2016 Predictions: Coworking Design

By Liz Elam On January 3, 2016 In Coworking Trends


By Jerome Chang // Founder, BLANKSPACES

2016 will be a banner year for the design of coworking spaces. Here are some of my predictions.

  1. Design styles will distinguish and even glamorize the coworking brands that want to grow. Coworking has its roots in fostering community, with some spaces that are claiming a curated experience. Curation will continue to include design as a requirement for success in scaling up, earning PR, and closing significant investment rounds.
  2. Open work environments will continue to proliferate, but more spaces will try to tackle acoustics…and fail. With limited resources…and limited knowledge, bootstrapped solutions will try to piecemeal efforts to improve acoustics. Examples are the dreaded phone booth (my opinion only!); small “acoustic” panels; and hanging balls of yarn. #FAIL
  3. That said, noise is good. People will begin to just embrace how the range of noises will always exist and therefore shape your experience in the space. (Article: New York Times: Dear Architects: Sound Matters)
  4. At least one automated access system will finally break ahead of the pack and become the popular choice. The reason isn’t so much that a good enough system solves our problem, but that coworking is finally on suppliers’ radars.
  5. Furniture choices will expand out from Ikea to West Elm and CB2. Whoo-hoo! Baby steps everyone. Baby steps. Systems furniture manufacturers (Steelcase, Herman Miller, Haworth, etc.) will continue to patiently wait for coworking spaces yet another year for space amateurs to become space professionals. Then again, most of the coworking industry will continue to wonder why they rarely ever see or meet these manufacturers Chicken. Egg. ?

And for a sneak peak prediction for 2017: hipster style in the office will die. They belong only in bars and restaurants, which are themselves trendy. Therefore, premiums spent on vintage furniture will become costly discounts desperate to be hauled away.