“I don’t think there’s been a more exciting time since the industrial revolution to be alive,” says Rothelowman principal of Interior Design, Mat Dalby.
What were some of the first projects you worked on as a designer?
It was all bars, restaurants bingo halls and night clubs at first. After a number of years in the UK I spent time in New Zealand where I worked within the sphere of winery design and accommodation.
Working in the hotel hospitality scene as a designer is an incredible experience, it gives you a unique understanding of human interaction with space.
How has your early experience at that time of design cross pollination in hotels and hospitality shaped your thinking around workspace interiors?
The office spaces most people think of are big open floor plates. Tall buildings, cubicles and desk spaces. The entire mindset of going to work was different when these spaces were created.
People reflect their environments, but environments are also a reflection of peoples’ mentalities. These original office buildings mirrored a traditionally hierarchical framework.
Thankfully, that’s begun to evolve and one of the greatest triggers for this has been technology.
In what ways is technology a driving force for the evolution of office design?
It started when Wi-Fi became cheap. On all the time and available at a set speed, Starbucks installed it and essentially became the first WeWork as a result.
The internet and laptops have all enabled agile working arrangements. This tapped into a work force which was previously dormant and has encouraged greater diversity at work.
Has this only increased with the integration of smartphones into almost every facet of life?
It’s about access over ownership – from Netflix to ride-sharing and accommodation, access is everything.
The workplace is one of the last frontiers in terms of access over ownership and as
designers, we should be looking to adopt this mentality and approach to designing.
Imagine your smart-phone standing on its end representing an office building. Within that ‘building,’ there are manifold functions, contrasting applications to serve multiple purposes, and countless connections.
That’s our opportunity to shift the way we think about workspace design. To create something nimble, functional and elegant. It’s not about working harder as they say, it’s about working smarter.