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Welcome to 2020 | Embracing the Future (Tense)

It’s the year 2020, so when it comes to planning for the future, there is no time like the present.

Now that we officially live in the future, I find myself comparing ‘what is’ to what I thought it would be. We don’t have real food replicators or flying cars (I’ve made my peace with that), but everything is remote controlled, our phones are our bankcards, and our houses talk to us.

Not so far from the worlds painted by Kubrick, Star Trek, even The Jetsons. If this is what we’ve been waiting for, I’m into it.

Trying to envision what’s to come is tricky. Many industries rely on the work of futurists, those people who study the future and make predictions based on current trends. As we all become more comfortable with planning for the unknown, we at burkeMICHAEL+ find ourselves behaving as futurists, too. Clients are asking for environments that are perfect today, and that will still work when everything changes. Seems like a steep ask, right?

Actually, it’s not. Not only is it possible, it’s critical.

Professional design sees into the future by definition. Designers are trained to separate good ideas from trends, to define criteria and apply design principals that last. We often look to the past for this information; the time-tested rules of symmetry, and proportion, the power of color theory, and the modern behavioral science behind workflow and floorplans: Through the study of habits, time tracking, and movement pattern analysis, we can predict what actions people take at work, as well as when and why.

Providing a place where everyone does their best work is every employer’s number one job. Design and installation of workspaces are investments, and big decision for the future can be daunting. No one likes making mistakes. And how do we know what will be true in a year, let alone five?

At burkeMICHAEL+, we help you see the future. To see your company, workforce and physical environments take shape, flex and frame the next step. Our manufacturers get it; today, products are developed not just for sustainability in use and design, but for adaptability. But how do we get you there?

We talk. Here are three important questions we ask when planning for the future:

  • Where are you today? Does your environment reflect business priorities, and support worker needs and company culture?

  • What’s missing right now? What will happen if it isn’t addressed? What areas deserve or demand immediate attention?

  • What‘s on deck in a year? Are you changing business offerings? Will your workforce expand, consolidate, or move? What else might be different in the next three, or five years?

These questions can feel daunting, but you are not in this alone. We open the conversation, and provide space to unload. Our job at burkeMICHAEL+ is to reflect your answers in the form of a strategy, delivering solutions to make solid decisions now while keeping options open for later.

What results are highly adaptable physical environments that demonstrate sustained usefulness- from flexible workstation set ups, demountable walls, and movable tech mixing to integrated palettes in fabric and finish. The space you design for today can and will work tomorrow. Everything is possible, and it’s about time.

The future may seem murky even now, but we know where the light switch is. Give us a call- it’s bright in here.

Mary Frances





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