Presented by: Western Real Estate Business

Author: Nellie Day; Featuring Susan Dwyer, Corporate Studio Director

Architects and designers from a variety of disciplines provide their take on the spatial trends you’re likely to see a lot more of in 2020.

It’s hard to get a pulse on 2020’s outlook without talking to the creative individuals who actually execute today’s most compelling projects. WREB sat down with three design experts from different fields to discuss what is happening in their niche of the world.

Roundtable participants include David Senden, principal at KTGY Architecture + Planning, who specializes in urban infill residential and mixeduse developments; Susan Dwyer, project director at H. Hendy Associates, who specializes in interior architecture design; and J. Wickham Zimmerman, CEO of Outside the Lines, who specializes in design-build themed construction.

WREB: What were the biggest design or development trends to come out of 2019?

Senden: We are continuing to see a rise in group living in various forms, from co-living to alternate roommate and family units. Some of these ideas are borne out of a need to provide attainable housing in desirable locations. So, in order to push absolute rents to an affordable level, sleeping spaces are being minimized with kitchens and socializing spaces being shared. All of this is made possible by a cultural shift toward a sharing economy. More than ever, people are willing to share. This is especially true if they can see a financial benefit, but also because they can feel good about eliminating waste, living smaller, and reducing their impact on the environment while living close to where they work and play.

Zimmerman: One of the most prominent design and development trends in 2019 has been the continued evolution of entertainment and engagement in commercial properties, specifically retail and mixed-use. Throughout the year, retail and entertainment property developers and owners have deepened their commitment to entertainment- focused amenities, recognizing that these elements are the key to drawing in visitors and boosting sales.

Dwyer: A notable design trend observed in Hendy’s corporate office projects was the shift to a hybrid work environment consisting of activity based work spaces, as well as permanent seating options. This concept strikes a balance of individual spaces and collaboration zones while allowing the user the choice of where to complete the task at hand. This arrangement is a best practice in a work environment designed for a cross-generational staff with various work style preferences.

WREB: Is there one project you can point to that showcases your top trend of 2019?

Senden: The project at 2200 Calle de Luna in Santa Clara, Calif. It will be the first community to open as part of the vision plan for the Tasman East Focus Area. The plan envisions developments varying in densities with mixed-use corridors, retail, green belts and an extensive network of open spaces, bike and transit circulation. This will also be the first highrise development in the area, setting the tone for future developments and enriching the established community.

The three residential towers will be situated around a green-space courtyard, above the podium, that provides a park-like setting for residents and a welcoming space for guests and the public to gather. Stairs invite pedestrians to enjoy the green space above, while the three-story resident center with floor-to-ceiling glazing at each level encourages exploration of the newly established community.

Zimmerman: We have completed several projects this year that demonstrate the entertainment and engagement trends shoppers and shopping
center owners seek. For example, in partnership with Moorefield Construction, we recently engineered and built two stunning water features at the Vineyards at Porter Ranch, a 220,000-square-foot lifestyle center in the Porter Ranch neighborhood of Los Angeles. While each water feature serves as a central gathering place for guests to relax and enjoy – and creates a sense of place at the center – one of the fountains also honors the beautifully moving National September 11
Memorial fountains in New York City.

To accomplish this, our artisans created an iconic fountain with cascading water and a collection of artificial boulders around and within the fountain’s basin, which help geologically tie it into its surroundings in the north valley, while paying homage to the water flow at the national memorial.

Dwyer: Hendy recently completed the new Southern California-based SAP Innovation Center and HanaHaus in Newport Beach. Designed to be a beacon
for innovation and creativity, the workspace seamlessly blends two SAP segments — a dynamic coworking environment open to the public, and a research and development center for the company. Complete with a two story volume open seating area, HanaHaus features conference and focus rooms and on-demand workspaces of all sizes, enabling users to collaborate and ideate around every corner. While every client has their own take on the coworking trend, SAP’s space has successfully kept up with the needs of the modern-day workforce.

WREB: How has technology impacted and influenced design, and how might it continue to in the future?

Dwyer: The constant evolution of technology has a substantial influence on workplace design, as observed in the current trend of “untethering” workers from their desks. This trend will completely redefine the structure of the workplace, which will feature furniture systems on wheels, the removal of all cabling, and multi-use and adaptable workstations. We are already seeing some of this, but it is only the tip of the iceberg. Due to advanced wireless capabilities, the infrastructure of the office will no longer support permanent hardware solutions. This shift to the flexible work environment allows for the activity-based work style so many organizations are transitioning to today.

Zimmerman: Technology is having a measurable impact on our ability to accommodate property owners’ and developers’ needs in the current market. Automated technology enhances the consumer experience while also allowing building owners and operators to run water features more efficiently, with less effort and less manual intervention. The tech industry has aided development of state-of-the-art show programming that allows stakeholders to wow tenants and guests with spectacular displays of synchronized light, sound and water movement.

From a maintenance perspective, we have seen a great deal of progress in “smart” fountains now connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). This technology can provide automatic feedback to us even before a problem occurs, enabling us to help managers proactively address and circumvent any issues, minimizing the need for hands-on fountain repairs. As technology advances, we will be able to incorporate even more benefits into our water features that will help developers, property owners, and managers operate and maintain these amenities more easily and increase ROI.

WREB: How are the younger generations, including Millennials and Gen Z, influencing the latest design trends?

Senden: We are designing for today’s renters and all of the decisions we make are with them in mind, either because of the rent they can afford, or the amenities and technologies they are demanding. We are intimately in touch with what they want and need and are tailoring our buildings to them. Most of the advances we are making are because these renters can appreciate and use them. They understand technology and are willing to embrace change and appreciate it, not to mention willing to pay for it.

Dwyer: The Millennial generation truly pushed the envelope in regard to socializing with coworkers. The integration of residential design in the commercial environment is in part due to Millennials’ tendency to blur the lines between work life and home life. This concept of work-life integration rather than work-life balance has driven the open office collaborative design and the outdoor collaborative settings we are seeing in the West. The Z generation has entered the workforce with a new set of behaviors and expectations. They tend to be more individualized and require more privacy than Millennials. We are already seeing this take effect with increased focus rooms and rejuvenation spaces in the corporate setting to balance the open office noise and potential disruptions. I predict the future design of office space will continue to incorporate spaces for individualized and customizable work to meet the needs of the Z generation.

WREB: Is there anything that makes the West’s design landscape different or unique?

Zimmerman: There are several aspects of the West that inform its design ethic. The warm and mild weather drives year-round indoor/outdoor living, which has translated to more fluidity between interiors and exteriors in a host of environments. We are seeing increased use of outdoor space in office buildings, retail centers, apartment communities, and hotels in the form of exterior dining and meeting areas, rooftop decks, putting greens and dog runs. Water features, such as architectural fountains, Zen gardens and koi ponds, are increasingly being incorporated into these environments to make the properties stand out even more.

Senden: The same things make it unique that have always made it unique. There still tends to be a frontier spirit in the West that will embrace the new, different and unique. There is a feeling that looks toward the future. Silicon Valley helps this. New technologies seem to be rolled out first in the West. It’s expected and appreciated. Therefore, as a designer, there is less need to connect to some perceived historical context because the West has always been about trying to be better, about looking forward not back, experimentation and invention.