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The Office of the Future — Shaping a More Human Experience

October 29, 2021



The Office of the Future — Shaping a More Human Experience

The Office of the Future — Shaping a More Human Experience

Matthias Hollwich, Founder of HKWN Architecture, has long focused on designing buildings that foster human connection and generate positive emotions and memories. He describes his vision for the office of the future designed to create a more human experience, recognizing the cadence of workers’ emotions, tasks, and other needs during the course of their workdays. Matthias explains how these offices will lure people back and support positive and productive experiences and interactions.


[2:55] Matthias did not originally anticipate being an architect.

[05:00] One of Matthias’ high school teachers unwittingly set him on the path to New York.

[8:00] Why Rem Koolhaas is such an inspirational architect for Matthias.

[10:48] Matthias wanted to understand how buildings made people feel.

[13:20] Taking part in a major competition Matthias’ team’s submission was a surprise last minute combination of ideas.

[15:02] How people connected emotionally with ‘Wendy’ their winning submission.

[16:03] Memories are generated by a combination of familiarity, emotions, and novelty.

[18:22] Architects were first to recognize that we need more than just cubicles and conference rooms at the office.

[20:07] How can we lure people back to the office? We don’t want to force them back.

[21:48] For Matthias, the future office environment “resorting” comes from three mega trends: hub and spoke, hoteling, and longevity.

[23:45] Matthias just won a competition to create the first ever “work resort’ in the world and explains the goal.

[26:22] Typical resorts create experiences. What would the work resort experience be like?

[29:38] How the economics can make creating a work resort effective and affordable.

[32:10] Matthias describes the buildings with personalities that visitors can interact with at the upcoming exhibition in Berlin.

[34:31] People have agency in shaping their living and working environments.

[36:35] Why did Matthias write a book about living smarter as we get older?

[37:55] Matthias recommends visiting an assisted living facility or a nursing home for a day.

[40:00] How do you design buildings with an older person in mind?

[42:15] At each age milestone, do a review of where and how you live and look ahead. How will your environment suit your needs in the future?

[47:45] IMMEDIATE ACTION TIP: Walk around your local environment, single out a building and consider what you like about it and how you would change it. You are the user, you are in charge!


“We did not create architecture, we created memories. And that was for me the big paradigm change.”

“If you can create something so emotional that people connect to, it's magic that we can give to people. Suddenly they don't respond to that object anymore, it has a personality.”

“When emotions are involved in your experience, it goes from short-term memory into the long-term memory.”

“Now we can actually design buildings that really make it attractive for people to come there and have an incredible experience, which is about the corporate culture, the community and the experiences.”

“Shape Tomorrow really is an invitation to interact with us as architects, so that people realize they have a lot of power in shaping their own environments.”

“You have to look through the lens of older people, to be able to design things [for them]. So you have to really put yourself into the shoes of an older person.”

“As the user, you're in charge, and you have the right to live in a city that serves you well.”

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