At home in the office

Workspaces

At home in the office

Most people spend more time in their offices than they do at home. A lot of thought is now given to office décor. The décor must be such that it provides an attractive design and makes the employees feel comfortable while working. And for the retail outlets, the store environment should be inviting and striking for any customer walking into the store.
An office or a retail store reflects the personality of the company. Therefore, utmost care is now taken by the owners to create a look that goes with what the company stands for. Offices of most NGOs take the minimalistic route.

Most NGO offices use stones and natural building materials extensively, displaying a synergy with nature.

They integrate artworks into their space which are traditional in appeal. The natural elements and simple sparse furniture reflect the focus and strength of such organisations, indicating the seriousness of their purpose.

Big corporate houses too are now taking environmental concerns seriously and working towards making a difference by merging their concrete office space with the environment. Most of the big names in the industry have become eco-conscious and do not shy away from using the chunk of their office space for sprawling green lawns.

These offices are cleverly designed to save maximum energy, keeping in mind the environmental concerns.

There is a growing trend now to bring greenery into a part of the office outdoors for meetings, etc. This will make the employees feel at one with nature and to save on electricity and energy. Most corporate houses are extremely conscious about corporate social responsibility and their office spaces are designed to give the same impression.

Attractive retail spaces
Then there are retail outlet owners who creatively use their office space to strike an instant rapport with their customers. Naveen Sarawgi, CEO of a leading car showroom in Bangalore says, “in a car showroom, there is nothing much to explore except for the cars displayed for customers. There is not much scope for colour and jazz, so we decided to bring in brightness and create drama by using graphics in one segment of our showroom.
The interior graphics were conceived by one of the best graphic designers around. This is also the first time that a graphic designer has been used for enhancing interior customer experience.

The idea is to make customers feel relaxed and comfortable in the showroom before they invest in their dream car and to break with the usual way things are done and avoid immediate face to face contact with the clients.

The laidback feel, openness and accessibility immediately set the customers at ease.
They wander around, grasp and understand the graphics which are nothing but an extension of what we are selling. Once they become comfortable, they are ready to look at the cars and take a calm decision.

After all buying a car is a big investment and a dream for many.” A little effort in the showroom decor does go a long way in creating a congenial environment for the customers.

Nitin Agarwal’s wooden flooring office in Bangalore has a mellow atmosphere, thanks to diffused lighting and green indoor plants. Strategic use of glass and mirrors in this 1200 sq. ft. office gives an illusion of space and openness.

No cabins or barriers
He says, “There are no cabins or barriers in the office, thus giving a visitor a feeling of clarity and transparency. We have displayed our product in a classy way so a customer does not feel that we are hard selling our products. Clutter is distracting so efforts have been made to keep the office neat and simple. Use of indoor plants and furniture in natural material gives this place its character.”

Ajit Jain, owner of an architecture and interior firm, manages to seamlessly combine natural elements and his own décor ideas in his office to create an eclectic office environment. It’s an office that enjoys the luxury of space and the experience of both the inside and the outside.

The office has huge French windows to let in as much natural light as possible. There is a huge, green driveway with a generous porch area, followed by an informal discussion area surrounded by greenery and natural foliage. As one proceeds to the next level via the open staircase, one realises that the second level is mainly devoted to the employees, surrounded by a conference room, an open office area and the private offices, colour coded in neutral shades to give a feeling of oneness and expanse.
He has kept the furniture minimal and colour controlled.

He says, “We have kept contemporary workstations with minimalistic framework and clean lines, using the natural materials in its best possible way, to its full potential.
Our office reflects the kind of work we are trying to project -basic, balanced, simple yet innovative in the way we use simple materials to its maximum. A lot of concentrated effort has gone into making our office look ‘simple’.

Our clients get a feel of the kind of work we do by the look of our office-stylish, contemporary and close to nature.”

It is no more about erecting an office space or showroom just to do business.
The way a work place is designed goes a long way in establishing the personality of the owner and the company.

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