As office interior design develops – what 6 key things are becoming outdated? And what are the new i


For many workspace designers the past 10 years has been a hugely interesting learning curve – no matter what level designer, new trends and new faces have created an industry full of intrigue and healthy competition.

This development in styles and trends has led to an influx of new design terms and key pieces, rendering many outdated.

The ‘hot desk’ is no longer a term used so frequently, in fact, it seems an office without these are now very few and far between, and so the term itself is no longer a cool new idea to assist agile working but an assumed necessity. Agile working itself is a fairly new phrase developed from the ‘hot desk’ to describe, for example, the working style of a sales team that are in and out – not necessarily needing a fixed desk….and could be in a Starbucks miles away. This can also be said for the relatable term ‘touchdown’ – even associated with clients coming in and touching down with laptops if they need 5 to 10 minutes before a meeting to send a few quick emails – this is being replaced now with client lounges, mingled in with waiting areas, tea-points or even open plan, to encourage visitors to see the ‘cogs’ of a company.

The term ‘bolthole’ describing a small one to one room or private working space is no longer thrown around the design studio so often – replaced with the new generations ‘pod’ or ‘booth’ and developed in to quirky ideas such as London telephone booths, or a specific product to enhance sound deadening like the ever popular high back sofas, pioneered by Vitra, and progressed throughout the furniture industry in to working or meeting spaces with technology built in. The ‘bolthole’ typically with a door and prison cell style design is now replaced by freestanding, moveable pieces that encourage the flexibility and agile working of the new trends in office design.

Furthermore, a term previously used so often to describe the tea-point & seating spaces for employees to migrate to – the ‘breakout’ space. The decline of this term can be boiled down to the new ways in which these spaces are used and new ideas on how creativity and productivity can be encouraged by such an area. In new speak ‘collaboration space’, inspiring communication between teams. Additionally, ‘collision points’ within the open plan space, depicting places in which a couple of colleagues bump in to each other (not literally, health and safety comes first) and this ‘collision’ sparks a quick conversation or thought to be shared and thus creating a new idea or strategy for a team to develop on…..a sort of movement from the old school water cooler chat.

The round meeting table has even decreased in usability, especially within an open plan. Rarely is it seen in office design now to put a round meeting table and chairs as a collaboration space – this sit up meeting style has been replaced with flexible desking arrangements with banks of bench desks being multi functional, having space for laptop or fixed users to sit and work as well as end spaces for team gatherings or laying out plans/ideas in a more localised area….that can be expanded in to as teams grow, even the typical mid height storage unit has been developed in to a stand up meet area. This then frees up space throughout open plan for the new theme of collaboration as previously mentioned, the more lounge style seating, the bean bag, the deck chair, the high back technology based seating or even the playful swings….the possibilities are endless!

Finally…this theory then follows on nicely to the term ‘meeting suite’, so often used in office design previously for the arrangement of several meeting rooms and boardrooms. With the development of open plan furniture products being so strong over the past 5-10 years, these bench systems that multi function, with a ‘plug and play’ ability are reducing the need for built meeting rooms of 4-6 people, only leaving the boardroom and perhaps one or two larger meeting rooms if necessary, so saving the end user vital square footage (which in the current market is essential) to develop and expand their teams with a larger open plan space, also allowing for more of the aforementioned collision points and collaboration spaces, further enhancing employee productivity.

In another 5- 10 years time will we be seeing another shift in outdated terminology….watch this space.