BOOK REVIEW: Planning Office Spaces: A Practical Guide for Managers and Designers

When I first received my copy of Planning Office Spaces: a practical guide for managers and designers, the packaging it came in couldn’t have come off more quickly. Upon laying eyes on the cover, a colorful design with illustrations of different office layouts, I decided that this book was not going to be your average ‘grumpy’ office design book.

The book itself is an easy enough read, though most likely, people reading this book wouldn’t really be reading for reading’s sake, but rather to gain valuable information about designing offices. Toward this goal, the book excels.

Written by Juriaan van Meel, Yuri Martens, and Hermen Jan van Ree, the intention of the book is not to simply to tell you what your office should look like. A fact that I appreciated very much. The main goal of the book is to help readers make right choices in office design by providing many different ideas, inspiration, and guidelines they need, but not to peddle any particular concept.

In order to move its readers in the right direction, the book describes the ins and outs of every possible office environment from Work Spaces and Meeting Spaces to Support Spaces. The chapter on Work Spaces, for instance, is sub-divided into several sections: Open Office, Team Space, Cubicle, Private Office, Shared Office, Team Room, Study Booth, Work Lounge, and Touch Down. Here is a sample:

As you can see, there are inspiring images of each type of space with people working in it for visual reference.  Listed at the bottom of each page are several advantages and disadvantages that have been found through research and observation.  Alongside those are important considerations and questions for each space that will help take the guesswork out of office design  By asking these questions, the authors have allowed you to examine each type of space thoughtfully and then choose the ones that suit your particular need. Each office environment are different entities and no approach will work perfectly across the board.

This book is clearly a great tool to add to to any office design catalog and definitely a must for anyone looking to begin an an office design project.  the book is currently priced at around $16.00 on Amazon, which is a wonderful bargain considering the amount of information and definition it gave to the pictures I’ve been ogling for years.