The price of the question
A new crisis brought up by an epidemic of COVID-19 enables us to change the perspective on office spaces, recreate them using experience gained during self-isolation. Although just 3-4 months ago, it seemed that all the topics related to business-center interiors and organization of workspace are well-known. Let’s revise the development of this space typology: there used to be white collar factory, then cabinet-type offices, which were replaced by cubicles, after that open-space offices and finally mixed open-plan spaces.
A new type is a post-COVID office with changes both in a work process organization as well as in the spaces, where this work takes place. Safety and health of each employee became company’s main priority, which immediately affected interior design. Talking about plan design, there will be increased distances between work desks of employees to match social distancing in existing business-centers. Probably, there will be wider corridors and transformable premises (meeting-rooms changing size and functionality) in the new business-centers. We might see automatically opening doors, or the ones with special details in order to open it with your feet, and elevators which are controlled via special app.
HVAC systems are to be modernized as well, providing modern filtration technologies. Furniture and finishing materials are not an exception. The size of a standard office desk has been decreasing gradually – from 1,8m to 1,6 or even 1,4m over the past 20 years. However, this tendency seems to change, as people no longer want to work that close to each other. This challenge can be solved not only by increasing the table size, but by using furniture partitions as a zoning element.
Perhaps, a modern work schedule might become more flexible: one day an employee is in office, another at home.
In such case, work tables without a certain owner, so called “hot desking” system is definitely a new office trend.
Work organization at architectural studio “Arcanika” has changed as well: one third of employees started working from home office, others work every other day, in order to keep “chess” seating. This method allows to keep social distancing. We had to mount an independent ventilation system, which was not provided by the tenant. The cleaning company started to come every day instead of three times per week. Besides, there are sanitizers on every table. The communication with partners and clients is still on-line, even visiting objects for author’s control is held virtually by our architects. All the measures mentioned allow to meet high sanitary requirements as well as employee’s psychological comfort.
The quarantine allowed to do routine work from distance. However, such services as zoon are still unable to hold creative work: ideas and art-energy are usually lost via the Internet. This way, in order to create new concepts, architects still have to meet at one table off-line using tons of paper for sketches. We will keep going to concerts, restaurants, fly across the world to museums and meet our colleagues at Venice biennale having 2020 pandemic in mind.
Nikita Vykhodtsev, the founder of “Arcanika” architectural studio
The original publication: https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/4397805
11/1, 3th Floor, Office 6