The sharing economy has and will continue to influence the way we vacation, commute and even work. Coworking has grown beyond a group of entrepreneurs working alongside each other, to become an industry in itself. Today, it continually pushes the boundaries and traditional ideas of “work life.”
But how can a coworking space create a mindful lighting design when its use, by definition, is flexible and ever-changing? We spoke with Garrett Tichy, owner of Hygge Coworking, about lighting design for coworking spaces, the challenges and opportunities it presents, and its impact on the future of the working environment.
Creating a unique atmosphere
Coworking spaces have considerable draw thanks to the flexibility they provide, but also thanks to the atmosphere they have. Coworking spaces are known for blending the structured environment of an office with the comforts of home. “Hygge, as a brand, evokes a homey, more comfortable vibe,” Tichy said. “To create this feeling, we leaned on warmer, LED lighting. Mixing side lamps and standing lamps, we were able to create a familiar environment of ‘home’ for our members.”
Sometimes, creating the perfect office design can be a challenge because of the space itself. “In one of our locations, half of the space was big and open with high ceilings,” Tichy said. “The other half had dropped ceilings with fluorescent lighting and a more traditional office environment - not the atmosphere we wanted in the space. It was a challenge to overcome, but we installed retrofit LED recessed downlights within this space to create a consistent feel. The new lights include dimmers, so members can even customize their light level depending on their need.”
Lighting for a variety of professions
From small business owners to freelancers, coworking spaces are used for a variety of reasons and are a unique experience for each member that walks through the door. “From brightly lit, open work spaces, to dim and secluded private nooks, we try to embrace all work types,” Tichy said. By creating contrasting environments, coworking members have the opportunity to find lighting that works best for them.
As coworking spaces provide a flexible environment, they also have more flexible hours than a traditional office space; for example, Hygge’s doors are open to members 24/7. Lighting a space that could conceivably be used at any hour presents a challenge – one that can potentially be solved with smart office lighting. “We’ve installed lighting sensors to create an optimal work environment at all hours, and to help control energy use,” Tichy said.
The future of lighting in coworking spaces
As smart technology enhances security and heating and cooling systems, it too has enhanced lighting and lighting design. “Smart lighting with the ability to use a remote or app to control lighting will be a game-changer for coworking spaces,” Tichy said. From increasing security to boosting members’ peace-of-mind, it can greatly improve the user experience. Smart, connected lighting gives users the ability to program scenes and moods, like changing the color temperature, perfect for varied work styles and needs.
As lighting technology and smart lighting continue to evolve, coworking spaces will continue to advance, too. But no matter how much things change, one thing will always be true: human-first lighting design will always play a role in creating a collaborative and successful coworking environments.