The age of CREATIVITY is upon us. This year, PDR’s brave, CREATIVE voyagers squeezed their way through the halls of NeoCon. Their focus was on discovering how we create human-experience-driven spaces that support creative thought. The upcoming 5-Part series of blog posts describe the movements we see and how they can be implemented to facilitate, and increase, the opportunity for creative thought in your workplace.
Missed the Intro and Part 1? Click here to read the full article.
Part 2: Rest. Respire. Recharge
Artificial intelligence, a constant stream of instantaneous information and ever-changing roles in the workplace can set one’s head into a tailspin. The dynamic landscape of the current workplace leaves one seeking balance, wellness and solid ground to stand on. How is this being addressed by furniture and design?
“One of the key findings by creativity scientists over recent decades has been that a more relaxed brain is a creative brain. When the brain exhibits beta wave activity, characteristic of being alert and concentrated, it is much less likely to generate creative ideas than a brain showing slower alpha waves typical of relaxation. Therefore, the provision of very comfortable furniture or even spaces to simply take a break will promote people’s creativity.”
Creating design that allows the mind to escape the everyday and “feel” the fresh air takes form in immersive seating arrangements and screenings. Organic curved edges and pebble like shapes evoke the outdoors and become the norm for more than just lounge furniture. The soft forms seen in last year’s trends expand into workstation pieces, conference tables and flooring layouts.
Art and Culture
A focus on allowing the individual to become inspired by their local surroundings brings an artful take on everything from rugs, to workstation dividers, to lighting. Diverse groups of artisans, such as ceramic artists, weavers and painters, are collaborating with designers to help create pieces that celebrate community and encourage creativity.
Large vinyl printed letters ask, “What inspires your greatest work?”, “imagine a place” and declares “What you make people feel is as important as what you make.” Inclusive and fun decorative objects work effortlessly together with large furniture pieces in home inspired settings, giving a sense of place and encouraging conversation.
Even the most extroverted individual needs a break from others every now and then. The need to have some alone time to focus, reset and contemplate in a fast paced workplace has become more important than ever. “Sound within an enclosed space from sources such as HVAC equipment, appliances and other occupants has been shown to hinder productivity, focus, memory retention and mental arithmetic in school children, university students and workplace occupants.”
New standalone acoustic elements like pods and lounge pieces with cocoon like qualities address the need for solitude, along with the desire of flexible spaces. Acoustic mitigation is introduced as a source of beauty in design and not just utility though textured wall panels, organic 3D forms and playful space dividers.
Colors like of earthy terracotta, blood orange, whisper pink, camel, wine reds, sage green and warm grays contribute to the feeling of relief and rest desired in a workplace that is saturated with technology and activity. Expanding on trends seen in the last few years, color options expand to arms, legs, wood table tops and leather pulls allowing furniture pieces to become experiential and immersive.
Hospitality trends continue to introduce new stones and surfaces like terrazzo and larger aggregate concretes, that feel authentic and unrefined in the best sense. In the same vein, light tones of highly figured woods with significant color variation used on conference tables to workstation tops, expand on last year’s trend of organic transparency material.
Like color, plants become experiential and immersive through a little bit of planning. Plants are now welcomed into workstation storage, bench ends, space dividers and millwork screening. Low-maintenance plant products that require no watering, pruning or regular upkeep, assure longevity of these environments and signify that restful workplaces are here to stay!
Laura Beth Mertz
As an Architectural Designer at PDR, Laura Beth brings 13 years of professional experience in the architecture industry. She has worked on projects that encompass programming, design concept development, furniture selection and construction documentation. As a leader in sustainability, she has worked to implement new certification programs and initiatives in the workplace.