Once in a while it’s a good idea to take a look around. Sure, you can tilt your head down and keep on working in a comfortable lane — but then you look up again and it turns out the landscape has really changed. Design trends are like that. That’s why they’re trends. Although this particular moment doesn’t strike us as one of those times to expect a seismic shift, there are always some new ideas on the horizon. Let’s tease a few of the things we’re seeing — and expect to see even more of — in office design.
Perhaps you’ve seen a press release or two over the last couple of months about a new International WELL Building InstituteTM (IWBI) initiative called WELL PortfolioTM — and if so, maybe you were wondering what it’s all about. We can help with that.
Greenbuild is just around the corner, beginning Wednesday, November 14, at McCormick Place in Chicago — and we always look forward to what’s happening there. Now, if you’ve been reading this blog regularly (which you have, right?), you’ll be aware of the fact that we’ve been talking quite a bit about the WELL Building StandardTM of late. In part, that’s because Milliken’s Chicago showroom in theMART was recently certified Platinum by the IWBI. It’s the only Platinum-certified space in Chicago, at the moment.
Over the years, the office has certainly changed. Unless you’ve recently emerged from an underground vault, the current emphasis on creating healthier workplaces certainly isn’t a surprise. As a society we’ve really come to embrace this idea — that healthier, happier employees are better employees. Everyone wins.
Not long ago, this blog discussed the WELL Building Standard® — why it’s right on the leading edge of current thought involving sustainability and the workplace. We’d like to continue the conversation, and get into something more specific.
Think about the last time you bought a new mattress. At some point you probably realized it was like you were sleeping on the side of a hill. Or the old one was lumpy. Or too hard or too soft. These are things you might put up with if you’re camping — but you shouldn’t have to in the comfort of your own home. That’s why you got a new one. Happily, bedtime became smooth, flat, and comfy, once again.
If we were to take a trip to the ancient, dust-covered days of the modern sustainability standard — by strapping ourselves into the time machine that’s been sitting in the back of the garage, and cranking the power up — we’d be going on a long, arduous journey all the way back to . . . 1993. Yep, just 25 years. When the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC ) was founded. Also when the development of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standard began. Let’s say you accosted a random badge-holder with edgy glasses at the nearest design conference, then demanded they immediately shout out the name of the first sustainability-friendly building standard that popped into their head. If you did that, “LEED!” would probably get yelled the most.
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Think about the spaces you’ve spent time in today. What were your impressions? Maybe you liked the furniture and the layout of an office you were in this morning because it felt so comfortable. Later you were in a room with three skylights, and they made the space seem expansive. Wood surfaces and plants give your favorite lunch spot a cozy, natural ambiance. But after that you went to see your client with the very cramped lobby — also you always notice how it’s just too bright in there. It’s not your favorite place to visit.