Metro Vancouver:Re-imaging the workspace of today, one that’s flexible to the needs of tomorrow, is no simple task.
Space design needs to account for increased digitalization, accommodate for telecommuting, offer open areas for collaboration, and do all of this while emphasizing the use of sustainable materials.
Earlier this year, the Business Interiors division of Staples Advantage Canada offered design scholarships to six students across the country who had the best skills, savvy and style to pull off a design that fit the demands of today’s changing corporate environment.
And Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) student Kelsey Reddekopp was one of them.
“I found inspiration in the Mongolian nomad because they embody flexibility and sustainability in the purest form, however they always remain at home in their landscape,” explained the fourth-year interior design student. “The modern office needs to be flexible and many modern employees are considered to be ‘hotelling’ workers rather than permanent residents of the office space. Although this change has allowed flexibility in workplace culture, it has also caused workers to feel disconnected and yearn for social interaction.”
Incorporating many competing uses and purposes – such as spaces that facilitate collaboration while meeting the needs of employees, and appealing to a multi-generational workforce – is a great design challenge.
“The office is no longer just an office, it is a social hub of interaction, it encourages employees to be comfortable and it has embraced the ‘home away from home’ feeling. The challenge is to create an interesting and collaborative atmosphere but also to incorporate focused and quiet spaces seamlessly into the design,” said Reddekopp.
Reddekopp’s winning design was a third-year class project she submitted to the competition. After she graduates this spring, she hopes to work for a commercial interior design firm in Vancouver, although she is also interested in designing for the public sector, and working on projects with a “social conscience.”
“The task of designing a future space allows promising students to showcase their creativity and skills in creating a vision for reinventing the way we work,” said Sandra Vyse, national director for Business Interiors by Staples. “We are very pleased to offer a scholarship to help students in education towards creating exceptional design.”
The winning students were chosen nationally by a panel of designers from Business Interiors by Staples. Reddekopp, who received a $2,000 scholarship, was one of two students chosen from Western Canada.