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03 June 2013

Changing offices

Rockfon have launched a European campaign to inform developers and architects of the changing trends in office interior design.

Rockfon, one of the global market leaders in acoustic ceilings, have launched a European campaign to inform developers and architects of the changing trends in office interior design, and how they affect internal acoustics. In addition to the challenges, Rockfon will also show their effective solutions. Helping them in this goal is the special designer publication, Inspired by You.

The economic situation a growing environmental awareness and changes in technology and work habits all influence the needs of today’s office buildings. This dynamic state presents a challenge not only to their owners, but also to those supplying materials for the interior finish.

Monitoring the current situation, Rockfon noticed six strongly evident trends on the commercial surfaces market which also pose a challenge in acoustics: mobility, interaction, flexibility, openness, sustainability and upgradeability. In all cases, acoustic comfort can be ensured using the proper solutions.

The campaign will be aimed mainly at architects and designers. It will be supported by Inspired by You, a specially prepared publication, containing interviews and advice from architects and experts explaining the problems of suiting modern office buildings to the ever-changing demands of tenants. The examples presented in the magazine show the best solutions to meet these expectations.

'Inspired by You' can be downloaded here.

Rockfon’s 6 trends:

MOBILITY – Any time, any place

Modern communication technology has helped change work patterns. Thanks to wireless devices, social networking and videoconferencing tools, today’s employees can work from anywhere, anytime. Hot-desking has become the norm in many buildings. This has enabled companies to increase the number of people working without an increase in floor space.

INTERACTION – Easy exchange of ideas

According to modern management theories, employees are more creative when they can interact freely with each other in an inspiring environment. To this end, common space in offices is being transformed into places where informal meetings and interaction can take place. In nooks and corridors, comfortable furniture for informal meetings is becoming increasingly popular. High dividing walls are being replaced by lower partitions – or removed completely. These solutions do, however, have a disadvantage – conversations can distract others, and lead to problems with confidentiality and concentration.

FLEXIBILITY – Freedom of form

Together with the increased pace of change in today’s business, the freedom to collaborate and roam throughout the office increases the need be able to adjust workspaces accordingly. Organizations need so-called “agile interiors”, which can be reconfigured relatively quickly and easily. However, a change in floor plan requires a change in ceiling plan to ensure the acoustic conditions keep pace with the changing needs of its occupants, while offering access to services and wiring

OPENNESS – Clarity above all

Organizations place an increasing stress on transparency and clarity, leading to a desire to show the office as a part of the brand and value to visiting clients and prospective employees. Designers create inspiring spaces that reflect the energy and openness of the organization. Some architects are taking the notion of openness to the extreme by showcasing formerly hidden areas, such as production areas and meeting rooms, creating an aquarium-like atmosphere. The large windows and hard materials typically found in such buildings raise serious acoustic issues, while the growing use of thermal mass requires designers to rethink the way they use ceilings.

SUSTAINABILITY – balanced construction

Thermal mass is just one facet of a deeper trend towards sustainability and lower environmental impact. As awareness of sustainability has grown, some developers and architects have been pushing green building beyond just energy performance, placing high value on the users’ comfort. Studies show that acoustically friendly spaces with comfortable lighting and optimum temperatures increase employee well-being, productivity and satisfaction, which reduces absenteeism and staff turnover. However, maintaining a balance between acoustic comfort and heating, cooling and energy efficiency requirements is not an easy task.

UPGRADEABILITY – Renovation as competitive strategy

The trends outlined above are not reserved solely for new-builds. By refurbishing and improving current offices, companies can ensure a comfortable workplace. This helps reduce costs, increase operational flexibility and meet employee expectations. In a recession, building owners are also keen to renovate their existing buildings. This helps their competitiveness on the rental market, which always prefers more modern, better quality spaces together with low operating costs.


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