Mitie is one of the leading outsourcing and facilities management companies in the UK, and they have created a new ‘Connected Workspace’ initiative that incorporates sensor technology, big data, and machine learning to revolutionize the way that their portfolio of buildings are managed and maintained. Working in collaboration with Mitie and Dr. Marcella Ucci (Head of the MSc in Health, Wellbeing and Sustainable Buildings at the University College of London), we have created not only a physical space, but also a pilot study to measure the impact on employees in a detailed post-occupancy study.
The ‘Living Lab’ and ‘Regeneration Pods’ were commissioned as part of the health, wellness, and user- experience aspect of Connected Workspace. An experimental work environment on the 12th floor of the Shard, the space has been designed for the express purpose of measuring the impact of biophilic design on worker wellness and productivity.
Biophilia refers to human beings’ innate need for a connection with nature. Human physiology is wired to seek qualities of light, view, material, and other factors common in the natural world. This project comprises two spaces designed according to those principles: a Living Lab that functions as an immersive work environment, and two Regeneration Pods that provide short-term rest and meditation functions for Mitie employees.
The Living Lab is fully immersive, with rich and intricate patternization, natural materials, and interactive and dynamic lighting. The room gains privacy through bamboo screens that wrap onto the ceiling above. The floor, desks, and task lights are also formed from different shades and textures of bamboo, providing a holistic organic language for the entire space.
The lighting in the Living Lab is circadian and linked to an astronomical clock – cool blue in the morning, brilliant white in the afternoon, and fiery orange as the day winds down. The light softly breathes, very subtly shifting intensity in an almost imperceptible way, giving additional dynamism to the experience.