The transformation of space as a strategic tool for change

Juny 2017 | News

We live in the middle of a process of digital transformation that has brought about a global rethink of how we communicate and work. Today, when offices can effectively be anywhere thanks to connectivity and the way we use it to relate to each other at work, the equipment in spaces takes on strategic value and furniture takes the leading role as the backbone for those environments designed to guarantee wellbeing for their users.

In this scenario, Actiu has participated in the 2017 edition of Casa Decor which celebrated its 25th anniversary, with the organisation of a round table which was attended by these four specialists in transforming workplaces: Elena Sanjuán, from BICG, María Antón, from ESNE, the architect Izastkun Chinchilla and the designer Eva Prego, from Stone Design.

Elena Sanjuán, Architect and Consultant of Spaces at BICG, has spent the last few years focusing on researching and supporting companies in change management. In this sense, she highlights that it is crucial to develop this process in three phases which consider: analysing and understanding the needs of people and of the company, co-designing a global transformation strategy and transferring this to spatial solutions.

The spaces of new business environments should be designed under new paradigms which bring together the experience of the employee and the experience of the client

A workplace that has integrated digital transformation into its routines faces the following challenges:

  • Mobility, variety of workplaces and total connectivity.
  • Flexibility, reorganisation of space and functional furniture.
  • Transparency, accessible leadership, transparent and visible information.
  • Interaction, physical and virtual communication, driving interaction.
  • Collaboration, agility, ability to respond, transmission of knowledge.
  • Belonging, a feeling of belonging, shared objectives, attracting talent.

María Antón, Architect and Director of the Interior Design degree at the Escuela Universitaria de Diseño, Innovación y Tecnología ['University of Design, Innovation and Technology'] (ESNE) works on this same line. The university has developed an interesting project with its students, the majority of whom are millennials and members of Generation X, in which these students themselves address and resolve their own spatial needs in education and workplace environments. It is important to remember that in today’s world there are 2.5 billion young people belonging to the millennial generation and Generation X that are now joining the work force. These generations will co-exist with more traditional generations, with both sides having very different aspirations and objectives and therefore needing to find a meeting point in order to co-exist within organisations. The design of space again helps to favour this necessary harmony.

When we talk about workplaces that have been adapted to digital transformation, these do not have to be places that have been created from scratch or that need extensive renovation. This is the point of view of Izastkun Chinchilla, Architect and Designer, creator of the Casa Deco "Fortuny" Auditorium and equipped with Actiu furniture. Chinchilla defends renovation, making the best of things and ecology applied to architecture. It is not sustainable to continually create newly built spaces when it is possible to restore current spaces using new technology to adapt these spaces to today’s requirements.

This philosophy is in line with the aims of Casa Decor, an annual engagement with interior design held in Madrid from 10 May to 18 June which searches every year for a singular space which can be modified and readapted to organise a new edition. The authors understand rehabilitation as an exercise in spontaneity and imagination and to this end they combine inspiration and creativity with materials, colours and textures. 

If there is one person that understands the value of details when carrying out a project, it is Eva Prego, Designer of Stone Design and creator of the Bend range for Actiu. Prego highlights the importance of creating an authentic user experience, focusing on small details such as upholstery, the positioning of a piece of furniture, light and shapes, since everything contributes towards creating an atmosphere of wellbeing.

Actiu has designed a method of delivering this change process in workplaces, focusing on three key axes: building, space and people. The company has concentrated this focus on a methodology known as Cool Working which redesigns spaces to promote a new way of interacting and collaborating. "Cool" blends the most exciting and motivational elements whereas "Working" refers to the purely productive side. 

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