The Smart Office… Future or Fad?

It was during the Chinese New Year Holiday that I personally experimented on turning my flat into a Smart Home. After a day’s work and some online shopping from Amazon prime. I have transformed my living room into a hotbed of technology and things have changed for me ever since.

A simple smart home set-up

Putting all this technology in the Office

Upon returning to work, I immediately got to a meeting with a client who wants some addition and alteration work done to his office premises. After hearing his requirements. I briefly mentioned my home project and would love to be able to integrate all this new smart device to his office. In short, he asked me for a proposal and arranged a meeting after a week.

What makes a Smart Office

“A smart office consists of intelligent technologies that change the way people interact with the office and the surrounding work environment.”

Imagine a workplace designed to improve the overall environment by making offices more energy efficient, more secure, and more comfortable. It also helps companies make better decisions about the spaces that are available to employees. Produce and store data on usage and occupancy that is valuable when determining how to improve the use of existing space or deciding when to scale up or down. Eventually, this makes employees more productive, focused and happy on their workplace.

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Has China made office furniture improved?

I just landed at Terminal two of Guangzhou’s Baiyun International Airport just in time for the 43rd CIFF (China International Furniture Fair). Phase-2 which is mostly for commercial furniture exhibitors. The first thing I noticed was this shiny new hi-tech terminal with face recognition capabilities and lots of smart technology integrated around the airport. This has to be good, China has come a long way since my last trip to the country 12 years ago.

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

Huge Marketplace

Upon arriving on the exhibition grounds, I find myself in a maze of stalls, space, and people. Honestly, I am lost and don’t know where to start. Much has changed since my last trip and the crowd is enormous. It’s like the whole of Asia converged in one place looking for the best bargain to trade into their home countries.

43rd CIFF (China International Furniture Fair)

After getting a map, I was able to find my way. Day one is basically just a meet and greet with some of my old friends and past suppliers. We hang out for an early dim sum nearby and talked about how things have changed over the years. As most of us would do, we tend to relax and take it easy on the first day. To focus and have more energy for the next day.

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Peace and Privacy in a Pod

It was the start of the week and I received a call from a client complaining about noise pollution in their office. Their workplace happens to be an open planned office with an integrated trading and operations center in one common space. Their principal from the US will be coming in a months time and this issue must be resolved as soon as possible.

Possible Solutions

We quickly rushed for the meeting and brainstormed solutions that can be done within a three-week timeline. Re-arranging the tables to isolate high noise generating areas is one, providing more glass and drywall partitions is another and finding another office space with a bigger floor plate to separate the departments are put on consideration.

None of this seems to work given the schedule as well as cost implication and disruption to its operations. Similarly, the management insists to keep the space open for natural lighting and flexibility of movement.

The S-Pod
A newly installed S-pod

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How important is Linkedin to Architects and Interior Design

Let’s face it, good Architects and Interior Designers are mostly introverts and face to face networking is not our cup of tea.  We prefer to spend our time relaxed because we harness our creative thoughts through peaceful and tranquil environments. But we often forget to build our network to those who will acquire our service. This is where Linkedin becomes important to us.

Check your Social Selling Index

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The inconvenient truth, why has design become a value-add instead of a selling point? 

I often ask myself this question. Why has design become a value-add instead of a selling point? If you ask around who still pay’s for design fees nowadays is like asking who buys newspapers and actually read it? Yes in my experience it is that rare. If one is not a prominent or multi-awarded designer or firm, is it worth it to pay for design fees?

The Office Designer Design Fees Continue reading “The inconvenient truth, why has design become a value-add instead of a selling point? “

Disrupting the Architecture & Interior Design Practice

Has there been any significant disruption in the Architecture and Interior Design practice since the invention and mass implementation of CAD or Computer Aided Design?

In my career spanning almost 30 years, I have experienced the First Disruption. The evolution of manual drafting, airbrushed perspectives and on the spot pencil sketches to full CAD drawing and Photorealistic 3D renders and animated walkthroughs. The experience of a rapidly changing technological environment has made me wanting for more innovation to happen in the future.

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