Design Trends for 2018

Bondholder Three Hundred and Sixty Degrees share their 2018 design trends. 

The end of the conventional office

Just as dress codes at work have relaxed over the years, so too has the paradigm of what an ‘office’ should look like. The stuffy conformism of corporate interiors is giving way to a more personalised, home-like and people-centric feel.

This informality probably began with the increase in start-up businesses where eclectic was a budgetary necessity, a different work ethic prevailed and a sense of identity has been important for rapidly building a brand.

Since its inception it has been accelerated by Millennial's and Generation Z and is now a recognised and accepted element of workplace styling. It is also seen as a great way to make work spaces work smarter and staff feel more at home.

The rise of activity based workplaces

Although this isn’t a new trend, activity based spaces (also known as dynamic workplaces) are on the up.

We’re seeing a rise in the number of companies who need a more flexible approach to how their workspaces can be used, and we predict that 2018 will be the year when this, along with the decline of the conventional office will dramatically reshape the office landscape.

Bringing the outside in

Having plants in the workplace may not be a new idea but progressive workplaces are embracing them in a new way and accepting that there is need to connect with nature.

The ‘one plant in a statement pot’ schemes are now considered part of the old office order and biophilia is the new style in town.

Planting is being used creatively to make screens and wall dividers, and artificial grass is an acceptable floor finish these days. Plant pots, terrariums, hanging baskets, plants on the ceiling…
Almost any surface is seen as fair game in the plant offensive.

Just as important as greenery is light. In offices, especially those that don’t have abundant natural light (like high rise offices and city centre locations), designers are creating artificial sunlight with rooflights.

Textures as well as colours

While colour will always be important in office design, texture is increasingly playing a part in shaping our workplace experience.

The industrial design trend of the past few years has led to an affinity for all sorts of finishes, such as metal panels, textured timber, concrete and brickwork.

They have been adopted to add richness and interest to wall finishes, ceiling designs, flooring and bespoke furniture. Even the mainstream furniture providers are getting in on the act and experimenting with raw metal, driftwood laminates and more varied textures.

Concrete is a great example and has made a massive comeback in recent years. It combines modern and industrial and is used increasingly as a final finish for floors, sinks and shelves, as well as appearing in more unexpected places, like desk accessories, meeting pods, clocks, tables, chairs and lights.

Open Plan - Out; Focus Space - In

Many column inches have been devoted to the argument around the open plan office and whether it is beneficial for employees or the source of all productivity woes.

It is unlikely we’ll see a return to the cubicle culture but there is a continuing trend towards providing quiet space where people can focus without being distracted. Collaboration is wonderful but everyone has activities where they need to get their heads down and focus on just one thing — reading something or writing up a report.

Technology has created freedom

The recent advances in broadband, VoIP and cloud based resources have cut the final ties that prevented employees from true remote working.

Now the only thing stopping them from being able to work effectively from anywhere is trust. Yet,as the benchmark for measuring employee productivity and effectiveness has changed, so too has the level of autonomy.

2018 is the year that co-working and telecommuting will see offices transform into ‘hives’ where workers come together to share what they’ve been working on outside the office.

The workplace of 2018 will have to support employees’ technological needs, with ports, docking stations and interactive whiteboards, so that when workers converge they continue to be as productive as possible.

Start the conversation

Workplace design is adapting and evolving as employees’ needs change so it is vital the businesses take a collaborative approach to the workplace requirements.

It is important that businesses talk to their staff about what activities they do and how they like to work.

For instance, they may need a quiet space to concentrate; more informal areas for collaborating; dynamic spaces that encourage productivity; or facilities and technology that support flexible working.