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.
Part 5: Room within a Room
Open office is the not-so-new normal for office planning, whether it is embraced or not. Many manufacturers are searching for creative solutions to mitigate the lost sense of privacy that some clients feel during the shift from closed to open offices.
At Neocon, a popular solution for open offices was to create an area of privacy while defining a room within a room. These spaces can be impromptu huddles rooms, lounge areas, or spaces to breakaway. A room within a room creates a space which encourages a creative work environment by allowing end-users work space options of their choosing. These spaces may consist of freestanding modular structures, or solutions to divide the space. Three specific solutions are post beam structures, upholstered enclaves, and furniture shelving.
Post and beam structures were freestanding and modular. A common trend between manufacturers was creating an airy environment by incorporating natural wood elements. Some of the structures were enclosed, open, or a combination of the two. For structures that were open, the spaces were divided by decorative sheer fabrics or movable walls. To reduce noise, the wall panels were either upholstered with a sound absorbing material, or the material was applied on specific elements such as louvers. For closed structures, some of the louvers were self-automatic which opened during a fire and met code. Additionally, these structures could incorporate built-in solutions for TV screens, magnetic whiteboards, tack boards, tabletops, and power. Although the post and beam structures were designed in multiple sizes, they tend to be on the larger side. Out of the three solutions, the post of beam structure allows the most physical room, which can hold more ancillary furniture pieces.
On the other hand, upholstered enclaves were small-scale, but are also designed in multiple sizes. The enclaves were fully immersed with a sound absorbing material. During Neocon, I was able to take a private phone call while hundreds of people walked past me! The overall color palette and finish were light neutrals, light earthy tones, and light wood finishes. The enclaves also incorporated a mix of built-in tables tops, tack boards, lighting, power, and seating. One of the enclaves integrated lighting behind tack boards to eliminate direct glare, which created a comfortable lighting distribution to work. Like a private nook, enclaves are perfect for private meetings or for heads-down work.
Another solution for a room within a room was furniture shelving and is the most flexible solution for a room within a room. Essentially, the placement of the shelving is the determining factor on how large the "room" is, since the furniture piece can be placed anywhere. The light wood finish shelving finish was consistent with the post and beam structure and enclave finishes. The frames were thin and attractive, showcasing items placed on the shelves. Within the room were ancillary furniture pieces, which continued the residential theme from previous year trends. Furniture was comfortable and suitable for lounging. This space could incorporate mobile tack boards and magnetic whiteboards, which encourages an enjoyable area to brainstorm and foster creativity as a group.
A room within a room is a great option to provide an area of escape from the hustle and bustle of an open office. Post and beam structure, upholstered enclaves, and furniture shelving are all great solutions for privacy and to foster creativity in the workplace!
Through Sang’s education and work experience, she has realized her role as a designer is to create functional and beautiful spaces based on the end-user’s experience. This is accomplished through in depth research that focuses on the day to day activities, site analysis, context, and background.
After graduating from Louisiana State University, Madeline began her career as a designer. She is an experienced project manager and project designer and works closely with clients, project architects, and team members to develop technical space programs and design concepts on projects.