The World of Work: Colorful Office Spaces

Some weeks I just want to play on Pinterest and post photos. I find the inspiration for office design is outstanding. So this is one of those weeks just to kick back and enjoy the photos… Please let me know which one is your favorite in the comments section below.

Source: trendirs.net via Avery on Pinterest

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I am passionate about bringing my client’s brand to bear through the design of their space. Not only do we improve employees’ productivity and the functionality of your space but we ensure that your clients experience your company’s brand through your office environment.

Ready to add some color to your office but don’t know where to start? Contact us at info@averydesigninteriors.com for a consultation.

Join me on Pinterest

How to Wake Up Your Office: Lighting

On Thursday, I attended the Business Showcase at the Webster Arena in Bridgeport. I bumped into a business associate, James Sweeney of EcoTronics, who has expanded his business into eco-friendly lighting. We are scheduled to meet to discuss the latest in LED later this month.

One of the most important parts of designing your office is lighting. There are lighting designers specifically trained to provide you with the best installation features. As a graduate of Fairfield University’s Interior Design program, I was required to take a lighting course. But this is a field that is rapidly changing with the green initiatives springing to the forefront and designers are required to take continuing education to stay up to date on changes in our industry.

Under the Clean Energy Act of 2007, incandescent bulbs will be phased out by 2014. Incandescent are those every day bulbs you buy right at your local drugstore – the ones invented by Thomas Edison.

Why are they being phased out you ask? Because 90% of the energy emitted by incandescent bulbs is wasted as heat. Excess heat means more air conditioning means more energy means less green. Ok I boiled that down to the basics.

On to exciting things like how to light your office! The best projects have three layers of light: ambient, task and accent.

1. Ambient light is primarily the light available in the environment. It is uniform and should be diffused light. A big part of ambient light can be natural light, which is so important to the wellbeing and health of your employees and clients.

I am not a big fan of most fluorescent lighting. This is because it tends to be those fluorescent panels with standard cool light which is harsh on the eyes and skin not to mention draining. Those harsh bulbs can be replace with warmer bulbs or with daylight tubes.

When I am working at my computer, I prefer to leave the lights off and just work by the daylight from my window or I turn on my Ottlite, full spectrum lighting, for those darker days or intensive detailed desk tasks like drawing.

LED lighting has come a long way and they can last up to 10 times as long as fluorescent. Some LED tubes can replace fluorescent tubes. You can also dim LED lights and there is less heat buildup.

2. Task lighting takes into consideration primarily light for reading. Optimal lighting of a desk surface is 50 foot candles. A foot candle is the amount of illumination created by a candela from one foot away.

Good task lighting is not just about the amount of light but the contrast, so it’s important to consider where to place your task light. You don’t want it directly above your head where you cast a shadow on your reading materials.

Options are desk lamps and overhead lights, such as undercabinet lighting that pinpoints directly on to your desk surface. Julie Clark recommends the Kenko Light by Nikken shown below as it provides “Healthy Full Spectrum Natural Sunlight”.

Kenko Light II by Nikken

3. Accent lighting emphasizes an object or a specific area of a room. For example, these lights could illuminate art, accessories, books, your company’s sign, even a special textured material on the wall.

This light can be used to highlight a focal point in the room and helps to vary the light level which holds interest for the eye.

LED rope or strip lights are great for accenting the interiors of bookshelves.

Wall washers can be used to highlight a textured wall as shown on the stone behind the reception desk. Note how the front of the desk is backlit for visual interest.

Just because accent lighting can be fun…and don’t we all need to have a little more fun at the office?

I am passionate about bringing my client’s brand to bear through the design of their space. Not only do we improve employees’ productivity and the functionality of your space but we ensure that your clients experience your company’s brand through your office environment.

To see the rest of the photos on my Pinterest board, click here Office Lighting.

(Photos from Pinterest unless otherwise indicated)

Liven Your Office: How to add Accessories

Lately, I have been on a Pinterest kick. It’s a little piece of social media heaven for a visual person.  When I started to look for photos for this post I headed straight to Pinterest. Enjoy!

Anna Quindlen said “I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.” Books – lots and lots of books – my favorite “accessory”. I also love this take on a corkboard with the texture and the nailheads. And I can’t live without that library ladder. See it just comes back to the books.

It all comes back to the books. And I wouldn’t turn down that view!

Is your personality vibrant but work is a little bit buttoned up? Spice up your cubicle with some fun prints or bright orange or lime green in your accessories. I worked on a graphic designer’s office, who absolutely loved orange. Her main request for her office decor was the helvetica poster as seen in Mad Men. Her primary office color needed to be a neutral gray as she works with color all day. We layered in orange accessories and her office was a knock out.

Orange not your thing? How about lime green or lucite?

White accessories against this glam blue wallpaper are the perfect touch – and super functional – for this arts and crafts area.

More color can be added by using art. I love the dark walls behind the uber white cabinetry. This makes the bright colors in the art work pop.

For the architect or designer in your life. Must buy these for  my husband.

There is something really cheeky – and fun – about bookends that are made of letters. Just callin’ it like I see it.

Love to hear from you. Have you used colorful accessories in your office? Let me know in the comments section.

I am passionate about bringing my client’s brand to bear through the design of their space. Not only do we improve employees’ productivity and the functionality of your space but we ensure that your clients experience your company’s brand through your office environment.

Not sure how to add accessories to your office or home office? Contact us at info@averydesigninteriors.com for a consultation.

(All photos from Pinterest)

Time Travel in Office Design

So pleased to have been asked by Carmen Natschke of The Decorating Diva to be a part of their month long series on what inspires me.

My inspiration was an office project I worked on with the most wonderful creative client. I had so much fun designing his office, music room and music library at a Fairfield County church.

To read more click here The Decorating Diva

How to Design for the Graying Population in Your Office: The Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers, the largest and most well known portion of the American landscape. Born from 1946 to 1964, boomers continue to influence the way we work. Not yet obsolete and, due to the economy, either staying in the workforce or returning in droves, boomers bring special needs and also vast knowledge and experience to your company.

So who are they?

74.6 million strong, boomers are still the economy. They were optimistic and felt that education was their birthright. With a buy now and pay later take on life, they were the wealthiest and most physically fit generation redefining the landscape and developing the suburbs. They expected that life would get better over time and for many years that was the case. They are products of the 60s and the early 70s, the Vietnam War, Watergate and the deaths of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.

How do Baby Boomers Affect the Design of your Workplace?

Generally in the workplace, Baby Boomers are workaholics and team players who work to live. They value raises and promotions but not feedback. They are collegial, like to meet in person and, with their cell phones at hand, are available to talk with you any time. Boomers value efficient and functional workspaces and meeting rooms as well as acoustic privacy.

When I was working at what I now jokingly call a small little-known insurance company (AIG), my favorite story well illustrates the overview of Baby Boomers in the work place. Design reflected hierarchy in AIG (and most offices in Wall Street). Where you sat, who you sat next to and how your office looked was a major deal even into the nineties when I was there. It was a happy day when I moved from my cubicle next to the copy room (how many times a day do you think I was interrupted to make coffee or fix the copier even though I was the marketing manager!) and moved to a small but private office near human resources.

But on to the story… Hearkening back to the late eighties, the manager in question was recently promoted and given a brand new office.  He entered the newly designed space and promptly called in the designer demanding his ‘fuzzy, wuzzy wall’. Where was it and why was it not installed? Still cracks me up…

The Graying Workplace

You may be more familiar with universal design in the home – kitchens that accomodate wheelchairs, accessible appliances, roll in showers with grab bars etc. Workplaces must also take into account the needs of an aging population. Primary concerns are loss of hearing, loss of vision and loss of agility.

Solutions include:

  • Boomers need to be provided with quiet office spaces where they can concentrate as not only do they have aneed for acoustic privacy but also some have the beginnings of hearing loss.
  • Contrasting colors on flooring and in signage.
  • Accessible bathrooms, hallways (passages wide enough to accommodate side by side wheelchairs), cafes and kitchenettes.
  • For new construction, offices are required to provide accessible bathrooms. Please check with your local  government for public accommodation laws.

Capture their Knowledge and Experience

As boomers are beginning to retire, companies are realizing that they will lose a tremendous resource of knowledge and experience.*

As an employer, it is important to focus on capturing that knowledge via technology and encouraging a knowledge sharing collaborative culture. Design can help via shared offices, collaborative spaces and provision of appropriate updated technology.

I am passionate about bringing my client’s brand to bear through the design of their space. Not only do we improve employees’ productivity and the functionality of your space but we ensure that your clients experience your company’s brand through your office environment.

*For more information on capturing the knowledge of the Baby Boomers, read ‘Surviving the Baby Boomer Exodus’ by Ken Ball and Gina Gotsill.

How to Play at the Office: A Labor Day Tribute

As I rest and relax with my family on the beach, at the pool, with a game or two of mini golf squeezed in, my thoughts meandered to the meaning of Labor Day. Labor Day was declared a federal holiday in 1894 post Industrial Revolution to celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers.

Usually, I post about the way we work, but today in honor of Labor Day, I want to focus on the importance of play. Whether it’s time taken on vacation, a hobby on the weekend or break in the office day, play is more important than many of us think.

If you have forgotten how to play head over to your local playground and watch the children invent all sorts of games. If you are really daring, swing. It’s an unbelievable feeling. As a ‘cure’ for my vertigo, my ENT recommended I swing on my daughter’s playground. It’s very effective and a lot of fun! And your kids will love it if you get out there and play with them.

How we define play may be vastly different. I love to take photographs, listen to music and play scrabble or solitaire and other card games. My perfect day would be spent curled up in a comfortable chair with a cup of tea and a good book. My husband prefers to play guitar or golf to relax.

“I get it; I love it; I want it; Where is it?”

In ‘The Element’, Sir Ken Robinson defines the element as the “meeting point between natural aptitude and personal passion”. Being in the element people feel “more alive, more centered and more vibrant than at any other times”. Sort of sounds like play, doesn’t it? Robinson contends that we are all capable of finding this.

Most of you will know Dr. Paul Samuelson, first American to win the Nobel Prize  in Economics. He states that “As precocious youngster, I had always been good at logical manipulations and puzzle-solving IQ tests. So if economics was made for me, it can be said that I too was made for economics. Never underestimate the vital importance of finding early in life the work that for you is play. This turns possible underachievers into happy warriors.”

Some offices, usually tech, have figured out the importance of play and have offices that encourage it. These are often the offices most interested in attracting Generation Y (add link). These companies recognize that Generation Yers  have a different work style. They won’t be slotted into a traditional 9 to 5 job.

Bastard Store Corporate Office

Lego

You Tube

Traction Marketing Group

You Tube

Love to hear from you! Which office idea sparks your imagination?

Have a productive week,

Read more about Sir Ken Robinson, the author of The Element, or Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Paul Samuelson

(photo credits: all photos from my board Office Play on Pinterest, credits are listed on each photo)

Commercial Design and Architecture Inspiration – Shaw Contract Design 2012 Award Winners

Earlier this month, Shaw Contract Group announced the winners of the 2012 ‘design is…’ Contest. Shaw Contract Group “produces carpet, hardwood, laminate, ceramic tile, area rugs and synthetic turf for residential and commercial applications” and is the leader in post consumer recycling.

“Design is merged”

B/S/H/ HUISHOUDAPPARATEN in the Netherlands was designed by D/Dock in a cradle to cradle building. If you are unfamiliar with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the term cradle to cradle is a “biomimetic approach to the design of products and systems…based on a system of lifecycle development”1. The term was first coined by Walter H. Staedel in the 1970s. The clients’s goal was to house their five main product lines in one building: “one culture, one brand and one vision”. Sustainable elements include a Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) roof and a living green wall in the main atrium which recycles grey water (water that comes from laundry, dishes or bathing).

Gensler designed the Shore Hotel in Santa Monica CA, a LEED Gold project. Working closely with the client (a family), the “vision was to use the natural landscape and vibrant urban life to blend the two while taking in the beauty of the sea and embracing the pedestrian activities of the area”. The U shape of one of the buildings beckons pedestrians in.

“Design is a Revival”

Shimoda Design Group created the new Steelcase WorkCafe in the global headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “The first challenge of the project was to connect the space with the rest of the building.” They created a grand staircase to accomplish this. They provided a variety of seating choices with different levels of interaction, allowing Steelcase to “test ideas about nomadic workers.”

“Design is Nourishing”

The grand stair was built by a local boat builder.

The client’s design goal for the Nanaimo Cruise Ship Terminal in British Columbia was “to reflect the values and attributes of the region for cruise ship passengers”. Designed by Checkwith Poiron Architects, the building was finished in just twelve months in time for the first cruise ship to dock.

“Design is Striking”

Built on relaimed land, this First Nations (aboriginal peoples of Canada) screen tells the story of the site.

Colacion Studio designed a new corporate headquarters for Tamdeen Group in Kuwait. The goal was to create a “dynamic and forward-thinking interior to reinforce Tamdeen’s brand and mission statement, “Deliver the Promise,” and to celebrate the firm’s cultural heritage and diversity.” The office needed to reflect multi-cutural workforce as well as accomodate a variety of workstyles.

“Design is Agile”

With a large skylight and a vertical garden in the reception area, the building is flooded with natural light.

Love to hear from you – what inspires you? How can we help you have a more inspiring office?

Have a productive week!

All photos from Shaw Contract Group. Click the link to see more…

1. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cradle-to-cradle_design

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