Office Design Moves Beyond a One Size Fits All Approach
Knowledge / Blog

/ Office design moves beyond a ‘one size fits all’ approach

Office design moves beyond a 'one size fits all' approach

We’ve recently completed the fit out of the new reception and client-facing areas at the Adobe office in London’s West End.

We caught up with Mike Walley, head of Adobe’s EMEA offices to get his views on what the modern workplace must deliver. His thoughts below:

Your focus must be on your people. There is actually a mission statement that underpins what my team and I do. We aim to build and operate workplaces that differentiate Adobe and attract, excite and retain the top talent in our field.

Mike Walley


Office design has moved way beyond uniformity and a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Different animals have different habitats and that principle holds true with office design. Your research and development team wants to work very differently to your sales and marketing team. But they can’t work in total isolation. The sales team needs to talk to the research and development team or they won’t hear what customers actually want.

The idea of Adobe Habitat is about the many elements that make up an Adobe work habitat. In the future, it will be about giving people the ability to customise their own environment. Practically this could be a choice of how you set up your workstation and be free to make decisions about your technology, task chair or storage.

When it comes to collaborative spaces, for us it’s about the conversation not about the meeting. This has seen us make our formal meeting rooms a little softer. We think hard about what things trigger a relaxed feeling and better interaction. It could be the addition of a rug or drop lights, little things that make people feel comfortable.

We want our people to know where they are working: literally and figuratively. This is in evidence in the new reception of our office on Fitzroy Street in London. We’ve added more Adobe logos so that people know that we’re here.

There are more subtle elements like the graphics on our glass meeting rooms. They pick out Adobe products such as ‘Ae’ for After Effects and ‘Ps’ for Photoshop.

Re-engineering our existing furniture to make it fit for purpose is a high priority. We’ve turned workstations in our Paris office from enclosed cubicles to open plans by removing partitions and changing their tops. We plan to do this across other European offices as it is far more economical than buying brand-new replacements.

It really is all about making the workplace comfortable. Are your people visually, acoustically, physically and intellectually comfortable? If they are then there are fewer obstacles to being creative, sharing ideas and working productively.

Office design is driven by technology. Can you plug and play wherever you are? It’s a bit like a teenager’s bedroom, you may provide someone with a desktop computer but it is likely that they’ll spend just as much time with their tablet on their lap in a comfy chair.

Over-the-top office design such as bringing in slides and hammocks is often impractical. However, it does inform other designs and move things forward so every innovation has a positive effect.

Nothing stands still but revolution is too expensive. It is about evolving the workplace at an economical, sensible rate.

The views in this article don’t necessarily reflect those of Adobe or K2 Space.

Latest Knowledge