Designing for Work, Rest & Play

Posted 09/02/16 by Tom Philipson

I've never been one for being pigeon holed or seen as a one trick pony, after all variety is the spice of life! So the future of design definitely suits me. The importance of having a broad understanding of different human and customer experiences has never been so important. 

Every sector has changed in the last few years and even more so in the last year. 2015 was the year fashion retailers experimented with food, online retailers became high street retailers, cafe's became workspaces and workspaces became focused on mind, body and soul. 

Here's my thoughts on the design highlights of 2015 and what will be the new talking points in 2016.



Workplace design has gone from crazy slides and over the top themes to a focus on wellbeing of staff and the creation a positive culture through the design of the space. We Are Social are a company brimming with creativity and energy. A workforce that absorbs a vast amount of daily content, needs moments of tranquility and focus, far greater than a themed space which would ultimately add further noise. 

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We are social


What does 2016 hold?

Due to the length of hours and intensity of work, the workspace will become more focused on health and wellbeing, creating a office culture and experience that attracts and retains staff will become all important and we will see how the growth of co-working spaces influences the nature of work. 

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The Living Staircase at the Ampersand building



Hotels have been the core focus in recent years however in 2015 the focus shifted to creating accessible and flexible rest spaces on the high st, with Brands such as Pret innovating through the extension of the their fast paced high street retail experience into a relaxed intimate, evening dining experience.


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Pret Evening


What does 2016 hold?

The nomadic worker is influencing this sector, hotel lobbies are becoming work places and brands are capitalizing on this. People become global nomads. Enabled by technology, work and social life are not bound to one location, friends are all over the world and the office is no longer static. The result is new spaces which act as backdrops for these blurred functions.


"Millennials have a strong appetite for working abroad; 71% said they wanted, and expected, an overseas assignment during their career."

- Talent mobility 2020 and beyond PWC



Zoku, Amsterdam


ZOKU is a new brand of hotel that features micro-lofts merging living & working, especially designed for traveling professionals. It challenges the traditional hotel room, creating a hybrid space where global nomads can live, work and socialize comfortably, as if they were home. They created workspaces both in the loft but also in the shared social spaces, especially designed for these working professionals. 



The retail experience has seen the biggest change this year as retailers have been questioning the purpose of an instore experience with rise and rise of purchasing on line. Australian retailer QIC are pioneering a number of engaging and exciting experiences for their customers. Christmas at Eastland Melbourne created the perfect mix of art and tradition. Whilst giving shoppers that Instagram moment.  



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Christmas at Eastland, Melbourne


What does 2016 hold?

Retailers are learning from other sectors to make their experience more attractive to the customer. We will see more dining experiences within traditionally non-food retailers as well as areas geared towards mobile workers.

Retailers are encouraging in and out of store experiences that help customers discover new products in a more personal and exclusive way. Through guidance and personalized recommendations, this product immersion creates confidence and brand loyalty. 


Scotch and Soda x Airbnb

Scotch and Soda invites customers in the brand destination that celebrates their lifestyle. Collaborating with Airbnb, they host an apartment in Amsterdam, fully fitted with Scotch & Soda clothing, furniture and accessories for the visitors to use, which all can be purchased. 


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Rapha, Spitalfields Market

In the new Rapha Cycle club in London's Spitalfields Market, customers can try potential clothing purchases in The Vault, a room where temperature can be adjusted between 0 and 30 degrees and the wind speed can be dialled up to 50kph.



Brands will continue to blur the boundaries between all three areas of Work, Rest & Play. The recently opened Virgin Holidays new concept stores encourage people to come in grab a coffee and sit with your laptop at the bar. You can view some of the destinations at the 'take a peek' wall, have a glass of fizz in an upper class seat or just come in and enjoy a slice of the lounge experience.  

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