Designing the new Base Architecture Office
Designing your own office or house is a designer’s greatest challenge. There are so many options and when you are the client AND designer, the possibilities are endless. That’s where formulating a solid brief proved invaluable. When designing any new workplace, it’s important to assess the current environment, review workflow and social dynamics of a company. This was straightforward seeing we were assessing our own office but we needed to analyse without bias and have an open mind for change. Our work culture is relaxed, social yet professional and our aim for the new office was to be a clear reflection of our culture. Upon entering our office, we wanted our clients to get an immediate sense of who we are and how we work. Selection of specialist lighting and finishes were important to support this.
Stripping the building back to ‘bare bones’ proved fruitful. We exposed original brickwork which gave the space warmth, and demolishing the plasterboard ceiling highlighted hardwood beams that were repurposed for internal vertical screening, thus endorsing our sustainability focus. We worked with the structure not against it, toiling with the available textural brickwork and aged timber meant there was no need to apply decorative materials to provide a contrast to the smooth rubber flooring and laminate desktop finishes. The building materiality was abundant and we used the tonal warmth, texture, natural light and material coarseness to give the space a warm, welcoming and relaxed character.
The selection of lighting with a warm temperature that was more reflective of a home than a commercial office space was another considered layer that promotes our relaxed nature. This warmth is contrasted by the dark high ceilings with exposed timber and steel structure giving the office an industrial warehouse style.
On the pragmatic flipside, our increasing staff numbers meant we were finding our old office was deficient in meeting spaces. Quite simply, we needed to support our functional requirements by increasing the number of flexible collaborative spaces we offered, with transparency and a strong connection to the general office area. Audible and visual transparency within most meeting spaces supported our goal for knowledge sharing within the office.
Studies show that staff who have choice within their immediate work environment, and flexibility of space are happier and healthier, and typically more productive, and no single person with the same job title works the same way. By providing advanced technology, installing products where research shows they do support workplace elasticity, this has encouraged staff to change their work area regularly to suit their process. By offering alternate work zones with flexible furniture options this also supports different work needs, either collaboration or focused attention.
Our office is a true reflection of who we are.
We are going from strength to strength.