth and prosperity.

 

Others Can be Restful

Blue is a good stimulator of the mind – it’s used in chromology to support clear thought and aid concentration, so it has a beneficial calming effect that’s useful in environments that require deep and transparent thought. Blue has even been shown to physically slow heart rates, and decrease appetite.

Pink has a similar effect. It’s been shown to settle people down for about a half hour, after which, the colour can help keep someone in a more tranquil state – which may be beneficial to offices that are typically high-strung or filled with a perpetual sense of urgency.

 

Different Room? Different Colour

One of the key pillars to using the psychology of colour in the office is to utilize it where you need it – one aspect of colour theory doesn’t have to run rampant through the entire office – it’s better to give employees and clients the opportunity to use specific environments to cater to different needs.

Blue to help facilitate feelings of confidence and honesty in one section of the office, green where the creative minds need to focus on collaboration and innovation, and red to help your brand stand out and grab the attention of a potential customer.

A study called “Impact of Colour in Marketing” found up to 90% of knee-jerk reactions towards a product or space were based immediately on the colour of the company’s branding or packaging. Depending on your specific business industry and/or model, colour psychology can help an office to cater certain advantageous emotions and feelings to achieving certain business goals – the key is understanding which colour to use where, and with which types of employees.

 

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The key to harnessing the power and psychology of  chromatic colour theory, is sitting back and first asking what type of emotion and working environment you’re trying to portray. The aura you create with colour can be directly linked to the success of your organization, and to the benefit of your office culture. Aura Office Environments has made it our business to help companies and brands develop distinctive and energetic office atmospheres. Just like colour, an office aura has a profound power and psychological impact on the way its occupants think and act; it’s the subtle art of being able to control these separate energies that allows us to harness the power of colour, and the productiveness and collaboration that come with them.

 

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How Design Can Transform the Way Clients Perceive Your Company

You never get a second chance to make a great first impression, and good interior design delivers a powerful visual statement that stimulates trust by capturing the interest of prospective clients.

Designers can alter a client’s perception of an organization, and therefore the reality of a working relationship by employing good design practices and visual communication cues. Good perception has the ability to inspire confidence and trust from clients and customers, and can affect other core values in ways that elevate the brand experience.

Continue reading “How Design Can Transform the Way Clients Perceive Your Company”