Love was in the air—for creative offices and work space trends—at the February Valentine’s Day BOMA San Diego luncheon. Mike Novkov (Direction, Cushman & Wakefield), Catherine Hughes (Interior Designer, Ware Malcomb) and Bre’an Fox (Principal and Senior Designer, FS Design Group) were our guests and each speaker had a PowerPoint presentation about creative offices and work space trends. Mike Novkov focused on the indoor/outdoor space trend that is visible throughout San Diego’s tech-hub, mainly in the I-15 corridor, Carlsbad, Rancho Bernardo and the Sorrento Mesa/Valley areas. Developers are incorporating, among other things, glass roll-up doors and skylights into their design to add to the long list of amenities (shuttles, bike sharing, full fitness centers, onsite gardens, and healthy meal options). But why are investors and developers spending the extra money? There is a high tenant demand in order to attract and retain talent, create more productive employees, and ultimately, these tenants will pay up for creative office spaces that are comparable to class ‘A’ buildings. When we live in a place like San Diego, who isn’t willing to spend more so that you can reap the benefits of 365 days of sun?
Catherine Hughes elaborated on the indoor/outdoor areas as a “3rd work space”, especially for Millennials entering the workforce who have grown up doing homework at Starbucks. Millennials do not need a cubicle to be productive; they thrive in collaborative and flexible environments. Hughes stressed how creative office space accepts the raw aesthetics and structure of the building, while embracing innovative design that can be easily converted when necessary. Look for a variety of interesting, sophisticated materials such as reclaimed wood, metals, LED lights and smaller/light-weight technology. As Bre’an Fox mentioned, technology was first introduced into the design of the workplace starting in the 1990’s with big screens in conference rooms, AV in reception areas and lounges during the 2000’s, and now we can look forward to tabletops with touch screens, wearable technology to track highly-used areas & employee happiness and LiFi (get ready!!!) Fox also highlighted the fact that design is a pendulum, constantly swinging with the ultimate goal of settling in the middle. Recently, we’ve seen the one extreme of open office space with very few offices. However, the pendulum is returning towards the neutral area as offices along the exterior are being built to allow for more privacy.
Remember: products and materials set trends. These styles are tweaked and modified over the years as design evolves to provide the most efficient, sustainable environment for the present workforce. What is to come is simply an improved re-invention of the past.