Tag Archives: Flexibility

Beyond Amenities, What’s Next for Workplace Design?

At a panel discussion titled “The New Basics,” designers, developers, and facilities experts tried to work out what will be essential to the office of the future.


From private chefs to meditation rooms, companies have pulled out all the stops when it comes to amenities in the workplace. Whether driven by the battle for talent or employee demands, tech and media organizations in particular continue to vie with one another to provide employee benefits. Cafes, phone booths, and lounges have become commonplace, with nap rooms and fitness centers following suit. But how much amenity is too much amenity? Is there any downside to this trend, and what should we consider to be the new basics of the office?

A group of workplace experts gathered at the Poppin showroom in San Francisco earlier this year to discuss these questions and point to a way forward in office design. Primo Orpilla, whose award-winning firm Studio O+A created some of the first amenity-rich offices in the tech sector, spoke to the origins of the trend. “We really just wanted to create a place where people would come together, collaborate, share ideas and maybe spend a little more time, and that time be more meaningful,” he said. “It was also a great way for the company to show that they cared.”

But now the pendulum might have swung too far, said Alex Spilger, vice president of development and director of sustainability at Cushman & Wakefield: “I see friends that work for these tech companies that say, ‘I want to leave my job but I’m afraid to give up the free massage and the free food,’ and I have to ask them, ‘Are you staying there for the right reasons?’”

Amenities cannot be expected to stand in for a sense of purpose among employees, and companies have to work at fostering that spirit of community. “The spaces have to have meaning to the company and to the employees,” said Verda Alexander, cofounder of Studio O+A. “The idea of superficial amenity spaces really needs to fall by the wayside.”

So what kinds of amenities would not be considered superficial? Sometimes, essential amenities are determined by the culture of the organization, said John Liu, facilities director at Rakuten. At his company, “AV is gargantuan everywhere because that allows [companies] to have video conferencing with every office, to be able to sync up without having employees travel as much.” Hoteling is another such amenity, which Liu finds he has to figure more and more into his headcount projections.

However, workers aren’t just concerned about short-term benefits for themselves or their employers. “People want to work for companies that care,” Spilger said, “so a commitment to sustainability is a core amenity.” The urban (or suburban) context, and the company’s commitments to the community outside also figure heavily in employees’ list of wants. “Those values are part of the new basics,” said Jason Bonnet, vice president of development at Brookfield Properties. “I can get a paycheck from any tech company here, but what are you really doing when I step outside as it relates to improving where I live?” At Brookfield’s new developments in San Francisco, such as 5M and Pier 70, office spaces are situated within a mixed-use context. The developers have built social impact into the plans, offering ground-level activations and donating spaces to non-profits.

Talking about the backlash against tech giants in Seattle and San Francisco, Alexander said she wished offices could integrate “more amenity spaces that are maybe on the ground floor, accessible to the public and that interact with the public. I would love to see more social responsibility, environmental responsibility, and any kind of amenity space that could directly engage the public.”

Spilger summed up the discussion by offering a demographic analysis of where workplace design needs to focus next. “A lot of amenities were driven by millennials—ping pong tables, foosball, free food, happy hours,” he said. “Those millennials are starting families. They no longer need the happy hour or the ping pong table; they want flexibility, autonomy, and purpose behind the work.”

Categories: Workplace Interiors

Continue reading Beyond Amenities, What’s Next for Workplace Design?

Latitude Architectural Group Goes Geometric for CupOne Coffee Shop in Beijing

FIRM Latitude Architectural Group
SQ. FT. 3,300 SQF

Entrusted with the design for the 3,300-square-foot CupOne coffee shop in eastern Beijing, the Latitude Architectural Groupdecided to forgo the usual dark colors and cozy furniture of the traditional java joint. Instead, the Beijing-Madrid based firm looked to geometry.

Triangles form a lattice across the ceiling, and also the legs of the café tables. Both contrast effectively with the soft wave of corrugated aluminum along the walls. “The idea of using the curved shape appeared quickly,” says founder and principal architect Manuel Navarro Zornoza, “due to its smoothness, continuity, and flexibility to create areas with different levels of privacy.”

Read more: 10 Simply Amazing Cafés

The design team installed two types of tiles, each a different size and color, parallel to the ceiling and oblique to the benches. Photography courtesy of Hector Pei.

The brand’s signature color, a cool white, naturally became the palette. “We were afraid the project would be very flat,” he says, “so the challenge was to use materials with texture, like the graphic design on the walls, to create a sense of depth.”

Custom curving banquettes are covered in gray leather. Photography courtesy of Hector Pei.

But it’s all about the product. “The curved shape is also inspired by the coffee cups,” says Zornoza, which certainly gives the space a buzz.

Keep scrolling to view more images of the project >

Custom white-lacquered tables and chairs lend a touch of individuality. Photography courtesy of Hector Pei.
When viewed from outside, the aluminum panels resemble chic coffee filters. Photography courtesy of Hector Pei.
CupOne’s main façade is entirely glass. Photography courtesy of Hector Pei.
Panels of corrugated aluminum contrast with the pendants’ soft light. Photography courtesy of Hector Pei.

Looks like white interiors are quite a trend, especially in café projects. Check out the 2018 Best of Year Winner for Coffee/Tea, a tranquil tea shop in Guangzhou, China.

Continue reading Latitude Architectural Group Goes Geometric for CupOne Coffee Shop in Beijing

ASID Events



ICFF is North America’s platform for global design. Over 900 exhibitors from across the globe showcase what’s best and what’s next for luxury interior design to more than 38,000 design industry attendees each year in New York.



8:00 AM
5/19/2019 – 5/22/2019


Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
655 W. 34th St.
New York, NY 10001
United States



ICFF offers an unparalleled opportunity to view innovative design trends from across the globe and experience interactive, educational programming led by the industry’s leading designers and icons. Architects, interior designers, visual merchandisers, and developers visit ICFF each year for inspiration and concepts to apply in their next design project.


  • ICFF Talks
    Positioned on the show floor, ICFF Talks features design visionaries and leaders who share insight and knowledge as it relates to the interior design world
  • ICFF Studio
    In its 14th year, ICFF and Bernhardt Design bring the next crop of emerging designers to the forefront through the juried ICFF Studio competition
  • NYCxDESIGN Awards & Party
    Presented by Interior Design Magazine and ICFF, the NYCxDESIGN Awards & Party is a highlight of NYCxDESIGN, New York’s annual celebration of design that attracts hundreds of thousands of attendees and designers from across the globe


ASID is thrilled to showcase the impact of design at ICFF, engage with visitors, and explore the beautiful, impactful, and sometimes surprising ways that design impacts lives. We’ll also provide timely and relevant education sessions each day.


Sunday, May 19

12 – 1 p.m. Aging in Place in an Urban Environment: New Design Solutions
Speakers: TBD

How do we design housing to accommodate multiple generations with different needs, incorporating cutting-edge solutions for flexibility and accessibility? Learn how multi-family and community housing in urban environments is evolving to reflect new family structures and an aging population. You’ll come away with practical ideas to help you create flexible living spaces to fit and adapt to the current trends of universal and accessible design.

Monday, May 20

12 – 1 p.m. Creating Purpose-Driven Spaces: What Does it Look Like to Leverage Design for Good?
Speaker: Meena Krenek, ASID, LEED BD+C

Human emotion is uniquely tied to human behavior. An individual’s emotional connection to a space, environment, or culture can provide a strong sense of belonging. This is valuable for developing engagement within spaces we design. As designers, we have the ability to impact behaviors through our design decisions. We must be mindful of this power as we seek a deeper meaning, experience, or contribution to society with our work. It’s important to continuously understand our audience and build spaces that represent a greater purpose and relationship to the activities that happen within, inspiring users and reaching their hearts and minds. In today’s world, everything is so highly competitive and constantly evolving that when designers create purpose-driven spaces, they develop a level of captivation and engagement with the environment which sets them apart.

Meena Krenek, ASID, LEED BD+C

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Tuesday, May 21

12 – 1 p.m. Business Skills for Creatives: What You Need to Know About Contracts and Fees
Speaker: Phyllis Harbinger, ASID, NCIDQ, CID

The contract between you and your client is a legal document, and plays a critical role in setting the tone and establishing yourself as a professional. Every contract includes a section on Designer Compensation, and we’ll show you how to effectively present your fee structure to reflect the true value of your design services, giving you guidelines and tips so that you can maximize profits. Gain insight and strategies to help you establish the right price point for your creative skills, services, and design vision – ensuring business profitability and success.

Phyllis Harbinger, ASID, NCIDQ, CID

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The ASID DESIGN IMPACT Awards recognize innovative products that put people and the environment at the center of design intent. Winning products will be featured by exhibitors at ICFF.

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5 Young Designer Highlights from SaloneSatellite 2018

Flexibility and unexplored categories have fresh new talent inspired, Salone Internazionale del Mobile’s SaloneSatellite proves. This year, the ninth edition of the international young designer exhibition focusing on new prototypes for the home and office featured 650 designers under 35. From a kitchen with just seven parts to a portable stackable bed to lines dedicated to the emotional needs of cats and children, here are five of our favorite finds.

1. Cucina Leggera by Stefano Carta Vasconcellos

Cucina Leggera by Stefano Carta Vasconcellos. Photography courtesy of Stefano Carta Vasconcellos.

The first-prize winner of the prestigious SaloneSatellite Award 2018, Cucina Leggera (Light Kitchen) by Stefano Carta Vasconcellos has a mere seven parts that can be assembled glue- and screw-free—thanks to an ingenious joint system.

2. Me & Meow Collection by But Yet

Me & Meow Collection by But Yet. Photography courtesy of But Yet.

The Me & Meow furniture collection by But Yet assumes a cat is in your life, with nooks and crannies appealing to both the human eye and the feline pet’s instinct to play and hide.

3. Rehome

Rehome. Photography courtesy of Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Design.

With a cot that grows with a child, a stackable bed, space dividers, and a dining set among the quickly assembled, sustainable, and affordable items, the Rehome furniture collection by 10 students from the Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Design meets temporary housing needs, from emergency structures to festivals.

4. Mia Chair by Tink Things

Mia Chair by Tink Things. Photography courtesy of Tink Things.

Furnishings abound to meet the physical demands of a child—but what about emotional needs? Tink Things by Benussi&theFish is a line of furniture for children that keeps “sensory intelligence” in mind. The Mia chair, for example, has a non-fixed fabric seat that allows gentle rocking and can be pulled up over the head for cocoon-like isolation.

5. Soffio by Claudio Gatto

Soffio by Claudio Gatto. Photography courtesy of Claudio Gatto.

Drawing technical know-how from inflatable standup paddleboards, the durable PVC and nylon wire Soffio inflatable furniture collection by Claudio Gatto consists of a table and two stools—weighing a total of 23 pounds—that can be transported in two backpacks.

Continue reading 5 Young Designer Highlights from SaloneSatellite 2018


Renowned London-based design firm continues to expand its presence in Asia with the opening of The Ritz-Carlton Residences at MahaNakhon, Bangkok.

David Collins Studio was appointed to design the public spaces and leisure facilities in The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Bangkok. The interiors concept is natural, crafted and layered, reflecting the precision of the building’s architecture as well as the homeowners’ appreciation for sophisticated interior concepts.

“Our intention was to create a classical and timeless interior architecture and design concept, imbued with a distinctively Thai sensibility,” explains Simon Rawlings, David Collins Studio’s Creative Director.

“By immersing ourselves in the culture and indigenous craftsmanship of Thailand over the nine-year lifecycle of the project, David Collins Studio has brought a definitive sense of place to the Residences, reflecting the cosmopolitan and international nature of Bangkok.”

Rhythm in Details

The main lobby features Thai-inspired ceiling details that bring a rhythm to the space as it leads through to a candle-lit carpeted colonnade that evokes a sense of theatre with soft lighting, creating a journey as the residents move from the outside world to the inside.

The pool deck is divided into a series of spaces that each serve a different function where the residents can swim, sunbathe or simply enjoy being with friends and family. Pyramid Thai tiles, locally made in a custom champagne colour are used throughout bringing interest and texture to the surfaces.

The Club

The plan for the club space is based on flexibility delivered through the use of rotating screens that pivot and in turn create a multitude of spaces – a dining room, a library, a bar, a meeting room and a TV room – all of these could be used together, or independently.

Panneling and Timber

On the amenities floor, the spaces are designed as little pockets that are to be discovered and enjoyed. Panelling and timber cladding inspired by research into historic Thai buildings, furniture with metal-clasp detailing that echoes local architecture, and local artworks all maintain the sense of place.

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