Forster Inc. is a London-based interior design consultancy with an edge, priding itself on placing people at the core of its residential and commercial design.
Creating spaces which complement the individuals who live or work there is pretty much the company’s mantra – a strong one to live by in the age of agile working.
We sit down with its founder, Rachel Forster, to discuss the ideal workspace, forthcoming workplace trends plus its collaboration with Hotbox.
Q: Who is Forster Inc.?
Rachel: We are a creative-led company that was established 20 years ago, so we’ve seen plenty of changes in workplace culture. For interiors, our focus is to make life easier through good design, so people feel like they’re in a great space. We make spaces work and look at every detail; from removing clutter, to performing audits, to creating a new design entirely.
On the product design side, we look at how we can use design to make a difference to people’s lives at work. This is how we feed into Hotbox; Forster Inc. works in collaboration with Jamie on the product design side of things.
Q: What is the ideal workplace? Or is this dependent on different companies?
R: Every company has its own culture, so it is about making a space embody a company’s values. We see countless offices look good online, but when we enter into their actual office it isn’t connected.
We are all affected by a space subconsciously, where some are more attuned to it than others. By creating designs that are good for our health and assure people’s happiness, higher productivity would be achieved. And this can only be a positive thing, as in turn this will create a working culture people are proud to be a part of.
The way people work is shifting; over the past five to ten years the café culture environment has been embraced by many organisations. Along with technology, this environment is changing how and where we work.
Although Forster Inc. focuses mainly on creative industries, injecting spaces such as these into the most corporate organisations will have a positive effect on creativity, stress-levels and efficiency. Designing for these clients would be an exciting challenge for Forster Inc.
Q: How does agile working feed into the ideal workplace?
R: Agile working is all about operating in the right place for the job you’re doing. If you can move around freely, you can engage with people more quickly and easily – serendipitous meetings are breeding grounds for creativity!
To meet everyone’s needs, it is important to strike the balance between private and lively areas. Switching off is equally as crucial as communicating. From a furniture perspective, you can create soundproof pods for more isolated tasks but can utilise lower seating and comfortable zones to encourage conversation.
I’m into standing work-desks at the moment – it’s good for people’s health. Combined with softer, lower seating this can create an informal environment perfect for a modern-day workspace.
Q: What are the next trends in workplace design and culture?
R: There is a trend towards reusing or reducing what we produce, which is an interesting prospect for designers. I’m really enjoying not being frivolous or wasteful in what can be used or designed for the workspace.
As the younger generation comes in, it becomes less of a priority for them to have a designated, fixed domain. They aren’t really following the hierarchy of ‘who sits where’, preferring to have the flexibility to choose where to work. And this is where Hotbox comes into the mix as it allows them to be completely mobile and create their own space anywhere.
It’s all about blending the feeling of home and work to produce environments which appeal to our senses. As humans, we all have needs to feel connected and we all want to feel like our working environment reflects who we are. And this is highlighted by the kind of furniture and textures we use to fabricate a space.