Space planning is an essential step in the interior design process. It is an in-depth analysis that considers the purpose of a space and who will use it. Without proper space planning, you run the risk creating a design that is not optimal and that does not work well for your company.
We will start with the reception area where visitors first gain a feel for your company’s brand and culture. The reception area is a great place to make a first impression. Imagine walking in the door and you have one small room with a dark wood stained reception desk, 2’ X 2’ ceiling tiles, regular office lighting, grey commercial grade carpet, and a sign installed onto the drywall in the back of the reception area. This is what you imagine when you think of a small warehouse unit. Old school, uninspiring, but functional.
Now imagine you walk into a space that has natural light and an open feel that connects to the rest of the building where you can see people moving around the greater office. Your first step into the space is on polished concrete with a sheen to it that reflects the circular LED lighting hanging from the rafters above you. You look up to see the reception station that has been crafted with an elongated white surface that seems to waterfall over the edge onto the ground. Behind the receptionist, the entire wall has horizontal wood slats that have been branded to reinforce the company logo and style.
It’s not like these two examples are just throwing money at the problem. With a few key design choices up front, it is possible to tie in the details that connect space and brand, to show visitors that their experience is important. It is worth making sure that each detail of the experience has been taken care of here.
Once you have moved through the reception area the next area is the conference room, the kitchen, and the restrooms. Most visitors are seen at the front of the building so that they do not have to walk through the entire office to meet with somebody. You’ll want to make sure your visitors have access to refreshments and restrooms as needed.
Conference room tables and seating is always a point of contention between the executive that wants to reuse that old wooden 15′ conference table from the 70’s and the executive that wants one solid marble slab imported from Italy. I joke but you’d be surprised how often this can go wrong. It is possible to make a statement while also having an amazing gathering place for larger groups.
Kitchens and copy rooms require upper and lower cabinetry. Today’s trends in kitchens and copy rooms have turned into open areas that are cafe’s and work areas. This means that break rooms are no longer in dark dingy disconnected places. Copy rooms are no longer in interior rooms with no natural light where hole punchers and paper clips live. They are often arranged in a galley style so that they can be open to use and collaboration without bringing excessive noise into the rest of the office. Open concept kitchens allow not only for freedom of movement, and ease of access, but an opportunity to create a place where people can gather just like you would when you remodel your house.
The best part of these tenant improvements is that the majority of the time, they are designed up front within the space planning process and included within the tenant improvements that the landlord is paying for and constructing for you. This is where early and thoughtful engagement within the process can pay dividends.
The deliverable here in a perfect world is floor plan and site plan that include all the changes that are needed along with an overlay of furniture, racking and machinery. This drawing may be from an architect, furniture vendor, material handling consultant, industrial engineer or all four. What is important is that someone has all of these in one place and has thought through their relation to one another.