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How to start the space design

How to start the space design

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November 13, 2014

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tips on office space design

I’m sharing what I believe are the key points in designing our office @ Dreamix. It is based on my experience and the book Make Space by dschool @ stamfort

Observe

Hacks people use to change the space according to their needs are the best clues for how to start changing the design. For example if you notice that often people talk in the kitchen and draw diagrams on a list of paper then you might put a white board there.

I’ve seen our BizDev Stoyan often needs a space to focus. He sits in front of the white board, on the bean bag or at the balcony. This is a clue that he and probably more people need a private space, different from their desk to focus (maybe get a solution in case they get stuck).

Co-working spaces are another source of inspiration. They are build specially for collaboration and creativity.

Start small. Use what you have

This is true for most of the things we do. Don’t make huge plans for redesign, just hold for the basics and start doing. Use what you have right now.

Moving things around like changing the desk order is something that doesn’t need a lot of thinking.

Involve the team

Gathering all the people and tell them “Lets do it” probably won’t have the same success as to invite them to change the environment in more delicate and collaborative way.

Choose a place, room which is not used or a corner where nothing happens, and put a sign “This place is not used. Do you have some ideas?” and put an offline survey under the sign. Visible signs of use and activity also can encourage others to participate.

Design. Space, decoration, furniture

Home base/project rooms.

Every project needs a special place. Simply mark a place with the project title, put a white board or flip chart, 2-3 chairs and people will get into the project faster. This is something we are planning for our product FormADFApp.

Thresholds and Transitions

Thresholds are entry and exit points. Transitions are passages. The hallway to the kitchen is a great place to promote healthy food and eating when people come in and prepare them for the work to do after they go out.

Put signs and funny pictures like “Don’t eat too much” and “Avoid junk food” on the side of the hallway people look when they come in and Communism style slogans on the side they see when they go out.

Gathering spaces

Kitchens and balconies can be considered as a gathering spaces.

Ease the communication by putting bar chairs and tables on the balcony and put some hints for creative conversations in the kitchen. Like a list with the world’s most significant problems so people can discuss and find solutions for them.

Furniture

Furniture can facilitate collaboration, creative thinking and office atmosphere. Get some cubes from plywood that can be used for chairs (for 25 mins), gather them next to the wall and you’ll have a nice shelf, put them a wheels and kids can use them in ways you wouldn’t imagine.

Movable and periodic tables (got this idea from the Valve company) are a great way to facilitate communication in a dynamic company like Dreamix. Make the tables small and portable.

Get feedback and change quickly

Something we all know and have read many times in books “Respond to what people do and say”.

I welcome your thoughts and comments on the topic.

Cvetelin Andreev

Cvetelin has been involved in startups (mostly tech) since 2003 year playing as (co-)founder, partner and occasionally Java full stack developer. Currently Full Stack Soldier, Startup activist and active blogger @ Dreamix. Plays, teaches and manages @ www.kabagaida.com. Founder of OfficeInTheWoods.com, fan of #futureofwork. Practice sustainable gardening and lifestyle. Runs a forest kindergarten near Sofia. Father of two.

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  • John

    Nice article, Cvetelin. This may also come in handy
    http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246207

  • Thanks for sharing this, John. One thing to add to the article is that observing what people do is great and giving them the power to change their environment and innovate is even more. We are using a croundfunding platform internally to design our own environment and becaus of that we have a gym at the office. #dreamixoffice

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