Think of an amazing place you have visited before, but sometimes forget to return to. Most of the people who live there have amazing talents and really original ideas. The best part about going there is that no matter of who you are, everyone who visits comes away with a somewhat different experience. The residents occupying this place are capable of talents that stagger the imagination, but most of them have no idea they have this secret gift.
Want to know where this is?
Your own mind. When visited, it can transform a company from average to unconventional.
Time after time, unconventional companies create things people seem to fall in love with—unexpected things that surprise even their competitors. Unconventional companies focus upon providing the most interesting products and outstanding service—and huge profit comes as a result. Unconventional companies center themselves around creativity, elasticity, and taking risks. They define themselves by what they do, what they say, and even the way they design their office space. Below are some examples of the edgy, modern office designs employed by unconventional companies.
Let’s face it. When it comes to individuality, most of us, in our own minds, like to think we are our own person—someone different from the next guy, someone who follows our own rules and is completely original in nature.
Though that may be true with regard to personality, when it comes to self-expression in the office workplace, many like to admire edgy designs from a distance…but when you come right down to it, most office designs are fairly common.
Is commonality a way of being safe? Is it indicative of professional conformity? Or is it about being uncertain about whether or not one’s design selection will be appreciated by an audience? Perhaps we do not envision our company as able to carry an unconventional image.
Companies focused upon innovation are often willing to try new things. They don’t have to bet the farm or try something if it doesn’t blend with brand identity, but they should be willing to provide a comfortable work environment that reflects an innovative nature. Try a bright splash of color in an area you would not normally think about. Don’t just keep the same old look, year after year. Try adding something new and exciting once a week.
Consistency and procedures are great because they can help you arrange your business in the most productive way possible—but you should always make room for something that adds a little spice, to keep the juices flowing.
- Make sure you step out of your design box as often as you can. You’ll discover things you never even knew you liked. Live on the edgy side just a little. Do things even if the result may be broad. Have fun with it! Life is not a forever thing; live it to the fullest. You are allowed to be a little radical! Well, maybe not completely—do worry about things like product quality, customer service, etc. Living on the edge doesn’t mean you need be irresponsible or do things just to get noticed, but being a little edgy does help you to release all of your uptight cares.
- Creating a cool, modern office is a great way to self-express.
Follow your company’s own vision. This may sound far from uncommon, but finding your vision and going for it has everything to do with being different. Being uncommon means looking at everything from a different perspective, doing things your way, and being okay with it even when it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the world’s idea of what you should be doing. You’ll succeed as long as you are satisfying the needs of your market in terms of product quality and customer service. When you consider the life examples of Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, and Coco Chanel, they were all edgy in their own ways, even if they appeared a little eccentric or “not normal” at times in their lives.
- Whatever your company's vision, expressing it with a modern office design is a way of exuding confidence, and a means of being comfortable about showing it off. So what if you are in a service business like marketing or advertising—or even if you’re a publisher? An edgy, modern office design is a way of showing your audience your creative thinking ability.
- If you are not yet clear about your company's vision, now is a good time to get lucidity. You can't really be innovative if you’re feeling directionless, or if you're just plugging along instead of following your passion.
Be a bit design-intensive. Get engrossed in your office design. Get a little obsessed. Get totally immersed. It’s okay, from time to time, to get so fixated on your office design project that you block out distractions for a short while. What’s most important is that you’re committed to your company’s ideas, and that you are excited about passionately expressing yourself.
I am in no way suggesting that you avoid being efficient and responsible in order to be a little intense. What I am saying is: don’t resist the urge to be fully immersed in making the design of your workplace reflective of your passion.
Take a stance for vision. Companies that are uncommon are not wishy-washy. They are very emphatic and committed to their ideas. You don’t have to fight or become verbally aggressive to prove that you are right; however, being proud enough of your ideas to take a position of defense shows strength and commitment.
Be confident. You won’t be very edgy if you’re regularly skeptical, or if you’re second-guessing your office design selections. In order for your company to truly be edgy—and for you to be okay with trying and incorporating new things and putting them on display—there needs to be an air of confidence.
If there is no design confidence, your audience won’t take your ideas seriously.
You’ve got to be a bit eccentric. Don’t try to be eccentric if you are not, simply to conjure up attention. Some of us have a natural eccentricity—the ability to think outside the proverbial box. If you do, use it. That quirkiness can sometimes become a design advantage.
Being weird is in no way being eccentric, so don’t confuse the two. Being weird in your office designs is just going to make your visitors uncomfortable and confused instead of admiring.
Be up-to-date. If you want to be edgy, you have to be on the cutting edge of things. This means you should try looking at things in ways other than their intended purpose. You should check out new foods and cultures, and experience things and people that may be unfamiliar at first. Try visiting new restaurants, or trying out new fashions every once in a while for a change of perspective.
- By being up-to-date, you can avoid falling into line with every design trend that comes along. Understanding the difference between following a trend and creating one is the thing that sets you apart.
Designing an edgy workplace Designing a modern reception area, conference room, or collaborative workspace shouldn’t make yours look like every other office out there. Being uncommon, along with its free-spirited message, means you should think uniquely. Try adding some bright, bold colors or deep tones uncommon to typical office design.
- Reception areas can employ bold new colors or unique shapes and interesting wall art.
- Modern conference rooms can employ uncommon materials or unique shapes for table bases.
Get an edgy reception desk custom-designed just for you. 90Degree Office Concepts is a good resource for helping you to bring out the unique flavor of your business aspirations. By coming up with unique yet appropriate, modern materials for your reception desk, you will instantly grab your visitors’ attention as they enter your workplace. There is no one right or wrong modern reception desk, but selecting a style and material that speaks to your brand philosophy is a good rule of thumb.
- Looking at the designs (above and below) can give you an idea of how shapes, colors, and layout affect function and visual experience to those entering a room.
Create your own modern style. Though modern office furniture and design styles are all over the internet and in magazines and ads, the sources you use to get inspired for modern office design are good for only one purpose—inspiration. When that’s done, you still have to find a way of expressing yourself in a manner that reflects your own personality. You can look for ways to assemble elements that excite you in a way that is totally your own, and no one else’s.
Don’t feel obligated to stay with one style. Build flexibility into your design. You can create panels on walls and in furniture with the ability to change colors or materials simply by popping one piece out and snapping another one in.
Don’t even think about what others have to say. If you are truly innovative, you won’t really care who says what, or what the crowd is doing. Most people do things one way, and stepping outside the box may seem odd to some. Truly innovative companies beat their own paths.
Being a copycat is the enemy of innovation. There’s a difference between seeing an office design and liking it, and going out and getting the same one for your office. One of the drawbacks of off-the-rack furniture designs is that they force buyers into a pigeonhole. Though fast, easy, and low-cost, they take buyers out of the creative design state.
I would like to encourage everyone in the market to design or redesign their workplace. Do your own thing. Try to avoid imitating what others have, what’s popular, and what’s easy. Office design is just one way of expressing your company’s differences. Separate from the crowd, and provide inspiration for everyone occupying your workplace. It’s a great thing to admire what other companies are doing, but it’s better to find things you like about what they are doing—and approach your business with your own flare.