2017 Office Design Trends Forecast

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Brigitte Preston
Brigitte Preston
Brigitte has more than 30 years of architecture and design industry experience most of which she spent building the design reputation of lauckgroup prior to its joining Perkins+Will in 2018. Brigitte was responsible for the creation of XLG, a product design studio, focused on innovation and sustainability in commercial products, winning multiple national design awards. Through her Belgian roots, Brigitte brings an international perspective and ability to address complex design challenges and deliver unique results. Her passion lies in promoting community involvement and social impact efforts. Most recently, Brigitte has been invited to speak as an expert on topics such as human experience and design thinking at SXSW, NeoCon, ICFF and many other annual national conferences.

From authenticity-centered design to building healthy, people-centric offices, Brigitte Preston, principal of design and co-owner at lauckgroup, sheds light on the office design trends you can expect to see in 2017.

The WiNGS office in Dallas. Image courtesy of lauckgroup.

Now that the new year has arrived, I’ve rounded up the three biggest office design trends I anticipate will dominate in 2017. From authenticity-centered design to the next iteration of workplace wellness to design that appeals to the greater good, here’s what the industry can expect to see next.

Authenticity-centered design

First and foremost, I see a surge in demand for authentic design solutions that signal an organization’s commitment to its core values. As interior architects, our job is to create a physical environment that tells the story of an organization in a way that resonates with not only its leadership and employees, but also their clients. So how do we accomplish this? There’s no standard solution, but listening to your client is key and knowledge is definitely the most powerful tool. We must not only gain a clear understanding of the organization’s history, mission, and objectives, but also figure out what’s most important to the client. While this takes time and requires the client to dig deep, it guides us toward authentic solutions that best exemplify the heart of their organization.

Authenticity-centered design may take root through a design vocabulary, expressive and creative visual branding, or specific materials, to name a few. Here are two companies that have used authentic design as a tool for a successful work environment:

Bazaarvoice’s authenticity-centered Austin headquarters. Image courtesy of lauckgroup.

When Bazaarvoice called on us to design their new Austin headquarters, we used branded color and faceted architectural features combined with a bold planning concept to create a vibrant space that embodied the company’s energy and culture. We selected unique patterned carpet, wallcoverings, and light fixtures representative of each department and the cafe for each of the 14 collaboration areas. The cafe and breakroom reveal faceted pods in Bazaarvoice brand colors — grass, navy, sky, and teal. Through thoughtful planning, lauckgroup was able to create a workspace that embodied Bazaarvoice’s brand and mission — leading to heightened employee engagement, client retention, and innovation.


To empower disadvantaged women in Dallas, where we have the third highest poverty rate overall among major U.S. cities, WiNGS (Women in Need of Generous Support) offers financial, educational, and entrepreneurial guidance. When space constraints began to inhibit the nonprofit from fulfilling its mission, WiNGS declared its plans to move, and lauckgroup offered at cost materials sourcing and pro bono programming and design services. For us, creating a space that felt familiar and comfortable was a key deliverable, as the staff wanted clients to feel safe and heard. Placing a fireplace in the resource center, creating coaching rooms that evoked the feeling of a sitting room, and designing a treehouse-inspired childcare area all accomplished this. Our thoughtful approach resulted in a space that reflected the nonprofit’s mission to help women realize their limitless potential.

Atlassian’s millennial-friendly space. Image courtesy of lauckgroup.

Appealing to millennials

As we enter 2017, millennials will continue to influence the direction of office design. First of all, this generation wants a career that offers a sense of purpose and contributes to the greater good. Given this reality, workplace designers should consider how the workspace can embody these goals and how they can visually be represented in the space. And similarly to the importance of authenticity-centered design, a company’s commitment to their community and their contributions to society can be incorporated into branding.

This generation wants a career that offers a sense of purpose and contributes to the greater good. Given this reality, workplace designers should consider how the workspace can embody these goals and how they can visually be represented in the space.

Many of our clients are focused on millennial-friendly design, such as Atlassian, who challenged our design team to create a raw and loft-like feel in the first generation building. A monumental stair is set at the office’s center, serving as a hub of energy for the space. Beyond its functionality and defining architecture, it encourages clients and employees to socialize and congregate on a tiered platform auditorium with bar-height seating. Ancillary spaces, including two large break rooms overlooking Lady Bird Lake, an upscale hospitality bar that serves beer and coffee, a game room, numerous open lounge areas, bicycle storage, showers, and quiet zones are scattered throughout the floor plan. The diverse settings for collaboration and privacy, coupled with mobile sit-stand desks and ceiling-mounted power sources distributed throughout, empower workers with autonomy and flexibility.

Trend Micro’s San Jose office. Image courtesy of lauckgroup.

Wellness of tomorrow

Another important trend that continues to make waves in the A&D world: wellness. Certifications like LEED and the WELL Building Standard are not enough — designers must be deliberate in making astute observations about the space and how to best build a healthy, people-centric office. With studies that prove the psychological and physical benefits of exposure to nature, finding ways to connect to the outdoors is key. While working with a small technology startup, the client told us that their priority was that their employees would be happy in the workplace. We approach projects from a visceral mindset and make sure we get to know the employees of a company to understand their needs and create a stimulating design.

Some of our strategies include specifying products designed with natural materials, and designing to allow for ample daylight to penetrate an interior space. When we designed Trend Micro’s San Jose office, for example, we punctuated industrial elements with a wood floor, stone accents, warm colors, and plant-inspired materials — leveraging a palette that leads to positive biophilic responses.

As we say goodbye to 2016, we can expect these trends and many more in the office design industry. They reflect the overall changes we see in our culture, like younger generations entering the workforce and the commitment to the environment and the greater good of society. I, for one, am very excited to see what 2017 brings in the office design industry and beyond. Here’s wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year!

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  1. I’m glad that healthy, people-centric spaces are now a trend in commercial and office design. I definitely agree that finding ways to connect to the outdoors is key. I love the idea of trying to bring the feel of the outdoors into the office, by incorporating plants and natural materials, along with ample daylight.

  2. All points stated here are well stated and helps to make office environment friendly with employees need, helps them to discover a more positive working environment. The one thing always keep in mind that always looks for the best stylish chairs which keeps back spine healthy as during office hours employees sit for long hours in chairs.

  3. Very interesting read. Like you’ve mentioned, the buzzwords for 2017 would be greater good, sense of purpose and flexibility. Design does need to stimulate the mind and creativity, and boost productivity and collaboration. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thanks for sharing this! I agree that office design is one of the factors that make employees more productive. I would like to work in the office that has a great interior design.
    Proper lighting serves a great deal as well.

  5. what a beautiful stylistic layout had done. Working in a decent situation feels invigorated. In spite of the fact that you are recreating a workroom or home office, it is important that you should renovate your office furniture also. Flexible desk and chairs should be provided to the employees. I was searching for fitting furniture which is pleasant looking, better than average and agreeable. My companion recommended meOffice Furniture west palm beach
    for some reasonable office furniture. Plan to get unique and diverse styles of office furniture that will most likely satisfy my office requirements.

  6. Very good range of designs, which really demonstrate this year’s progress in terms of using modern designs to express small intricate details, it well represents this world’s progression into a more common minimalistic design approach which is beginning to catch on.

  7. I know that windows can make room more spacious and luxurious. But i think that some shades or blinds can improve interior as well. Found some really great designs as example : https://www.decoshaker.com/roller-blinds/office and i think It is cheap decor solutions because office blinds price isn’t so high. Anyway, glass details are innovative and fancy as well as wooden walls or ceiling.

  8. All these office designs are so amazing and definitely will help employees to get focused on the work when they will be in a beautiful office environment.

    An office becomes productive when the employees are being comfortable during their work so you can offer ergonomic chairs to the employees which will keep their spine and other body parts supported and comfortable.

    With all these design trends, productivity will increase for sure.


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