NW 2013: Space the first frontier

In association with MC2

MC2 What's interesting about designing today's offices and work spaces is that this part of the property market is finally reacting to the new types of business that have emerged out of the crash.

Sadly, many businesses reacted to the downturn by going bust – but then came a fresh crop of entrepreneurs opening up shop.

Who really wants to hot desk?

The kind of people who started off working from home with all the pros; being surrounded by things that inspire them, having as much control of opening windows and such like as the direction of growth for their business, and the cons of having to make do with less storage space and having work life creep into home life.

The good news is that this generation of businesses is starting to come of age; hitting the three-year mark and looking to grow their premises.

Which is where the current options are either a misfit – corporate 1990s and 2000s offices – or not fit for purpose. Who really wants to hot desk?

What are in demand are flexible, inspiring spaces that support maturing businesses.

Offices with personality, that retain the best bits of the home/office environment, spaces that people want to come and work in, and continue to want to come and work in.

I've found that a professional environment doesn't have to be heartless, feel cold or artificial. We spend approximately one third of our adult working life – that's half of our waking time – there. Our office environment has the potential to be a place of inspiration and productivity, play and work. And looking at the marketplace I see a glut of serviced offices and aging so-called Grade A office space with eco credentials (read expensive) and empty spaces with innovative landlords ready to (wanting to) make deals – which one would you choose?

  • Lisa Raynes, founder and managing director, Raynes Architecture, chairman of RIBA NW Solo Practitioners Group

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