Furniture and Interior Decoration in the Office Environment: A Space for Concentration

The office environment is a unique one. It requires apparently conflicting elements of comfort and concentration, or of creative inspiration and hard work. As a result, designing one can stretch the powers of the interior designer to the limit.

It is important to remember that most elements of office furniture have a specific practical purpose. However contemporary the look, the desk must be the right height for a computer monitor or laptop bench, and must comfortably accommodate the keyboard, other technological hardware and extraneous items used by the worker when he or she is at his or her station. Any furniture designed specifically for the use andstorage of satellite hardware such as printers and scanners must be at a relevant height and have the space to allow proper operation of the item in question. 

One of the key design considerations for contemporary office furniture is cable storage. Even in the wireless household, power cables exist – and of course the wireless base unit from which signals are sent is plugged both into the mains and the telephone line. A desk or a suite of office furniture is therefore required to have access to multiple plug points and at least one phone line. 

Most satellite hardware still uses wires to connect to a mother PC or laptop. This includes printers and scanners, as well as mobile phone docking stations and extraneous hardware. So the modern office furniture piece must also have the ability to connect multiple objects, some of which may be quite large but have short cables, to a central station. 

The overall design of an office must take the weird cross section of relaxation and intense concentration already mentioned, into account. Access to natural light is good, particularly where that access is gained through a window through which the office worker can look. Taking visual breaks from a screen is healthy for the eyes – and looking out at gardens and other houses, or anything interesting beyond the house itself, is important for rejuvenating the concentration.

In many cases, an office requires a number of supporting documents, reference works and stationery. Contemporary office furniture may therefore be required to provide storage space for books; for the hard copies of important software; and for various items of backup storage media. A hard drive bank is not uncommon; again, space must be made here for connecting the drives to the relevant ports.

Power consumption on the modern office can be quite frightening. If the office is designed from scratch it may be important for the designer to specify a large number of mains plugs. By specifying mains plugs, rather than running extension pugs from a smaller number of sockets, the designer allows the electrician to account for the massive power use by putting the proper number of breaker switches into the fuse board. This significantly reduces the risk of power and equipment failure. 

If an office is to contain a server, it may be necessary to incorporate an acoustically deadened cabinet into the room – or to run connections from the office to such a cabinet located elsewhere on the property. In either case, arrangements may also be made for backup power to run the server in the event of a minas failure. This is particularly true if the server is running a business or managing its website.

Leona Timms is an interior designer. She creates bespoke office designs using contemporary office furniture and equipment.
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