Hilda Impey and Julie Djohan Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: For the Dubai team at Wilson Associates (WA), designing their own open-plan office was a way to create a space that is both functional and collaborative — as well as inspiring.

The interior design company moved to a 5,000-square-foot office in the Design District in October 2017, ensuring that their new working space reflected their own creative aesthetic and approach. The company supports a team of 33 employees.

Talking to Gulf News, Hilda Impey, principal designer at WA, pointed out that beyond the common goals of an open-plan office such as collaboration and breaking up hierarchy, the team focused on creating a “home” for clients, suppliers, staff, and all of our guests who visit.

How it was done

Starting at the first concept sketch to the final space, the team refined and curated all pieces, details, materials and functions throughout the design process.

“Each item in this office is carefully selected to create the overall balance between a home and an office, a functional yet inspirational place,” said Impey.

She pointed out that they collaborated with workplace design experts to ensure the new space catered to the diverse work styles of the employees.

“We also have a wellness corner outfitted with Technogym equipment, exercise balls that bounce around as chairs, and plants are scattered throughout the office to further enhance the healthy vibe,” explained Impey.

When tackling the common complaints that come with an open-plan office, Julie Djohan, senior designer at WA, told Gulf News that eliminating hierarchy was no issue at the office. “Everyone is made to feel equal in our office, no matter where they sit. We have a strong teamwork bond amongst everyone, including non-designers who will help get involved when needed to hit a deadline,” she said.

Quiet zones

The open-plan office also allows everyone to be visible to one another, enabling a good sense of teamwork and inspiring open communication and the constant sharing of thoughts, explained Djohan.

“The only disadvantage I can think of is perhaps oversharing in some ways. But if designed well, they are minor issues in an open-plan office,” she said.

To address the privacy issue, it also provides a quiet room for people to “park themselves” and work in a quiet nook if they need to escape into another zone.