More than an office

The idea of creating an office ‘as a service’, a space designed for multiple activities, is gaining traction.

Offices are progressing rapidly, moving towards an ecosystem of flexible spaces designed for multiple activities, where human interaction will take on a vital role. Hotel spaces are having a profound impact on the design of offices, and the lines between the two are becoming increasingly blurred. By competing with hotels, the idea is to turn the office into a service. Instead of just being another of a company’s assets, it will take shape and foster the appearance of hybrid office spaces which also contain other models, such as commercial, cultural spaces, temporary rental for events, among others.

Drivers of change

The teleworking boom has resulted in companies all over the world debating over the need for fixed facilities, instead exploring the possibility of lighter structures which allow them to be more reactive in the event of similar crises. As mixed remote work models start gain steam, companies will reduce the size of their office spaces – 73% of British business leaders plan to scale down their offices in the coming year (Source: Accumulate Capital) – and they will begin to change them in order to take advantage of the property asset outside of office hours. In the U.S., 87% of company directors aim to adjust their property strategy during the next year and invest in decentralised locations (Source: PWC). 

In addition to questions regarding companies’ running costs, adopting a more interdisciplinary approach to work will result in the creation of new and unexpected inter-relations between business and projects of a different nature.

“Even more ‘humanness’ needs to be injected into environments”.
Hella Jongerius, designer.

The result

The office as a business asset will aim to be self-sufficient, independent and more efficient in profiting on the hours that it is not occupied. This way, offices will be able to be reconverted into commercial spaces or cultural centres simply by reconfiguring the space. Solutions for working spaces will continue to make progress at the expense of an aesthetic that takes inspiration from residential and hotel spaces. The link-up between office spaces and commercial spaces will be a trend worth monitoring in the coming years.

Design keys

Transformable interior

For offices to take on new functions, they must have the ability to reconfigure the space simply and quickly.


Offices are leaving behind their technical appearance, instead donning a more homely style which draws them nearer to the language adopted by hospitality spaces.

Cohabiting with local businesses

Offices as an asset are joining forces with other local entities to change and be able to offer new functions, such as training centres, cultural foundations, associations and commercial premises.

Easy on the eye

Technical equipment and office furniture are taking on a new appearance and are aiming for a design code which enables them.

Case studies

Bell Works Chicagoland is a new office and commercial space designed by Somerset Development in the outskirts of Chicago. Just like a large shopping centre, it contains shops, workspaces, gyms, medical clinics, hotels and leisure areas in a suburban setting, helping reduce transport time.

Aspekt has developed an interesting concept revolving around a telephone booth for virtual calls which works with just one or two people. This new design, created for Work&Co., provides users with silence, privacy and sockets for connecting digital devices, and they can be easily installed in already existing office spaces. Photography: Rasmus Dengsø.
Xeito Investments’ head office in Madrid, designed by Enorme Studio, is a multifunctional space which varies between an office, a project exhibition hall and a venue for events. Its double-curtain system and pivoting and folding doors allow its function to be adapted in no time at all. Designers: Enorme Studio. Project Manager: Project Consortium. Photography: Javier de Paz García. 
London-based company The Office Group has set up an immersive meditation space in its Notting Hill office. Their plan is to eventually also hold yoga and acupuncture sessions.

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The United House office, designed by Universal Design Studios and The Office Group, was devised with a residential character in mind.

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