The NONoffice Office, a disruptive approach to the design of New working environments

The NONoffice Office, a disruptive approach to the design of New working environments

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Contextual Narrative. Digital Collage. stokes (2018) Source: creative commons p.asman and jill lenoble/e.strategypro

21st DMI: Academic Design Management Conference Next Wave, London, UK, 1-2 August, 2018

The NONoffice Office, a disruptive approach to the design of New working environments. Comprehensive Perspectives in context with Time, Space and People by David Stokes and Dr. Ramesh 3DNova studio, Hyderabad


This proposal adapts academic insight to the professional context of New perceptions for office environments. Design led research outcome(s) envisaged will define a design process from its analytical foundation to the eventual provision of 3D spatial solutions. Adopting professional strategy with a valid brief and essential platform from which design solutions will emerge.

This manifesto is user-centric positioned with an emphasis on an application of “wellbeing” and “sustainable approach to employee happiness” within working contexts. 

Three interconnecting lectures, present a triptych framed by complex Indian workplace conditions and with documentation of design applications to commercial practice found in conventional office environments.

  • A definition of agenda and validation of design brief
  • Application of NONoffice brief to existing working environments
  • Analysis and evaluation with documentation of specific design intervention

The emergence of the phrase, the “non office office”, is a clever manipulation of terminology, where the occupant is lulled into a false sense of comfort, as effectively, this rebranding of corporate space has a massive, yet subtle, impact on the continuous demands placed on every employee. Consequently, we are always ON. This is a future construct, and although there is a relaxed superficial re-alignment with t shirts and flip flops, under the surface of comfort the continual remit of managerial suits remains.

An advantage of this transformed environment meshed with residual play is an opportunity for new creative collisions, the tangible translated intangible and equally, with a shift from physical work to cerebral data. Such external forces are clearly driven by market and technological innovations and are impossible to ignore. There is an impact on commercial demand, as a consequence Design must respond to these emerging cultural aspirations.

India has a population of 400 million of 18-35 year old people, where creative connections and thinking are relative to a generation born into the normality of virtual and operate comfortably and with ease within and between interfaces at the detriment of physical experience. This layer of population and their work attitude will undoubtedly shape the future of India.

We are convinced that any disconnect with the tangible is a dangerous condition, one where any previous understanding of truth has been distorted and authenticity can take any form. Our proposal will address this imbalance through a sensorial approach that embraces the natural in the creation of space and furniture. We believe that associative sensorial memory will provoke change in the mind-set of users within this context, potentially introducing a more comfortable state of mind. Therefore our agenda, adopting Design as Doctor, where space can no longer be limited to a Modernist vision of functionality, as we are beyond the functional plane. As designers, we embrace a material reference to the natural as real, and tangible counterpoint to the virtual condition and societies obsessive relationship with interface.

The presentation will be interactive, containing approximately 35 image-text constructs, defining context and visualising underlying creative process, agenda and culture. A visual essay that co-exists within conventional narrative, where media coincides, overlaps, collides, contradicts and at times remains enigmatically silent.

2018 DMI_ADMC FINAL 11.06.2018 2


(This transcript for a proposed future lecture is for illustrative purposes only, it remains non contractual and the text as formatted is not fixed, however, we will endeavor to remain faithful to our original intent. With our experience, it will certainly be modified by… the reality of the articulated spoken word and fluidity of performance, by creative mishap, and more importantly by the unexpected (and desired) interventions of the audience. To offer more precision this text as given will differ greatly when compared with the recording of the live performance. Furthermore, there will be a parallel complimentary publication to accompany this presentation)