What Will Your Office Look Like in 2020?


By Ted Heisler, Principal, Interior Architecture & Design, Ware Malcomb

What will the office of the future look like? The interior design professionals at Ware Malcomb, an award-winning international design firm, recently pondered that question with a combination of both realistic and fantastic elements. The result was a host of unique workplace solutions, and, of course, plenty of technology.

Ware Malcomb unveiled its award-winning design concept for the future of interior office space at the Development ’14 conference of NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. The firm was one of three winners in NAIOP’s 2014 Build-Out/Interior Design Competition.

Ware Malcomb’s solution for the Interior Office of the Future focused on a realistic idea of what could be accomplished by 2020. The proposed design concept posits that space organization will continue to change as work distribution and activities change. Technology enhancements will continue to move us forward with new flat panel technology, the full integration of nanotechnology, and other innovative solutions that will result in a healthier building environment.

Ware Malcomb’s future office space is organized into work zones aptly named Focus, Collaborative, Team and Quiet, based on the scope of work and level of concentration required: Focus, for undisturbed work that requires concentration; Collaborative, for informal/formal interaction; Team, for groups that work together each day; and Quiet, for getting away from it all.

The workplace will continue evolve with an even higher level of flexibility and engagement with technology. Technology will also drive some of the aesthetics of the new workstation, including: a “SMART panel” surface — an electrified, glasslike material that can function as a personal computer, among other uses; the “cone of silence” workstation, for a quiet, more focused working environment; and the active workstation, with a standing desk that incorporates a treadmill or stationary bicycle.

Sustainability will continue to play an important role. In fact, Ware Malcomb predicts the next generation of worker will demand an even more sustainable interior with built-in flexibility for decades of the building’s life and will embrace the new frontier of wellness in the workplace. The next generation of worker will be looking for how the space will help support wellness and sustainability.

As designers, it is always exciting to explore ways to improve the form and function of the office environment, to expand the boundaries of design and push it in new directions, and eventually bring these new concepts to the marketplace. Aesthetically, when we actually examine the “look” of the office, form will follow function and the look will follow the brand identity.

The 2014 Build-Out/Interior Design Competition challenged architectural firms to conceptualize the optimal interior build-out for Class “A” office space within a multitenant building in a growing market. Entries were judged on cutting-edge creativity and practical usability, while incorporating adaptive reuse and redevelopment techniques. Universal themes of flexibility, practicality and personalization were used to create unique spaces that increase employee productivity, function efficiently and promote sustainability.

Ware Malcomb is the only firm that has been recognized every year since this prestigious national design competition was launched by NAIOP in 2012. In addition to being a winner in NAIOP’s 2014 Build-Out/Interior Design Competition, Ware Malcomb designed the winning 2013 Distribution/Fulfillment Center of the Future, and won an honorable mention in the 2012 Office Building of the Future design competition. Most rewarding, however, is the opportunity to bring this award-winning vision of the future of design into the work we do for our clients every day.

Click here for more details on the award-winning Interior Design/Build-Out of the Future.

You may also click here and watch a video.

Ware Malcomb offers planning, architecture, interior design, graphic design and civil engineering services to commercial real estate and corporate clients. Established in 1972, Ware Malcomb is an international design firm with 16 office locations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Panama. The firm specializes in the design of commercial office, industrial, science & technology, healthcare, retail, auto dealerships, public/educational facilities and renovation projects. Ware Malcomb was among the top 25 architectural firms in Engineering News-Record’s national ranking of the Top 500 Design Firms of 2014, while the firm’s interior design group was recognized as one the nation’s 2014 Top 100 Giants in Interior Design magazine.

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