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The Office Space: As Nature Intended – Commercial Interior Office Design

The corporate world has more than its fair share of awful office design – from cramped, battery farm-style cubicles in uniform grey illuminated by the jaundice of industrial fluorescent lighting, to cluttered communal areas with ugly yet functionary furniture that offers no refreshment or respite from the boxed-in desk.

Luckily more businesses are beginning to see the benefits of investing in their interior office design; not just for the health and well being of their staff but also from a branding point of view too.

Commercial Interior Office Design discussed by furniture retailer E-Side: how light, space and sound are the core elements of a productive work environment.

Studies have shown that the built environment elicits from within us an involuntary emotive and physiological response. If the workspace you’re in is bright, clutter-free and spacious, you are likely to be happier, more creative and thus more productive while stuffed cupboards, disheveled drawers and displaced possessions all culminates into a loud, oppressive visual noise that can make us feel over-whelmed, stressed and even anxious.

So how do companies achieve a Zen-like work environment that is comfortable and cost-effective yet crucially promotes both performance and well being? Ultimately, the best workspaces bring as much of the outdoors, in – incorporating the vital elements of light, air and open space into interior design and using natural, eco and low-toxic materials to compliment this mix.

Space may not be a ‘luxury’ that all businesses have at their disposal, but an environment’s area can still be optimized to house clever storage solutions and be presented in such a way that the illusion and freedom of space is created.  Light is incredibly important in this process. White-washed walls, glass partitions, installing pale coloured furniture and adding mirrors harnesses, reflects and magnifies natural light – breathing in an airy freshness to the indoor environment that is incredibly uplifting.

Fluorescent lighting might be cheap but it yields a harsh brightness that feels unhealthy and overtly artificial. Consider swapping these for long-lasting LED ones that provide soft and natural looking illumination that won’t strain the eyes. Swedish designer Peter Schumacher’s tree-inspired Leaf and Pendant Lamps works well in office spaces because, not only does it create a visually striking focal point, but it floods its surroundings with a beautiful soft light reminiscent of bright sunny mornings. A practical, useful yet arty interpretation of nature’s beauty, the ‘trunk’ of the floor-standing lamp is carved from sustainably sourced birch while the ‘shade’ compromises a lush array of soft unbleached starched wool leaves. This flourishing foliage is, in fact, an excellent sound absorber, softening a room’s echo to create an acoustically ‘peaceful’ ambience that complements the natural warm toned light emitted via its LED bulbs.

The work environment is a place for creative possibilities and excessive or residual noise can be a real harmony disruptor. If your office space permits it, consider creating a breakout area to the space using comfortable poufs, beanbags, armchairs and chaise longues – soft furnishings help create acoustic ambience by absorbing excessive reverberation, plus you’ll also have the added benefit of an alternative creative spot that staff can retreat to for meetings, discussions and brainstorming sessions. Polish label Deconcept’s Maki stools are ideal for such areas – it’s an ingenious, nippy, lightweight stool comprising recycled, tightly rolled honeycombed cardboard encased in cosy natural felt. The exterior felt, which comes in five different colours is held in place by metal buttons, and has a handle for easy portability. Great for injecting colour easily into simple contemporary and commercial spaces.  The X2 chaise longue and Maria Westerberg T-Shirt chairs also provide a good contrast to the more dynamic seating of lightweight stools within a breakout area, encouraging the sitter to recline, relax and perhaps ponder more intently on the task at hand.

Clutter can make the workspace appear small, cramped and chaotic so keeping it tidy is really important. Visual noise is distracting and ruins concentration, so invest in storage, filing and cabinetry that is clean, simple and streamlined. Select furniture, such as modular shelving that will enable you to experiment with a number of compositions that work best for your office environment; it can even double up as a cool yet functional room partition. Italian architect Caporaso’s More Light Shelving demonstrates this principle at work, showing how contemporary cardboard furniture can look cool, edgy and be constructed to remain as solid and resilient as any of its wooden counterparts. The ‘skin’ of the shelves are interchangeable so you can experiment with a variety of colour palettes, finishes and textures while, structurally, each modular cube can be built up and arranged to create individual complex and visually striking structures upon which to store books, files or showcase merchandise.

Finally, consider adding, layering and experimenting with textures in interior design rather than embellishing surfaces with elaborate and busy looking trappings. Natural materials such as wood, bamboo and stone as well as cardboard and felt are incredibly tactile and create visual interest and comfort in an elegant and understated way. We are also big fans of reclaimed furniture in the workspace – there is something very intriguing and inspirational about objects that have been cleverly repurposed into something different and useful, with just hints of its previous life still coming through in the finished design. Willem Heeffer’s upcycled drum lights, for example, are made from old washing machine drums and have been incredibly popular in contemporary shops, industrial looking workspaces and in creative companies that like having clever designs in their environment from which they too can also draw inspiration.

To view E-Side’s full range of contract of furniture for commercial spaces visit www.e-side.co.uk.

To request a quote or for more information, email: customercare@e-side.co.uk or call 01494 61 60 81.