Many businesses are considering remodelling and redesigning their offices for the New Year, and may already be scanning the design media for inspiration. As with all major business undertakings, it is a good idea to discuss any plans with a professional consultant – in this case, a reputable office redesign company – but first you need to have some idea of the new look to bring to the table, and to form a basis for discussion.
Domestic versus office design
There are many places to look for the latest trends in interior design, and this is the time of year that features on 'the trends of 2013' abound. When examining these trends, it's important to remember that they are mainly aimed at homes and buildings with a 'domestic' atmosphere, such as hotels and guest houses. Office spaces and other workspaces are often neglected in these analyses, although you can find specialist publications online that concern themselves with the latest developments in the world of office design.
Form versus functionality
Another thing to remember is that office interior design is perforce a very different matter than interior design in the home, due to the basic functions that every office needs to be able to carry out. Although some workplaces will have a more informal look than others, such as the media and “creative” industries, a base level of professionalism and functionality has to be present in all of them, as well as the overriding need for essential office equipment such as a telecoms system, computers, desks and chairs. There's only a certain amount of ways to arrange these before the design scheme becomes unworkably impractical.
Rooms for individuality
Similarly, colours and textures in offices tend to look out place when straying too far from neutral colours. Whites, pale yellows and creams still serve well on walls, while pale woods and metals remain a reliable option for fittings and furniture. That said, there is plenty of room for a more creative approach in the personal offices of senior managers and CEOs, office redesign efforts can comfortably accommodate a more cosy and individualistic approach in these, areas where the design sensibilities of home and the office frequently collide.
Book a place at an office design event
There are special events in many cities that are also designed specifically to provide inspiration for next year's office redesigns. For example, anyone in London next September will be able to attend 100% Office – billed as the first trade show specifically dedicated to office and workspace design. Taking place as part of the annual London Design Festival between 18-21 September in Earl's Court, it promises stands from the world's top designers, offering examples of “ the very latest developments in work and contract design.”
Good luck with your hunting, and remember to run your ideas past professional office designers first!