Office design: the anti-trend


The Sheila Bird Group is a groundbreaking, unique interior design company that challenges the norms of office design. As part of our office design series, we sat down with owner Atul Bansal, to find out how they work with clients, including some of our own customers, to create rewarding end results.

Sheila Bird Group specialises in interior office refits and new developments. They pride themselves by working closely with their clients creating an interesting experience that users can engage with and cherish.

One of the major points Atul is keen to make from the start is how he is starting to see much more of what he calls ‘anti-trend’. “The place for the interior designer in the way that we know it is broken and gone,” says Atul. “People used to follow trends, such as a certain colour but I think that’s all gone now. I think the role of the designer is something much more interesting than it ever was.”

We are seeing more and more, that office space is now more about the people and their needs. “Businesses are starting to understand you have to account for individuality, if you want to stand out among your peers in terms of business,” says Atul.

Modern office buildings have to account for much more than just work? space, to accommodate the changing ways of working. Whereas ten years ago, a building would consist of multiple offices, those buildings now may need to include coworking desks, breakout areas, lounge spaces and retail offerings; all to making the working lives of the people within those buildings that much easier.

“A building can’t cater for just one trend, it has to have different layers of interest,” says Atul. “Businesses need mobility, not only within their space, but within the whole building.” These disparate areas allow people to work in ways that suit them, in spaces which boost their productivity and motivation. Getting one design that meets the needs of everyone can be challenging, in order to create a successful interior design, you have to create flexibility.

Bruntwood offers a range of different spaces from office to retail, but the key is for the design of the building to compliment both aspects. Atul understands that a building has to be more than just a building. He said, “I think being able to move around in a space is really important.”

The shift in focus from office space to people [link to design team blog] is evident, Atul believes, through the imagery now used to advertise space. “Property developers would previously show off their developments using iconic shots of buildings. But customers have realised that to actually understand a space, you need to know more about about how it actually works and how it can encourage collaboration.” Now we are seeing photography and CGIs which showcase the way people can use the space and the amenities on offer. This way, people can see how they would be able to work and enjoy the space and the community around it, rather than simply knowing what the building looks like.

This people-focus is something that is important for Sheila Bird Group. They make sure, when designing spaces, that the company they are working with are making design decisions for the right reasons. “Sometimes spaces can be designed too much,” says Atul. “After talking to businesses we’ll soon find they’re making trend-based observations.” Atul and his team aim to combat this by questioning their reasoning. And finally, Atul helps his customers to continue developing their space by never finishing the interior they start. “You must empower the company to carry on developing the space after you leave.”

Sheila Bird Group have worked within many of our buildings across our regions, alongside a large number of our customers, helping them to create an office, especially designed and tailored to work for them.

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