The Design Discipline of Delivering Inspiration


As the demand for modern design in highly-functional office space increases, research is emerging that highlights what features work best. Serendipity Labs CEO, John Arenas explains why a well-planned environment increases both collaboration and privacy while maximizing space and reducing overhead.


There aren’t many office environments that face the discipline of workers voting with their feet every day, but Serendipity Labs and other providers of workplace-as-a-service must deliver designs that offer inspiration, comfort, security, flexibility and flawless service every day in order to attract and satisfy their members, while making the best use of every square foot.

Serendipity Labs, a premium corporate coworking provider, balances open social space design with quiet areas for focused work and dedicated spaces for full privacy. Its members are professional workers who need to traverse spaces throughout the day that include dedicated enclaves, shared work spaces, collaboration studios and work bars from time to time, depending on what they are working on. A lab-café and a lounge area add to the choices of settings.

While many corporate offices have recently been designed with fewer walls, bench seating and few private offices, the Serendipity Labs extensive design research has determined that an equal mix of private, collaborative and social spaces to be optimal for professional worker satisfaction and productivity.

Because Serendipity Labs is in the business of offering an inspirational workplace, delivered as a hospitality experience for a membership fee, the company continuously measures how the different types of spaces are used by members. Flexibility in the design allows for regular reconfiguration and optimization. A space and furnishings that can serve as an ideation studio for a project team by day and an event space for special events with ease, means high utilization and high value. This flexibility allows the designs to address member needs from moment to moment, while delivering the highest comfortable capacity and membership levels. For coworking providers, there has to be discipline in designing to optimize economic performance so that every square foot is contributing to maximum revenue potential. If a space or setting is not performing, it can be changed.

While corporate office space per worker has fallen from over 250 sf per person to below 150sf per person, Coworking facilities regularly support membership at 50sf per member. Amazing what economic motivation and competitive efficiency can do to redefine design.

– By John Arenas, Serendipity Labs