UNIT (user cantered, natural, intuitive and timeless design) is a space which aims to break social barriers and increase collaboration in the future workplace. The office space is designed to allow fluid movement throughout the space and boost social encounters in order to create partnerships, share skills and disperse hierarchy. Unofficial discussions and meetings often plant the seed for a good idea, as architect Primo Orpilla states ‘great things happen over lunch’.
Primo Orpilla of Studio o + a outlines a set of guidelines for creating a successful office space. I have chosen to adopt these guidelines and create a conceptual office for studio o + a to inhabit in the future. Orpilla’s characteristics champion natural relationships between each section of the space to allow for different types of work to co-habit the same internal structure. It puts particular focus on flexibility within the working environment to allow for collaboration.
Sketch Modelling process
Taking these principles forward there are no personal offices within UNIT in order to break down the hierarchy within the company. Businesses have ‘flattened out’ by 25% over the last 25 years, losing several layers of management in favor of a more fluid structure increasing interaction and discussion. In this new plan ideas can flow along horizontal, vertical and diagonal paths throughout the firm. UNIT provides a space which accommodates this shift in management style towards the future workplace.
Walking up the ramp to the entrance you appreciate the light which is filtered through the wooden slats, creating a lattice work of shadows and light. This effect will change in response to sunlight and weather creating an ever changing, inspiring entrance to the workplace. Upon entering reception you can gaze down at visitors and staff enjoying hot drinks and food in the café or look upwards towards a group of individuals in deep discussion in the circular conference room. Proceeding down the curving ramp into the café you look down to see architects hard at work on laptops and model making alike. There is a bubble of chatter flowing up from below with the loud hiss of the coffee machine from the cafe breaking up the sound. Proceeding in the elevator to ground level you notice the organised clutter of models housed along various shelves within the studio. At one end of the ground floor light floods in through a workshop and brightens the private, individual conference rooms. At the other end of the studio soft lighting guides you to a quiet, individual work area set deeper into the ground. It is a cosy, quiet space with soft lighting and furnishings. Perfect for reading and relaxing.
UNIT reflects the principles outlined by Primo Orpilla but also integrates the values of Studio o + a into the space. They aim to connect and empower organisations but also integrate intuitive design in order to show sympathy to the user. UNIT reflects these values through material honesty, harmony between the building and user, flexible spaces and unobtrusive design to fulfil a purpose whilst benefiting user.