Flexible workspace design


ISSN: 0263-2772

Article publication date: 1 March 2000




(2000), "Flexible workspace design", Facilities, Vol. 18 No. 3/4. https://doi.org/10.1108/f.2000.06918cab.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Flexible workspace design

Flexible workspace design

Keywords: Design, Office layout, Working conditions

MoreySmith, the London based multidisciplinary design practice, has completed a major new innovative interior scheme, incorporating a flexible workspace design which will form a blueprint for new working practice across the global telecommunications giant MCI WorldCom.

MoreySmith was appointed to produce a feasibility study on working practices and space planning for the future. The results of the study were approved giving MoreySmith the green light to implement the flexible working techniques. This, coupled with MCI WorldCom's decision to further incorporate advanced communications and information technology, including flat screens for every workstation, into the workspace, has allowed MoreySmith to create an office of the future. By conducting extensive consultation through individual interviews and focus groups with the staff, MoreySmith was able to propose a radical approach to space management.

The fundamental concept of juxtaposing workstations with a variety of flexible workspaces and meeting areas is the key to the success of the scheme. Bulo's award winning M2 desk system, a perfect metre square in area, has been specified with a glass work top for 160 workers, one of the largest installations of the product. By using this advanced system, with its split level arrangement and mobile egg shaped occasional tables, MoreySmith has increased the potential area throughout the scheme in which permanent and flexible workstations can be appointed, whilst increasing communal facilities such as meeting rooms. MoreySmith's bespoke design of communal and adaptable workspaces includes the new breed of "casual breakout areas", "quiet booths/rooms", "communications points" and "meeting bars", all of which are encompassed in the curvilinear style of the MoreySmith intervention. The use of elliptical "filing pods" and long sweeping arcs of suspended soffit throughout the scheme creates a calm sense of movement and accessibility to all areas.

The office remains essentially open plan, although glazed screens and some filing systems provide a degree of privacy. More formal meetings, either between staff or with clients, have a number of venues, which have the latest in flat screen televisions, monitors and videoconferencing equipment. Quiet rooms, panelled in curved perforated beech acoustic panels, provide a more tranquil setting for meetings, in contrast to the meeting bars and communications points, which are situated in the action spaces of the office. These provide a venue for more dynamic or impromptu engagements, using all the available information technology.

The use of the M2 furniture system and the eau-de-nil colour of its etched glass surface provide a strong link with the use of etched glass screens, doors and slots inserted into the partitions of the casual breakout areas. The colour is also used in the laminated desk tops of the flexible quiet booths, creating a luminous continuity throughout the scheme. A variety of Eames chairs and dynamic contemporary furniture are complemented by the curved lacewood and beech panelling on storage system doors.

MoreySmith has clearly demonstrated that cumbersome and cluttered offices are a luxury that the ever expanding office cannot afford. Its blueprint for MCI WorldCom's London base is very much a taste of things to come. The good working relationship between director of MoreySmith, Linda Morey Smith, and international design and implementation manager Jenny Bolton-Clark at MCI WorldCom, is sure to mean a future for this collaboration which could eventually branch into Europe and the Pacific Rim.

MCI WorldCom is expected to expand from 2,000 to 4,000 London based employees over the next two years, and with the implementation of the flexible workspace is able to increase the occupancy of its existing and future buildings.

For further information please contact: Rebecca Yelland at MoreySmith, Greencoat House, Francis Street, London SW1P 1DH. Tel: +44 (0) 171 931 8598; Fax: +44 (0) 171 931 8812; E-mail: becky@morey.co.uk

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