Making the case for quiet places
Our world is in the midst of major societal and political change. And the personal challenges we face seem to get harder every day. When life is so chaotic and clamorous, aren’t we all longing for a silent space or a safe haven?
A place made just for us, a place to retreat and escape the world for a while.
After all, there is real power in quiet time: The body’s relaxation response suppresses stress hormones, releases muscle tension, slows the heartrate and lowers blood pressure. Quiet time can also benefit the brain, making space for self-reflection and increasing our powers of perception. It also enhances concentration, creativity and sense of well-being. To master the much-touted “agility” of the new world of work, everyone in the office needs places to soothe and recharge. And it is our job as architects to create them.
Communal office spaces and workstations aren’t just about encouraging collaboration, agile working methods and serendipity. It is vital to provide areas with a feel-good factor as well. When individual staff or groups of co-workers feel the need for privacy or quiet contemplation – an inevitability in our fast-paced daily routines – our offices have to meet that need.
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Quiet spaces in a place of possibility
The variety of spaces on offer in your office depends on the people spending time there. Maybe you want to grab a coffee with a co-worker or take a power nap. Maybe the energy you get from exercise or play is what keeps you going. Either way, the secret to successful workplace design is providing the spaces that meet your staff’s particular physical, cognitive and emotional needs. Our solution is a workplace that promotes agile ways of working and relies on modular, flexible furnishings to create the ideal office for today and for the future – we call this a “place of possibility”.
Of course, there are many advantages to open-plan floorplans, but working with a constant backdrop of noise is quite a challenge and not exactly conducive to flexibility or well-being. Conversations and phone calls mix with clattering keyboards, buzzing printers and a host of other distractions. In a desperate attempt to stay focused despite all the commotion, the body releases stress hormones, which makes it a lot harder to get work done. Phone booths and partitions made of glass or other materials offer clever ways to divide the workplace into different zones; customised acoustic systems create a healthy, pleasant auditory environment designed with the staff’s well-being in mind.
Architecture of possibility
More and more companies are bringing nature back into our day-to-day office routines. Green spaces expand our horizons, provide a fresh perspective and alleviate fatigue as well as stress in today’s frenetic work culture. Whether it is a living wall, an urban courtyard or a roof terrace in the sun – even a bit of greenery can become an oasis where staff recharge and return to work revitalised. The combination of fresh air and exercise works wonders as well; getting the blood flowing is a great way to de-stress. As the trend toward outdoor spaces and built-in sport facilities grows, modern workplaces are helping staff turn pent-up pressure into renewed energy.
For many, the most popular “hideaway” in the office is still the loo. That’s why good architecture doesn’t stop at the restroom door. Clever, wellness-inspired design can make this space an even more relaxing refuge from the outside world.
May the peace and quiet of this holiday season inspire new visions for the future. Our best wishes for a relaxed and rejuvenated start to the new year!
Contact: Nicole Vesting
Kurfürstenplatz 6, 80796 München
Tel: +49 (0)89 45 23 508-11
Fax: +49 (0)89 45 23 508-20
CSMM – architecture matters
Contact: Nina Eisenbrand
Werk 3, Atelierstraße 14, 81671 München
Tel.: +49 (0)89 960 15 99-0
Fax: +49 (0)89 960 15 99-99