Office walls have come a long way since the grey partition screens used to create cubicles in the 1980s. With the advent of open plan office space, office walls were taken down to facilitate collaboration between colleagues.
But open plan offices have their challenges – and as businesses strive to readdress the balance between collaborative space and the distractions of open plan, walls are making a comeback. But this time they’ve got a bigger purpose. It’s not just about dividing space between desks or teams. It’s about adding colour, branding, great aesthetics and increasing the versatility of the space. Some walls might be used to support collaboration, while others can boost wellbeing. Some walls tell the story of a brand and other walls simply look good.
Take a look at our office 'wall of fame':
They say the writing’s on the wall and in this case, it certainly is! Thoughtworks wanted a flexible office design that fostered innovation and promoted collaboration. By using tinted writable glass, Thoughtworks created a canvas throughout their office space where ideas can be captured, shared and discussed - at any time. The transparent finish of the writable walls keeps the area open and lets light flow throughout the different spaces, keeping the office bright and airy.
MotoNovo chose to use slate and wood finishes on the walls of their Cardiff office to provide a contrast in colours and textures which help break up the space. Not only do these walls look great, they also promote biophilia – the positive connection between people and nature. And by using Welsh slate, the wall also promotes the proud Welsh heritage of the brand, which was an important consideration throughout the project.
Partition walls can come in any size, shape or colour. They can be fixed, flexible, transparent – or somewhere in between. Superdrug used a combination of plants, branded panels and technology to partition different areas of their office and breakout spaces.The colourful and bright photographic panels reinforce the brand throughout the office, while the plants help provide a biophilic touch and sense of nature that contrast the modern pop graphics.
There’s nothing wrong with being a wall flower in the UK-GBC office, if this amazing living wall is anything to go by! Not only does it provide a solid dash of colour to your office, it also beautifully frames the surrounding meeting room with 1500 plants! Studies have found that having plants and biophilic elements in your fit out can boost wellbeing and productivity. To take it one step further the UK-GBC office refurbishment received the lowest ever embodied carbon footprint for this type of project in the UK. This living wall takes the humble office plant to another level by submerging a whole wall in greenery. Not only does this closeness to nature help people feel calmer and happier, it also provides texture, contrast and is a form of art in itself.
The brief for Splunk’s office design was to create a space that reflected their brand values of innovation, passion, disruption and fun. Banksy-style paintings and some custom (yet perfectly on-brand) graffiti gave the previously pristine walls of this modern Paddington office an urban edge. This also thoroughly reflected their brand and the warehouse style of their other offices around the world that their teams have come to love. Just another reason why this office has been named one of the coolest in the UK by Management Today.
At Costa Coffee, it was not just another brick in the wall as every wall tells a story. Brick walls like these were designed to look like arches, reflecting the brand’s Lambeth heritage, leading to meeting rooms, seating areas and breakout spaces. The adjacent wall, known as the ‘cabinet of curiosities’, features memorabilia and artefacts from the brand’s history, creating a point of interest whilst reinforcing the brand.
In the home, the main way we decorate our walls is with artwork. Why should the office be any different? The great thing about artwork is that it’s flexible, and can be changed if needed. It can be personal, it can tell a story. It can be framed, colourful, bespoke, expensive, inexpensive, or branded – it can be anything you want it to be! Creating an aesthetically pleasing space through art can also make your teams more productive! Win-win.