Office Design Throughout the Decades: The 1980’s
Date: August 6, 2020
Category: Featured Trend

The 80’s is often referred to as the decade of decadence, and for good reason. Not only did this decade usher in hip-hop, big hair, Metallica, and Reagan-era politics, but it also brought a more global focus to culture and community. Post-Vietnam War sentiments confirmed the interconnectedness of the world and gave rise to large, multi-national companies. This decade saw significant changes in political, social, and technological landscapes, all of which directly influenced office design trends. Here’s how.

Technology

The 80’s ushered in innovative machinery, advanced communication techniques, and state-of-the-art information processing that reshaped the technological landscape. The rise of Microsoft, IBM, and Apple  paved the way for machines to become part of daily office design. The PC became increasingly popular and affordable, landing a spot on the desks of a variety of office departments, from the C-suite to reception.

Furniture

With the introduction of new technology and hardware came the need to have spaces for this larger machinery. Desks, workspaces, and even offices expanded to house this newly-required equipment. Workstations became heavier and more expansive, including storage drawers, built-in filing cabinets, and keyboard trays. The desk’s design became less oriented to daily tasks and more centrally focused around the new technology rapidly taking over the workplace.

Bold, Futuristic Aesthetic

Because of technology’s new-found foothold in 80’s offices, design began to shift to harmonize with the machines. Futuristic, sharp designs that incorporated glass, metal, and other industrial materials took center-stage, fading out the earth tones and whimsical patterns of the 70’s. Clean lines were ever-present in office furniture. Desks, filing cabinets, chairs, and conference room tables had hard edges, incorporated bold colors, and underscored form over function.

Workplaces were design-forward and incorporated a progressive aesthetic when possible. Light fixtures became novel statement pieces made of metal and glass. Colorful accents popped against dramatic, hard furnishings and concrete columns were no longer concealed, but highlighted as focal points amongst the corporate office space. The 80’s aesthetic was sharp, dramatic, tech-focused, and forward-thinking.

Employee-Centric

Inspired by the 60’s and 70’s eras of love and political change was the 80’s company culture. Decentralization of corporate structures and internal office design gained popularity. C-suite offices became less common and many employees were afforded their own cubicle to even the playing field.

In addition to this shift in power, companies began adopting the notion of putting their employees first. Middle management took on a more active role in the supervision of people and activities, while entry-level employees were given a voice and encouraged to take ownership in the company’s forward progress.

Environments Denver focuses on providing cutting-edge and visually pleasing furniture that transforms the standard workplace into an inviting and hospitable space. We offer sustainable solutions to foster a greener planet and our designers work with you every step of the way, ensuring we best capture your vision for your ideal office interior design. Contact us today to learn more.