What’s the Forecast?

Gensler’s 2015 Design Forecast paints an exciting future for architects and designers.  A number of trends have been identified that cross into many different realms for design and areas of interest.  These trends include topics such as urbanization, workplace, technology, resilience, development, and globalization.

Urbanization: 21st Century cities so to speak, where space will be more impactful, affordable, efficient.  This will be a huge move in urban development suited to the lifestyles of the 21st Century user.

Workplace: This involves a shift in thinking of what work is or how we do work as social media and other business-related networks draw to the forefront.  Changes in workplace will deal with how teams connect, office real estate and how space lends to new patterns and communication.

Technology: Technology continues to leap ahead, as technology becomes more integrated, beyond just the appearance of gadgets, but how they affect and transform daily life.

Resilience: Strength and perseverance against problems and difficulties, from wetlands to watersheds, to cities, and arid climates, resilience is key to a high quality of life.

Development: Mixed Use appears in two forms, high-density ultra-urban and lower density outlets detached from a central “downtown” area.  The first is served by easy-access transit, and bustling with activity, while the latter is similar, but with a lower level of population.  This strategy provides interest by promoting difference.

Globalization: This consists of demographics, both in the United States and around the World.  Globalization is understanding who the target audience is, and who will be spending the money on design.

This Forecast not only defines major trends within the industry, but also lays out various arenas in which these trends are occurring.  A few of the ones that I found interesting include: consumer products, real estate owners & managers, and education and culture.

Consumer Products: For Consumer Products the focus is the brand, and exuding the brand that they produce.  However, a change in thought is occurring, shifting the focus of the brand to the lifestyles of their consumer’s and how their product adds to that person’s lifestyle.  Therefore, their space emanates or builds off of the habits and aspects of the consumer.

Real Estate Owners & Managers: The key for this branch is keeping life relevant.  Owners and Managers must maximize and diversify the space they have to make it appealing to future tenants.  Oftentimes this means renovating existing space, and these people are willing to do such.

Education & Culture: Everyone is striving to maximize or better use their real estate.  This means taking the goals and focus of education, learning throughout a life-time, and pushing it further.  Most of the time this means making learning easy or accessible, allowing people easier access to buildings and environments that are flexible and engaging.

Overall, this article addresses a myriad of arenas that design effects, and how those will be changing in the near future.  Recent experiences have led me to become interested in the areas that appealed to me, and I find the trends and some of the solutions I have seen to problems addressed or user desires is rather interesting.  In regards to consumer products, I have seen many companies tailor their spaces to help influence what they design.  For instance, REI, their brand is strong and highly fits with the outdoor theme of the products they sell.  Living in the city, I see mixed use all of the time, and it is still strange to me to see in one high-rise building the street-level populated by convenience stores, outlet shops, boutiques, and restaurants, while the rest of the building is full of office space, gyms, apartments, and movie theaters.  It is vital for consumers to be near to the spaces that supply what they need to live life, and therefore key for realtors and managers to maximize the use of their space and make it appealing to the users.  Finally, Humphries Poli, the firm that I work at specializes in education and cultural centers, especially libraries.  Their solution to the new generation often involves more participation than the traditional education system or library.  Most of the space in their libraries are now occupied by active learning environments or “MakerSpaces” such as music production, 3D printing, sewing, art classrooms, digital rooms, and recording studios.  The scene of design is changing and connections are growing, providing room for design to make an impact on the future of the way we live life.

Gensler. (2015, March 1). Design Forecast 2015: Top Trends Shaping Design. Design Forecast: 2015, 1-38.





2 thoughts on “What’s the Forecast?

  1. This was a very interesting look into what Gensler is foreseeing. It is good that you are seeing this information exhibited in you internship experience. It will be interesting to see if what you see now continues after you have graduated and reenter the work place. I also found it very interesting that they saw resilience as being very important. You would think that adaptability would be pushed more as our culture in design becomes more and more ecologically aware. Resilience, while a key part of humanity, gives the impression that we are less likely to work with what is around us even if that was not the authors intent.


  2. It is always nice to hear how someone outside of the Gensler world interprets these trends or finds them useful :-). I think every year there is more and more cross-over between trends as we see consumer products moving to the world of hospitality and technology moving full force into real estate and almost every other sector. I thought it was really interesting to read about what your firm is beginning to see in library spaces! I know there is a lot of discussion about how these spaces remain viable and the uses you mentioned make access to technology very accessible! I also think we tend to look at Mixed-use at a large scale movement, but as the report states, it can be at a lower density scale. Think of the areas around HyVee in Manhattan, or the new development by the Discovery Center, or even Aggieville where some of the mixing of uses has happened naturally for years. The key to this mix of uses is creating a more accessible, walkable neighborhood/district that is activated at the street level beyond just standard business hours.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s