Race You to The Shark Tank?
Not long ago the idea of live/work/play as one seamless construct (more or less) felt like a revolutionary idea. Mixed use developments featuring great amenities made city living more posh and playful, and the proliferation of office beer taps and ping pong tables made work spaces cool and friendly. And in this pursuit, suddenly buildings and offices themselves became brands in their own right with the potential for experience acting as the springboard for shaking things up a bit.
To stay relevant, there is extra pressure to create or at least facilitate extraordinary experiences that purposefully engage people. And as businesses focus more deeply on culture, creativity and using space as recruitment tools and supporting work behaviors, and residential real estate becomes a competitive blood sport in major metropolitan areas, standing out and connecting will be harder in the years to come.
Here are four drivers we see behind some of the newest and coolest developments in commercial and residential spaces.
1 Culinary Comforts
Offices that feel more like home, and homes that bring the outside world to our front doors bring people together in the spirit of community. Company kitchens with plenty of fuel and room for spontaneous connection and residential amenities like private dining rooms, libraries, in-house catering and tasting events makes togetherness less stressful and not so business-as-usual.
Whether for professional or passion pursuits, spaces for creating together are on the rise. Building and creating an environment that brings people together for potential partnerships, open use on-site innovation labs, and even recording studios (one designed by Lenny Kravitz, no less) bring out the best of our creative selves.
3 Extreme Play
Why wait until vacation to have all the fun? Adult treehouses and surf simulators are a handful of amenities that recognize the need for more play in our lives. (Psst, so far this seems to be a residential-only trend so we’ll be watching out for the first commercial development that offers office workers shark tank diving!)
4 Serenity. Now.
And when down-time is on the schedule, a time out is never more than a few steps away. Especially in busy cities where the stress of getting to and from work alone can wipe you out, it’s a welcome relief to step into a meditation room, flow through some sun salutations or have a convenient spa hour.
We’re curious to see how these trends will play out in more suburban area office parks and homes, and how places dedicated to pure play like hotels and cruise ships push the envelope even further.
As the race for experience heats up it’s important to remember that designing amenities for the cool factor alone is easy. To balance the functional requirements of how we work and live and not sacrifice the fundamentals is always a challenge. Threading together those human needs in a cohesive way is how space transcends into placemaking. And when you can do all of that and make it a mutually beneficial, tangible brand experience, well that’s the trifecta. For developers, property managers, architects and sales agents that branded shorthand for innovation will become an even more important calling card.