I’m sensing a trend here, and an unlikely one at that. It’s caves. That’s right – offices are starting to look more and more like caves. I don’t mean this in some kind of pejorative sense. I’m talking quite literally here: irregular, rock-like wall surfaces, low lighting with an eerie, blue glow around the edges, geologically inspired furniture and spare, industrial finishes.
I wonder what the inspiration is behind this kind of novelty aesthetic. For starters, I guess it takes people out of their heads somewhat, and inspires a sense of adventure and possibility that might not be as easily generated in a conventional office. It would have to make people interact a bit differently to how they normally would, surely. Meanwhile, the ‘underground’ theme also evokes a sense of gravitas, with a hint of 1960s secret laboratory that looks like a regular mountain but transforms into a rocket launch pad at the touch of a button.
That’s my analysis, anyway. I am really into these kinds of commercial design ideas. For offices in Melbourne, it’s true that something might get lost in translation – it’s the kind of thing you’re more likely to see at a cutting-edge Silicon Valley tech HQ, or perhaps the offices of a hiking equipment manufacturer. But still, there’s probably something we can take from it to transplant in your average office fitout. Installation companies, Melbourne based or otherwise, might struggle with the whole high-tech cave thing, but I’m sure there’d be some that could realise something along those lines.
The question is, how long would it take to get over working in that type of setting? I’m guessing the trick is to make the cave zone some kind of breakout area, rather than style the whole office like that. That way, it wouldn’t lose its novelty value – which, now that I think about it, is a powerful thing and not something to be thoughtlessly thrown around.