Aestheticism And Functionality Top Focus For Commercial Workspaces
Over the years, workspaces have changed drastically. Optimum utilisation has been the key mantra but at the same time, design and aestheticism have been equally important. Interior designers cannot fail to provide either. In a conversation with Gaurav Kashyap,CEO, Cherry Hill Interiors Pvt Ltd that has designed over 40 million sq ft of workspaces, we explore how the modern-day workspace is a break from the traditional. Edited excerpts follow.
How has designing workspaces changed over the years?
Traditionally, offices were seen as no more than a space in which to work – no extra features to enable productivity or positivity for the workforce. Over time, particularly over the last 10-15 years, offices have seen a rapid design change incorporating creativity, technology and environment-friendly features. Companies are realising that workplaces are more than a place to work - it is where most of their employees spend the majority of their waking hours during the week and spend significant time of their life. Businesses are realising these aspects and make sure that employee’s health, fun, collaboration, need for business to generate new ideas and strategies etc are important facets and workplaces would require to cater to employees holistically by offering space to rest or meditate, rooms to play games in or indulge in listening to music or connecting on social media, spaces for nursing mothers, fitness rooms, break-out areas, use of features etc.
Each year, new technologies are being implemented and new trends are being adopted in office spaces around the world. Optimisation of offices is expected to increase year-on-year.
Today functionality and aestheticism has been of paramount importance, how do you manage to provide both?
Even in flamboyant office spaces, it is very important to balance aesthetics, functionality and cost in order to find the right solution for the specific business needs and the way in which people work best. The customers and staff are likely to be attracted to any business if the client has a great office. It is important to ensure right layout for office, reinforcing the respective business’s personality, resonating the brand through design.
Businesses are sure not to simply opt for something that just looks aesthetic – but paying attention to what they really need in workplace in terms of their business, customer and employee requirements.
Our teams continuously study and explore to keep themselves updated about the latest technologies, deliver distinct products and features which enhance aestheticism along with the required functionality.
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What are the specific demands that you get from your clients?
During the execution of the project, the company considers all measures to enhance the safety, choose the best practices that would align with the environmental policy of the client or required as per ISO standards or LEED. Creatively designed spaces enhance the employee’s performance and engagements thereby enhancing the overall productivity.
Often clients insist on a design that helps propagate new ideas, teamwork, productivity, efficiency and more importantly provides a safe and comfortable environment. This can be attained by providing collaborative / socialising spaces, biophilic design, interactive spaces, advanced human lightning system, global design philosophy incorporating local flavours, flexible spaces, open ceiling concept, easy circulation around the office area, abundance of natural light, transparency, mobile furniture, height adjustable tables etc.
What are the design trends in different cities? Is the demand different in different cities or are workspaces following some major themes?
Every company has unique needs when it comes to its office space. There are no specific requirements. Most MNC’s or leading corporate offices do have a pan India presence and design has certain consistencies. However, some regional offices prefer the local flavour that expresses the city’s culture or tradition.
What were your expectations from Budget 2019?
If input credit (Goods and Services tax) were allowed on works contract services for the construction and interiors of office spaces, it would have been helpful in carrying out the business. The industry would have been incentivised to undertake capital expenditures.
Another aspect could have been to expedite GST refunds for SEZ projects and MSME companies wherein the complete refund should be released with 45 days of filing of application. Government should consider providing accelerated depreciation benefits on Capex, thereby incentivising the industry to undertake expansions.