Race You to The Shark Tank?

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Illustration by Damien Bertels
Hero image
Illustration by Damien Bertels

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.

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!)

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.

Image of ping pong ball and paddle on table in a ominous office setting
All work and no play…
Image of ping pong ball and paddle on table in a ominous office setting
All work and no play…

3 Extreme Play

1 Culinary Comforts

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.

Imaged of shaved coconut with straw protruding, branding on the coconut reads "BANG KOK BAR"
Bangkok Bar, one of many Industry City destinations
Imaged of shaved coconut with straw protruding, branding on the coconut reads "BANG KOK BAR"
Bangkok Bar, one of many Industry City destinations
Architectural photo of a pristine modern spa interior
On-site Hammam designed by David Rockwell for 111 Murray
Architectural photo of a pristine modern spa interior
On-site Hammam designed by David Rockwell for 111 Murray
Futuristic architectural rendering of a New York public park space
No Kids Allowed in the Adult Treehouse at One Manhattan Square
Futuristic architectural rendering of a New York public park space
No Kids Allowed in the Adult Treehouse at One Manhattan Square

2 Co-Creation

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.

Architectural rendering of a modern recording studio environment
The Sound Lounge designed by Lenny Kravitz, for The Kent
Architectural rendering of a modern recording studio environment
The Sound Lounge designed by Lenny Kravitz, for The Kent

What’s ahead?

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.

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