Gensler's design teams hold many conversations with clients over the course of a workplace project, and many of these conversations now linger on the topic of hospitality. How is hospitality, and more specifically, how is the design and experience of hotels, driving new developments in global workplace design?
As experienced designers in workplace and hospitality design, we’ve seen industry trends come and go. But hospitality in the workplace is one trend that cannot be ignored. In the workplace and hotels, the design is constantly shifting in order to meet client, employee, and user expectations. This shift is occurring with some aspects of hospitality design permeating into the workplace, and features of the workplace, visible in segments of the hospitality market. [Image above from Gensler: the new Facebook Tokyo office designed by Gensler hopes to attract the next generation of Japanese entrepreneurs.]
This got us thinking: is this trend here to stay? Why are the design trends in hospitality so relevant in the workplace sector? What are the cultural influences and experiences of a hotel, and how do these factors drive the experience of our workspaces?
We posed these questions to a panel of in-house thought leaders and design influencers, along with noteworthy external industry experts, in the first of a series of Speak Easy sessions that will explore hospitality’s influence on our full design spectrum and its 31 practice areas. For this event, we were joined by Amanda Baldwin, Stuart Templeton, and Claire Richmond from Gensler; Brand Marketing consultant Camille Lorigo and Heather Naylor from B&B Italia.
For years, hospitality has been recognised as having an influence in the workplace. But at times, hospitality design can influence only superficial elements of a project. Design teams, together with clients, at times merely touch upon the topic of hospitality, instead of exploring its effective implementation in more depth.
Our Speak Easy session allowed us to investigate this further, and generate a deeper level of understanding of the relationship between hospitality and workplace. Here’s what we discovered:
1. The boundaries have blurred: Live, Work, Play
Real estate is at a premium in today’s economy. Reduced workstation sizes are also driving people to social or amenity hubs in the workplace. There is a focus on “we” spaces instead of “me” spaces and the boundaries between work, home, and community are blurred. The employee and client experience is dictating a personalised approach from designers, similar to what’s happening in the hospitality industry.
2. Transitional spaces are important: a sense of arrival
Workplace amenities start at the front door. Progressive companies offer concierges to support visiting staff and enhance the day-to-day activities of their local workforce. They also offer these services to help staff balance the need for wellness, such as booking a massage during a break, assistance with technology and travel, or ordering in lunch or theatre tickets for a client. This resembles the multifunctional approach taken by hotels toward their guest arrival experiences, often branching into bars, lounges, or coffee shops.
3. Wellness is more than comfort: empower your staff
Hotels are increasingly offering their guests a unique experience during their stays. Today’s hotel rooms are flexible, adaptable and offer privacy, individuality, and customization in reduced footprints. This is similar to what is taking place in the workplace, where companies are offering their employees a variety of workstations and spaces to think, create, connect and relax. Employees in top-performing workplaces—those that balance focus and collaboration—outperform their peers on critical business measures. It’s all about providing spaces that empower staff and guests.
Our clients need spaces that elevate the workplace to a new level, and this discussion has already led to some exciting ideas about how we move forward and also elevated the topic of hospitality in the workplace.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Florent Duperrin is an associate and interior designer in Gensler’s London office. He has worked with international clients on luxury hotels and retail environments in various countries, and believes that in design there is no beginning and no end to how much you can learn and share. Contact him at Florent_Duperrin@gensler.com.
Anna Crittenden is an associate and project manager at Gensler. She is experienced in a variety of industry sectors, from base buildings to interiors, in the U.K., U.S., and around the globe. She brings problem-solving skills to her workplace projects. Contact her at Anna_Crittenden@gensler.com.