Innovation in interior design through the use of Biomimicry

February 18, 2020

 

 

An emerging approach to interior design is biomimicry, which is comprised of designs inspired by nature and biological entities, it creates innovative methods that support sustainable environments and improve human wellbeing.

 

Principle behind bio-inspired design

Biomimicry, similar to Biophilic design, is inspired by nature – although the latter focuses on enhancing humans’ health, wellbeing, and their connection with nature. Biomimicry, on the other hand, highlights the methods or ecosystems that nature provides, creating innovative solutions that improve structures in interior or architectural design. Both design concepts are founded on their appreciation of nature.

A prime example of biomimicry is the Interface FLOR TacTile Carpet Tile Connectors, inspired by gecko feet.

 

Interface FLOR TacTile inspired by gecko feet. Photo courtesy of Interface

 

 

Emulating biology in biomimicry

According to the study by Rasha El-Zeiny in 2012, “Biomimicry as a Problem Solving Methodology in Interior Architecture”, it states that biomimicry as a design method should be more than just decorations, its functionality should be aligned with its nature. As the concept for biomimicry is derived from nature, the close examination of an organism or ecosystem must be done first, followed by the understanding and application of its underlying principles.

It’s essential to apply the principles from nature to fully reap the benefits it provide. Biomimicry is more than just imitating nature, a profound understanding must first be applied before the reinforcing of its innovative methods.

“The core idea is that nature has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with. Animals, plants, and microbes are the consummate engineers. After billions of years of research and development, failures are fossils, and what surrounds us is the secret to survival”, as told by the Biomimicry Institute.

Human Connections by David Oakey. Photo courtesy of Interface

 

 

Biomimicry in the future of interior and architectural design

Biomimicry’s widespread design has been extensively discussed by experts in the field of sustainable interior design and architecture, but its methods have not been largely effectuated yet. With nature, there is more to learn and gain ideas from, such as innovative methods that can help alleviate the adverse effects of climate change and improve human well-being, these types of the solution found in nature’s ecosystems and biological entities should be further explored.

With Trends and Concepts, clients are assured of the quality we provide in creating a green working environment with the integration of effective sustainable designs that are compliant to global standards in terms of health and safety. For more information, visit Trends and Concepts’ website http://www.trendsandconceptsinteriors.com/

Integrating Company Culture in Your Workplace

February 10, 2020

When it comes to strategizing the success of your company, culture is the most important thing that you have to consider. Culture is different for each company and gives your current and future employees the chance to understand how things are handled within an organization, how problems are solved, and how team members work with each other. Culture is often defined by management, but the problem often lies in trickling the culture from management to the employees, middle-management, and executives. This is why it is important to be intentional about setting up the culture of your workplace. The best way to do it was from an architectural model. It is through this that you can shape your company’s norms, values, and beliefs. This setting can be done through your policies, procedures, communications, systems, org chart, and most importantly, your physical workplace.

Integrating one’s culture into the physical workplace is often overlooked. But the truth is, how your physical environment is designed creates a greater impact in telling the story of your culture. As an example, you can tell your employees that you are all about collaboration but create an environment where they are in cubicles. You can also say that you empower your employees but restrict them to just one area of the office. It is important that your culture as a company is integrated in the physical workplace because this is where it is seen and felt by your employees daily.

Integrating your culture often begins with a big pep rally with your employees telling them what you expect and what behaviors are accepted but at the same time also find a way to thread this into your physical workplace. As an example, you can choose to have open workspace and conference rooms that are open for others to see. You can also have breakrooms that encourage people to speak with each other and bond. If your culture thrives on physical wellbeing, you can even offer gyms within your office space, and at the same time if you are promoting taking care of your employees’ mental health, you can offer meditation pods that make all the difference.

Integrating culture may seem tricky at the beginning but Trends and Concepts have helped numerous companies to create a workplace that speaks of their culture from the moment they open their doors. Through their experience and expertise, they make each company’s culture shine through uniquely.

Understanding the Future of Work for the Retail Industry

January 21, 2020

 

When was the last time you shopped at a mall? With the country’s worsening traffic situation, it is definitely more comfortable to shop from home.  Not only are there more choices but less hassles as well, no parking spots to think of, no mall crowds to compete with. Changes in technology has made this all possible.

The digital marketplace, aka e-commerce, has truly changed the game when it comes to the face of retail. And while some smaller, more agile brands have found success online, most traditional department stores are still figuring out the best way to succeed in today’s fast-paced digital space. And while traditional stores and retailers are less agile than their online counterparts, this doesn’t mean that they can’t win in this new landscape. All it takes is a lot research and digging deep into the knowing what the driving force in this new space are and responding quickly with appropriate strategies.

The Future Will Be Digital

As we all know, the future of retail will be mainly digital. And while big stores such as Nordstrom, Target, and Bloomingdales are still showing signs of success in the traditional space, they are also succeeding in the digital space. This doubles their growth and income because they are able to be present to traditional shoppers and a younger set. This can be used for companies in the retail space because by being present in both, you are able to maximize the opportunities in both platforms.

In order to adapt, there are a few changes within the organization that needs to be made to be truly efficient. For one thing, it is important to note that to maximize the future opportunities of the digital landscape, it is important to hire workers that give you the valued skillset you need in order to thrive. As an example, traditional salespeople require different skills as digital ones. For one thing, the digital salesforce requires skillsets that were not necessary in the traditional space. As an example, you will need employees that understand how to sell in the digital space. They must have an understanding of how online retail works such as Amazon and the like and how to succeed. They must be able to understand how to interact with customers, how to maximize social media for their gain, and how to quickly solve and resolve problems. They must also have the desire to research new ways to stay on top of the game.

In order to win in the digital retail space, companies must always be aiming for growth. This means encouraging employees to study new things and be open to learning. It is also understanding the different needs of employee and catering to them in order to bring out the best in them in a way that is positive for the entire company and its growth. HR must be on the lookout for trainings and talent that will be optimal for the company and its employees.

At the same time, in order to truly win in the digital space with no storefront, it is very important to hire employees who know how to tell the story of your product. Whether through your website, social media platform, and other areas, it’s important for employees to uniquely share the story of your brand for this is how retail will soar in the digital age.

Truly, it is an exciting time with many opportunities for growth.

Workplace Wellness Trends 2020

January 21, 2020

 

An emerging trend for offices this year is workplace wellness, which takes into account the well-being of employees and encourages programs that help improve their health as well as positively affect other aspects of their everyday life.

Part of work is dealing with stress, some may have grown accustomed to the daily stress, although, not everyone is taking it easy. Workplace wellness addresses this through programs or spaces that inspire employees to have a positive mindset or practice healthy habits and help them cope with stress and mental illnesses.

 

Fitness health hub

In most countries, people get to go to the gym before or after work hours. This is definitely a good habit to practice, especially if you spend a lot of time on your desk. However, that’s not the case for the majority of workers in the Philippines who spend a lot of their time commuting—consuming an average of one to two hours at most in traffic, with less energy to workout due to the fatigue or tiredness they feel.

Creating a fitness health hub in the office where employees can exercise will be a great benefit to their health and improve productivity. You can even set schedules for a specific set of workout programs, like yoga on Mondays and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on Thursdays. Through your fitness health hub, you can help employees relieve stress and incorporate self-care into work.

Tech upgrade

Modern times call for constant upgrades, particularly with technology. In recent years, there have been numerous smartphone applications that center on people’s well-being, most of which provide a wide range of solutions such as health risk assessment tools, trackers, and platforms. Artificial intelligence (AI) can also be used in healthcare while the Internet of Things (IoT) offers flexibility through the use of technology. IoT allows individuals to design their space on how they want the mood to be through the use of smart devices.

As a business leader, the workplace health-related technology you can provide workers are platforms, trackers, workforce monitoring, coaching and consultation, and occupational health and safety. All of these can help empower your employees to have more control over their work environment and improve their health.

Destigmatizing mental health

Mental health is equally important as physical health, and there is a lot to be done to destigmatize mental health topics in the workplace. It should be noted that poor mental health and stress can negatively affect employees’ job performance and productivity, communication with coworkers, physical capability, and even their daily functioning.

Wellness programs you can provide for employees are safe spaces where they can talk about their mental state, creating quiet areas for relaxation, and allowing employees to take a mental health day off.

Time for rest

Lastly, the most simple workplace wellness program you can find in this article is providing your employees a space where they can unwind. Sometimes overworking your employees can generate poor job performance and lessen their productivity. Taking a nap may seem absurd, but the renewed energy they get from a short rest can be a huge advantage. With an area specifically focused on providing relaxation, employees can recharge in ways that suit them best.

 

Emphasizing on workplace wellness in the office shows that the company cares and values the well-being of employees by providing programs and spaces that support them in leading a healthy lifestyle in and outside of work.

Offices focused on employee-being and performance

January 20, 2020
Multiple means of working
There are different ways as to how an employee would want to work. According to Gensler’s Workplace Index, which explores the relationship between office space and employee performance, Gensler identified the types of spaces that should be available for employees: Focus, Collaborate, Learn, and Socialize. These spaces foster employee productivity and accommodate the diverse preferences of
all. Some may prefer to work privately to concentrate on their tasks better, while others would want to work together to brainstorm on ideas. The space where employees can relax is just as important for them to socialize with others and recharge to work on their
following tasks.

Give them control of their space
Work shouldn’t be enclosed within the walls of the office nor the desk employees occupy, allowing your employees to choose where they would like to work will make them more engaged and put extra effort into creating great outputs. Another good option is to provide a floor plan that caters to people who prefer to work alone or in groups such as workstations, café, or even the outdoor area. And with those who prefer to work alone in the office, the ideal desk you can give them is one where they can personalize and arrange on their own.

Culture in the office
The space you create should reflect not just your company branding but also the values and culture of the organization. It’s important to take note of the fact that the office is where your employees spend most of their time. Their well-being can be affected as they are growing and developing skills in their careers. A company that exhibits good culture can raise employees’ morale and help develop those skills.
The well-being of employees should not be taken for granted as it will greatly affect their performance and productivity, with that, the environment they are in as well as the design of the office is one of the primary factors to employee-being. One of the best approaches
in creating an office environment that makes employees more happy, engaged, and healthy is by asking them what they value, care, and want in the office.

Embracing the Millennial Difference

September 25, 2019

While in most cases “millennials’ are often dubbed as the “me generation” or the “slacker generation”, Trends and Concepts believes that seeing this new breed of manpower in a different light provides more opportunities than challenges.

“We are well-aware that millennials comprise a big percentage of our workforce today,” says Leni Bantiling, Vice President for Business Development and Corporate Communications at Trends and Concepts, “and is sure to take over the workplace in the next few years. So we craft a stratagem of embracing their unconventional ways of working.”

1. Go digital

“Millennials are changing the workplace culture and the way we work in general. They are more collaborative and their communication habits are instantaneous and open,” says Bantiling. Millenials are the first generation to have lived their entire life with internet, and phones have become their permanent attachment. So while face-to-face meetings are still important, it’s also essential to not overlook the help of messaging apps as a fast and effective communication tool in the workplace. This way, it’s also easier to streamline teams and tasks with group chats.

2. Create a strong community

It’s in a company’s best interest to take advantage of this generation’s fascination to teams and companies that value their ideals and lifestyle. By designing an environment with defined roles, they are more likely to accomplish tasks within their organized groups or departments. It’s the art of connecting to a common goal that inspires these young employees to work with the company’s vision.

3. Embrace diversity and flexibility

Being digital natives, millennial employees get the work done differently than their predecessors. They push boundaries and create movements that changes the way the previous generation used to. Millennials are known to work outside office premises, and non-traditional schedules are becoming more common. So in a corporate setting of the 9am-5pm, scheduling an open digital communication helps.

4. Offer a work and play balance

“At Trends and Concepts, we promote outside office activities like team buildings. We appreciate the value and impact of a balanced lifestyle to our employees and they deliver quality results in return,” says Bantiling on the key to a healthy workplace. “And as our philosophy on work culture goes, “We believe that success is more than just numbers and data. Culture is what defines an organization and more importantly, provides an environment where our employees can grow and can live through work – life balance. We aim to be a company with purpose, a company with value towards our employees and we gear towards a workplace where we value our employee’s needs.”

5. Manage as mentors, not bosses

Bantiling also adds, “One roadblock to effectively engaging with millennials at work is when they don’t see their managers as a role model. When they see bosses rather than mentors, it impacts their sense of duty. Much like any employee of a given generation, being a mentor who focuses on their growth – who’s approachable and supportive of their goals, someone who guides them – drives and encourages them to operate efficiently.”

More than workspace design and build solutions, Trends and Concepts promotes collaborative and strong work culture elevating positive working experience. “We value our employees, and this is extended in how we care for them.”

The Construction Industry Trends Then & Now

September 20, 2019

Trends and Concepts CEO and President Joe Bantiling has been on top of construction trends in the Philippines since he founded Trends and Concepts in the early 1990s. As the man behind Trends and Concepts, Joe has had the unique opportunity to see how the construction industry grew positively in the past 30 years, “We have seen tremendous growth not just in our company but in the industry as well.”

The steady growth of the industry was seen in the early 1990s when more and more foreign companies began investing in the country therefore increasing the need for infrastructure not just for business offices but also residences.

The construction industry has long contributed positively to the country’s GDP but has done exponentially so in the past decade. In fact, the growth of the country’s economy has had a positive effect on the industry because it demanded more infrastructures. The boom of previously underutilized areas such as Bonifacio Global City has helped the industry greatly. The industry has grown by 12.5% in 2017 and by 11.8% in 2018 mainly due to the government’s ambitious build, build, build developmental plans. Due to this, it is expected that the nominal value of the construction industry will be doubled by 2022.

The industry’s value of $34 billion in 2016 is expected to rise to $54.3 in 2021. We first saw this trend in the industry in 2011 where the Philippine construction industry was seen as one of the country’s largest economic powerhouses, a trend that continues on today.

Joe explains, “The country is looking on building not just more residential properties and offices but also roads, bridges, roads, and power plants. This has all contributed to the growth of this industry.”

The current administration is also set to spend nearly $158 billion over the next five years which will translate to infrastructure spending that will reach 7.3% by the end of President Duterte’s presidential term.

The growth benefits everyone in the industry and promises of greater things to come. More and more talented Filipinos are also joining the industry bringing forth more experience and knowledge thus creating an industry that is forward thinking and one that can compete with the world.

How Trends and Concepts Empower Women in the Workplace

August 30, 2019

(Photo by ECCP)

 

There is no better time to be a woman than today. More and more opportunities are being afforded to women giving them the chance to rise and encourage others to do the same. This is what occurs within the four walls of Trends and Concepts with the leadership of Leni Bantiling, “Our organization believes that everyone should be given the ability to lead in the workplace, especially women. We make sure to develop a culture where they don’t just feel safe but also confident enough to voice their opinions and make decisions.”

Leni further notes that women executives have the tendency to hold back on their own power, “They sometimes doubt their own ability to lead or excel in executive positions. We are very intentional in the culture that we create for women because we believe in what they can do especially when they are encouraged and built up.”

Mentorship is key.

At Trends and Concepts, women are closely mentored by executives to help them shape their careers, “We firmly believe that we become the best version of ourselves when we look to others who have paved the way for us. That is what we do at Trends and Concepts, we make sure to offer what we can to help another out and help them become the best version of themselves.”

More than just mentorship, this also provides a way for women in Trends and Concepts to build meaningful relationships that will make them grow, “It builds a culture of trust which we believe is the beginning of any great relationship and the foundation of a company’s success.”

Celebrating each other’s strengths.

Women are also empowered by celebrating their strengths. There are workplaces that downplay women’s victories, but Trends and Concepts is not one of them, in fact, they are known to celebrate women’s strengths and victories, “We believe that it’s important to let women known when they are winning. This is part of our mentorship as well. We all know that if one of us win, we all win.”

Being approachable and ready to help.

Because of the trust built through the mentorship process, women at Trends and Concepts are not afraid to ask for help because older executives are always willing to lend a hand, “We always let new employees know that they can always ask us for help. We appreciate it when they ask for our help.”

Being authentic about their failures and mistakes.

And while other workplaces believe that women need to be perfect in order to succeed, that is not a culture that is prevalent here. We are very honest with our mistakes and we try to ask for help from others. It makes women know that no matter what, you are accepted here and we are all here to make it better.”

Designing Life in the Workplace

August 30, 2019

 

Designing comfortable, agile, and inspiring spaces has become an essential aspect of most companies today. The influence of a well-designed workplace on the attractiveness of the company and its ability to retain talent is now widely recognized thanks to the steady stream of technological advancements and innovations in recent years.

At its very heart, workplace design tells the story of an organization in a way that resonates with the workforce, as well as with suppliers, and customers. It presents a company’s personality – influencing how people behave and interact both internally and on its behalf. It signals a company’s commitment to its core ideals and a tangible manifestation of its brand. With inspiration available almost everywhere, it sounds easy, but a deeper and more focused understanding of the company’s vision is needed across the workplace.

“We live in a time of rapidly changing corporate visions, workforce demographics, and innovations. These changes everything, and everything must change, especially in terms of designing workplaces that address needs and anticipate employee and industry expectations,” said Charisse Gail Bantiling, VP of Design and Construction Management Division and Principal Designer of Trends and Concepts Total Interior Solutions, Inc.

Bantiling’s company, a pioneer in the design and build industry in the Philippines, works on projects with sincere and attentive approach to employee productivity and satisfaction. According to her, contributing to the growth of the business by being purposive, intentional and strategic about the workplace design for individuals within the space should always be a top consideration, if not the main priority.

“We also put a lot of emphasis on the relationship between health and wellness and the built workplace environment. It’s more than giving your employees ease in business operations, it’s about caring for your people,” she added.

Being exposed to global projects at a young age, Bantiling knows that it’s not enough that companies know what they need to shape office environments to enhance human creativity, productivity, and quality of life. The most significant change only happens when people take action.

“As designers, our role is not just for aesthetics, but to act as strategic facilitators of the client’s culture, work process, technology, environment, brand and, business drivers,” she said. “It’s always about engaging the senses while being mindful to the realities and demands of the end user,” she added.

For every design and redesign project, understanding the needs of an organization to adapt, grow, and change to survive and thrive by identifying effective workplace strategies that help clients achieve greater business results is necessary. This means translating the corporate vision and making sure the company’s values are well reflected within the work environment to encourage employee engagement and company culture.

Leaders need courage and strength to keep up with the changing times and be open to adapting innovations to create exciting environments where people feel inspired and energized, and look forward to coming to work.

As a pioneer in office design, build, and fit-out construction solutions, Trends and Concepts has been a wonderful model of corporate culture, community, and team work across their projects. The company prides itself at making office spaces not just inviting, but exciting for people, working on projects for Huawei, Avon Cosmetics, Honest Bee, Amway Philippines, VFS Global, and Lenovo GROUP LTD.

Joe Bantiling: Looking out for People through Workspace Design

August 30, 2019

It’s often said that the spaces we occupy are spaces that define us. Much like how we present and represent our homes, hometowns, schools and organizations wherever we are. It’s a reflection – an identity – we carry with us. This extends to our workplaces.

A well-designed workspace is crucial to companies to reinforce their identities, which then empowers them to create better working conditions and engagement for their employees and their communities. A well-designed workplace is also crucial to keeping employees engaged and their morale high.

The workplace is where we spend more than a third of our daily lives in, and if the environment is uninspiring, it’s unlikely that employees – or guests, for that matter – would have stayed any longer than necessary. That’s what most forward-thinking companies are realizing these days. In fact, they see it as the future.

“There are smarter ways to use your space to encourage work, collaboration, and productivity,” said Joe Bantiling, Founder and CEO of Trends and Concepts Total Interior Solutions, Inc. “As human capital enablers, we have to ask ourselves, “Are our offices just there for business transactions, or are we a business that also aims to make our people’s lives better?”

As a pioneer in the design and build industry, Trends and Concepts has been a wonderful model of corporate culture, community, and team work across their projects. The company prides itself at making office spaces not just inviting, but exciting for people.

“You have to look out for your people’s health and wellness, and treat them as your priority. A well designed and healthy work environment helps motivate employees to their best work. You want your workforce and your guests – anybody who sets foot in your office, really – to see that energy,” he added.

Bantiling explains the synergies in today’s office setup, especially since workplaces are now hosting a diversified pool of talents that ranges across generations, orientations and beliefs. What Trends and Concepts is doing is more than just beautifying the workplace.

“It’s also more than just getting people to come to work. It’s more about taking care of your people, your clients, and your community by giving them the best possible place and condition to thrive,” said Bantiling.

The Office is a Social Place

For companies reinventing themselves, “dusting off” their workspaces is the way to go to reinforce their new vision and ideals. Taking note from the steady rise of co-working offices these days, human resource departments look to infuse this model of adaptive environment with a sense of community and company culture to encourage employees to show up and then show off their companies.

However, the proliferation of employees setting up meetings with clients in restaurants, cafés, or someplace else is still as strong as ever.

As Bantiling puts it, “The workplace is a gathering place for many people. What’s sad is the sense of belonging and pride that comes from knowing your company is doing its part to incorporate elements in its design that helps encourage people to linger, hold meetings, collaborate, or even eat, have fun, or take a breather is something that’s not given in workplaces today.”

Apart from providing employees their own stations for work, setting up meeting rooms, huddle spots, soundproofed phone booths, and breakout spaces are some ideas companies can look into that can make their workplaces flexible and dynamic.

Bantiling is quick to point out that extra thought should also go into spaces that allow people to de-stress, have fun, or simply attend to their needs as individuals with families. These includes recreational spaces such as gyms, spas, meditation areas, game rooms, entertainment rooms, day cares, and lactation areas.

“You have to design spaces that allow your people to feel better about themselves,” said Bantiling.

Thinking Forward

Bantiling believes that human capital is the very soul and essence of why a business works. To him, even though advances in technology has changed how offices are used, nothing replaces the human touch when it comes to building and maintaining relationships. However, he’s quick to point out that taking advantage of technologies to empower people to keep up and get ahead can only mean good things for businesses.

A workplace is always about the welfare of the workforce. At Trends and Concepts, Bantiling leads a team of architects, interior designers, and builders and encourages them to explore ways technology can applied to enhance their projects in relation to their client’s vision and demands, as well as the users – employees – needs.

As Bantiling said, “The traditional function of the office has transformed as we adapt to different work setups. Now, you can work online from anywhere in the world, but even then, more and more people are encouraged to go to spaces where they feel most relaxed, creative and inspired. It’s the experiences whenever you’re in these spaces that are irreplaceable by the conveniences of modern technology.”

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