Inhabited Space

COMING INSIDE, ONE INVARIABLY ENCOUNTERS NEW TERRITORY, NEW AND PERHAPS UNFAMILIAR TERRAIN. IMMEDIATELY, THE SCALE OF THE SPACE IS DIFFERENT, THE QUALITY OF LIGHT IS ALTERED AND, IF WE HAVE STEPPED IN FROM THE STREET, THE LEVEL OF NOISE AND HUSTLE IS LIKELY DIMINISHED. INSIDE, IT LOOKS AND FEELS DIFFERENT. THERE ARE NEW RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. AND, CHANCES ARE, WE RESPOND CONSCIOUSLY OR UNCONSCIOUSLY TO THE MEASURABLE AND IMMEASURABLE QUALITIES OF THE SPACE. WE FEEL ANTICIPATION—OR, IN SOME CASES, ANXIETY.

Any interior space provides information and offers messages received in the form of scale and proportion, color and shape, texture and detail. How then do we create spaces that send the right message, that serve our purposes? How do we anticipate the physical and psychological effects of any given space? It is our purpose here to explore how we, as human beings, experience the places we inhabit—and to consider how we might design spaces that people feel good in.

While much of this discussion will apply to a spectrum of interior spaces, it will focus on theworkplace, where, in fact, most of us spend most of our time—about 60% of waking hours each day. Thus, the places we work have an enormous impact on our bodies and minds, which in turn, affects our potential for creativity at work and for happiness in any context.

Historically, there have been various ways to measure how well the design of an interior space “works.” In a volatile economy, the metric may be the ability to fit as many people and desks into as little real estate as possible. Humanizing or stylish touches may have to go. Such determinants have a rightful place among the tenets of design, but it is certainly possible to reconcile economic necessities, with design that’s intelligent, interesting and human-centered.

Every element of interior design—the shape of the space, the color of walls, the arrangement of furniture—is laden with messages. Each speaks to certain values. Each gives cues for behavior. Taken together, they suggest and invite a way of working, learning or socializing. One might cross the threshold into a space where neoclassical moldings and elegant furnishings speak to tradition or plunge into an open room where raw brick walls and unpainted wood planks allude to the rustic and informal. The visual language of the space communicates and informs, often evoking an emotional response and potentially leading us to pass a verdict on the nature of the enterprise that shaped it.

Download the knowledge book:
The True Measure Of A Space Is
How It Makes Us Feel

The Human Factor

EVERY INTERIOR HAS AN AFFECT, SOMETIMES PROFOUND. ALL SPACES EVOKE A RESPONSE AMONG THOSE WHO INTERACT EVEN BRIEFLY WITH ITS PLANES AND SURFACES, AND “FEEL” ITS EFFECTS. AND IF IT IS AGREED THAT, IN THE LONG RUN, AN INTERIOR SPACE—IN PARTICULAR, A WORKSPACE—DERIVES MEANING FROM ITS INHABITANTS, THEN AS A MATTER OF COURSE WE WILL MEASURE A SPACE—WHATEVER ITS FUNCTION—BY HOW IT MAKES US FEEL.

The following chapters of this book focus on the elements of interior design and how they may be put to use to create a more positive experience, to create more happiness, at work. Our discussion ranges across the types of spaces one encounters in the modern office over the course of a workday—and proposes that feeling WelcomeEmpoweredConnectedCalm and Comfortable helps people to do their best work. Equally, companies that seek to become skilled in leveraging the power of design, that use design to engage and inspire, often find workers a great deal more likely to exhibit creativity, commitment and a spirit of community in the collective effort.

Whatever the prevailing aesthetic model of design, and however complex the concerns and constraints that designers must address. We have a great opportunity to put beauty and meaning into the everyday work environment. We have a chance, and even a mandate, to improve people’s lives. That, in essence, is the story of design in earlier eras and this one. Design does matter.

The Internet of Things Emerges in the Workplace

The Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming an increasingly growing topic of conversation in our personal lives and in the workplace. At its core, IoT is about connecting devices over the Internet, letting them talk to us, our apps, and each other. What if your smartphone could tell you when and where in the workplace you were most productive? What if it shared that information with the companion devices of your colleagues? What if an organization was seeking to discover where, when and how space is being used to uncover potential growth space, reduce costs and improve the workplace environment?

At a high level, this type of workplace utilization system could collect valuable occupancy and movement information on how people are using office space in real time by deploying IoT technology like radio frequency sensor technology in an anonymous and non-intrusive way. Or data could be collected using a companion device such as a smartphone, which is equipped with sensors able to capture information such as location (GPS), speed of movement (accelerometer) and light sensors measuring the brightness of the ambient light. Collectively, these sensors would produce a huge amount of data, both in unstructured form like pictures, as well as structured, such as location and movement. This data could tell you where and when you and your colleagues work most effectively. It could be interpreted to provide insights into improving the effectiveness of the workplace, its design, its collaborative and private space utilization.

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We look forward to 2017 with great enthusiasm. We continue to see the individual being the first thought in office design. How we impact them, how we can support how they work and how we can make them healthy and comfortable. This human centred approach to office design is changing the conversation and the outcome is exciting. These needs are also elevating the role of the designer in the process as they have the true skills to make these lofty goals a reality.

Teknion has been taking a long, close look at trends because we believe that design is a powerful tool for shaping environments, cultures, values and experiences – and thus, also shaping the future.

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