100% Design: Workplace Trends from the 2017 Show


100% Design, first staged in 1995 attracts over 27,000 visitors to the show across 4 days in September. The exhibition provides a platform for a large number of architects, designers, retailers and developers, as well as multinational companies who are looking to showcase their latest products and projects according to the shows website.


At SEC Interiors we're always looking to keep abreast of the latest trends and developments, not only in the world of office design but in interior and office furniture design too. So we decided to head down to this year's show at Kensington Olympia in London to be inspired and dazzled by the exhibitors' latest offerings. Here's our short recap on some of the key themes that were discussed in the talks at this year's event, along with photographs of some of the furniture offerings that took our eye.

Design for Wellbeing


A key trend at this year's show was the focus on wellbeing in the workplace. We attended the 'Design for Wellbeing' talk which featured Philip Tidd of Gensler, Sophie Thomas of thomas.matthews and Francesca Allen from uscreates who discussed the various issues impacting the world of wellbeing. Phillip Tidd, Consulting Practice Area Leader at Gensler said that most high-level stakeholders focus on short-term thinking when it comes to investing in causes that will help to promote wellbeing in the workplace. They don't consider the positive effects they can gain in the long-term from a happy and productive workforce, which is a real shortcoming on their part. According to the HSE - Health and Safety Executive in "2015/16, 25.9 million working days were lost due to work-related illness" and this is set to rise further over the next few years. So workplace wellbeing has never been more important!


The panel stated that the most popular requests from employees were an increase in natural sunlight, green spaces, biophilia, and a mixture of areas for different working scenarios. The idea of giving the power back to the people (i.e. the office workers) was also discussed, as it has been found that companies who take the time to listen to their employees and act upon their wishes for the workplace, regardless of the cost in doing so find that they have the happiest workplaces of all.


Image 3) ~ Photo by Micah. H on Unsplash

Breakout space furniture
Leather desk dividers

Thoughts on design for wellbeing:

"A lot of clients understand that wellbeing costs money. They don't currently understand the ROI as it's very hard to verify the impact of investment within wellbeing."


Philip Tidd - Consulting Practice Area Leader 
| Gensler

Design for wellbeing - biophilia in the workplace

A Bespoke Touch


Furniture was a key focus point at 100% Design, with many designers and suppliers showcasing their latest and greatest creations. Bespoke designs seem to be in high demand, with a number of exhibitors showcasing their fantastic lighting installations and quirky furnishings. These products are ready and waiting for those who are willing to be a little more adventurous with their interior decor tastes, and there's no reason as to why these fantastic creations should stay locked away in a domestic environment. Modern offices are taking on board the 'home away from home' look, and we can only see this gaining traction as more companies look to create office environments that offer a true reflection of their brand and company culture.


There were a number of highlights at the show, including the colourful and hip bikes seen below; cocoon-like lighting installations and textured walls: some of them living. "Your staff work hard, and they deserve to do so in a place that not only meets their needs, but makes them happy. That means going beyond ergonomic chairs, coffee stations and standing desks to create a space that is both pleasant to look at and healthy to be in" says Zach Robbins, Co-Founder and CEO of Leadnomics via inc.com. Never before has there been so many options to choose from in terms of decorating your office, but this is a time to embrace individuality and uniqueness, and what better place to start than in the workplace.

Bespoke lighting
Red bike

Thoughts on bespoke design:

"Prospective employees will search for your company to get an idea of what it would be like to work there. And just like you carefully choose your LinkedIn headshot, you want your office to look good in its "profile picture." Top talent will look for any nuance to help whittle down their application list, so you need to do what you can to stand out."

Zack Robbins, Co-Founder and CEO of Leadnomics

Bespoke lighting

Elements of Colour


One of the key takeaways from the event was the importance of colour in the workplace. Colour has always been a major influencer on interior design but people are finally starting to research and understand the psychology behind colour and how it can impact productivity, stress and general wellbeing in the workplace. 


Colour is an essential part of everyday life, engrained in everything we do, and its subconscious effect on our day-to-day life is truly staggering! "What was once merely a stylistic choice is now used as a tool to connect employees to the organizational brand" says Udo Schlieman, Principle Creative Director at Entro via Work Design Magazine. But it shouldn't stop at the brand and marketing level. Colour can be incorporated into everything from furnishings and feature walls to toasters and TV's, just make sure you know how each colour impacts the mind.


There was an array of colour on display at 100% Design, and although the general preference from designers was to opt for softer pastels in their products there was still a few exhibitors who were willing to wield the deep reds and stark blacks. Our advice: be bold! White walls and blue chairs are a thing of the past - make your workplace stand out and improve employee productivity as a by-product; a win-win scenario.

Office chairs
Office colours

Thoughts on colour in the workplace:

"Colour can also improve one’s experience at work, positively affecting [employee's] concentration, stress levels, and mood."

Udo Schliemann, Principle Creative Director | Entro

Office furniture colours

Highlights Gallery

Take a look at some of the other products that caught our eye...

So there you have it, our round-up of this year's 100% Design and the first time we've attended the exhibition. Workplace design is ever evolving, and we'll be sure to keep you up to date on the latest trends in the worlds of office and interior design on our main blog over the coming year.


If you feel like you could be getting more out of your office space then you've come to the right place! We offer a complimentary office design and space planning service that could help you to create a working environment where your employees can flourish and prosper. Get in touch below to find out more.



If you liked this feature you may also like:




Post by Adam Bissmire-Mullen

Thank you for choosing to contact the SEC Group. Please complete the form below and we will endeavour to respond the same working day.

Please read our Privacy Notice and Cookie Policy to find out how we will process and use your data.

Before you go...why not take a look at some of our latest interiors projects