Smart and simple — modern built environments designed for life

Posted: 6th September 2018 08:58

Technology is changing the working environment in ways we might not have imagined 20 years ago.

A recent global survey by Swiss-based firm IWG showed that 53 per cent of professionals work remotely for at least half the week — some of whom prefer to work in shared office spaces than at home.

And companies are harnessing tech to ensure those workers who remain in the office are as comfortable as possible, while reducing their carbon footprint.

There are several smart and simple ways modern built environments are designed for life — here are a few.

Shared workspaces

US shared workspace provider WeWork was founded in 2010 and manages 10 million square feet of carefully-curated shared office space worldwide.

In 2018, it has expanded aggressively into Asian markets — CNBC reported its $400 million acquisition of Chinese rival Naked Hub this April and a takeover of Beijing-based interior design company Daga Architects in September.
WeWork has established a reputation for functional and aesthetically attractive workspaces that attract artists, creatives and entrepreneurs, so bringing Daga into the fold should strengthen its design chops even further.

Its Shanghai office was named one of the world’s most beautiful by Forbes in 2017 and features terrazzo tiling, brass fixtures, etched glass room dividers and a snazzy steel staircase — an environment conducive to creating, chatting and collaborating.

Practical products

The rise of coworking spaces means smaller businesses might be able to subcontract to giant providers and supply the practical products that keep offices clean and accessible as well as attractive.

For instance, floor mat firm The Mat Factory can provide any trendy office with bespoke products to keep spaces neat and tidy, while offering a range of design and personalisation options.

The UK firm provides cable-tidy mats that contribute to office health and safety as well as anti-bacterial exterior versions that stop the spread of germs, dirt and detritus.

It might not be cutting-edge tech, but mat provision is one of the fundamentals of office maintenance.

Smart Cities

Businesses and public bodies across the world are latching on to the potential of smart building design and scaling it up to create smart cities.

And Australian authority City of Melbourne is definitely on board.

It ran an open innovation competition earlier in 2018 to source expertise for making the city more accessible to disabled people, provides one of the world’s best free wi-fi services and introduced solar smart bins in busy areas to reduce litter and ramp up recycling.

The city’s website includes over 100 open data sets with real-time information on the availability of car parking spaces, bicycles at bike share hubs and much more.

By moving beyond the level of single buildings, Melbourne’s ambitious programme showcases the far-reaching potential of smart technology to make life better for residents of busy urban areas.

So there are a few smart and simple ways modern built environments are designed for life — without doubt, more innovations will emerge in the near future.

Do you think modern buildings are designed better? Share your thoughts in the comments section.