We have to congratulate ourselves. We already have in our hands the nº 300 of the magazine OFFICES. We look at it, we smell … And that smell so characteristic of a new impression (and new contents), that we love so much, reminds us that these days celebrate its 45th anniversary.
We must remember that the concept of the “modern office” is in itself a relatively new “invention” of no more than 100 years. It was born as a byproduct of the factory, to gradually emancipate itself from it. For that reason, for me and for many, OFFICES is that tool, to which every architect goes in search of references, past and present, in order to try to build a better future.
The present is, was and will be changing. Evolution is not a circle that ends where it begins, but it is a growing spiral, with certain specific revolutions. As Steve Jobs said, “You can not connect the dots looking to the future; you can only connect them by looking to the past. ”
In the 19th century, the typewriter, the telegraph, the elevator, the gas lighting, … marked a radical change in the different work processes … All of them we have overcome. Let’s see what has changed in recent times, and especially at what speed: Internet, email, mobile telephony, wifi, social networks, whatsapp …
The future of the office depends on its own past and present, on us as technicians, on customers, on users, on society, on new technologies, on manufacturers, on new professional profiles, on the media , of the new organizations and above all of the new work methodologies.
Increasingly, industrial production is outsourced and, therefore, it moves away from the heart of companies. The separation between DESIGNED IN and MADE IN increases. But, on the other hand, the services that these contribute to the users, become more important. Designing offices, more and more, is knowing how to tell a story. Therefore, the offices, initially marginal, are now the soul of companies.
In the virtual world, on Facebook, Linkedin, …, we all have an “avatar”. But even so, our real self needs to be related. Therefore, at present, corporate offices are the best symbol of the company, a space for interaction of people and learning. It is there, and not elsewhere, that we can share and seek the “cross-fertilization of ideas”.
Society has changed, access to information, networking, we are totally hyperconnected …. Now more than ever, it is important to analyze sociologically the link between individual behavior and work, with the collective. The new work spaces give service to a new community formed by individuals that interrelate.
If in the present we tend to companies with liquid organizational structures, which have lost their pyramidal hierarchies, all this must finally be transferred to a new office architecture.
The value of the companies resides in the people, in the talent of the same, but above all in how knowledge is shared among them. It is the so-called “knowledge economy”. A few years ago we talked about bringing and retaining talent, today we talk about connecting it. It is no longer necessary to bring talent, but to attract it. You can attract talent and customers located km away. With new technologies, distances are no longer physical, but only mental.
Google, Facebook and then others, have copied implementation schemes similar to the university ones. Coworking centers know this well and companies now imitate their “format”. We must think that the coworking that have proliferated so much in recent times, would exist with and without crisis. They are not a way to lower fixed costs, but a new way of working and relating.
But the time has come for us to innovate even more in the world of the office. We only innovate if we do what we imagine. Let’s do it with OFFICES! Let’s design the office of the future!
We could now speak of co-design, of glocal design, of lateral thinking, of design thinking, …, but this is already another story.
Miquel Àngel Julià, architect
Design Director of GRUP IDEADownload publication