while at the beginning of the 20th century only about three percent of all employees in Germany earned their living with a desk job, this figure has meanwhile risen to 50 percent. There are 21 million “desk activists” – although many of them no longer necessarily work at the desk. Over the past ten years, office structures have undergone fundamental change as a result of digitisation. While the enthusiasm for open space concepts has long died down, new communication technologies enable working environments that are aimed at well-being and, ideally, provide every employee with a workstation that is appropriate for the task to be solved. The fact that employees now share desks, retreat into lounge and relaxation areas or meet in teams at long conference tables has also led to a rethink in the office furniture industry – to its advantage: for the fourth year in a row, the Office and Working Environment Industry Association recorded an increase in turnover. From page 85 on, we have compiled the latest products. Interior designers and architects can also be pleased: their tailor-made office concepts are in demand among clients who want to provide unconventional, identity-generating and flexible workplaces – not least to score points in the battle for experts and knowledge workers. Author and interior designer Susanne Leson (p. 143) believes that standard solutions are a thing of the past. You will not find among the office projects we selected (p. 100). Instead, you can explore over 70 pages full of ideas and find inspiration for new working environments, small startups, large headquarters and offices incorporating art and culture. The change from an individual office to a coworking space necessitates increased demands on acoustics. Concentrated work and communication need not be mutually exclusive once appropriate measures have been taken. Our special section on office acoustics (p. 90) provides all relevant information. We will be addressing the lighting topic in the next AIT issue after returning from Light + Building with the latest products (see photos). I promise!
Petra Stephan, Dipl.-Ing.