How is technology influencing workplace design? OfficeMax Workplace℠ Interiors Senior Project Designer Kathleen Uno takes time out to chat with Anne Sneed, one of San Diego’s leading interior architects and a principal at Howard-Sneed Architecture and Design.
KU: What trends have you seen in the A & D marketplace these past few years?
AS: Construction costs are so high that most clients focus on making individual workspaces as efficient and functional as possible, and then invest more resources to upgrade meeting and common areas within the office, especially with regards to technology.
KU: Has this shift prompted clients to use their common space differently?
AS: Yes, I think so. Individual and common office spaces are now less integrated. Employees hold fewer internal and client meetings in their offices, and instead hold more meetings in public office spaces. In response, we are ensuring that technology is incorporated into these common spaces with an emphasis on easy access and easy use.
KU: Have you had to become more tech-savvy to help clients incorporate technology into their office architecture and design?
AS: Definitely. Every company has become much more interested in better integrating technology into their offices. It’s forced us to work in a more integrated fashion, as it requires planning during early stages of design and construction, such as during the electrical, lighting and millwork stages. It’s become part of the project from the initial planning stages.
KU: How has technology affected the office aesthetic?
AS: We have found that as clients integrate more technology and activity into their worlds, they prefer cleaner, simpler spaces.
KU: Tell us what projects you’ve been working on.
AS: We recently worked with OfficeMax Workplace Interiors to complete a five-story office building for AMN Healthcare. The single, 170,000-square-foot facility brought together departments that were previously spread across five or six buildings. The public spaces — an audio-visual center, conference center, full-service cafeteria and catering facility, and gym — were really fun to create.
We also worked with OfficeMax Workplace Interiors to develop an integration plan for AMN. The long-range plan is a road map for how AMN can use its new space for future expansion by creating “growth pockets,” which provide room to expand without having to reconfigure the systems furniture.