Thursday, June 6, 2013

Workplace Collaboration Zone Idea

      For any number of reasons I like to tinker around with design ideas and representing them.  Here I took on the concept of creating an open collaboration zone in an approximately 20' x16' area.  This isn't for a project on the boards per se., just me sketching in my mind one night and then applying that thinking directly using SketchUp.
      I would envision this informal collaborative setting sitting in the middle of an open work area, near a busy circulation area by elevators, stairs or what have you. Essentially this is informal easy going multi-purpose meeting area very purposely seeds collaboration fueling business innovation.
      Firstly, a unique free-standing warm yellow wall element strikingly separates this area from its surroundings with a branded slogan with a large dual touch screen telepresence on the wall.  The surface would be coated with dry erase paint or clear finishes such as what you can buy from Idea Paint to set up a dynamic collaborative surface.
      Secondly on the outer corner, there is informal seating setting called "Campfire" by Turnstone, anchored by a colorful free-standing floor lamp.  In the middle, lies a large "post-it note style" coffee table for frenzied joint scribbling and ideation.
      Diagonal to that on the inner corners, lies a tech heavy high top collaborative work surface called "MediaScape" by Steelcase.  Lightweight, airy Steelcase stools ring this area set up for onsite and offsite tech heavy screen based collaboration.  Standing up and working is really healthy and energizing.  This higher work surface supports that.
      On the opposing corners lie support counters and storage either built out of modular office furniture or bespoke millwork.  I can imagine custom concrete polished counter tops here adding rugged materiality.  One thing easy to do here is embed interesting fragments, stones, glass, metal elements into the concrete to artfully connect to your overall workplace brand, values and guiding principles.
      These elements can also integrate recessed metal planter boxes to oxygenate the immediate environment as well as bring nature near, softening the hard lines of interior wall surfaces and furniture.  Bringing the landscape in and connecting the workplace to natural rhythms is a reoccurring theme of our work.  They are not shown right now but they're easy to imagine.
      What do you think of this design "take"?  Does it inspire further ideas, make other connections?  Depending on the work environment overall, a consideration to examine is noise and liveliness around this area.  A full height movable demountable architectural glass wall system might be helpful to buffer more heads down open work areas or private offices from this more free wheeling collaborative space.
      While these design images show products from the Steelcase family of companies, the other major furniture companies such as Herman Miller, Haworth, Knoll, Teknion to name a few all have similar collaborative furniture options.  This is generally a repeatable concept and hopefully this shareby us will help you envision ways to collaborate in your work community and up the ante on creating high performing hard working spaces.