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Color is all about white.  Both Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore selected whites as their color of the year.  We are seeing a continuation of the lightening of office furniture with true white worksurfaces, panels and components.  Upholstered pieces are also lighter with a focus on texture and tone rather than pattern.

Workshop Detroit table from reclaimed wood

Workshop Detroit table from reclaimed wood

 

Artisanal, quirky accents and furniture will become even more prevalent.  Workspaces that resemble a coffee shop or boutique hotel are already popular and these one-off pieces add to their charm.  Ion our practice, we try to use local sources for reclaimed materials and local artists for work that resonates with the users.  There is often a nice sustainability story to these efforts.

 

Everyone has heard by now that sitting is the new smoking.  Sit-to stand worksurfaces are more often seen in workstations so that digital grunts get up from their laptops and stand to work for a while.  Check out the research by ergonomics guru Alan Hedge from Cornell on the benefits of periodic standing.  And look for a good, intuitive electric lift mechanism.

Herman Miller adjustable height worksurface

Herman Miller adjustable height worksurface

 

We see the continued decline of the private office and an increase in the flexible, shared spaces that support a variety of work and groups and compensate for the lack of privacy in the workstations.  As panels lower or vanish and as more workers are in open plan environments the availability of an eclectic array of support spaces is essential to productivity and wellbeing.

Open plan area with low panels and lounge seating

Open plan area with low panels and lounge seating

 

Adding a sense of unpredictability in offices will continue.  Unexpected materials or colors contribute a lively energy to spaces that were formerly decked out in suburban office park beige.

 

The blurring of the line between residential, hospitality, healthcare and office spaces will only accelerate.  Offices now have a residential feel and several furniture stores such as West Elm and Room and Board are offering products geared to offices.  New metal finishes like Apple’s rose gold or Chanel’s beige gold are starting to appear in commercial materials palettes.

 

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The office is becoming more like home and vice versa.  Many workers are able to work remote at least part of the time and sometimes that means working at home.  21st century offices feature cafés, lounge areas, large screen viewing or gaming set-ups, even nap pods.  And the design of the furnishings has a more residential feel.  Softer seating with pillows, reclining lounges, display storage, and funky tables are now more common as are fabrics and colors that evoke a more residential feel.  In the past two years three of the major contract furniture companies have acquired residential lines – Haworth bought Poltrona Frau, Knoll purchased Holly Hunt and Herman Miller acquired Design Within Reach.  These major investments confirm that the blurring of the lines between office and home, or at least between office and café, are here to stay.

The move to less hierarchical organizations continues in full force.  Companies are looking for a more fluid style of managing their most important resource – the talent, energy and expertise of their workers.  Along with this accelerating trend is one toward less narrow specialization of knowledge workers.  The new model for the digital economy seems to be small entrepreneurial groups that tackle an entire project like the agile work teams at Cornell Tech.

Employee engagement continues to be the holy grail for leading organizations. The benefits of engaged employees include increased productivity, reduced absence, creativity and are highly valued by companies looking to excel.  A healthy workplace that supports and encourages wellbeing is a priority for smart companies.  One example is the prevalence of sit-to-stand worksurfaces from every manufacturer.

Color trends are all over the map for 2015.  Sherwin Williams opted for Coral Reef, Benjamin Moore for Guilford Green and Pantone for Marsala.  None are too compelling so take your choice.

Tech trends include more cloud based storage and computing and more mobile everything.  These are great facilitators for working from anywhere at any time.   Of course, mobile devices also enable everyone to post their own content 24/7 on their Instagram feeds and YouTube channels.  We all know this can be too much of a good thing.

The economy is rebounding and most businesses are optimistic about a good year in 2015.  Here’s hoping!

Coffee bar in break area for architectural firm

Coffee bar in break area for architectural firm

 

Typical design for collaboration focused floorpolan

Typical design for collaboration focused floorpolan

 

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Three announcements, three totally different colors.  Pantone has decreed that Marsala will be crowned Color of the Year for 2015.  This one sure feels seasonal right now.  Not so sure about how yummy it will be in July.

Marsala is Pantone's 2015 Color of the Year

Marsala is Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year

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Coral Reef is the 2015 winner for Sherwin Williams.  Not as bold as Pantone’s Tangerine Tango from 2012, this softer hue still has weight and heft.  It reminds us of the soft, burnished reds of Pompeii and the stunning facades of Rome.

Sherwin Williams Coral Reef

Sherwin Williams Coral Reef

Facade in Trastevere section of Rome
Facade in Trastevere section of Rome

 

 

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The American Society of Interior Designers has initiated this study in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative America.  The ASID Protocols for Health and Wellness in Design will not be a new standard but rather a way or organizing the expanding list of overlapping existing guidelines such as LEED.

Professional designers are delighted.

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