On-site productivity, engagement and comfort drive next generation of millennial-based office designs

Say goodbye to bland-looking cubicles, dueling thermostat wars, constructed walls and flat panel TVs, as the office of the future instead will be comprised of sleeping pods, self-luminous walls and treadmill-operated desks, according to winning entries in NAIOP’s 2014 Build-Out/Interior Design Competition. Winning entries were submitted by design firms Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, Albuquerque, New Mexico; DLR Group, offices coast-to-coast; and Ware Malcomb, Irvine, California.

In its third year, the competition invited architectural firms and design teams who work with developers and owners to conceptualize and design the optimal interior/build out Class “A” office space of a multitenant office building preferably by utilizing adaptive reuse and redevelopment techniques.

While each entry showcased distinctive and abstract design elements, all of them incorporated universal themes of flexibility, practicality and personalization into creating unique spaces that increase employee productivity, function more efficiently and generate sustainability.

“Commercial office trends are increasingly dynamic in nature. In order to attract and retain top talent, future office space designs will cater to the employee experience in a setting laid out more in consideration of tasks than career status,” said Thomas J. Bisacquino, president and CEO of NAIOP. “As progressive thought leaders in commercial real estate development, this year’s winners have showcased exceptional cutting-edge, yet practical, concepts that will allow businesses to prosper as employees become more engaged from working in environments that nurture optimal performance.”

Dekker/Perich/Sabatini (D/P/S) emphasized community throughout its concept which transformed an aging 1980s-era office building as a means to support local business but also create micro-communities within the space – giving more people more access to more amenities. Daycare facilities, pet walking/grooming services, an integrative pharmacy and a Tele-Med room connecting workers directly to healthcare professionals, reduce the frequency of off-site errands. Wellness amenities stretch beyond a fitness room to include a multi-story walking path wrapped around the entire site, leading to gardens, grilling stations and a lighted dance floor adorning the rooftop.

DLR Group coins its office space of the future The Magnet. Upon entering the facility, an IT concierge directs guests to Team Hives or Privacy Hives, which, depending upon the concentration necessary to complete specific tasks, are strategically located either in the center or along perimeters. Ergonomic furniture embedded with noise cancelling technology allow users to immediately adapt what they hear, while nanoparticle lighting systems adjust how workers see by scattering light similar to the Earth’s atmosphere. Air filters containing plants are part of biowalls that improve air quality, save energy and create a calming ambiance.

Ware Malcomb’s future office space is organized into work zones aptly named Focus, Collaborative, Team and Quiet, based on the scope of work and level of concentration required. Separate workstation models contain treadmills, bicycles and smart panel technology. Lighting, electrical power, day lighting and HVAC functions are all seamlessly integrated, and old-school technology like projectors, LED screens and flat panel TVs will give way to organic light-emitting diode (OLED) devices for more efficient use of power.

All three firms will present their concepts on Tuesday, October 28, during the breakfast general session at Development ‘14: The Meeting for Commercial Real Estate in Denver, Colorado. Representatives from each firm will be available to discuss their concepts after the session.