The dictionary definition of an office “ a room, set of rooms, or building used as a place for commercial, professional, or bureaucratic work” lays out the purpose of the space without any insight into what commercial or professional work was, and what it is now. While what we mean by “work” is ever changing, what we expect from a “work space” is even more scrutinized with the on-going pandemic.
Throughout this global health crisis, many found comfort in the flexibility, efficiency and ease in working from home or remote, until also realizing at what cost it might come. Having “home-work” became the new constant, it became harder to be active during the day, social relationships with our teammates started to diminish and throughout the efficiency of the Zoom meetings, we lost spontaneous interactions.
Living with the pandemic for over two years now, what we came to discover is that we wanted both: we wanted the workspace presence in our lives but also cherished the flexibility to work from wherever we want. So the question became: how might we create a workspace that answers the present needs of users when they don’t want to work from home?
Our design for the new office of Tooplay, Turkey's largest Video Advertising Network based in Istanbul, is inspired by the personal experiences lived by the team throughout the pandemic: the need for personal refuge and privacy, longing for social interaction and actual face time, the need to exercise, the increased mindfulness to care for mental health, increase in productivity through personalization of environment and missing the outdoor street life. The design integrates flexible environments that can be personalized based on user needs, areas of refuge for meditation and relaxation, spacious points of interaction to increase encounter, and playful interventions to unwind.
To create an outdoor-like indoor space, a streetscape with local street-art infused brick walls is the prominent feature, incorporating tracks on open paths to encourage daily walks. The design has greenery built in throughout the space and maintains no or transparent partitioning to ensure natural sunlight enters all areas. The office furniture is produced with certified or reclaimed wood to ensure sustainable sourcing, while also incorporating iconic playful pieces like Swing Table by Duffy London.
Desk research - Historical research together with an extensive analysis of contemporary office design and recommendations to create inclusive and responsive spaces to meet individuals needs and wants..
Expert Interviews - Conversations with environmental psychologists, inclusive designers, and mental health counselors.
Ethnographic Methods - Tooplay work environment observations, stakeholder interviews and a survey with all employees have been conducted, to understand the needs to achieve productivity, collaboration and relaxation, and wants to create a welcoming and attractive work space.
FOOD for THOUGHT: The workplace will increasingly be called upon to provide what working from home can’t, while also having to meet great standards to preserve and improve well-being. What type of spatial innovations can we create through technology to ensure high air and environment quality in existing office buildings?