Blending urban design with interior design
14 November, 2023
Elevating office interiors with urban design influence
How we're thinking laterally about office interiors by integrating urban design principles.

We’ve established that the workplace has not only changed but continues to change as technology, society, markets and individual needs evolve – and this matters as we change the way we work.

Each working environment has to be tailored to the needs of the specific organisation and the people within it. However there are some examples of universal office design elements, such as:

  1. Ergonomic furniture: Providing comfortable and supportive furniture is essential for any office to promote employee wellbeing and productivity.
  2. Adequate lighting: Good lighting, both natural and artificial, is crucial for creating a conducive work environment and preventing eye strain.
  3. Open communication spaces: Incorporating areas for communication and collaboration, such as meeting rooms or open workspaces, is a common feature that encourages teamwork.
  4. Technology integration: Ensuring that the office is equipped with essential technological infrastructure to support day-to-day operations.
  5. Flexibility and adaptability: Designing spaces that can be easily adapted to accommodate changing needs and evolving work styles.

What makes your office unique?

When thinking about an individual office, there’s a number of unique factors to consider, particularly relating to company culture and the type of work that people do, as this can vary enormously.

Some examples of the unique elements of office design are:

  1. Branding elements: Incorporating specific branding elements, colours, and visual motifs that reflect the company’s identity.
  2. Team-specific spaces: Designing areas tailored to the unique needs and workflow of specific teams within the organisation.
  3. Cultural artifacts: Including elements that reflect the company’s values, mission, or cultural identity, such as custom artwork, quotes, or symbolic items.
  4. Specialised equipment: Introducing equipment or tools specific to the organization’s industry or unique processes.
  5. Workspace personalisation: Allowing employees to personalise their individual workspace to enhance comfort and personal expression.
  6. Industry-specific requirements: Adapting the office environment to meet the specific requirements of the industry, such as laboratories for research organizations or specialised studios for creative industries.

So, creating spaces that are unique to each organisation means adopting different mindsets, rather than taking a cookie-cutter approach to design and build. One of these approaches within our team is to consider a workplace with the same perspective as planning a town (or city, depending on the size of the office we’re designing!). 

How to plan a workplace like a town

Some of our design experts have previously worked in architecture and urban design contributing a valuable skill set. Unlike our own projects, which can transform a space in weeks, town planning environments involve much lengthier timelines, sometimes spanning years at a time.

Despite this difference, we’ve found inspiration in the principles of city building to seamlessly unite spaces into living .

Uniting multiple offices into one cohesive space

As a case in point, one of our clients sought to bring seven disparate parts of their company together into one centralised office and create a lasting connection between their brands.

Our town planning principles worked especially well for this dynamic, by creating a central meeting area flanked by ‘streets’ that connected spaces and teams we allowed them to retain their own identity within a united environment, but come together for both important and serendipitous moments regularly.

Creating connected spaces for different teams

As a great example, working with leading tech firm, Datatonic on their new offices at One Canada Square in Canary Wharf, a similarly connected environment unfolded. Their blue cross style logo became a recurrent theme throughout the space, defining three core areas and the pathways between them.

The ‘pathways’ connected each space, anchored by cylindrical zones created both on the ceiling and in the furniture formation.

On the ceiling we exposed the inner workings of the building and services, so we reflected this pathway aesthetic by adding a blue acoustic PET material to visually reinforce the brand identity but also absorb unwanted sound.

Keeping with the principles of towns, the amenities were easily accessible, guiding people with clear wayfinding to refreshment areas, welfare, meeting rooms and other work settings within the environment.

In adopting the mindset of urban design, we not only connect spaces but people, whilst allowing for individuality and the different ways that different people think, work and operate.

In turn, that not only supports greater productivity in the workplace, but staff retention and an organisation’s appeal for top talent as well.

Want to create a dynamic workspace for your team?

Speak to the team at Maris

Leading tech firm, Datatonic
Different ways that different people think
Top talent
Dynamic workspace