Nov 8, 201309:44 AMPoint of View

Q&A: John Michael

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Finalist PopUP: The Rise of the Mobile Worker and the use of Vacant Space by Kathryn Costa and Kathryn Haley of The University of Cincinnati

Courtesy Kathryn Costa

SSS: Many Business Interiors by Staples clients are aware of the current trends in office design: managers in workstations, collaborative areas, small-group conference spaces, telecommuting options, etc. In light of all these concepts, now commonplace in workplace design, what struck you as the most innovative move you saw while judging the Workplace of the Future competition?

JM: First of all, I thought the quality of the submittals was outstanding. The creativity, talent, and critical thinking that went into many of the entries were inspirational. I was most intrigued by one of the themes that emerged…that being the creation of shared workspaces in urban settings open to workers from different organizations. That one theme seemed to combine elements of urban renewal, environmental stewardship, collaboration (perhaps even with someone unrelated to your project!), and leveraging mobile technology.

Finalist Live/Work Platforms by Scott Klinker, Site Li, Mike Devereaux, and Ryan Pieper of Scott Klinker Product Design

Courtesy Scott Klinker Product Design

SSS: The most interesting solutions in the competition took a look at the buildings themselves, not simply the furniture. This kind of systems thinking is in the air. What, in your estimation, will this shift to include the container, not just the content, in office design mean to the way Business Interiors by Staples works with its clients?

JM: I think it reinforces the notion that all of the disciplines involved in creating effective spaces need to be collaborating much earlier in the process, which needs to become less linear and more parallel. In an ideal setting, clients would select all members of the project team at the same time, eliminating the arms-length relationships we often experience today, given that the competitive selection processes for the spots on the project team take place at various times during the project timeline.

Second, I think including the buildings themselves in the thought-process greatly expands the possible solutions for clients…it provides a much larger canvas on which to create optimal work settings.

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