What are the latest and upcoming trends and what do we really need in terms of creativity? We went trend watching at UK’s leading independent design festival.
With more architects and designers per square mile than anywhere else on the planet Clerckenwell Design Week is a one-stop destination to learn about the latest industry trends, innovations and product launches. The festival celebrates Clerckenwell’s unique evolution from an historic medieval borough, to a hive of Victorian industry, to today’s cutting-edge community for architecture, design and media. For 3 days Clerckenwell is home to over 150 events, a series of pop up exhibitions, installations, talks, performances, music and workshops. 3 days of inspiration overload and to get introduced to new upcoming designers and leading figures from the world of design and architecture.
Alongside the showrooms - with the visually inspiring Zaha Hadid design gallery- the festival opened private buildings for pop-up exhibitions, such as the Victorian Farmilou Building and the House of detention.
Clerckenwell Design Week is a nice way to connect, but also to learn and to rethink. Belgian furniture company Bulo teamed up with Wallpaper* magazine to talk about tomorrow’s office. It was a great chance to discuss some of what I think are the most interesting issues in the design industry today. What will tomorrow’s office look like? What do we really need as well in terms of creativity? What are the challenges ahead we need to consider?
To engage the debate Wallpaper’s editor at large Henrietta Thompson invited two interesting guest speakers: Linda Morey Smith, founder and managing director of MoreySmith Ltd and Nick Couch, founder of the Open Studio Club. Here are the main office trends we picket up during the discussion.
The office as a social hub
The influence of connectivity, technology, flexibility and transparency. People are more collaborative than ever before, they love to interact and best ideas take root when communicating to each other. Offices turning into coffee bars during the day and social spaces for events at night is a good example of this social trend. People are happiest working in a relaxed environment with good coffee, good drinks and good company. Way ahead is the informal atmosphere and the office as a social hub.
The garage context
When talking about startups and entrepreneurs, there’s a methodology. Best ideas don’t originate in brainstorm rooms, they pop in mind under the shower, in the car and on our way out, right? Nick Couch talked about the context of ‘the garage’, this messy tiny space that isn’t fully conceived where you feel creative and inspired. Most businesses set office in a garage, with the online retailer Asos.com being the perfect example. It will be a big challenge for architects, interior architects and designers to translate this garage context into a building without it being overly designed.
The way we work has an impact on the space and business models have changed drastically with the increase of freelancers as a direct result. ‘The multiple career life’ is top of mind, there’s no such thing as ‘Job for life’. People like many things and they will always evolve. Evolving means experimenting and that’s why I like the idea of the Open Studio Club so much. Nick Couch launched this concept a year ago. The Open Studio Club is a listing website designed for artists and designers to find a cool studio space to rent all around the world. It’s comparable to airbnb.com, but for workspaces. It’s not about real estate, it’s about sharing and connecting. In addition, he recently set out the idea of the ‘Free Desk’, which is about agencies bringing in new expertise and looking for people who can add value to their business. So basically the idea promotes serendipitous interaction.
Office’s main function is to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, but these new exciting ideas are inspirational to rethink tomorrow’s office space.
Often described as the most beautiful street in Antwerp, the Cogels Osylei and its surroundings are definitely worth a visit.