What the office sector needs to learn from hotels, retail and — wait, what airports and the car industry?

What the office sector needs to learn from hotels, retail and — wait, what airports and the car industry?

To be at the forefront of the office real estate sector, don’t spend too much time thinking about offices.

At Bisnow’s London State of Office event on 12 September, more than 250 delegates heard from a variety of experts who advised that to remain relevant, office owners and developers need to look to a variety of different industries.

Some seem intuitive, like hospitality or retail. But product design, airports and the auto industry? Really?

“For much of the 20th century you had the idea that space for different areas were designed differently and remained very separate, so you had retail design, aviation, office design, all very different,” HOK European Design Principal Larry Malcic said.

“Today you are blending those together, so you blend the design of hospitality and resorts with offices. For example aviation has always been about how to move people through space and provide convenience and speed, so you look to that sector and bring in those ideas. That kind of fusion, bringing them together to create a mixed kind of design is where I think offices are going to be in the next few years.”

Office owners are having to start thinking of their tenants as customers, and thus adopt the mindset of designers of products like Apple or Samsung. For those companies, user experience, or UX, is key — a bad UX equals doom for a product.

“It is the idea that we are in a marketplace where you are in competition, and your customer wants to have a good user experience,” Malcic said, elucidating how to go about this. “That goes back to the idea of choreographing space, creating different types of environments, particularly getting the right balance between collaborative and quiet space. You would find that variety of space in hotels or in retail.”

Where does the auto industry come in? The answer lies in the way it is a physical object which uses technology to personalize the user experience.


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