In the Zone: Ware Malcomb’s Office Interior of the Future

December 02, 2014


Envision work zones aptly named Focus, Collaborative, Team and Quiet; seamlessly integrated lighting, power and HVAC systems; and yes, treadmill desks. Ware Malcomb shared its future office space concept at Development ’14, delivered by Ted Heisler.

Ware Malcomb organized its two-story concept into four different zones that support the work to be done: (1) Focus, for undisturbed work that requires concentration; (2) Collaborative, for informal/formal interaction; (3) Team, for groups that work together each day; and (4) Quiet, for getting away from it all.

Work will take place at various types of workstations:

  • The standard five-by-five-foot workstation, easily expanded to a five-by-10-foot manager-type office, which is furnished with a mobile personal storage locker, a chair and a desktop with a “SMART panel” surface — an electrified, glasslike material that can function as a personal computer, among other uses.
  • The “cone of silence” workstation, for a quiet, more focused working environment.
  • The active workstation, with a standing desk that incorporates a treadmill or stationary bicycle.

Using a grid system layout, flexible room modules can be reconfigured using retractable room dividers made more SMART panels. Because hard wall construction is at a minimum, the grid can reduce build-out costs and will continue to offer flexibility to new tenants.

Lighting and electrical systems innovation will provide workers with a comfortable and energy-efficient work environment, allowing for daylight and occupancy sensing. Energy use will be monitored and adjusted as diagnostic programs identify opportunities to do so. Wall and ceiling surfaces made of flexible organic light-emitting diode (OLED) sheets will light themselves. The lighting, electrical power, daylighting and HVAC systems will become seamlessly integrated, offering greater comfort and improving energy efficiency.

Occupant comfort will continue to be the key to a successful office environment. A dedicated outside air system will deliver 100 percent filtered and conditioned outdoor air to maximize indoor air quality, and high-efficiency central heating and cooling plants will provide loops of chilled and heated water throughout the building. Integrated controls will synchronize chilled beam operation with operable windows for natural ventilation during mild weather. Finally, daylight-controlled window coverings will deploy automatically to minimize solar heat gain or reduce glare.

Three winners of NAIOP’s 2014 Interior Design/Build-Out of the Future competition – Dekker/Perich/Sabatini in Albequerque, New Mexico; DLR Group in Chicago; and Ware Malcomb in Irvine, California – presented their concepts during a special session at NAIOP’s Development ’14 conference in Denver.

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About NAIOP: NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, is the leading organization for developers, owners and related professionals in office, industrial, retail and mixed-use real estate. NAIOP comprises 20,000 members in North America. NAIOP advances responsible commercial real estate development and advocates for effective public policy. For more information, visit

Kathryn Hamilton