A guide to hybrid office design.

Office design of the future: the Liqui view on the hybrid office.

Introduction

In this article, we discuss the rise of hybrid office design: what it is, why it’s important, and how flexible workplace design can benefit employees, companies and organisations.

In May 2020, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Liqui made a speculative forecast, attempting to predict the future of the office and office design. We said: “the biggest change that will be adopted, with even greater momentum, is design for flexibility and well-being.” More than two years later and with a widespread adoption of the ‘hybrid office’ or ‘hybrid model’, it seems we may have been right. Hybrid office design is a response to the need for better flexibility and well-being.

The hybrid office

One major impact of the pandemic was how it changed the way in which people work—today’s workforce have, on the whole, a different view of working practices compared with pre-pandemic ways of working. With hybrid working post covid there is a much greater emphasis on the importance of a work-life balance. Employees want to keep the flexibility that comes with home working, but at the same time have a desire to avoid the loneliness and isolation experienced when home working during the pandemic was obligatory. A study conducted in March 2021 by intelligent learning platform HowNow, showed that more than two-thirds (67%) of UK-based remote workers felt disconnected from their colleagues. Moreover, half (49%) admitted this sense of disconnection was having a negative impact on how they viewed their job. From this, we can infer that a majority of workers would like to have the best of both worlds. A post-Covid shift in perspective has tilted the balance in favour of family, personal life, health, and well-being over work. This means that hybrid workplace design has an important role to play in addressing this fundamental change in employees’ priorities.

For the employers’ part, to attract and retain staff they should be aware of this new way of thinking. Where home working was an essential requirement for tackling the pandemic, today it is anything but a blip or fad: after more than two years of working from home, people have proved they can be trusted, reliable employees and have a better work-life balance. As a consequence, flexibility and well-being are non-negotiable terms for many employees. The prospect of returning to the status quo—working 9–5 at a stationary, office-based desk—no longer appeals. To address this new normal, business leaders are seeking ways to accommodate employees through office layout, improved facilities, and technology. Good hybrid office design, enables employers to offer flexibility and improved well-being for their employees.

A hybrid office can be described as a place where people go in order to work with others (whereas the traditional office is where people go simply to do their work). The hybrid workplace is centred around group activities, such as collaborative working, meetings, and brainstorming sessions. Remote working is then reserved for individual work-related activities. Hybrid offices should also be viewed as social destinations, playing an important role in reconnecting people and businesses. A primary role of a hybrid office design must be to make any commute worth undertaking. It should create a flexible work environment of choice that serves to nudge human behaviour in a way that fosters teamwork, creativity, and innovation, while simultaneously encompassing a sense of community, shared culture, and well-being.

To achieve this, Liqui believes there are two key areas to focus on when designing a hybrid office: flexible working and wellness.

Flexible working

Flexible working is about providing the choice between remote and physical work environments, where collaboration happens seamlessly, and employees are free to work wherever they feel most comfortable and productive. The majority of employees want the choice to work remotely for part of the week, coming into the office when needed. It is important that employers do not impose a single style of working on employees—the best way to achieve this is by offering choice.

Offering choice means designing a hybrid office that accommodates different modes of working. This necessitates the consideration of the many ways in which a business and its employees operate, thereby designing spaces that cater to those working in the office and remotely. Any design should give thought to the following: social areas with comfortable seating, enclosed areas for more individual and small group tasks, quiet nooks for meetings, and conference rooms for video calls with colleagues and clients.

Desks are a key element of a flexible work space and a range of solutions should be taken into account (beyond that which is typical of the traditional office). It may be the case that some employees require or want a fixed location to work from—while recognising this, a good hybrid office design should seek to reduce the number of desks, opting instead for hot desks. With many employees working remotely, a hot desk environment allows every employee to book a desk, via a booking system, as and when required.

A reduction in desks increases the amount of office space available for a range of collaborative working and social environments; importantly, employees no longer feel tethered to their desks. Hybrid workplace design that embrace flexibility, choice, and collaboration will facilitate cooperation by people across departments, helping to solve complex problems and shape innovative ideas. The realisation of such collaborations is often fortuitous, however they can be made more likely by employing ‘nudge tactics’: the strategic placement of a printer station where a conversation is sparked by a passing colleague, or a centralised high table where a new member of staff overhears a stand-up meeting, stops to ask a question, and makes a contribution (what we call the ‘kitchen table’ effect). A well conceived hybrid office design should create a hub for these encounters, while striking a balance between openness and privacy: a coffee-shop-meets-library style environment.

Design and layout of the hybrid office are created with the understanding that work happens as much in the canteen and coffee nook as it does at the desk. However, design and layout can only do so much. If the hybrid workplace is to become a destination that employees will happily commute to and fully avail of, then a top-down approach is required. Senior management should take the lead by providing clear guidance to employees, while experimenting with and evolving what works best for their teams. Leaders must also be intentional about connecting hybrid and remote employees into the organisation’s working culture. To achieve this, it is crucial that the most up-to-date technology seamlessly bridges the gap between remote and office-based staff: a fully functioning hybrid workspace needs the tools to empower remote collaboration.

From Liqui’s perspective, we believe that if a hybrid office is to truly offer flexible working for all employees, then investment is required in four key areas: design, hardware, software, and culture. This will result in improved productivity because irrespective of where staff members are based, they can make the most of their day.

Workplace wellbeing

The idea of wellbeing in the workplace isn’t new and was in fact gaining much attention prior to the pandemic. In the aftermath of Covid-19, workplace wellbeing has come into sharp focus and is fundamental to the hybrid office model. According to Microsoft’s ‘2022 Work Trend Index’ (a study of 31,000 people in thirty-one countries), 53% of employees are now more likely to prioritise health and well-being over work than before the pandemic.

Social interactions were mostly virtual during the pandemic—this continual online way of communicating served as a reminder of the importance of face-to-face conversation and connection. At the same time, the mental health concerns and anxiety levels of many people were exacerbated due to factors such as unemployment and the loss of income. Employers cannot overlook these issues and office designers must work to ensure wellness is at the core of any workspace design. In a hybrid workplace, meeting people’s needs is paramount and therefore human-centric design will play a pivotal role. The inclusion of well-designed furniture, acoustics, lighting, and greenery will help bolster employee wellness. If the hybrid office design is to be a success, then people need to make use of the space. It should feel like a home from home, a place where the person wants to be and is not compelled to be.

We believe the hybrid office should fully embrace the idea of the ‘coffice’, a portmanteau word combining coffee and office. Essentially, there are three types of spaces: home, work, and the third space. This third space is something like a coffee shop, a place in which to drink coffee, socialise, and work. In the years before Covid-19 we saw an increase in people choosing to work from coffee shops. We also saw workspaces begin to adopt the coffee shop aesthetic. As a consequence, the line between the office and third space was becoming increasingly blurred. We believe this trend should be embraced and the hybrid office, by its very nature, embodies this. It quashes the sterile, rigid idea of the office of old, and instead offers flexibility with more of a coffee shop feel. This approach places an emphasis on employee well-being, on collaborative working, creativity, productivity, and staff retention.

By developing spaces that allow colleagues to nurture better bonds, a well thought out hybrid office design will improve people’s well-being. As a result, employees can enjoy a greater work-life balance, the freedom to choose where and how they work, and a reinforced sense of community. This sense of community helps to boost employee engagement and happiness levels, which, in turn, boosts a business’s bottom line. Designed with the entire workforce in mind, the hybrid office can empower people to do their best work.

References

– HR News. 2021. Remote working results in majority of Brits feeling disconnected, yet four
fifths want to continue WFH in some capacity – HR News. [online] Available at:
<https://hrnews.co.uk/remote-working-results-in-majority-of-brits-feeling-disconnected-yet-
four-fifths-want-to-continue-wfh-in-some-capacity/> [Accessed 30 September 2022].

– Microsoft (CEE Multi-Country News Center). 2022. Work Trend Index: Hybrid work as a
new cultural norm. [online] Available at: <https://news.microsoft.com/en-
cee/2022/04/04/work-trend-index-hybrid-work-as-a-new-cultural-norm/> [Accessed 30
September 2022].

The future of office design (hybrid working).

THE OFFICE ISN’T DEAD: THE LIQUI VIEW ON THE FUTURE OF OFFICE DESIGN

Introduction

What is in store for the future of office design?

To prevent the spread of Covid-19, 2020 witnessed a dramatic shift in where and how we work. For many, working from home became a requirement, one that necessitated change in the home environment. People without a dedicated office space cammandeered their dining tables, kitchen worktops, sofas and bedrooms, creating makeshift places of work. Official UK figures show that homeworking rose from 5.7% of people working at home in January/February 2020, to 43.1% in April 2020, following the introduction of the first lockdown (Felstead & Reuschke, 2020).

Homeworking 

With a large-scale move to working from home, the very existence of the office as the default place of work has been called into question. In Liqui’s opinion, the office as an entity is not dead, however, it is reasonable to assume that a degree of homeworking is here to stay. Prior to the pandemic, there was already a gradual development in part-time working from home, a result of the increasing availability of tools that enable remote working, anytime and anywhere. The pandemic then acted as an accelerant, forcing a greater number of people to work in their place of residence. As many employees adapt to this new way of operating, a full-time return to the ‘9 to 5’ office will doubtless be unacceptable to some.

Since the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a pandemic, the world of work has been in turmoil. In the UK, the issue of homeworking has become something of a national discourse. Asked the question, ‘is remote working overhyped?’ Robin Dunbar, Emeritus Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, offered three reasons on why it is: ‘First, the work place is a social environment and business in any form is a social phenomenon; Second… for young new graduates moving to an unfamiliar city on their first job… work is the only place they can find friends and arrange social events; Third, the digital world of Zoom and Skype is no substitute for face-to-face meetings… people find the virtual environment awkward… there is a very strict limit on the size of natural conversations at four people’ (BBC Worklife).

Hybrid Working

At Liqui, we understand that working from home has its advantages, including feeling trusted by an employer, having flexibility, and greater autonomy. In spite of the possible downsides, such as a degree of boredom and loneliness, many people will doubtless choose to work from home if that choice is available. At the same time, we believe that homeworking does not surpass the office and its role as a place of work. Consequently, it is likely that we will see (and are seeing) the development of a hybrid model: a mix of working from home and at a company’s office. The very act of having employees under one roof is important for several reasons, including: maintaining a company’s culture, feeling a part of something bigger, sparking creativity, and fostering collaboration. Humans are social beings. Covid-19 has had a detrimental effect on the way in which we interact and communicate. The sudden growth in homeworking has taken a toll on mental health. People have reported that they are less able to concentrate, have greater difficulties in enjoying daily activities, feel constantly under strain, and are unhappy or depressed (Felstead & Reuschke, 2020).

We must think about the ways in which the office can adapt in order to maintain collaboration and exchanges with and between colleagues. Moreover, it is important to remember the value of those serendipitous and spontaneous encounters. While there is the need to maintain a physical distance (at least in the short-term), office design should continue to foster a sense of belonging. In many cases, the office is the embodiment of a company, and the place where employees come together. It provides a physical and psychological boundary between work and home life.

The future of workplace design

For Liqui, there are two key areas of focus in the future of workplace design: flexible working and wellness. Any changes will most likely be modest in scale—an evolution of what has already taken place in offices during the last decade.

Flexible working

With a flexible working arrangement, the employee might perform any focused work at home, and use the office for collective projects and meetings. Therefore, the office will become more of a collaborative hub, with employees no longer tethered to their desks. Hot-desking will find a renewed impetus, and employees will reserve a desk by using an app-based system—deep cleaning of desks and chairs, at least in the short-term, will be essential. Employees will have personal, movable storage pedestals for their belongings. The office will include a range of casual spaces that enhance creativity and cross-departmental collaboration. Smaller spaces will be used for videoconferencing and as audio privacy rooms.

It is important to address any feeling of impermanence in the flexible office space, offering employees security and warmth. At Liqui, we very much embrace the idea of the ‘coffice’, a portmanteau word combining coffee and office. Essentially, there are three types of spaces: home, work, and a third space. This third space is usually a coffee shop, a place in which to drink coffee and work. With technology, we have seen an increase in people choosing to work from a coffee shop. As a consequence, the line between the office and third space is becoming increasingly blurred. We believe this should be embraced. Instead of the sterile and rigid office of old, a flexible office will have more of a coffee shop feel. This will place an emphasis on employee well-being, on collaborative working, productivity, and staff retention.

Wellness

To an increasing extent, we live in an informed society. We are alert to the things that can affect our health and well-being. More and more, employees expect to find—and employers are keen to offer—choice and flexibility in their place of work, with a focus on wellness. Covid has exacerbated mental health concerns, increasing anxiety for many of us. Owing to a range of factors (including a predisposition to obsessive-compulsive behaviours, painful life experiences, and unemployment or loss of income), long-term mental health issues connected to Covid-19 are likely to include: obsessive-compulsive disorder, general anxiety, loneliness, stress, and depression (Savage, 2020). Employers cannot overlook these issues, and workplace designers must ensure they are embraced as part of any office design.

Our physical environment has a significant impact on our mental health and well-being. In the case of work, office design must place wellness at its core. Flexibility is key and can be delivered with a choice of work-based settings, from the home to the ‘coffice’. What’s more, the inclusion of well-designed furniture, acoustics, and lighting, and the addition of greenery, will help bolster employee well-being.

In conclusion

For Liqui, the future of workplace design is about stressing the importance of flexible working, wellness, and the office as a collaborative hub. We know the office is not dead. In fact, we believe the office will be more alive than ever, and its design much more human-centred.

The podcast

‘Because things can be different’ with Liqui Group, is a new podcast that explores ideas on contemporary business, retail, and design. The latest episode is titled ‘The Future of Office Design in a COVID era’.

Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, Spotify and YouTube.

More Information

For more information on the article, please see it on Archiproducts.

References

BBC Worklife. (2020). ‘Coronavirus: How the world of work may change forever.’ [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20201023-coronavirus-how-will-the-pandemic-change-the-way-we-work

Felstead, A and Reuschke, D (2020). ‘Homeworking in the UK: before and during the 2020 lockdown’, WISERD Report, Cardiff: Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research. [online] Available at: https://wiserd.ac.uk/publications/homeworking-uk-and-during-2020-lockdown

Savage, M (2020). ‘Coronavirus: The possible long-term mental health impacts.’ [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20201021-coronavirus-the-possible-long-term-mental-health-impacts

The importance of brand & web in professional services. – BTCBD Podcast – Episode 6.

Professional Service Sector Branding and Website Design.

 

‘Because Things Can Be Different’ with Liqui Group – A podcast show that discusses all things business and design.

Join our hosts from Liqui Group Ltd, as they discuss the world of Branding, Interior Design, and Business, providing listeners with some all-important insight into these powerful business essentials.

Episode 6: The importance of Brand & Web in Professional Services.

In the sixth episode of “Because Things Can Be Different”, Liqui Group Creative Director Cameron Fry and Crate47 Studio Manager Mike Page, discuss how a Professional Service business can develop through COVID.

The discussion covers the concerns, aims, and solutions to modernising a business Brand in the Professional Service Sector, and how to rebrand and market for the wider, and now more important, digital audience.

Don’t wait, your competitors won’t.

 

Sorry, no video this time due to a technical issue.

Our podcast is available on iTunes and Spotify.

 

Thank you for watching or listening to ‘Because Things Can Be Different’. Please like and share our podcast.

We would love to hear from you.

If you have a question about any of the topics raised in our podcasts, or even an episode request, please contact us.

More information about our Coffee Shop Interior Design services can be found here.

And please follow us on Instagram: @liqui_group and @crate47.

 

 

The future of office design in a COVID era – BTCBD Podcast – Episode 5.

What does the future hold for Office design during COVID?

 

‘Because Things Can Be Different’ with Liqui Group – A podcast show that discusses all things business and design.

Join our hosts from Liqui Group Ltd, as they discuss the world of Branding, Interior Design, and Business, providing listeners with some all-important insight into these powerful business essentials.

Episode 5: The future of Office design in a COVID era.

2021 has arrived, and so has the 5th episode of “Because Things Can Be Different”.

In this episode, Liqui Group Creative Director Cameron Fry and Design Manager Oliver Underwood, discuss the future of Office design and offer some insight into what to consider during this COVID era.  They cover what has changed since the pandemic started, and how the office space, in general, is still here and evolving, looking at what to consider when starting, or returning, to an office-based business. 

Long live the office, oh how we miss it!

 

Our podcast is available on iTunes and Spotify.

 

Thank you for watching or listening to ‘Because Things Can Be Different’. Please like and share our podcast.

We would love to hear from you.

If you have a question about any of the topics raised in our podcasts, or even an episode request, please contact us.

More information about our Coffee Shop Interior Design services can be found here.

And please follow us on Instagram: @liqui_group and @crate47.

 

 

Future of office design in a post-COVID society.

IS THE OFFICE AS WE KNOW IT DEAD?

 

 

 

An introduction to the future of office space interior design by Liqui Group Design Manager Oliver Underwood.

Oliver will focus on how offices and workspaces could change during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

For more information or help please feel free to get in touch.

Liqui Group are longlisted for Design Studio of the Year 2020.

AWARD WINNING DESIGN PRACTICE LIQUI GROUP ARE LONGLISTED FOR DEZEEN AWARDS 2020 – DESIGN STUDIO OF THE YEAR

 

 

 

 

Office design & COVID-19.

NEW MEANING AND IMPORTANCE TO WELLNESS AND THE WORKPLACE

There is no ignoring the fact that Covid-19 has touched everyone’s lives. We’ve become used to some of the changes, but others perhaps are harder to adjust to. We seem to find ourselves, at least for the moment, in a situation that changes at an ever increasing rate. Individuals, families and the world are trying to carve a path based on new information and thinking that appears to confront us on an almost daily basis.

With all the changes that have come and gone, we seem to be entering a new phase. This is a phase where we’re trying to discover what the ‘new normal’ is. With our experience in work place design we wanted to reflect on this and take some time out to put together a coherent source of information that we hope will be useful as we take the important steps back to the office. As designers we’re not experts in disease transmission, so this information is based on our opinion and expertise in the field of office design.

The ‘new’ wellness in the workplace

A number of months ago we spent some time putting together another source of information. Its focus was around the ever increasing drive towards ‘workplace wellness design’. It spoke
about ways to improve and promote mental health and wellness in the office. More specifically, given our expertise, it spoke about how design could be used to help promote mental health and wellness. Thereby improving staff retention, creativity and productivity. We now need to look at widening this scope. Wellness in the workplace has new meaning and importance. It now needs to add hygiene to its field of focus.

So why do we need to return to the office?

For the first week or two, working from home (at least for a few of us) was probably a bit of a novelty. We may now find ourselves missing the office environment. A space where we can come together as a team and work coherently. As a business we are only too aware of the importance of this and the ability to bring people together, align our priorities and be productive. This is exactly the reason why we don’t believe we’re entering a new age of home working. The truth is that communication, chance meetings and aligning goals create new ideas and better ways of doing things. It drives our businesses forward and in-turn the economy, and all of this is much easier and fluid when we can occupy the same space.

The question then, is how do we do this in a way that is safe and puts employees at greater ease. It’s about more than putting up screens and hand sanitising stations (although important). The human aspect must not be overlooked.

What we’ve learnt

So across the country business took on board government instruction and guidance and sent their employees home. Organisations put in place new systems and new ways of communicating between collaborators so work could continue. We followed a similar course of action. However, during this time we became aware of a lack of PPE in NHS hospitals. With our workshop capabilities it meant that we were in a unique position to help out. We were able to produce and give away a large number of face shields with the help of generous donations from our clients and the public. All of this was fantastic, but it meant we had to put in place a number of changes to the office and workshop quickly in order to keep staff safe.

Due to having to implement early safety precautions we’ve learned from our own personal experience, as well as the experience of others, how to best proceed and retrofit a working environment for this new situation.

We need to retrofit our offices and we need to do it in a way that will not allow infection transmission within a workplace to shut things down, damage brands and their ability to attract new talent. At the same time the solutions cannot cause a breakdown in community, creativity and productivity. This is not a fix.

The solutions we have implemented in our own business, together with those we have researched, covers furniture, materials, technology, behaviour protocols and planning. Here is the roadmap for the coming months as we see it.

Retrofitting and working with what we have

When we shut the door on our offices and workplaces before setting up shop at home we closed that door on spaces that are probably open plan, designed to be high density with shared spaces and hot desking. Places that were designed to be intimate and harbour collaboration as well as bring people together. They created a stronger culture, new ways of working and a competitive advantage. It goes without saying that in the post Covid-19 world this now leaves us with a problem. Workplaces were never designed to fight against the spread of disease.

We need to retrofit what we have based on a common sense approach. We believe it needs to tackle these three areas:

  • Density
  • Design
  • Behaviour

DENSITY

– Space

For the majority of organisations they will be looking at getting things going at partial capacity. Bringing back employees in waves, or in shift patterns. Our research suggests organisations will be limiting their return to around 30% staff capacity. This allows for social distancing to become a practical reality in an office space.

Going forward, things need to be configureable. But for now, with fewer staff entering the workplace during this initial wave, workstations need to be kept further apart. Removing chairs and spreading people at two metre distances is essential. Automation for desk booking is important to help with the reduction in usable desk space. Sensors under desks, or mounted into ceilings will be key in preventing people travelling to work when no desk is available.

In communal areas, furniture (unless it allows for physical distancing) should be marked for single use. Seating should be spaced two metres apart and a reduction in soft furniture should be adopted if it cannot be cleaned/disinfected.

– Smaller meetings

Protocols need to be put in place outlining how many people are allowed to occupy an enclosed space. Keeping in-line with the social distancing guidance, closed spaces like meeting rooms should be clearly signed to instruct how many individuals should occupy a particular area. The room also needs to be configured to support physical distancing. This will naturally result in smaller face-to-face meetings. However, with conferencing technology, this is perhaps not so much of a problem.

– Communal areas

Communal areas naturally need to adapt. As previously touched on, soft furniture like sofas should be removed, or their numbers reduced and all seating should be spaced apart based on social distancing guidelines. In addition to this, due to the inherent nature of these areas, hygiene is paramount. Communal spaces need to be cleaned. Tables and lighting need to be wiped down with disinfectant before and after use and not just by cleaning staff.

DESIGN

– Divisions

Adding screens and dividers is important. It not only serves as a visual reminder throughout the workplace that distancing is fundamental to everyone’s wellbeing, but is absolutely essential when the minimum distancing can’t be adhered to for practical reasons. Adding screens in front, behind and to the side of people will help mitigate the spread of infection. The higher, wider and the easier the screens are to clean the better.

– Layout

A lot of offices have standard linear approaches to desk layouts. Where possible it would be advisable to reconfigure freestanding desks so that sitting face-to-face with a colleague is mitigated against. Rotating desks 90 degrees in different directions would be one way to achieve this. However, this may not be a practical solution in the short term due to power and data point placements, available space, or the type of desk systems being used. Spreading people out and adding in screens may prove to be a better retrofit solution.

– Flow

Flow, as we’ve seen being adopted in the retail environment, should not be overlooked. Using visual cues like tape to suggest appropriate distancing between staff members can be utilised to improve distancing measures. One way traffic should be adopted. This is especially important in narrow corridors and hallways. Arrows marked out on the floor or walls for example would serve as a simple solution to communicate this.

– Low touch & no touch

This will inevitably be highly important. Automatic doors and lighting, if not already installed will become the norm. For the moment however, where these solutions are not yet in place, a common sense approach will need to be adopted. One bottle neck in this area will be lifts. Not only because of the confined space, but also the need to push buttons. We will probably see greater voice technology integrated in the future, but for the moment one solution to reduce risk would be to rely more on stairs. Perhaps floors 1-4 for example could use stairwells, whist floors 5+ could use lifts.

BEHAVIOUR

– Visual cues

Well designed nudging (reminders) throughout the office space communicating social distancing, hand washing etc are key. Visual cues like labelling that can be branded and applied to floors and walls, including arrows to direct one-way traffic are paramount. Signage to indicate maximum persons allowed into a confined space like a meeting room will also mitigate risk. Perhaps one thing that could be adopted, to serve as a visual cue and help with cultivating the right mindset, would be to convert the reception desk. Perhaps this area could become less about checking in and more of a first port of call where people can take off their coat and make use of hand sanitisers before entering the main workspace.

– Hotelling

Hot desking (at least for the time being) will have to stop. An alternative to this would be to have a single user per day. This would need to be backed up by a clean on arrival and clean on departure policy reinforced through visual cues.

– Cleanliness

Cleaning needs to be made highly visible. Employees need to feel secure in the fact that they can see areas being cleaned multiple times a day. This also translates into hand sanitising stations and cleaning supplies being readily available. This promotes a culture of personal hygiene cultivated through visual cues and the availability of cleaning products. Desks being clear from clutter may also need to be adopted as another cultural shift as it allows for easy cleaning. The wearing of masks being integrated into company culture could also become the norm. They can be used when people attend face-to-face meetings, have conversations, or move throughout the office.

These are some of the ways existing office infrastructure can be made to better serve users in the present as well as the near future. Other areas of company policy might need to be re-thought, such as company policy on toilets – single occupancy for example. The immediate challenge however requires a common sense approach that makes use of what we can adapt for ‘the now’.

Future reconfiguration and reinvention

Our expertise is design and we believe this is one of the best tools we have to change behaviour, reduce the risk of transmission and improve peoples’ mental health and well-being. Beyond changes in traffic flow, interior architecture such as screens and revised space planning we may see other changes to office design in the mid-to-distant future. There is likely to be a lot of talk about how the world will change, with all sorts of predictions being made. Historically though, predictions usually miss the mark somewhat.

That said…

Here is a prediction – we do not see the open plan office concept as dead. It does have draw backs and has been receiving pushback and criticisms for some time. But, if open plan space design is done well it can provide a choice of working environments for employees, harbour collaboration and can be social distancing friendly. The simple truth is density and flexibility are important to organisations; that means open plan offices are here to stay.

Beyond this however, we will see an increase in design that uses materials chosen for their disinfectant properties. There will be lots of clorex cleans (bleach sprayed after hours) which, overtime may degrade carpet and furnishings. Materials that won’t degrade with continued cleaning will be increasingly important. We’ll also see a greater emphasis on collaboration and communication technologies, with an increased drive to integrate these into the design of office spaces. We’ll also see wider adoption of hands-free technologies.

We believe though, that the biggest change we’ll see being adopted, with even greater momentum, is design for flexibility and wellbeing.

This isn’t a new idea, but it is one that could perhaps gain more traction. Many of us, whilst we are aware of the inconveniences, are becoming accustomed to some aspects of working from home. This could leave a lasting impression. It may result in more flexible working environments that are better suited to adapt and reconfigure, helping with transmission rates and in turn creating new ways of working. This will support peoples well-being; improving mental health, productivity and creativity.

For the most part however, we’re going to go back to the way we were. It’s because ultimately it’s the most comfortable. We do hope though that a few positive changes do remain and that the ‘workplace wellness design’ we’ve been advocating continues to be adopted as the ‘new normal’.

For more information or help please feel free to get in touch.

Liqui Group announce USA launch.

LIQUI GROUP INTERIOR DESIGN PRACTICE EXPAND TO LA

AWARD-WINNING INTERIOR DESIGN PRACTICE, LIQUI GROUP ANNOUNCE THEIR NORTH AMERICAN LAUNCH, SETTING UP THEIR STUDIO AND PRODUCTION IN LOS ANGELES

 

Interior design practice Liqui Group, are well-known for their award-winning coffee shop design projects, with clients around the globe in Saudi Arabia,  UK  and  The  Netherlands,  Liqui  Group  has set up shop in the trendy Fashion District DTLA, of Downtown Los Angeles. Expanding their contract division to North American clients, Liqui Group is offering  their  full  turn-key  design  services  including;  commercial  interior  design,  furniture  and  lighting design.

After  a  successful  presence  at  the  Los  Angeles  Coffee  Festival  earlier  this  month –  Liqui  Groups’ interior design practice, has made it its mission to partner with highly skilled furniture manufacturers and architectural/ interior contractors  based  in  Southern  California,  establishing  a  strong  team  that  will  oversee  their  interior projects, with the same commitment to traditional techniques, allied with a modern sustainable approach, as that of their UK headquarters.

‘The decision to expand Liqui Group to the US seems like a natural step’ – says Cameron Fry, Liqui Group’s Founder. ‘We work on projects all over the world, designing some of the best coffee shop design experiences, and felt it was time to explore the US market, starting with one of our favorite regions.’ ‘The coffee industry in Southern California is moving at a real pace, and as one of the leaders in the sector, it seems silly not to embark in this new venture.’ — adds Cameron.

New interior design practice Liqui Group, launch in downtown LA

New LA interior design practice Liqui Group, launch their downtown office       Interior design practice Liqui Group, launch their Los Angeles Office

Liqui Group interior design practice , launch in downtown LA

Liqui Contracts – 100% Design.

LIQUI CONTRACTS RETURN TO 100% DESIGN SHOW

LIQUI CONTRACTS SHOW CREATIVE NEW COLLECTION IN A BIRCH CANOPY-LIKE PAVILION
WEDNESDAY 18TH – SATURDAY 21ST SEPTEMBER | 100% DESIGN | STAND D11

 

 

Liqui Contracts will return to 100% Design with a creative collection of new furniture and lighting, presented in an impressive, handmade wooden pavilion inspired by trees and a canopy of leaves. It’s the ideal showcase for this innovative British manufacturer, whose commitment to traditional techniques, allied with a modern, sustainable approach, is capturing the imagination of a diverse range of customers. With this in mind, Liqui is keen to wow visitors at 100% Design, the UK’s largest trade event for industry professionals.

Design London

At 100% Design, Liqui Contracts will be part of Design London, a carefully curated selection of brands chosen for their focus on high-quality design, exceptional craftsmanship and thorough attention to detail. Contributing to London’s status as a world design capital, the brands featured in Design London will show their work in a specially created area during 100% Design. For Liqui, this is the perfect opportunity to present its considered design ethos, process and approach, alongside a number of contemporaries.

Honest, well-made, functional and aesthetic furniture and lighting

Following months of prototyping and crafting, with sleeves rolled up and much toil at its Brighton-based workshop, Liqui Contracts will show thirteen products at 100% Design. A collection of chairs, tables, shelves and lights, these products reflect Liqui’s desire to create honest, well-made, functional and aesthetic furniture and lighting.

The quirky Moore Chair and Moore Stool, with a single ‘eye’ placed on one side of the backrest, take their name from Patrick Moore, the eccentric monocle-wearing English astronomer. Made from formed beech ply and a steel wire frame (and available in oak veneer or upholstered versions), the characterful Moore Chair and Stool are ideal for use in coffee shops, cafes and restaurants. Also perfectly suited to a range of hospitality settings, the Delores Chair and Delores Stool each have a lozenge-shaped, padded backrest and seat, set on a tubular steel frame. The smart, modern dining chair and bar chair/stool offer great design versatility: upholstery is available in a variety of fabrics and leathers, and the tubular steel frame can be specified in any colour choice.

 

Inspired by the Milan-based Memphis movement, Georgie is a bold series of tables created with a postmodern aesthetic. The Georgie Coffee Table, Side Table and Cafe Table each consist of a wooden tabletop, metal column and base, and make an eye-catching addition to any coffee shop and restaurant. With its Japanese and Scandinavian design influences, the Shaw Shelving unit makes a handsome bookcase or display case, and takes its name from Irish playwright and author George Bernard Shaw. What’s more, in Old English the word ‘shaw’ means ‘woodland’—entirely apt, as the shelving is handmade in Britain using sustainably sourced solid oak. In the manner of the Shaw Shelving unit, the Shaw Coffee Table and Shaw Side Table draw inspiration from Japanese and Scandinavian design. These elegant solid oak tables are also handmade in Britain using sustainably sourced timber.

 

 

The Whittington glass pendant is a contemporary capsule-shaped light that harks back to those classic lighting styles of the 1920s. With its opal glass shade and a hand turned wooden cap (in oak or ash), the Whittington pendant—used individually, in a row or in a cluster—makes a stirring statement. Margot is a spun aluminium pendant light that’s made by spinning a metal plate at high speed on a lathe. With an integrated hand tool, a craftsman forms the light shade around a mould. Owing to the spinning process, Margot was named after English ballerina Margot Fonteyn. The pendant is available in large and small versions, in plain aluminium with a lacquered finish or in any colour choice.

Liqui Contracts’ birch canopy-like pavilion stand

The clever design of Liqui Contracts’ trade stand at 100% Design will provide an exciting showcase for its work. Conceived as a canopy-like pavilion, the stand, constructed from sustainably sourced birch ply, embodies Liqui’s proactive approach to design and craftsmanship. Despite its large size, the stand’s wood structure will be open, warm and inviting. And built on a larger scale, it will be noticeable from different vantage points. To create an airy pavilion space, an open canopied framework is supported by tree-like columns. Sitting on a raised floor, the pavilion is divided into four tiered areas, each perfectly suited to displaying Liqui’s collection of furniture and lighting. Low walls decorated with small diagonal perforations are used to separate the display areas.

In creating this impressive stand, Liqui is able to highlight its creative, multidisciplinary approach: one that includes the design of contract furniture and lighting, commercial interiors, exhibitions and trade stands.

Liqui Contracts has its complete range of products available to view online. Click here to view their website and their contract furniture and lighting options.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theodore Bench Desk System.

THEODORE BENCH DESK SYSTEM

AN ADAPTABLE OFFICE DESK SOLUTION

Our Theodore Bench Desk System has been longlisted for the Dezeen Awards 2019!!

The Theodore was designed for multiple configurations, making it a very adaptable office desk solution. The bench system has integrated cable
trays and is constructed from a sustainably sourced FSC oak frame with a real oak veneered birch ply top; which means the desk benches are
both durable and environmentally friendly.

To find out more about this amazing and versatile office desk solution, please visit the Liqui Contracts product page: https://liquicontracts.com/theodore-bench-desk-system/

Contact us.

General enquiries
Interior enquiries
Product enquiries
L.A. Office

+001 213 358 7087

777 S. Alameda Street, 2nd Floor,
Los Angeles, CA 90021
United States of America

London Office

+44(0)2031 304069

Thomas House
84 Eccleston Square, London
SW1V 1PX

Sussex studio & workshops

+44(0)1403 740086

The Campus
Unit 4B Thornhill Court, Billingshurst Road,
Coolham, West Sussex, RH13 8QN. UK