So, you have an empty space, or wish you did *close your eyes and imagine throwing the furniture away (recycled sufficiently of course) and knock down all the walls! * All done? Ok, now you are ready!
We would love to design your client’s office for you, however, it’s always great for you to know the basics of planning a space, even if you are not a designer. You want to be able to capture your client’s imagination while you’re in front of them without needing to go back to HQ and guessing what they might have meant.
We have created our top planning tips to give you some guidance while you are on site – print them off and take them with you as a guide or develop them into your companies’ offerings.
1. How much licence do you have?
It is a designer’s dream to hear ‘it’s a blank canvas’ and ‘they want the Google look!’ However, it’s likely the canvas won’t be 100% blank; your client may wish to keep certain furniture items, the meeting room must stay where it is, or the director’s desk area needs to be in a corner with a full view of the office. Identify the small constraints first so you know exactly how ‘blank’ the canvas really is. Besides, you can always propose a second layout option without the restrictions if the client wishes.
With the current open plan office trend, it is likely there won’t be too much partitioning within the office, however, if you do want to remove all barriers but don’t know if they are structural walls…a simple and very professional tap on the wall can answer that question! Of course, don’t go and grab a hammer and start knocking the walls down yourself! Leave that with the real professionals please! Equally, if you do want to create a noise barrier without completely ‘shutting’ off an area, glazed partitioning is a great way of doing this. You can add corporate branding or colourful decals on the glass to brighten the space up.
2. What is the purpose of the space?
Let’s get creative! Leave the product catalogue at home or at least on the back seat of your car! At this stage it is not important to know exactly which high back booth the customer likes best and whether it should be two or three toned. Get to know the company; how do the employees work? What do they want to achieve? Do they have an ideas board of office interiors they like the look of?
Now we know what they do like, we can dive deeper into the finer details. There are a wide range of furniture products available on the market and many spaces can be doubled up or even tripled in function. Nevertheless, it is likely the client will have an idea of how they would like to use certain areas; whether it is for quiet working, split desking and collaboration or social environments such as a canteen. Knowing the purpose of a space will reflect the furniture selection. Movable chairs without castors are not ideal for a quiet working environment, whereas a high back acoustic booth could be.
3. Where should everything be positioned?
It can be daunting looking at a floor plan you have scribbled down and trying to put that first wonky rectangle (rectangle = desk) in your notebook! We are pretty good at deciphering your text notes into proficient 2D plans and 3D visuals, however, you have the bonus of physically seeing the area and speaking directly with the client.
Walk around the proposed space while discussing your customers’ requirements, imagine the route their potential clients would need to take to get to the boardroom or presentation area. You probably don’t want them to have to walk through the open plan area to get to the boardroom, do you? Equally, is the first thing you want to see when you open the door a storage area? Unlikely!
Once you have a true idea of how the client works, what they want to achieve and when they would like the project completed…you are ready to pass this on to the designers to work their magic!
Would you like some extra support? We love getting out the office and visiting the real office space! Our Design Consultancy service includes site surveys, client meet and design brief, and proposed layout presentations.
Make sure you visit https://www.dianebutterworth.com/services/ for a full run down of our services and get in contact today to find out what we can do for you.