DESIGN WITH OPTIMISM
First, did you know that designing with optimism was a thing? Well, it is, and it could be exactly what you need to consider in your return to office plans.
What are ways to design with optimism?
It’s all about intention. Infusing optimism into a space to cover over the troubles of the outside world will be nothing more than a good-looking façade. What if instead your design plans were grounded in purpose? Now we’re onto something according to Infinity Group Director of Design Laura Merrill.
Merrill asked, “What is more thoughtful than designing a space for employees that maximizes the purpose of their built environment?”
For instance, let’s say your company went fully remote in March 2020 like so many other organizations. And since that time, you’ve realized many of the tasks that happened in the office could be done away from that space efficiently (maybe even better?). Great.
But what about collaborative work? What about team building and new employee onboarding and training? Most companies we work with report those activities are missed and that they are hard to replicate in virtual settings. That’s where purpose-driving design can be key. Perhaps you don’t need to lease as much square footage, but the space you will keep is filled with top-notch amenities and comfy collaboration zones. It’s also important to think about the entrance to your office. Spaces that welcome employees and visiting clients back with open arms are essential in 2022.
That segues perfectly into our next element of designing with optimism – energy. Energy can mean different things to different people. As it relates to design in a physical space, we have many ways to influence energy and set the tone.
A lobby flanked in dark wood paneling may give off a mix of upscale and unapproachable energy. But that same lobby painted in bright yellow with playful furniture and carpets could inspire excitement and upbeat energy. Taking the time to consider the needs of your people and organization as a whole in all spaces is wise. That planning will set the foundation for everything else – layout, paint, furniture, fixtures, finishes, room temperature, capacity limits, and even scents. Next time you’re in a store you love, a hotel or building lobby, notice if you can detect a pleasant scent in the air. Done properly, it may be subtle and just enough to positively influence the energy of all who enter. Pretty cool, right?
You want to assemble a space that feels good. A tired couch in the lunchroom or office chairs with holes in them do the opposite. With many workers returning to the office after years away, creating cozy environments in commercial offices is key.
Merrill said, “Updating your office comfort is available to every company, regardless of budget.”
If you’re ready to make a major investment, a new layout and furniture would make the biggest impact. But even rearranging your current furniture and parting with anything that is broken or dated can be a good start. Top that off with a fresh coat of paint in a few key areas and that could show your people that you have been thoughtful about their comfort needs.
When the world feels heavy, throwing back to simpler times can evoke positive emotions. Integrating vintage or vintage-look art into spaces can accomplish this. Take a look at the incredible wall decal we installed into Infinity Group’s TaskUs project in San Antonio, Texas. It is a nod to the vintage “Greetings from” postcards of a bygone era. This simple touch can give a space warmth and familiarity. Other popular nostalgia trends have included adding back the neon tones of the 90’s. Our recently completed headquarters upgrade for e-commerce company Xmondo fully embraced everything neon. That includes LED accents around neon wall and floor decals and neon furniture.
“It’s a vibe that is certainly 90’s nostalgic, and it’s also on brand for the company so it works on many levels,” said Merrill about the Xmondo scheme.
Color has the power to do big, inspiring things for our spaces. Blues can be calming, bright colors can be energizing, and the list goes on. With commercial interior design, picking a crowd-pleasing color can be tricky.
Marketing and design professional, Rebecca Dippel of RD Creative Strategy, speaks to the importance color can make in visual design projects, especially commercial interior design.
“As a designer, I find color to be one of the most effective and practical methods of creating unity, establishing emotion, and reflecting an organization’s brand image. Whether a workspace has a traditional feel or a more modern, open-concept, all three elements—unity, emotion, and brand—are critical elements that can be addressed through thoughtful attention to color.”
“Don’t be afraid to break out of your standard corporate brand color palette when designing your workspace. But do make purposeful color decisions and stick to your brand guidelines if they can deliver the goals and desired emotion for your space,” said Dippel.
Ready take a deliberate approach to integrating optimism into your commercial space design? Our team is ready to work with you to make it happen and Make Work Beautiful.