Distinctions have now become blurred and even vanish altogether as people now work in hybrid ways – partly on the bus, sometimes in communal areas, sometimes even in bed. (Tom Dixon)
The general office is […] meant for people to enjoy a variegated landscape in which there is always a new way to work, socialize, live. (Makoto Tanijiri e Ai Yoshida di Suppose Design Office)
Trend research carried out by Canadian psychologists Colleen Merrifield and James Danckert has shown that feelings of boredom have a more negative impact on people’s health. Boredom has been shown to increase heartbeat and cortisone levels, seen as the leading indicator of stress. This is a factor that reveals a lot about the effects the built environment has on the wellbeing of those who live or work in it and the need to rethink it, with people at the heart of the planning process. A new way of working has emerged.
Observations and studies of this type are surfacing at a historic time, when we are witnessing a powerful evolution not just in working modes but also in the concept of the workspace itself. The new professions linked to the digital ecosystem are generating less hierarchical organisational models.
Within this macro-framework which is the expression of increasingly hybrid lifestyles, in which the lines between private and working life become blurred, new situations are emerging, making the office a prime location for experimenting with design. An evolving space which takes on the characteristics of a permeable and dynamic habitat, open to professional sharing and dovetailing with other activities.
Another effect of the widespread fluidity of contemporary lifestyles is the increasing overlap of domestic and work spaces, with homes and their furnishings adapting to serve a dual function as both home and office. Unsurprisingly, many designers, from Tom Dixon to Nendo, are producing office furniture that puts the accent on the increasingly blurred lines between these two environments and responds to the demand for versatile, hard-wearing and functional objects for work but that are also attractive enough to be used as domestic or decorative solutions.
Within this evolving context, and largely thanks to the impetus of the tech companies, even the more traditional workspaces are changing, becoming open, deconstructed spaces with no set workstations in an attempt to mix professional skills and personal capabilities, which is encouraged because they lift the general atmosphere, promote psychological and physical wellbeing and foster productivity.
Increasingly, dedicated work areas are close to areas devoted to relaxation and meditation in the form of pods or beds for resting, or spaces kitted out with sports or recreational equipment, where people can pursue the sorts of activities that enable them to boost concentration and inspiration.
Headspace, the app that helps people carve out opportunities for mindfulness during the day, has produced the Meditation Pod in partnership with the architects Oyler Wu Collaborative, a space that thanks to its shape, reminiscent of a geological formation enables users to isolate themselves, relax and meditate in public spaces. It was instantly snapped up by numerous large companies for use at their headquarters.
This macro-trend has triggered three micro-trends: Nowhere Office, Shared Office and WorkSpace Reloaded.
Source: Salone del Mobile – Trendlab – Livingscapes