Are you moving your offices? You have an opportunity to redefine the needs and work processes of your company and design the new offices to enable optimal performance and maximum satisfaction of the employees, customers and suppliers who are in your offices.
In initial meetings with new clients they often ask me about the way I approach planning and about the process in general. The answers vary from company to company depending on the business, the corporate culture and the message the company wants to convey to employees and customers, but in principle the planning process is constructed such that it is based on five main parameters:
For planning purposes it is desirable to recruit a steering committee in which people with relevant roles responsible for planning strategy, logistics, human resources, marketing and branding and …. money, will participate. The committee will advise the interior designer as to how they want to see the new offices in all these aspects. An experienced interior designer will gain advice from the steering committee by asking them the relevant questions in order to obtain the information required to begin the design process.
Another role of the designer in the design process, after receiving all the instructions of the steering committee, is to recommend the characteristics of the new offices that best meet their needs.
How is a decision made on these characteristics? Mainly through a specific and thorough examination of each company and its corporate culture.
For example, a few years ago I designed offices for an insurance agency in Tel Aviv. The agency had grown significantly, and many new employees had been hired, and the owners debated on whether to place the employee teams in open spaces or rooms. I was asked to prepare a professional opinion on the subject. After investigation and characterization of a typical workday at the insurance agency it turned out that a significant part of the tasks of the various teams was outgoing phone calls, inquiries and coordination with insurance companies and clients, and many discussions between the members of each team for the purpose of coordination and transfer of information. The large volume of phone calls created continuous disruptions to anyone who did not belong to the planning team and disturbed their concentration. In order to overcome the acoustic disturbance, I recommended two options:
Ultimately, because the owner of the company doubted the ability of implementing a corporate culture different from what workers had been accustomed to, and on the other hand saw great importance in close contact between members of each team, the second option was selected.
Another major role which I consider to be the most important in my work is to translate the requests and needs of the company into interior design language. The components of the language are: how the areas are distributed, space, form, color, light, texture, and elements that relate to the four other senses such as acoustics, smells and feel of different materials.
Here are three examples of design requirements and how I addressed the interior design:
Of course, the design process is not only idea-based but quickly becomes a search for sources of inspiration and creation of design concepts for detailed work plans for the engineering design team which includes a safety consultant, an electrical consultant, an air conditioning consultant and other consultants as needed.
The consultants receive the guidelines for planning from me. Another fascinating part of the design is the stages of translating the concept from the theoretical and conceptual phase in which it is still amorphous and undefined, into a detailed work plan. This process is done through complex coordinated work between the interior designer and the planning team. For me, as the interior designer for the project, success of the process depends on the creativity, the ability to manage teams and a lot of patience.
At the end of the design process, and after creation of a tender and selection of a contractor, I guide the project and through field visits check that the construction is being carried out in accordance with the design guidelines. This is the stage of project supervision.
In summary, the planning process of designing new offices is carried out in three steps:
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