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Posted on 29th July 2017

Greta Garbo, Bette Davis, Lauren Bacall…some style icons live forever.

In the property sector, however, from lifestyle gurus to inspirational architects, it would appear that there is a queue of experts lining up to declare the death of the traditional office.

While it’s clear that workplace requirements are changing, driven by more collaborative approaches to work, increased emphasis on agile working and a willingness to accept homeworking and lifestyle flexibility, the office is far from dead. Indeed, it’s experiencing a renaissance.

As a provider of balustrade systems for commercial environments, we have seen significant changes in the way that new build office schemes are designed, with an increased emphasis on open plan, flexible spaces, natural light and inter-team collaboration. Offices are being designed to support varied working practices and increased use of technology, with a shift towards informal meeting and social areas and away from the structured office layouts of the past.

The increased popularity of atriums as a design feature for enhancing natural light, making circulation areas less oppressive and providing social spaces in ground floor communal areas has elevated the importance of balustrades in the contemporary office, in terms of both aesthetics and safety. Meanwhile, feature staircases are not only being specified to connect floors in centralised circulation areas but also to connect work areas across different levels within the workspace, connecting teams and making multi-disciplinary collaboration easier.

While there may be some subversive examples of office design out there, replacing a staircase with a slide or a fireman’s pole, for example, most office environments continue to respect the basic precepts of communal space design. Consequently, balustrades continue to play a starring role in delivering stylish edge protection to open plan spaces.

Photo: Innocent Head Office (from London Evening Standard)