The Past, Present and Future of Office Interior Design

The Past, Present and Future of Office Interior Design

Workspace design has evolved so much over the past few decades. In the past, the rules were pretty strict when it came to corporate spaces in Singapore. Cubicles and closed workspaces dominated the interior workspace. Luckily, the rules of the game have started changing.

Singapore office interior design today is much more relaxed. Following global trends, it allows for versatility and effortless communication.

The evolution of office interior design, however, isn’t complete yet. New technologies and the changing ways in which people do work will shape up workspace design choices even more in the future.

The Past of Office Design

Every professional and experienced Singapore interior design company can give you a timeline of workspace design and its most typical characteristics during every decade.

Let’s start with the past.

In the 1950s

Offices were much more reminiscent of factory floors than corporate spaces. Open layouts and heavy industrial components dominated. Things were a lot more rigid back then – the average work week exceeded 40 hours, professionals had to wear certain attire and the gender gap was heavily pronounced. All of these workplace dynamics impacted office design.

In the 1960s

The so-called action office came into existence. It dealt with the open floor plan of the 1950s and was heavily based on three-walled spaces (more or less cubicles) that allowed for some privacy.

In the 1970s

The cubicle continued evolving in the 1970s. It dominated nearly every office interior design project executed during the decade. Computers started making their way more confidently into the workspace and ergonomic furniture was also introduced for the first time.

In the 1980s

Things started becoming a bit more casual in the 1980s. Clean lines, minimalism and glass became inherent elements for every modern office at the time. Since the computer was brought to mass market in the 1980s, it became widely available and changed the way in which people did work.

1990s to the 2000s

Technological advances continued throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Function was prioritised over appearance and the open office made its reappearance for the first time since the 1950s. Collaboration started being more and more important for the work of different companies, which is why the cubicle was pushed to the side. In the 2000s, the term co-working was coined and working remotely also started being a thing.

Office Design Today: Flexible and Highly Technological

The office interior design timeline shows how we’ve arrived to the office design trends of today.

With time, offices became more casual, more flexible and much more heavily dependent on technology than in the previous decades. Equality and collaboration shaped up the functional aspects of design and décor to make many offices today reminiscent of homes.

Interior design is an extension of office culture. Office culture itself was revolutionised in the 2010s and beyond. Community, communication and equality are the guiding principles of doing work today. These principles are reflected in open spaces, functional areas and flexible design concepts that can be rearranged to encourage collaboration.

In the 2010s, many large corporations pushed the boundaries of office interior design. The Apple famous Apple Park “spaceship” campus was one incredible out of the box development. The same applied to the Google headquarters and today, the main office of the search engine giant brags a colourful bike area, a beach volleyball outdoor space, fitness and wellness centres, cooking classes and even coffee tasting events.

Companies gained awareness about the importance of wellness and engagement. Keeping employees happy means making them productive, which has had a profound impact on office interior design.

Future Offices – Very High Tech or Much More Relaxed?

This brings us to the future and what it has in store for office interior design.

Workspaces in the future will be even more heavily aligned with remote work and telecommuting. Digital communication and live streaming will enable workers in one location to partner up with their remote colleagues. In addition, technology will be utilised to make even those who don’t visit the office often feel like a part of the team.

Sustainability is another trend that will become more pronounced as the years go by.

We are already making the switch towards a paperless office and technology will enable many companies to go 100 per cent paperless in the years to come. The conservation of resources and the adoption of greener practices will be adopted by many companies that want a greener image and the ability to attract young, talented workers.

Will there be robots and 3D printers in every office of the future? Will there be spaces that shift their function at the touch of a button? Possibly! The office of the future, however, will be whatever the respective company needs it to be. The importance of boundaries, rules and guidelines will decrease even further to give employees a personalised experience that is tailored to their needs.

Will the office disappear completely, allowing people to do work from wherever they feel comfortable? While telecommuting is on the rise, it’s unlikely for the office to disappear altogether. After all, the sense of community and belonging is still an important part of being a member of the team. Hence, the office is likely to persevere but it will probably experience a radical change from what it looks right now.

Workplace design is a constantly evolving thing. It grows, it scales and it shape-shifts depending on the industry and the company.

This is why Singapore interior designers constantly have to sharpen their skills and adopt innovative concepts in terms of functionality and décor.

Home Guide has been evolving alongside its clients, putting together a wide array of workspace design concepts through the years. We like letting our work speak for itself – just take a look at our office interior design portfolio.

Do you have a specific workplace vision that you’d like to bring to reality? Contact us today and we can make that happen.

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