rockfon acoustics resonates the art of human-centric design into the office

rockfon acoustics resonates the art of human-centric design into the office

What’s more important, work or wellbeing?

 

What’s more important, work or wellbeing? Should we have to choose? A ‘good work ethic’ – as in placing work before all else – used to be a badge of honor, certainly among generation X-ers who grew up with post-war parents and a recession to wrestle with just as they were getting going on working life in the 1990s. Today’s economic situation might present similar wrangles in securing a wage among their off-spring, so-called generation Z, but it is nevertheless this emerging set of workers that are teaching the rest of us that work at any cost – particularly that to our mental and physical wellbeing – should not be a life ambition.

rockfon acoustics resonates the art of human-centric design into the office
Rockfon are to host a debate about what it means to be human-centric when it comes to office design, and is expected to address everything from acoustic comfort to engendering community and inclusion

all images courtesy of Rockfon

 

 

The turn towards human-centric office design

 

It is giving the architects and designers of the workplace much food for thought. Reinforced by Covid confinements and the 2020 focus on health that it bred, it’s a shift in priorities that ricochets into the office environment; if management wants employees at desks together, where a team spirit and common purpose can best be nurtured, then wellbeing must be accommodated. Human-centric design is no longer a bonus; it’s a necessity.

 

 

The topic is of particular interest to Rockfon, an international brand that specializes in sound-absorbing products made from stone wool. Whereas acoustics may have once been treated as a practical, functional consideration it is now understood to be something that promotes wellbeing. ‘Sound is physical, noise is psychological,’ says Pascal van Dort, Rockfon’s Global Acoustics Ambassador. ‘By optimizing acoustic environments, we can create spaces that foster positive emotions and experiences for everyone.’

rockfon acoustics resonates the art of human-centric design into the office

rockfon acoustics resonates the art of human-centric design into the office
Creating an environment that comfortably accommodates both collaborative team work and quiet focused work is one of the key considerations for keeping workers happy

 

 

Rockfon invites leading thinkers to the debate

 

As Rockfon deepens its understanding of how human-centric design can redefine how we feel in corporate environments, it is inviting experts in the field to reflect on the matter. ‘Workplace design has for several years focused on data – usually a lot of it, and optimization at the expense of aesthetics and sensuousness,’ says the architect Anne Sarto, partner of mtre, a part of C.F. Møller Architects, who is one of the panelists taking part in a webinar on the subject organized by Rockfon later this month.

 

 

‘Workplace design is about creating places where people thrive and are influenced by the space they enter’

 

 

Sarto has been working with workplace design for decades and fosters an approach that looks at how architecture can positively impact the senses of the users. ‘Workplace design is about creating places where people thrive and are influenced by the space they enter. This requires spaces that speak to all our senses.’

rockfon acoustics resonates the art of human-centric design into the office
Rockfon’s webinar is inviting experts in the field to the panel, including Anne Sarto, partner of mtre, who believes architecture can offer sensorial comfort in the workplace

 

 

Biophilia in the mix

 

What does this mean practically? Maximizing natural light? Judicious use of color and texture? Accommodating acoustics? Chlorophytum comosum in the corridors? It’s no doubt all of this biophilic thinking and more. ‘One of the greatest missing pieces in human-centric design, is a true appreciation of what it means to be human and how our brains, bodies and cognitions interact with our environments’ says Sophie Schuller, who is currently undertaking a PhD in ‘psychoneurophysiology and workplace design’ at the Technical University of Eindhoven in The Netherlands. Schuller is also invited to Rockfon’s virtual table to dig deeper into the ways we can improve human-centric office design. As a neuropsychological researcher, investigating the intersection between buildings, brains and human behavior, she has spent years working with organizations to understand how workplace design and the built environment impact employee health, wellbeing and performance.

rockfon acoustics resonates the art of human-centric design into the office
Sophie Schuller, who is currently running a ‘Living Lab’ to dive deep into the effects of our environments on mental health, will share some of her finds

 

 

Schuller is also invited to Rockfon’s virtual table to dig deeper into the ways we can improve human-centric office design. As a neuropsychological researcher, investigating the intersection between buildings, brains and human behaviour, she has spent years working with organizations to understand how workplace design and the built environment impact employee health, wellbeing and performance.

rockfon acoustics resonates the art of human-centric design into the office
The virtual round table presents solutions and strategies for creating a workplace that nurtures well-being, and keeps employees on side

 

 

Accommodating difference

 

For the past two years, Schuller has also led a ‘Living Lab’ research project at Cushman & Wakefield EMEA, looking at attentional processing, mental health, neurodiversity and indoor environmental quality. It gives insights into the importance of diversity and inclusion in design decision-making, also are key interests of Justin Treacy, Principal of Corporate Interiors at Perkins&Will who completes the panel. The words ‘compassion’ and ‘community’, ‘people’ and ‘joy’ loom large in his company’s design manifesto. Accommodating mental health needs may be as much about embracing gender-neutral toilets as attention to biophilia.

 

 

‘At Rockfon, we believe in the power of human-centric design to enhance the wellbeing of building occupants’

 

There’s no doubt that attitudes to office culture are undergoing significant change and there is some urgency for the development and design industries to respond. ‘At Rockfon, we believe in the power of human-centric design to enhance the wellbeing of building occupants,’ affirms van Dort who chairs the webinar. Carrying the title ‘The Art of Human-Centric Design: What are the Missing Pieces in the Puzzle of Workspace Design?’ the platform is a space where evolutions are explored, learnings exposed, solutions proposed and effective strategies shared by some of the most informed in the field.

rockfon-architonic-designboom-fullwidth02

The debate takes the form of a live webinar and is chaired by Pascal van Dort, Rockfon’s Global Acoustics Ambassador

rockfon acoustics resonates the art of human-centric design into the office
Interior Designer Justin Treacy, who co-leads the new Dublin practice of Perkins and Will, is also part of the panel discussion on 29th of March

 

 

For information on the webinar ‘The Art of Human-Centric Design: What are the Missing Pieces in the Puzzle of Workspace Design?’ click here.

 

 

Guest Feature by Emma Moore / Architonic

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