What is the Future of Office Design?


To have a deeper understanding about the trends in workspaces and their future, Indonesia Design spoke to some of Indonesia’s most prominent designers and architects, and asked them about what they think is the future of office design.

Steven Shaw

Executive Principal, Aedas

Current Trends - When most people today think about “office design” they think of google, facebook and coworking spaces, which are those that are getting the most “facetime” in publications and online. However, the vast majority of workplace design, at least in North America, is still traditional workstation cubicles and private offices with some break out spaces. In addition, as more people experience totally open office environments, they realise that there is a need for acoustical and visual privacy at times along with a sense of having a place to call theirs, besides a locker.

The Future - I think we will see a return to more individual work, a greater emphasis on the spaces between the work area (break out, collaboration, individual escape space) and technology being more embedded into what we do, how we use it and how it assists to adjust our workspaces intuitively. Specifically, I am hopeful that end users will start to value sustainability of products over cost to ensure that we assist in leaving the planet for future generations to come. Also, seeing a shift to more locally-influenced designs or emulation of global design trends is a 50/50 split that we are seeing, firms that want to be globally influenced versus organisations that wish to maintain a local identity. I think the key to the future success of mega cities like Jakarta will be transportation that easily allows people to get between home, work and social environments without spending hours commuting.

Alexander Doerr

Architect, AVIP Interiors

Current Trends - Companies seem to be embracing agile design, break out spaces, and flexible work areas more and more. Staff are definitely moving away from the cubicle desk, instead working off laptops in more comfortable, less formal settings. Applying aspects of colour theory provides stimulating and exciting environments, while a more thoughtful upper-level approach to staff wellbeing and importance in a company means office design is being more carefully considered and given greater attention. Moreover, one strong furniture trend noticeable recently is the high bar meeting table. It allows for standing or sitting, and creates a far less formal atmosphere for group discussions.

The Future - Technology is of course a big driver in change, and customisation, environmental responsibility, and overall efficiency of an office will be more seamlessly integrated. There are many exciting ways app-based controls and sensors are currently affecting modern office design, so it is an exciting area to watch. Also, cosy or “homey” design in general seems to be blending into the workplace with living room-type furniture layouts replacing the more traditional task chair, meeting table set up. As work/life blurs, so too does the distinction of what an office should look and feel like.

Bingah Suseno

Project Director, CDA International

Current Trends – Right now, an agile working environment is trendy, as more and more people are accustomed to be more mobile with the development of technology that does not tie us down to an office as a working place. Agile working follows how the workforce is moving towards more brainstorming, collaborations, and then some individual or focus areas to work after the collaboration sessions. Also, more workplaces are set up less formal, applying hospitality design to be friendly, homier and more relaxed.

The Future - WELL as in wellbeing. In the last few years, people have been focusing more on the environment, sustainability; in the near future we are going to emphasise more on the wellbeing of the workers.

Iklim Tan

Principal Architect, Aurasia Design

Current Trends - Actually the current trends of office design has shifted to a dynamic ambience. Therefore, the design itself has also adjusted from formal stiff configuration to fluid and informal settings.

The Future - Nowadays, we have educated our clients to have a more “human” design, which means designing office concepts with a home-like ambience, and with a good support of technology. Currently, some designs are Internet of Things (IoT) based to make the users work efficiently and effectively. Along with the speed of technology, the above mentioned issues have been catered by such a design that applies IoT based where furniture, location of workplace, environmental ambience are used to create a home like and comfortable working space, of course with the touch of specific design item for some industries.

Tri Hikmawati W Popon

Founder and Design Director, TMS Creative

Current Trends - The current trends, depending on the client, are towards a more open space and collaborative working environment. Transparency and solid teamwork are the most talked about requirements from most design briefs I’ve received, and this also seemed to be an on-going research; the trend that working together will create not only a cohesive team, but also the sense of togetherness. Nowadays in Indonesia, clients are becoming more aware about sustainability and universal designs. This has also become an intensive personal research to balance between aesthetic and functionality, where materials and technology play quite a significant role in meeting the best qualities for their requirements.

The Future - The big changes that I can predict is probably by the greater awareness of people regarding green or environmentally-friendly products and sustainability, where many interior elements can be technology-based both for materials and production, or even considering the natural process such as recyclable materials. Adaptive-reuse design or alteration has been already a trend in Europe, to maximise heritage buildings’ interior yet preserving its architecture. I think Indonesia has beautiful architectural heritage buildings that can be used for modern office interiors without any significant demolition required.

Also, the fact that open spaces are now the trend for offices means furniture is chosen based on its function. Even adaptable designs for multifunctional spaces are more preferable to accommodate the brief requirements, especially for small areas. I think with smart design solutions and technology, this will definitely be something to consider for the future within the design industry.

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