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Tech & design in enterprise spaces

Louise Curnuck, designer and leader in creative direction for the built environment, discusses how AV tech is continuing to inform office design, post-Covid

The workplace has experienced a revolution. The birth of WeWork in 2010, and the co-work model, has forced companies to up their game in terms of the environments they offer their employees. The grey carpet tile, badly lit, row after row of desks, has thankfully had its day. The aftermath of Covid created a second wave to this revolution, with companies trying to entice people back into the office with wellness front and centre – and it has been proven that providing an enjoyable and agile workplace boosts productivity. 

AV and tech in general have a huge part to play in our experience of place. When it works well, we barely notice it, when it doesn’t it can cause stress. Using AV in creative ways in the workplace can create novel experiences that subconsciously improve one’s mood, or provide memorable experiences. I started my career in an office with a virtually-projected receptionist who directed visitors to lifts where lit, ‘press-me’ buttons played sound bites from songs, or famous lines from films. This simple but very effective whimsical experience was never forgotten by anyone, and corporate guests would rush back to tell their colleagues.

Access to different AV communication tech in specially designed spaces, where the lighting and acoustics can make an online meeting more efficient and flattering; and places where sound and light can provide relaxation for time out from stressful situations, or provide reassurance when a difficult decision has to be made: these are other ways of making the workplace more attractive to employees. 

AV has a fantastic ability to completely convert a space for different experiences too – from office to social event space at the flick of a switch, or providing theatre for town hall presentations to keep employees engaged and inspired. AV-packed client hospitality spaces and so-called marketing suites continue to grow in popularity, allowing in-house teams and clients to collaborate using the latest tech. 

As well as collaboration and wellness, the opportunity to socialise is ultimately the key in encouraging team members back to the office, so anything AV can do to create human-centric places, through well thought out, considered design, can only benefit enterprise and the workplace.

Louise has worked on the renovation of global head offices, helped create co-working brands, and consulted at one of London’s leading workplace design and build firms.

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