Furniture Manufacturers and Designers Strive to Make Office Spaces Welcoming and Flexible,
“Commercial interior design has firmly distanced itself from the detached feel of classic office spaces; instead, commercial furniture manufacturers and designers strive to make office spaces welcoming and flexible, turning the design focus of office spaces towards productivity, wellbeing, company culture, brand identity, and creativity”.
It is evident from her statement, that Michelle Leyden’s passion for commercial interiors is ingrained.
As Commercial Director of Bizquip, Michelle is now the 2nd generation of a family business that was established in 1984.
Michelle explains that workplace and technology trends impact the focus of commercial interior design – the emphasis is on the experience of the space, in addition to its function. Even more importantly, employers are understanding that work environments are fast-changing and evolving and therefore, they are now focused on providing a space that has human behaviour at its centre, ensuring a space is supportive, agile to allow people collaborate and work across a variety of areas but also designed to include areas conducive to individual, focused work where necessary. With Ireland’s unemployment rate at a 13-year low of 4.8%, a job alone will no longer attract and retain talent, job seekers are looking at the entire package, including the quality and atmosphere of a workspace, with wellbeing becoming a key priority in the working environment.
With this in mind, the resimercial trend of merging residential home aesthetics in the commercial office is still very prevalent. This design approach has been proven to greatly improve employee morale which in turn encourages retention and stimulates productivity. Onsite amenities such as gyms, catered canteen, and Mother rooms have become a common feature in office fit-outs. Equally, the introduction of facilities such as sit/stand desks and standing huddle areas encourages movement and breaks up a pattern of prolonged sitting. Ergonomic task seating and monitor arms, designed to support the people using them, helps in making the workplace a destination of choice and can transform the space you work in. “Employers today understand that the more they invest in their people, the higher the employee satisfaction and increased productivity”.
As a prime example, Michelle cites their recent work at Deloitte’s office at 3 Park Place, Dublin 2 for which Reddy Architecture + Urbanism was recently awarded ‘Best Medium-Sized Office Fit Out’ at the 2019 Fit Out Awards. Bizquip installed a mix of fixed and height-adjustable workstations, ergonomic task seating by Humanscale, meeting and training room furniture, along with a complete loose furniture package for break out spaces, meeting the exact requirements of Deloitte who have nearly 3,000 people in Ireland and ensuring this new office space facilitated a variety of functions to ensure focused and collaborative types of work.
Another recent project which focused on employee wellbeing and collaboration is the atrium of Bishop’s Square located in Dublin 2. The atrium offers the various tenants within Bishop’s Square, a multifunctional third space to interact and collaborate across a variety of zoned spaces consisting of meeting booths, sofas, armchairs and tall tables.
Looking forward, sustainability and environmental awareness have set the tone for all of us, especially in design. Michelle envisages it will include the implementation of more eco-friendly policies, green spaces, and innovative materials. These innovations also help to address employee health and wellbeing, which, as mentioned is an increasingly important goal for companies going forward.