There is no universal formula for designing a functional and comfortable office. The best way to start is to figure out how people will work in the office.
There is no universal formula for designing a functional and comfortable office. The best way to start is to figure out how people will work in the office. What are the wishes of those people? How much quiet space is needed, and how common is teamwork?
I’m pleased to see that, these days, employees are taken increasingly into consideration in designing office premises. My approach involves walking around the company’s existing premises, sitting down for a chat and listening to people’s views regarding their office space. What aspects are not working out well? Where should workstations be located to best support a high level of performance? Who prints a lot of pages, whose voice is annoyingly loud? These talks provide me with a great deal of input as well as ideas on ergonomics. At this stage, trends and details such as interior colours are of secondary importance.
I start by establishing the functional foundation of the premises, and the actual interior design follows that. In the interior design, I always look to incorporate elements that the client’s personnel do not expect. You could call them Easter eggs or happy surprises.
It's all about people
An office space is a success if people enjoy coming to work there. The outcome is even better if the employees feel proud of their office: See what a fantastic space we get to work in!
A well-designed office is also such that the company’s customers easily associate the premises with the company’s operations. In a way, the space speaks to what the company represents, what its business is like, and what its brand stands for.
My design work does not start with thinking about what the target group is, nor do I design premises with architecture as the first priority. My motto is “It’s all about people”. This applies whether the job involves designing the interior of a home, an office, a restaurant or a hotel.
These spaces are designed for people. To do that successfully, you have to first listen to them. They give you a tremendous amount of useful advice and tips, and the outcome of the process is very satisfied people.
Kaisa Blomstedt is an interior architect with decades of experience in the interior design of homes, offices and public spaces. She runs her own interior architecture office, Studio Kaisa B, and she is an interior design lecturer at Helsinki Design School.