Change in the workplace is not always readily accepted, especially if it's perceived as radical. Sometimes, the best plan is to introduce new concepts gradually, which is exactly what global engineering design consultancy Arup has done in Los Angeles.
The company recently established a satellite office in the downtown area, to be closer to key clients, and to limit travelling time for workers. Planned as a touch-down space where people could work for several hours or days at a time, the office presented a unique design opportunity, says Arup principal Jon Phillips.
"For several years, we have talked in the main LA office about the idea of activity-based working, whereby people are not hampered by a fixed desk structure. In the current arrangement, no single seating solution is ideal; people need to be able to collaborate at times, and work on a set of drawings which requires space. So we explored the activity-based working concept for the satellite office it is already in use in Arup offices in Australia."
Arup collaborated closely with Zago Architecture throughout the entire design process, giving the architects a very open brief in terms of aesthetics.
"We wanted the space to be very different from our corporate office," says Phillips. "We required more of a studio feel, and we wanted to challenge people to think differently. It needed to be invigorating and creative, and it needed to reflect our innovative approach to engineering design."