Embracing evolution: Designing tomorrow’s workspaces
By Adam FreillCommercial Construction
Commercial office space developer hosts design roundtable to explore amenity and design trends that are attracting Canadians back to the office.
The constant evolution of office expectations was front and centre as Gryphon Development in partnership with Marco Polo by Gryphon, a state-of-the-art lifestyle business hub in the Oakridge district of Vancouver, hosted a roundtable discussion about the dynamic realm of commercial office space.
The Workplace of the Future: Amenity & Design Trends for 2024 and Beyond brought together industry visionaries to illuminate the evolving landscape. For industry professionals navigating the ever-shifting demands of modern workspaces, the insights shared by key speakers offer a valuable blueprint for success.
The concept of “hotelification” emerged as a prominent theme during the roundtable discussion, as highlighted by panellist Emily Lee, co-founder, managing director and principal designer of CLVR Studio. Gone are the days of traditional office spaces. The shift from traditional office spaces towards luxurious “home away from home” settings is a trend gaining momentum, she explained.
Lee emphasized the importance of incorporating wellness offerings, strategically chosen materials, and finishes that bring a softer ambiance into the office, creating an environment where employees want to stay and spend time. These spaces, she explained, prioritize employee comfort and satisfaction, encouraging a return to the workplace.
Lee and Myah Ollek, commercial sales associate with CBRE Canada, also underscored the need for dynamic and adaptable workspaces over static offices with fixed walls. This, they explained, aligns with a growing demand for spaces that can accommodate various work and collaboration needs.
The key is to create intentional designs that foster flexibility and cater to the evolving needs of tenants. This also ties into “hotelification,” and “resimmercial design,” a term combining residential and commercial into workspaces. “Resimmercial design” brings warmth, comfort and familiarity into flexible workspaces to bring souls to the space where employees work and collaborate with one another, unlike traditional office settings.
Carol Waldmann, director of global facilities and real estate for Hootsuite, highlighted the strategic investment in enticing amenities, such as recording studios, cozy pods, focus areas, inviting lounges, and fully stocked kitchens, which successfully drew employees back to the office.
Observing more employees going back to the office, Ollek further emphasized the pivotal role played by amenities in enticing employees. Integrating wellness-centric spaces within office designs promotes not just productivity but also employee well-being. Additionally, providing diverse amenities tailored to individual preferences can make a significant impact on the overall experience of workspaces for employees.
To add on, Waldmann stressed the importance of incorporating forward-thinking trends like individual stall washrooms and Braille signage, promoting diversity and inclusion.
Dan Burgar, co-founder and chief executive officer of Frontier Collective shared insights into the tech industry’s demand for environments that foster creativity, pointing towards a growing need for dedicated spaces tailored to innovative needs. His vision for a 150,000-square-foot innovation hub underscores the importance of intentional designs that cultivate specific “vibes,” bringing souls into the spaces where they work.
Creating a community for entrepreneurs, creators and start-ups, Burgar highlighted that building small neighbourhoods within larger areas enhances the overall work and living experience. Vancouver has become a global city and a leader in technology, and the tech industry prioritizes creative and intentional design elements to create vibrant, collaborative ecosystems, he explained.