An open plan layout is often an unavoidable reality of today’s office design, and with our continued love of open plan spaces it is often hard to find privacy. Between noise levels and easy interruptions it has become harder to simply place an old fashioned phone call; now we see an increasing demand for design concepts that allow us to recapture areas of isolation.
For the most part sales office areas are open plan in design and so they should be to reflect the ‘open plan living areas’ consumers want in their home. But, some conversations require a little privacy to help visitors relax and feel comfortable. Whispered conversations only make the visitor feel embarrassed and traditional office areas simply make the sales office lose its ‘home feel’ and that adds to visitor discomfort. However, many of the ‘office furniture’ ideas and solution we speak about in this article provide the perfect solution to all of these issues.
They also provide excellent furniture ideas for the ever growing demand for ‘home offices’. Perhaps, something that show home design should also reflect?
“Social Solitude” is a buzz subject in design circles right now, there is a new focus on creating a quiet refuge for people in the workplace to focus, recharge and contemplate. We are in search of spaces that are cosy and offer a sanctuary. Privacy is a key element to a happy work force; it promotes wellbeing, positive energy and provides a personal retreat for employees, ultimately increasing productivity and effectiveness. Here are some ideas of how to achieve social solitude in an open plan office.
For many people the greatest luxury of the past decade has been time, but as we stride ahead into a digital era it is clear that the next greatest luxury will be privacy. Designers are responding to the needs of today’s workplace environment by creating furniture that has cocooning, enveloping and screening qualities, often toying with revealing and concealing different elements. The Orwell sofa is a great example of how we can create these spaces of sanctuary; it is somewhere in between a bed, a sofa and a cabin. Reves Chair by Muka Design lab has been designed so that the back of the chair ‘turns up’ like a big collar to provide greater privacy, the latest office furniture is combined with integrated technology to form a virtual cocoon.
Privacy screens and wall panels are a cost effective way of breaking the open plan look to house more private zones. We see more and more businesses now investing in ways of creating an edgy and fun design aesthetic that doesn’t detract from the clean and minimalistic benefits in which open plan provides. Some screens do have acoustic qualities to them, not only are they a decorative interior statement piece but they also absorb sound in the office to create a warmer, cosier feel. Acoustic wall tiles and panels such as Baux, come in a range of shapes, colours and sizes to allow individual design patterns.
We have moved on from simple frosted bands wrapped around glass-walled meeting rooms, many designers now put their own iridescent spin on translucent partitions and glass walls. It makes a beautiful design feature as well as keeping the desired privacy aesthetics. Some panels can even be switched from transparent to opaque mode, enabling a play between concealing and revealing. In the transparent mode, the switchable privacy glass bounces natural light through the office to create a bright and spacious workplace. Meanwhile, the opaque mode allows confidential meetings to take place, and provides a secluded space for when concentration is needed.