At times, I face resistance from clients to the use of wood, especially while designing offices. Given the global exposure that people have today, somehow wood is seen as ‘old world’ by a section of people and a steel-n-glass look is often seen as contemporary. I don’t believe so, though! Of course, solid wood is not really an economical option as well.
However, I often end up recommending the use of wood at least as an ‘accent’. It not only highlights spaces, but also brings in a more ‘homely’ feel to spaces.
The ‘formal’ atmosphere is the workplaces of many organisations is fast disappearing paving the way for a more casual, yet “I mean business” look. At the same time, organisations have become much more prudent with their fit-out spends. When I design workplaces for modern multinationals, I am often challenged on these counts.
This picture of a recent project attempts to show how a conference room enables multi-tasking in a multi-seating format. If you want to have a formal meeting, you can use the table. If you want to ‘discuss things over a coffee’ the sofa-setting is a good option.
Of course this takes more space than a smaller room, and two sets of meetings are difficult. But the point is that such places are used only once in a while and with smart electrical and HVAC design, much can be saved by switching off lights and air-conditioning when not required.
Clients have seen tremendous value by retrofitting premises instead of building completely from scratch. The two pictures here show before and after images. The office was initially designed in 2006 by our team. As the quality was intact, a retrofit was suggested instead of complete re-design.
The result was that the client could increase staff strength by 20%, save several months of rent and spent only 40% of what it would have otherwise taken to build a completely new office.