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Introduction to Commercial Design


The Quickbourner Team Robert Propst Hired by Herman Miller, Inc. in 1960 A researcher and inventor Developed Action Office I for Herman Miller and introduced it in ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Introduction to Commercial Design

Introduction to Commercial Design
  • ID-439
  • Contract Design I

  • What is Commercial Design?
  • The design of any facility that serve a business
  • Once referred to Contract Design
  • Portrays a aesthetic image of the companys
  • Enhances productivity thru understanding office
    communication, adjacencies and furniture needs
  • Enhances employee pride
  • Protects health, safety and welfare of the public

History of Commercial Design
  • Business has been conducted for thousands of
    years, evident in rooms found in the Pharaoh's
    palaces, cathedrals of the Middle Ages.
  • Industrial Revolution was a major factor in the
    development of offices outside the home. Moved
    from agricultural economy to an industrial
    economy. Office spaces during this period used a
    closed concept.
  • The late 19th and early 20th century saw a growth
    in office design with a specialization in
    commercial interior design (Elsie de Wolfe and
    Dorothy Draper)

Larkin Administration Building
  • 1906, Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Mail order supplier
  • 1st Open office

Larkin Administration Building

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Bull Pens
  • Before WWII, most furniture consisted of
    freestanding desks, files and bookcases
  • The typical layout was called a bull-pen setup
    (the placement of desks on a grid with aisles in
    between with the executives separated to one side
    in enclosed windowed offices.)
  • The bullpen was popular
  • until the 1960s. Typically,
  • there were a few high level
  • executives that oversaw a
  • large number of clerical type
  • workers.

Development of Corp. Office
  • Following WWII, there was a large influx of
    people seeking the American Dream.
  • More and more people were using the GI bill to
    get a college education.
  • All of a sudden, office space became a valuable
    commodity and the number of rental spaces
    dramatically increased to keep up with the paces,
    and the corporate office was born.
  • By the 1960s, the workforce was growing by
    850,000 annually, and the bullpen style became
    out of fashion.

The Quickbourner Team
  • Germany, 1959. Two brothers developed the
    concept of open office layout and brought the
    idea to the US in 1967.
  • They believed that many offices hindered work
    productivity. Their designs promoted good
    communication and flow.
  • Referred to as office landscaping.
  • Their plans were based upon a systems analysis
    of work flow and communication.
  • The layout was very free and non-rectilinear.

Open Office Landscaping

The Quickbourner Team

The Quickbourner Team
  • People in frequent contact with each other were
    placed close together.
  • Many acoustical problems were attempted to be
    corrected by the use of carpet, plants and
    acoustical ceiling tiles
  • This new approach of landscape planning had a
    tremendous impact on the way offices were to be
    designed. They were flexible, efficient, open
    and informal.
  • Americans, however, were slow to accept the idea
    because they didnt want to give up their
    hardwall office, which were status symbols to the

Robert Propst
  • Hired by Herman Miller, Inc. in 1960
  • A researcher and inventor
  • Developed Action Office I for Herman Miller and
    introduced it in 1964.
  • A panel based system using a vertical approach
  • Despite what the modern office has become, his
    goal was to get away from boxes and corridors.
  • The use of the panels violated the Quickborner
    concept but was widely accepted as open office

Cubicle Jokes

The Big Four
  • Haworth, Steelcase, Herman Miller and Knoll
  • In 1974, Haworth, Inc. created the first
    electrified panel system in its Unigroup line.
  • Steelcase Series 9000
  • Herman Miller Action Office

Herman Miller Action Office

Haworth Unigroup Too

Steelcase 9000

Knoll - Equity

Types of Offices
  • Commercial Interior Designers are hired by a
    variety of different businesses. Your role as a
    designer is to learn all you can about the
    company you are designer for.
  • Types of Offices
  • Accounting Real Estate Law Firms Design Firms
  • Banks Ad. Agencies Govt (GSA) Hospitals
  • Education Doctor/ Dental Engineering Retail

Overview of Office Operations The
  • CEO Chief Executive Officer, the highest
    ranking individual. In smaller companies this
    may be the president or the principle.
  • CFO Chief Financial Officer, senior executive
    responsible for overseeing the financial risks of
    the company.
  • COO Chief Operating Officer, senior executive
    responsible for the day to day activities of the
  • CIO Chief Information Officer, senior executive
    responsible for overseeing a companies
    information technology.
  • CLO Chief Legal Officer, senior executive
    repsonsible for overseeing the legal aspects of
    the company.

Vice Presidents
  • The second highest layer of management.
  • They report directly to the CEO and are
    responsible for specific departments or division
    of the business
  • VP of Marketing
  • VP of Research
  • VP of Economic Development
  • VP of Engineering

Managers and Supervisors
  • Managers report to the VP over their division
  • Payroll Manager
  • Sales Manager
  • Facility Manager
  • Supervisors oversee and provide instruction to
    subordinates and administer discipline /penalties
    to workers. Supervisors report to the managers.
  • Supervisors make up the largest number of
    mid-management positions in a business.

Organizational Charts
  • The larger the company, the more complex the
    organizational structure.
  • Organizational Charts are helpful in
    understanding the organization in terms of rank.
    They help visualize the formal reporting
    structure of the business.
  • Organizational charts do not show day-to-day work
    relationships. As a designer, you will find this
    information thru programming methods.

Organizational Charts

The designers role is to
  • Understand what each department does
  • Understand how the departments relate to each
  • Understand what individuals do in each department
  • Understand the relationships of individuals to
    each other by department.

Divisions / Departments
  • Executive Division Presidents, VPs
  • Corporate/Legal Division may consist of many
    departments such as Legal, Communications, Tax
    Dept., Real Estate, Insurance, Purchasing and
    Public Relations.
  • Finance Division Accounts Payable, Accounts
  • Operations Division responsible for the
    production of goods or services. Engineering,
    Design Dept.
  • Marketing Division advertising and sales
  • Administration Division support services,
    receptionists, mail rooms, file/supply rooms,
    training rooms


Typical Office Spaces
  • Executive Suite
  • Staff offices
  • General offices
  • Reception
  • Support areas

The Executive Division
  • The Executive Division consists of all the senior
  • Sometimes called Vice Presidents (VPs)
  • This division determines the overall policies and
    implements the policies of the board of
  • The Executive Suite often sets the tone of the
    business. The location is desirable and the
    material and furniture specified portray the
    image of the company. It should impress their

The Executive Division

Typically private offices with a separate
reception area, executive conference room,
private entrance. Desk chairs are typically
high back executive chairs, leather with
headrest. All offices in the executive suite
coordinate from the same series. Usually have a
conference area, soft seating area and work area.
The Executive Division

Executive Boardroom Convenient for guest
access Must impress clients Might be adjacent to
kitchen Might have access from CEO office Promote
teleconferencing Flat screen, LCD projector Needs
credenza for serving food and beverages.
Reception Area

First Impression A lot of money is spent in this
area Will have a waiting area nearby Executive
suite should be nearby and visitors should not
have to walk thru cluttered office areas Needs
accent lights
General Office/ Staff Offices

Often utilizes the open office concept Customer
may never actually see this area Considered the
Production area Less money is spent in this
area Managers / supervisors may have cubicles or
dry wall offices
Support / Ancillary Spaces

Supply storage Mail Rooms Central Files Resource
Library Break room Staff Conference
Staff Conference Rooms

Used for weekly / daily meeting Should be
flexible, use modular tables Provide multiple
lighting options Shapes Boat, racetrack,
rectangle Provide modesty panel for training
setups Durable surfaces Fixed ht. chairs or
mechanical ht. mid-back chairs
Staff Break Room

Create a fun space for employees to escape from
work. Should be durable, easy to maintain Keep
expenses down Break areas may exist on each
floor of a multi-floor building
  • Your design should reflect the firms attitude
    toward several things
  • Corporate Image
  • Budget
  • Goals and plans for the future
  • Attitude toward employees, customers and vendors
  • Cultural and global perspective


Law Firms Banks University Churches What is
traditional? Mahogany, molding, stripes, leather,
burgundy, green and navy blue

An all around safe option, neither too
traditional nor too contemporary Less molding,
cleaner lines with simple edge details.

Mixture of wood, metal and glass Ideal for
Advertising Agencies Technology oriented
Status and Rank
  • Status and Rank is established by
  • Size of the office
  • Space standards
  • Set by job functions
  • Must respect space standards
  • Small firms may not have standards
  • Location of Office
  • Corner windows
  • views
  • Quality and Quantity of FFE
  • Wood vs. laminate
  • Extra files/ bookcases/ credenza/ hutch

Office Furniture Terminology
  • Desks (conventional furniture)
  • Executive
  • Typically 36 x 72 or larger
  • Single pedestal or Double Pedestal
  • Bridge
  • Table desk
  • Executive U or L
  • Secretarial
  • 30 x 60 or 30 x 66
  • Secretarial U or L

Office Furniture Terminology
  • Credenza
  • Kneespace
  • Typically 24 deep and matches main desk (72
  • Positioned behind the desk
  • Min. of 42 between desk and credenza, 48 is
  • Storage Credenza
  • Does not offer space for a computer

Office Furniture Terminology
  • Files and Storage
  • Vertical File
  • Old style file, typically 15 wide (letter) or
    18 wide (Legal)
  • Usually 28 30 deep, max. of 5 drawers
  • Front-to-back filing method
  • Lateral File
  • New style, 30, 36 or 42 wide
  • Usually 18 deep, max. of 5 drawers
  • Needs a counterweight
  • Must specify filing method front-to-back or
    side-to-side, letter,legal, handing or

Office Furniture Terminology
  • Files and Storage
  • Open Files
  • Uses an end tab file folder
  • Medical offices
  • Need magnetic shelf divider to support files
  • Can be taller than 5 shelves high
  • Mobile Files
  • Installed on a track
  • Verify dead loads
  • Considered a high-density filling method

Office Furniture Terminology
  • Seating
  • Desk Chair Generic
  • Task Chair Ergonomic
  • Executive Chair High-back
  • Management Chair Mid-back
  • Conference Chair
  • Side or Guest Chair
  • Sled base, stacking, high density
  • Soft Seating Lounge furniture

When specifying chairs with castors, you MUST
consider the flooring Hard floor soft
castor Soft flooring Hard castors
Seating Percentiles

Office Furniture Terminology
  • Ergonomic Features
  • Height and width adjustable arms
  • Adjustable seat depth
  • Tension control
  • Waterfall fronts
  • Lumbar support
  • Seat pitch (negative pitch is best)
  • Seat height adjustment (18 23)
  • Pneumatic vs. mechanical lifts http//

Trends in Office Design
  • Todays offices should
  • Easily adapts to changing technology
  • Offer Flexibility
  • Utilize innovative space planning smaller
    office size for same function
  • Accommodate a diverse workforce

Trends in Office Design
  • Delayering
  • Opposite of thepyramid chart
  • More responsibility on the worker
  • Makes them feel more a part of the company
  • Teaming
  • Used to develop products faster and to be more
    competitive in the introduction of new products
  • Linear team work is passed from one to another,
  • Parallel team team members are from different
    depts. Not the only project they are working
    on. A design team is an example.
  • Circular team brainstorming to do very creative
    work. Members come and go throughout the course
    of the project. The team disbands when project
    is completed.

Trends in Office Design
  • Office of the Future http//
  • Future predictions
  • No longer 40 year employees, may work for 5 or
    more firms
  • http//
  • Google workplace
  • Google workplace

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Trends in Office Design
  • How and where are people working?
  • Team environments, more open spaces, no panels
  • Virtual office (out of a briefcase) Concept
    Anywhere, Anytime
  • Home office (thanks to technology)
  • Telecommuting on the road
  • No longer 8 5 flex-time is part of the
    recruiting process

Alternative Office Concepts
  • Caves and Commons
  • cave individual office and Commons team
  • Unassigned Office
  • systems or enclosed office used by any number of
    workers. Can be reserved
  • Hoteling
  • unassigned work spaces that are available to
    workers by reservation like a hotel. First used
    by Ernst and Young in Chicago. A concierge is
    assigned the task of taking the reservation and
    insuring that the space is equipped properly

Alternative Office Concepts
  • Free Address
  • Same as an unassigned work space, usually
    available on a first come first-served basis
  • Hot Desk
  • Same as a free address, literally means still
    hot from the last user
  • Landing sites
  • Cannot be reserved, a free address that one
    lands in when going into the office

Alternative Office Concepts
  • Just in time
  • Same as an unassigned work space, usually an
    open, flexible work area in which individuals or
    groups can congregate. Moveable screens and
    personal mobile files from a central storage area
    are common.
  • Guesting
  • May be assigned or unassigned work space for a
    visitor or sales rep.
  • Satellite office
  • A work center established away from the main
    office but convenient to outside workers. Mostly
    for transient workers

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Case Study GE Energy Financial


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