The influence of hotel design on office fit out.
Office fit out is influenced by hotel design as never before. And in a number of ways. Office fit out influences are coming from a number of directions. A significant trend is to create more inviting, comfortable, and productive work environments. Some key elements of hotel design are being translated into office spaces and this is a growing overlap.
As a design concept the hotel theme plugs into the notion of the 20 minute locality where all you need is no more than a walk away. Same can be said for hotel design in office fit outs. Have your ‘neighbourhood’ clustered within the office.
There are a number of design aspects feeding into forward looking office build-outs which combine to great effect.
Luxury has become a universal favourite. We recognise it when we see it. It makes us feel good, instantly. And luxe is so often integral to hotel design. Its no wonder the luxe elements of hotel design are being co-opted. There’s also a deliverable from hospitality…shop-fit production can be more cost effective as its designed for a shorter lifespan compared to conventional office fit-outs. The upshot is luxe for less.
Luxury can be achieved without busting the fit-out budget wide open. Hotel design makes good use of deeper pile carpet, accents such as gilding or chandeliers, full height curtains and plush fabrics. All these can be added into the design mix. And its possible to achieve the desired impact without covering every square metre of the office.
You recognise ‘90s and noughties offices by the cookie-cutter sameness, and materials such as steel and glass. It was easier to deliver homogeneous office interiors. They stood a test of time. And most of all no one complained that one space was better than another…a sort of descent into equality.
This is swept away. Fit-outs now vie for individuality, just as no two city-centre hotels have any design respect if they copy and paste. The days of a corporate look and feel may have gone forever. Local personality, attuned to city of locale, reinforces teams and belonging. As an influence on fit-out trends Individuality is a leading marker.
HEALTH & WELLNESS OVERLAP
Many hotels are synonymous with health and wellness. Be they spa resorts or Claridges adding several floors for treatments, its all about the extra dimension. On a lesser scale offices will have a space for us as human beings. Fitting out for health and wellness, biophillia, and camera-friendly natural materials is a regular feature.
HOTELS = DE-STRESSING
Its not rocket science to link hotels to de-stressing. Leisure is typically about getting away from the quotidian. If an office interior fit out can adopt some hotel persona it can be a way to lower stress. And less stress can equal better performance.
HOTELS = ENTERTAINMENT
Leisure and entertainment are mutual bedfellows. Why not nod towards the ways a hotel might do it when thinking about workplace interiors. We’re not talking Las Vegas. Maybe more about rooftop or terrace. Just thinking about the use of space is changing in the world of fit-out.
Hotels are always multiple use buildings and this is true of offices as well. What’s changing is the hotel approach in the use of softer colours and materials, and making spaces a little more dramatic. Its not just about functionality. Adaptable, and good to inhabit, push fit outs to aim higher.
Training and development seems to have been paused for several years but will come back in a big way as organisation seek to enhance our skills and knowledge, in light of Ai and work changes. Hospitality does training spaces in a different way.
Hotel interiors are also slick in accommodating drop-in use. Offices are no slouches in this regard but there’s no harm in looking at the ease of accessing hotel services when considering the fit out.
A wider range of ages, more diversity, are driving interiors to think more about accessibility. Has this been driven by hotel design is unclear but we do know that hospitality has nowhere to hide in this regard. Same goes for office fit-outs.
Another dimension to accessible is sharing of intel…being in the know. WFH means its just harder to absorb what’s going on, to contribute, or simply to keep up with the culture of the company. That’s a forgotten role for offices, coming back into focus.
To be part of an organistion means having a relationship with colleagues, culture, leadership. Accessibility isn’t just about diverse physical needs. Leaving staff out of the loop can be detrimental in the eyes of the law.
Just coming into the office isn’t enough. We thrive on experiences and the office interior will be a bigger scale than anything at home. Bigger spaces, bigger screens. Clever use of these can boost the experience, make the office more vibrant and multiply effects. When shared with colleagues this is a powerful inspiration and sense of comradeship not unlike visiting a wonderful hospitality venue and sharing a great time.
Knowing that the trip to the office will be like reaching a destination hotel can be motivating. We return to hotels for the vibe, the sense of welcome in a warm almost residential atmosphere. Being close to others and close to where we need to be. Take this and weave it into a fit-out.
Working with others and socialising after work still matters. It’s a great pull factor to get people back in the office, just as it is in hospitality.
Hotels are good at quiet communication on sustainability creds. Reducing environmental impact has been a message for a while. No harm in replicating this in the office fit-out.
20 MINUTE CONCEPT.
The concept of 20 minute cities is getting conversation going. Good cities have everything clustered within a 20 minute walk. Applied to offices this means you have amenities grouped within a building. This is why new developments have communal spaces to get the convenience factor. It’s a nice win when your co-working space has shared event spaces, and the reason your office building, even without co-working, needs to grab this event space idea. Hotels have been working on this for some time.
All together a hotel approach can add extra dimensions to office interior fit out. We’ve suggested some of the factors. There’s also some good design work that can be an inspiration.
You could call it a ‘club workspace’ approach. As hospitality has moved towards soho-house style membership, so offices can learn from the exclusive inclusion style.
- Welcoming and comfortable reception areas: First impressions still matter; a welcoming and comfortable entry for employees and visitors wins on kerb appeal. We’re not just talking warm and inviting colours, soft lighting, and comfortable furniture. Features and architecture all play a part.
- Relaxing and inviting break areas:Employees need places to relax and de-stress throughout the day. Break areas should be designed to be comfortable and inviting, with plenty of seating, plants, and natural light.
- Flexible and adaptable workspaces:Today’s workers need a variety of spaces to work from, depending on the task or group. This could include open-plan workspaces, private offices, and collaborative meeting rooms. It could be drop-in or bookable. Multi-use spaces work well so long as you can adapt the space.
- Amenities that promote well-being:Employers are increasingly offering amenities that promote employee well-being, such as fitness, yoga, and quiet areas.
- Use a hotel-inspired colour palette: Hotel lobbies and guest areas often use calming and inviting colours, natural materials, and feature fittings.
- Incorporate natural materials: Natural materials, such as wood, stone, and leather, can add a touch of luxury and sophistication to office spaces. We’re seeing a wider range of materials than ever before.
- Mixed lighting: Building Regs require a decent lux level at desk height. That doesn’t mean you can’t add soft lighting to create a more relaxing and intimate atmosphere in parts of the office spaces.
- Add plants and greenery: Plants and greenery can add a touch of life to office spaces and help to improve air quality.
- Use comfortable furniture: Comfort is integral to hotel interiors but so much less evident in offices. Zoning in design gives more opportunity to add comfort in certain spaces and not sacrifice on the altar of practicality.
Hotel design is a subtle trend in office fit out. No shame in that. Learning why hospitality design is successful, and applying the knowledge, is beneficial. Having said that there is still a huge necessity to ensure offices are effective places to work. Its just a case of balancing the design inputs. We know that its about competitive advantage. Design must work for a better fit out, not simply as something nice to look at, nice to dwell in.
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