Contract - May 2012 - (Page 26)

The way we work Where is workplace design heading today? What is driving the new workplace, and how are designers responding? Who is at the forefront of thought leadership: savvy clients, designers, or another entity? Those questions—open for debate and discussion within the profession—were essential considerations in the selection and exploration of office interiors in this issue. There are no certain answers. But it seems that the ways in which we work today—the ways in which individuals accomplish their jobs in an office environment—are not always in sync with the physical workplace. Three factors are key, and each appears to be evolving. First, how do people work today compared to a decade ago or 20 years ago, and what are the varieties of types of work even within one company? We know the demographics: Baby Boomers work with younger colleagues, including this year’s college graduates (born in 1990) who have different perceptions of work and do not know a world without computers. No matter your age, a combination of laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones are regularly used in your work. Second, how do companies, your clients—from executives and managers to facilities planners—smartly and efficiently plan for their workspaces to accommodate changes in the ways employees work, while being mindful of commercial real estate pressures to consolidate? And third, are architects and designers leading or following? Likewise, are commercial furniture and product manufacturers, and their designers, leading or following? And here’s the hot-button question: Is the role of architect or designer being usurped by consulting companies in large-scale commercial real estate decisions? We know that consultants are increasingly doing predesign/ programming work that designers are trained to do. What is the impact for the office, as well as for the architecture and design professions? We know models of fantastic workplaces. But the models for how we actually work have not caught up in all sectors. The location where employees work (what workstation on which floor) is still the predominant consideration for companies without fully taking into account the actual activity of work. Technology enables working anywhere, but workstations often tether an employee to a single spot. Does an employee need complete quiet or not? Collaboration or solo work? Staying at a desk all day or moving about the office? When the way we work starts working better, productivity will increase, and we’ll reap the benefits of advances in workplace design and technology. In this issue, you’ll discover a wide range of examples of today’s workplace. A creative office like Red Bull in Amsterdam (page 124) is different from yet another creative company, the video game producer THQ in Montreal (page 130) in terms of both the physical space and the actual work employees undertake. Yet both are completely unique compared to the headquarters of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (page 106) which, as a new office campus, is the only featured project in this issue that is not a renovation or adaptive reuse. Red Bull’s office has a funky—almost ephemeral (yes, that is a plywood wall on the cover)— quality reflecting a rapid pace of change while, on the other hand, architecture firm Shlemmer Algaze (page 120) chose a more polished, finished look for its highly visible downtown Los Angeles office. Taken as a whole, the clients and designers featured in this issue have all taken major steps to advance the discussion of how design enhances the workplace. At NeoCon® this year, we will join you to see how these questions about the future of work and workplace impact the furnishings designed for today’s office. How are the fixtures and furnishings allowing architects and designers—and clients—to develop innovative workplace solutions? Check out the Ideabook in this issue for all you need to know about NeoCon® 2012, and see our extensive preview of NeoCon® products, beginning on page 66. I hope that the projects and products within this issue—and the feature on hospitality’s influence on office design (page 102) by Lauren Rottet—will serve as a starting point for your conversations about the future of workplace interiors and our profession. And I look forward to seeing you at NeoCon®! Sincerely, John Czarnecki, editor in Chief 26 may 2012 pHoToGRApHY: MeG WALToN editorial

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - May 2012

Contract - May 2012
Industry News
Coming Events
Exhibition: Coverings
Exhibition: Highlights from Salone Internazionale del Mobile
Product Focus: Enlivening the Flexible Office
Product Focus: A Collection to Define 21st Century Herman Miller
NeoCon® Preview
Hospitality’s Influence in Workplace Design
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Campus
Steelcase Office and Work Café
Shlemmer Algaze Associates
Red Bull Amsterdam
Grey Group Roof Deck
Knoll, East Greenville Headquarters
The Metrics of Distributed Work
Tools: Pinterested, by Design
Exhibition: Hallingdal 65
Designers Select: Office Furniture
Ad Index
Exhibition: Lasvit Liquidkristal by Ross Lovegrove

Contract - May 2012