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Etsy Office

One of our favourite things to do at the start of every new year is to reflect on the standout design trends that made headlines last year.

So, to kick off our weekly blog posts for 2018, we’re taking inspiration from, which recently unveiled its top 25 most popular offices of 2017. These offices highlight some of the design trends we’re excited to see more of this year. Expect splashes of colour, the continued rise of workplace ‘neighbourhoods’, and a deeper focus on sustainability and employee wellness.

Adobe HQ

Trend #1: Pops of colour, layered texture and raw materials

As you can see from Etsy and Adobe’s offices above, employers are experimenting with colour more bravely as a means of creating lively, vibrant workspaces that express their brand’s playful side. Etsy’s Brooklyn headquarters by Gensler epitomize this trend, incorporating swathes of colour, layers of texture and hand-made art and crafts to celebrate the company’s passion for ‘making’.

Pops of colour also infuse Adobe’s headquarters in San Jose, California (above). We love this trend because using colour and raw, textured materials is also a clever wayfinding cue, enticing people to step away from their desks to explore different spaces, which is far healthier than sitting still all day long.

Air Bnb Dublin OfficeAbove: Airbnb Dublin by Airbnb Environments Team and heneghan peng architects. Below: Globant in Colombia, by AEI Arquitectura e Interiores.

Globant Office

Trend #2: Workplace neighbourhoods

We love the way Airbnb converted a rambling warehouse in Dublin into a cluster of ‘neighbourhoods’, cultivating a sense of community in line with the company’s culture of belonging.

Instead of individual desks, Airbnb’s primary workspaces consist of 29 neighbourhoods for up to 14 people with one large table, personal storage, and a lounge area. Secondary work spaces are more social, from the kitchen area to a central staircase that doubles as a community event space and a casual working environment – adaptable, sweeping staircases are another design feature we saw lots of in 2017.

In Bogota, Colombia, Globant’s offices make use of brightly coloured shipping containers, recycled and adapted to create small hubs for collaborating. There’s lots to love about the idea of recycling colourful materials to create shared spaces in which to experiment, as well as nooks in which to work uninterrupted in solitude.

Casper Living Room

Uber HK Hotel

Top: Casper by FLOAT Studio. Below: Uber’s Hong Kong HQs, by Bean Buro. 

Trend #3: Office design meets residential, hotel and day spa design

Last year, we saw lots of offices that look less like places to work, and more like beautifully designed living rooms, hotel foyers or day spas.

One fabulous example is mattress company Casper’s offices in New York, designed by FLOAT Studio. Its lounge areas, kitchen and sleeping pods look like they belong in the pages of a residential interiors magazine like Belle or Vogue Living, while Uber’s Hong Kong offices (above) resemble the luxurious foyer of a five-star hotel.

Deloitte Office 

Trend #4: Greening’ the office

In Dusseldorf, Deloitte Digital is one of many companies bringing their employees closer to nature to enhance wellbeing using living plants and greenhouse meeting rooms.

From succulent walls to rooftop gardens and nature-based wall dividers using bamboo or wood, nature is “the name of the game in the context of employee health and wellbeing”, according to, helping people to feel calm, creative, happier, and healthier.

This year, companies will move beyond vertical gardens to experiment with design features like paths for walking meetings, or vertical gardens that purify the air or grow fresh herbs for staff meals.

Saatchi & Saatchi NYC Office

Trend #5: Intersectionality

‘Intersectionality’ is shaping up to be one of the buzzwords of 2018, describing the overlap of race, gender, sexuality, and class that can create unique overlaps in discrimination or bias. To address this bias from a design point of view, companies need to design workplaces that cater for all kinds of employees and improve diversity and inclusion like never before.

We no longer live in a “one-desk-size-fits-all world, as illustrated by Saatchi & Saatchi’s New York offices, above. Adjustable standing desks, adaptive chairs, and assistive devices are all features that will improve inclusion and accessibility in 2018.

All in all, it feels like an exciting time to be working in the field of experiential graphic design. We’re looking forward to seeing what other trends are on the horizon!

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