Formica Corporation

The next big change is communal workspaces

Co-working is bringing opportunity for creative collaboration to the industry
Monday, November 27, 2017
by Tia Payeur

The design industry for years has been at the forefront of constant change. Changing style trends, from traditional to contemporary, to transitional, to soft contemporary, to rustic and old world — everything is in style at some point. Popular finishes change as frequently as the fashion industry. Materials are constantly changing from familiar materials with familiar finishes, to familiar materials with new finishes and textures, to totally new materials with previously unavailable finishes and textures. New technology has changed everything from materials, colours and finishes, to how we live in our homes. New appliances, new entertainment systems, new computer technologies – all leading to new “smart homes.” The design industry has to bring all these moving parts together to fulfill client needs and preferences.

Just to throw another permutation into the mix, there is no “client.” Client types are also constantly changing. From baby boomers to millennials, Gen X’ers, empty nesters, then add in cultural changes, lifestyle, and economic diversity…interior design has become a Rubik’s Cube of possibilities.

Change is inevitable. The way we work has also changed. Just look at WeWork and the proliferation of other shared workspace environments. This development is a reflection of changes in how the next generation wants to work. The key word here is “wants.” In the old days, the goal was to get a good job in a good company. The next generation wants more out of work and life, and they seem prepared to take the risks to make it happen especially in the creative business sectors.

Over the past few years, there has been a proliferation of independent professionals of all ages in the residential design industry. They have the talent and education, the contacts, and the confidence to be independent. The upside of being independent is that one has low overhead with lots of flexibility. The downside (as I see it) is that they are often working out of their homes. A home office space is ideal for many professionals, but residential and kitchen design is a unique one where we require resource materials, and oh the samples! Also, what about professional contact, inspiration, and the enjoyment of sharing creative ideas?

In the spirit of WeWork, a new model has arrived of shared workspace specifically focused on the kitchen and bath industry, alongside residential and construction professionals. Located in the Olympic Village corridor is CUBE Creative. We now have the offer of private offices and workspaces, shared working areas and presentation/meeting areas, and private boardrooms. At hand we find a resource library, samples surrounded by showroom displays. Perfect!

This space will ensure our local representatives are highly motivated to come to us with their new product offers and samples as well as provide us with training opportunities.

Another invaluable component to this new “communal” working environment is the mix of youth and experience that will come together. We have a lot to learn from each other and we are stronger when we combine youthful creativity and energy with experience.

This is an exciting opportunity for our industry. Vancouver hosts a vibrant design community with several diverse design districts. The idea of a gathering workspace where creativity flourishes and like minds can retreat to work with enjoyment is stimulating.

Due to the high cost of office space in Vancouver, it is expected that 20 per cent of office space will be shared workspaces in the next 10 years. It is the work environment equivalent to Uber and Airbnb. No more days alone in a cubicle!

Tia Payeur, CMKBD, is co-owner of Atelier Nouveau Interior Design in Vancouver.


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