In order for businesses to succeed in the future, companies need to invest in design that encourages interaction, said Gerard Evenden, Head of Studio at UK architecture firm Foster + Partners.
The architecture practice, which recently established a regional office in Dubai Design District, is hosting its first exhibition in Dubai, showcasing a global portfolio of projects that reflect on sustainable architecture and human-centric design.
The public realm is a prominent aspect of the firm's work, putting people's needs and behaviours at the centre of its projects. The firm currently holds staff who are in charge of studing human behavior. Evenden belives human behaviour will determine a successful business in the future, and become the biggest challenge for business owners.
"I think we are at an interesting time for businesses in that in the future, your problem as somebody who is trying to run a business will be getting people to come to work. Because we can all work off our mobile devices. We can work from home, we can have a video conference from somewhere else in the world.
So to make a successful business you have to make people interact and I tell you, if you carry on with the current norm and floor plate and the way in which interaction is made difficult and so on, you’re not going to be a successful business in the future," he told Commercial Interior Design.
He added the solution is for businesses to invest in design that creates a home-environment which encourages interaction and in turn increases productivity.
"Yes there is a challenge about energy, yes there is a challenge about sustainability, and saving the planet and so on- but there is also the challenge for human beings and the enjoyment of life," he said.
These shifts in human behaviour will also influence the future of retail, he explained, where stores will more rapidly develop into spaces for experience rather than commerce.
"If you look at the new Apple stores, it’s more about what's outside the store than inside the store because you don’t go to the store to buy your phone - you can do that on the internet. You go to learn, or you go for the experience. And for the people who work there, the enjoyment is massively better. The interaction with the public is better," he said.
He continued: "Retail is a social activity now for people who go shopping. People go shopping to socialise but they don’t need to take goods with them anymore. Retail is actually very important from a social aspect, from a place aspect, and an entertainment aspect. And as we go forward with design, there is a lot of challenges about human behaviour hence why we have staff in the office now who study human behaviour. Because if you want to be successful, you have to understand that."