Mark Bryan

by Mark Bryan

Director - Innovation + Research, Senior Interior Designer

Workspace Design for Millenials

  • DECEMBER 21, 2015
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We've all heard it before, "So what do you see trending these days?" Our clients look to us to be the experts in our field, to know what is coming, and to make sure the end-product isn't out of date next year. It is a challenge that all designers face throughout the life of their career, and one we must diligently work on so that we continue to push the envelope and deliver spaces that will last the test of time.

Recently I had the opportunity to go to Mohawk's Future Workspace Design (FWD) event to study and understand what is being predicted for 2020. The event itself is an annual meeting where topics like millenials, color forecasting, and product development are all discussed with designers from all over the world. Some of the keynote speakers and presenters are designers that are at the forefront, pushing the envelope in their own spheres of fashion, trend prediction, and of course, design and architecture. For the 2015 seminar, I was fortunate enough to hear from the founders of INNOCAD and 13&9 Design, the Director of Design from Mohawk, and some of the preeminent trend forecasters, Lidewij Edelkoort and Philip Fimmano.

For me, the most interesting discussion surrounded the 2020 millenials and what they will look for in the spaces they inhabit. An interesting tidbit is that the speakers all echoed the same topics in most of the talks without them even discussing it beforehand. Here are some of the key terms that were discussed and how they will affect workspace design going forward:

Fluid - Moving from work to home to the gym, then back to work makes life a constant state of fluidity. Time is no longer measured, but simply flows from one event to the next. Information is streaming 24/7, so make time memorable. Introduce rewards for taking a moment of respite at work and make sure you bring a bit of whimsy and humor to these times.

Hybridic - We see the rise of a culture with no conception of time or place. They are global and borrow from varied regions or history as they want to – at times creating surrealistic moments. The blending of all of their varied experiences will result in irreverential design. This emancipation will lead to a rebirth of the forgotten. Colors formally seen as drab will now become chic and unexplored cultures will influence design.

Elisa Storzyk Elisa Strozyk | "Grey-Black-Birch" wooden rug

Nomadic - Here is where the true transient nature of a millennial will shine through. There will be a blurring of urban to rural, so that the edges of the city become more populated. Natural materials will landscape the space, creating a connection to the building’s surroundings and the city’s culture. The future form of the farmhouse will rise more as we see more mixing of organic, nature-respective and farm-like living. Farm to table is only the beginning.

Tactile - The required authenticity of the future generations comes into play with the handmade: those things that look to be original. Yarns, threads, weaving, and quilted are examples of how textiles will be directed. We will celebrate the process. The arts and crafts movement will once again take form. Originality will affect branding in using original artwork that is hand painted and unique. This new style is called calligraffiti.

Aleksandra Gaca - architextile Aleksandra Gaca | Architextile - Acoustic Textile Panels

From these terms and ideas a place of emancipation will come. As with every generation and turn of culture, we see the old ideas and thoughts become nonbinding. This means that what was once considered taboo will now be embraced as a truth that must be told. So we must be more thoughtful in our design and intent, be purposeful with our resources and materials, and tell a story.

For more information on this event and next year's please visit,

Mark Bryan

by Mark Bryan

Director - Innovation + Research, Senior Interior Designer

A leader and catalyst of innovation and research at M+A, Mark strives to discover ways in which spatial design and technology integration can influence users in a positive way. Mark enjoys exploring design trends and his approach to design is largely influenced by cultural changes and shifts that occur in the world, whether they are major trends or subtle cues.