Top 6 Ways Designers Create Nature-like Environments in an Office Space

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Central-circular-vertical-gardenIn my last blog, I listed five elements designers use to bring nature into an office space. In this blog, I want to review the top six ways office space designers combine those elements to create a nature-like environment in the office.

  1. Spot the Plants – Small office? Low budget? Then adding a few potted plants in and around the office space, including work areas and meeting areas, is just one of the easiest most economical ways to establish a nature-like environment in an office space. How few or how many would depend on the size of your office, the size of your budget and the “stage” you want set for your employees.
  2. Nature Theme in Non-Nature Items – In addition to adding potted plants, some office space designers would recommend adding nature-themed artwork along with furniture, floor, wall or window treatments with floral, leaf or wood designs in their respective materials as a way of incorporating nature into the office space.
  3. Central Indoor Office Garden – With office spaces adopting more of the warehouse or open concept, some office space designers would recommend having a garden with a variety of live plants, stones or even a fountain or pond somewhere in the centre of that space so that it is visible to a majority of the office staff sitting at their desks or meeting areas as a great way to incorporate nature into the office space.
  4. Indoor Botanical Garden/Sanctuary – Even with the push for collaboration in many offices, smart businesses and office space designers recognize the need for staff to take a break and have time on their own in order to rejuvenate. Having a live garden within the office space that is separated from the rest of the work area either by glass walls or taller shrubs and climbing plants is one way to incorporate nature in the office space and still provide a “get-away” for staff. This application can include small wildlife such as birds or fish along with the flowing water as an added touch to this garden sanctuary.
  5. Indoor Garden Walkway – Nature does not have to be limited to one select area in the office area. With the use of wooden and/or “golf green” pathways spotted with plants along the way, getting from one area of the office to the other could seem like a “walk in the park” for your staff.
  6. Living Walls – The latest and most unique and innovative way of incorporating nature into the office space is by applying vertical gardens or “living walls” into the office space design. These walls are made up of a variety of plants whose roots lie in and are fed and watered by a vertical structural support which can be fastened to a traditional wall. It is a great application that takes up minimal space and poses as living artwork depending on the layout of the plants.

Nature adds many benefits to an office space. It improves air quality, can improve acoustics, and encourages well-being among people, just to name a few. It is for these benefits that office space designers will continually strive to find new and innovative ways to incorporate nature into the office space design.


DJ Mcgauley and Associates Inc. is your Office Space Planning, Renovations and Relocation Project Management Company of choice. If a renovation or relocation of your office space is in your plans, please contact us to arrange a no-obligation site meeting. By the end of that meeting, you will know all that would be required to make your office renovation/relocation project a successful reality.

Call 416-239-1931, email or visit our website for more information and to complete our contact form.


Green Over Grey Living Walls and Designs,

 5 Objectives Colours and Textures Fulfill in an Office Space Design

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modern open office space designThroughout the history of office space design, the use of colours and textures have helped companies strive towards the image and business goals they aimed to achieve. Below are just a few objectives colour and texture can fulfill within an office space design:

  1. To Establish or Reinforce Corporate Identity – the colours within a company’s logo, for example, can be applied throughout the decor of the office space in order to further emphasized corporate identity to both staff and visitors
  2. Promote a Positive Mood – it has been said time and time again that a positive environment promotes positive mood, which in a corporate environment promotes productivity. Choosing the right colour and texture combination in an office space design to bring about a positive environment can in turn help increase productivity.
  3. Inspire Creativity and Innovation – I believe that similar to promoting a positive mood, the right colour scheme mixed in conjunction with a variety of textures sends an unconscious or subconscious message to its onlookers that “anything goes”. As a result, employees, though consciously unaware, are spurred on to “think outside the box”, and come up with creative and innovative solutions to whatever challenges the company faces.
  4. Differentiate workspaces and meeting areas – There was a time when walls and doors defined a workspace. Over time, walls became shorter or more transparent in order to promote a more collaborative open office space design. Today, walls, for the most part, have disappeared but both colour and texture are used in conjunction with one another to help differentiate workspaces and meeting areas.
  5. Help organize individual workspaces – Files are not the only thing that get colour coordinated within an office environment. Companies are now “splashing” individual workspaces with specially coloured desk trays, filing cabinets, pen holders and other workspace related items in order to help the users of those workspaces remain organized while working in those areas.

Over time trends in office space design have changed, but colour and texture, though re-purposed, have been two of the primary tools used to ultimately create the ideal office space.


DJ Mcgauley and Associates Inc. is your Office Space Planning, Renovations and Relocation Project Management company of choice for the Toronto, GTA and surrounding areas. If a renovation or relocation of your 2,000 – 25,000 sq.ft. office space is in your plans, contact us to arrange a no-obligation site meeting. We guarantee that by the end of that meeting, you will know all that would be required to make your office renovation/relocation project a successful reality.

Call 416-239-1931, email or visit our website for more information and to complete our contact form.


Permit Grade Design: The Real Deal

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One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when choosing an office space designer is basing their decision on a conceptual drawing or a block floorplan of an office space simply because they assume that the block floorplan is the exact way their completed office will be when the job is done. Not the case. While a block floorplan has its merits, the real decision-making factor is in the Permit Grade Design.

Similar to a block floorplan, a Permit Grade Design is a ceiling-view drawing of an office space with its different subsections blocked in—workstation area, closed in office areas, exits, washrooms, elevators, stairs, furniture, etc. However, the Permit Grade Design is drawn to scale based on the exact measurements and layout of your office space and furniture. With a Permit Grade Design, businesses and decision-makers will have a clearer view of what the final layout of their office space could look like. Presented with various Permit Grade Designs, businesses can make a more educated decision on which office space designer to hire and get the job done based on the best floorplan presented to them.

Permit Grade Designs are easy to obtain—just request one from the office space designer(s) you are considering to hire. In the short term, it may cost you a little money upfront to account for the extra time the designer takes to measure every aspect of your office space and furniture, but it would prove beneficial in the longer run because (a) you will gain a greater confidence in the office space designer you choose to hire, and (b) you will minimize the possibility of some common and sometimes costly problems such as furniture not fitting properly into their assigned office areas .

So, when it comes to hiring an office space designer based on a floorplan, remember that the Permit Grade Design is the real deal-maker!





Don’t Be Fooled by a Block Floorplan!

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There are many main factors that come into play when choosing a designer to create and “build” your ideal office space—three of which are pricing, personality and the plan (floorplan that is).

Pricing: This is obvious. You want the best quality for the lowest cost possible (the best bang for your buck).

Personality: Relatively obvious. You want someone who works compatibly with you and your team while working towards realizing your ideal office space.

The Plan: Deceivingly obvious. The designer that presents the most favorable looking floorplan is likely to be the professional you will want to choose. That is the premise most decision-makers bank on. However, many fall into the trap of making their final decision on the wrong floorplan.

Let me explain.

Designers vying for your business will likely present you with a block floorplan.   As the name suggests, a block floorplan is a ceiling-view schematic drawing of an office space with sections “blocked” on the page to represent individual office and workstation areas, bathroom spaces, stairways, elevators, exits, etc.   Some block floorplans may even include top-view drawings of furniture such as a desk or a sofa just to give an idea of furniture placement within each blocked space. Block floorplans are great for providing a conceptual view of how your office space could be laid out, but they do not represent an exact view of your office space simply because they are most often not based on the actual measurements of both your office layout and your furniture.

Now, a block floor plan does have additional benefits: it can reveal to a decision-maker what a designer is capable of creating and may even give some insight to the question of whether or not the designer can identify with your business needs in relation to your office space. However, as a cover letter is with a resume, a block floorplan should be seen as part of an introduction to a designer who could potentially provide a solution to your office space– not as the actual solution to your office space.

Block floorplans may help narrow your choices of designers to use for your office space, but the real determining factor would be in the permit grade design…but we will discuss that in another blog.



Extend Your Brand Into Your Interior Design

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OK. I’m about the make a statement that may have some of you in shock.

Ready? Here it is:

Interior design and branding should go hand in hand when designing or redesigning your office space.

Surprised? You really shouldn’t be. Consider this: “branding” by definition is the act of imprinting some sort of mark or unique identity to something in order to make it stand out or be memorable. Companies in general aim to brand their products and/or services with colours, artsy images, logos, a slogan or any combination of these so that the outside world will remember them…but what about when the outside world or even your staff comes into your office space? Consistency both inside and outside of the office can only further enhance your branding efforts.

So how can a company incorporate elements of its brand into the interior design of an office space?

First, consider your walls. Walls are the main canvas of interior design. Any or all components of your brand can be displayed on your walls. So if colour, for example, is a key component to your brand, you can either paint all the walls your brand colour, create an accent wall with your brand colour, or paint portions of your wall the brand colour.   A logo can be painted or mounted on one of the walls in a reception area or boardroom.   Artsy images such as waves, stripes or bubbles that may be related to your brand can be painted or stenciled as accents to your wall design.   Even a slogan or mission statement can be stencilled or mounted on a wall of your office space in order to reinforce your branding efforts.

Now, consider your floors. Similar to walls, colour, logos, slogans or artsy images can be incorporated right into your floor or carpet design, budget permitting. Most companies that incorporate aspects of their branding into their floor design would primarily have this in their main reception area. (Of course, the floors would need a special coating to ensure such images remain intact in high traffic areas.) A smaller budget option would be to have welcome mats in your brand colour either with or without your logo or artsy image intact.

Finally, consider your non-fixed items such as desks, furniture, and accent items such as table mats, coasters, pillows, flower pots or other accent décor items. A simple application would be to purchase such items in your brand colours and have them placed in key areas of your office space. Some companies may take this step further and add their mission statement, logo or branding image on some of these items.

Branding is not just for outside the office. Whether you own or lease your office space, there is always a way to extend your brand into the interior design of your office.