Offices go contemporary

Over the last fifteen years or so a great deal has changed in our office environments. Whether in the small two room set-ups or in multinational organisations, an enormous amount of change in design and requirements has taken place. In the past five years office culture and image has evolved dramatically. Modern office furniture, imported chairs, tables etc. have all contributed to the growth of modern office designs.

All offices, whether banks, multinational organisations, to small businesses need the same thing, to give a sense of confidence, efficiency, credibility and image. Just as a person wears a special suit to a job interview to impress his interviewer, so businesses have become aware that to impress, or give a good first impression of their organisation they need good office design as well.

A few years back in Dhaka, in any office or commercial centre, aesthetics, efficiency, and good lighting were given very low priority by an organisation. But time has shown that good design is good for business too. In earlier office spaces the furniture would be heavy-duty wooden chairs and tables, built to last. Visitors would feel lost when they arrived in these offices which were frequently very stuffy and dim lit. By giving employees comfortable chairs with good back support, ergonomically designed tables and chairs, a filing cabinet in which drawers glide open, rather than straining to pull it open, all contribute to a better working environment.

Materials from which these modern furniture are made, such as board laminate finishes do not expand and contract with humidity. Wooden furniture especially drawer units expand and contract making them difficult to use. Modern furniture, chairs, tables etc. come in variety of colours and fabrics which allow organisations to create their individual image from one company to another. Another advantage of the modern office furniture is its modular system, which allows you to add and expand whenever necessary. For example, storage cabinets and conference tables can be expanded as the organisations grows.

Space is becoming a high price commodity. As the rental value of office spaces increase so does the need for efficient use of commercial space. Bulky wooden furniture takes up a great deal of space, accommodates fewer people, and reduces space for expansion. Therefore modern, sleek, streamlined, ergonomically designed chairs, tables, storage cabinets utilise the space better, giving both employer and employee a positive outcome.

As our offices have become more information geared, the amount of wiring and cable work needed for monitors, CPUs, speakers, printers, scanners etc. has increased. Therefore instead of office spaces full of wires and cables snaking around the floor, the introduction of workstations and low height partitions accommodate and hide the wiring.

To complement modern office furniture, other facilities, materials and finishes have become available such as imported false ceiling, office lighting, tile carpet, blinds etc., which all add to the ambience of the office space. Another positive impact with the advent of office modernisation are amenities and services ranging from fire safety, fire alarm/sprinkler systems, CCTV, access control security systems etc.

Over the years local companies such as Otobi, Navana Furniture, Partex group, Studio 45 etc. as well as smaller individual office furniture outlets along Panthapath have taken the initiative to import and locally manufacture ranges of office furniture. New concepts have been introduced through these types of companies such as low height partitions, which create the open plan office system, allowing a sense of openness, even in a high-density office space. They have also introduced innovative knock down shelving and other types of storage systems allowing rearrangement of the office space, when required. The varieties of office chair designs, storage cabinets, managerial tables, modular workstations, conference tables, low height partitions offered by these companies have contributed to public awareness and changes in modern office culture.

Our office spaces have changed over the years and for the better. This positive outcome is due to the teamwork of consumers, individual suppliers, architects and interior designers, who bring these individual components together to create beautiful modern office spaces.

By Rumana Malik
Photo Courtesy: Rumana Malik & Associates

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