Ten winners of the seventh year of the Office of the Year competition boast top-quality working environments and office design. The expert jury chose from 75 entries, which, unlike in previous years, are not only in large cities. The judges praised the highly creative interior design and were also impressed by the generally smaller size of the individual spaces.
The Office of the Year competition aims to recognise and promote the quality of the working environment and office design. In addition to standard corporate offices, hubs and co-working spaces are increasingly coming to the fore, so it was no surprise that this type of working environment was one of the competition categories. The winner was the space offered by Scott.Weber Workspace.
The organizers of the competition for the best offices in the country were then pleased to see more interest in participation this year, which also allowed them to track new trends in the field of office furnishing. Not only companies themselves, but also architectural studios were able to submit entries to the competition. The competition was organized for the seventh time by Prochazka & Partners and its partners. This year, 75 offices entered the competition and competed for victory in nine categories. The expert jury also awarded its special prize.
Quality is not only in the big cities, but also in the regions
“This year’s Office of the Year competition showed that offices are still the most important place for business meetings. Compared to last year’s edition, we are seeing a growing interest in our competition and the biggest trend, apart from the continuing quality of regional realisations, was definitely the reduction in the floor space of the offices in the competition. This shows that high-quality architecture is not only the domain of the largest cities and large corporations, but also that building superior facilities for employees is crucial for regional companies of any size,” says Radek Procházka, founder of the Office of the Year competition.
While last year the average floor area of the competing projects was 1200 m2, this year the average was around 950 m2. This is mainly due to the greater regional representation of the competitors, which already make up about half of the competing companies. “Despite the approximate reduction of floor space by about 15% during the Covid, offices remain the most important place to work, and many companies are gradually moving away from the model where home office prevails over office work after the initial enthusiasm,” observes Radek Procházka.
Domestic and multinational corporations are increasingly taking into account social responsibility and the carbon footprint of the materials used in office design and furnishings. For example, their floor coverings are now almost exclusively made from recycled materials. Modularity is also a big trend in office design, with an emphasis on functionality and design in the overall implementation. Offices that can be transformed into a lecture room or vice versa in a matter of moments are particularly advantageous for smaller spaces.
In terms of function, design, and furnishings, the emphasis also remains on offering as many meeting places as possible. Employees then require them to be reminiscent of a home or a popular café. At the same time, acoustics and mobile micro-offices for focused work are playing an increasingly important role in new workplaces.
This year’s jury included leading experts of the office market – Petr Zahálka (ProInterier), Jiří Zavadil (Vitra), Jaroslav Vendl (SilentLab), Oleg Haman (Obec architektů), Eva Le Peutrec (E-Studio) and Radek Procházka (Prochazka & Partners). They evaluated the interiors in terms of uniqueness and design of the space, innovation (technological, material, practical), atmosphere and above all the quality of the working environment and satisfaction of employees’ needs. Across all categories, the jury also appreciated the attractiveness of the working environment and the extent to which the office is a pleasant and comfortable place to work.
Employers are aware that quality, considerate and health-friendly offices are also key in terms of their attractiveness on the labour market. In fact, the younger generation of employees in particular are interested in whether buildings are also certified in terms of sustainability, air quality, noise levels and overall workplace wellbeing.
We are social creatures
“In terms of the importance of the office for the creation and development of innovation in companies, I agree with the thoughts of the director of OpenAI, who argues that, especially for young technology companies, remote work is not at all suitable. In my opinion, a ‘user friendly’ working environment is necessary for the creativity of employees,” believes juror and architect Eva Le Peutrec and continues:
“We are social creatures, and our development is based on interaction with the community and collaboration from the very beginning. At the same time, our effectiveness is increased when we are surrounded by nature, or in an office design, Thus, I see it as essential to link these tendencies in all levels of design – from urban planning units, architectural building designs, to individual interior designs.”
Winners of individual categories of the Office of the Year 2023 competition
The importance of the quality of the architecture and the increasing level of the competing projects was also addressed in the evaluation by another juror, Oleg Haman, chairman of the Association of Architects: ‘In terms of design, the trend is particularly visible, during which the overall space is being loosened into smaller parts, with one space flowing seamlessly into another. At the same time, there is a division of work according to its nature into smaller teams, often without the use of partitions. In addition, I appreciate the emphasis on natural materials and the directly significant use of branded furniture in the assemblies, which is complemented by atypical furniture made to measure by quality, especially Czech manufacturers.”
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