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Our new project pipeline across the UK and US is indicative of three key design drivers shaping the year ahead and beyond.

NEW MARKETS, NEW OPPORTUNITIES

Forged by a generational shift in lifestyle and accelerated by a collective realignment of priorities during the pandemic, new ways of working are opening the door for fresh development opportunities in exciting locations.

In the US, locations such as Miami, Denver and Austin are growing in popularity with new audiences, inspired by an entrepreneurial spirit and influx of tech companies. In Denver, our project at 1700 Broadway will function as a modern campus peppered with "wow" moments and amenities – from the Spanish Steps in the public-facing atrium to state-of-the-art wellness facilities that play into the active lifestyles of Coloradans.

In 2022, the UK will experience a similar flight to quality and innovation as a means of showcasing differentiation. Areas outside of zones 1 & 2 are attracting a younger generation seeking a balanced lifestyle without the need for a daily commute.

There is a huge opportunity to create well-differentiated projects in these markets. Already, we're working on giving well-placed buildings elevated, curated design features in these sought-after areas, appealing to a flex-working young market creating these new urban hubs.”

NEXT-GENERATION AMENITIES

The key to attracting these groups lies in designing something truly outstanding: think higher quality architecture, a variety of thoughtfully-considered amenities that mirror the mindset and lifestyles of users, and exceptional moments that generate excitement to make these locations even more desirable.

The most forward-thinking projects have long outgrown gimmicks. Today, amenities can’t merely be a tick-box exercise (standard gym, conference room and everything you’ve seen before)– they must be considered, purposeful and highly tailored to owner, tenant, guest and company audiences.

The challenge is to create amenities that are both flexible and reflective of the character of the people within the building. As the influence of hospitality continues to grow across every asset class, we're anticipating a reimagining of the arrival sequence or lobby. In the same vein, strategic, experience-centric design will play out through smaller workout pods made for individual, app-based exercise. Upgraded bike rooms and elevated office storage spaces will also feature, along with content creation studios for video and podcast production.

Significantly, the next generation of amenities will not all be tech-focused. Emerging research about the link between digital exposure, mental health and creativity means we’ll be considering introvert and extrovert tenant profiles to reimagine spaces that can foster creativity without relying on the buzzy surrounds of technology.

This year, we’ll be working with forward-thinking companies taking more space and providing their own hospitality-influenced amenities and social spaces as part of their fit-out. This requires much more than flashy details and ping pong tables: it needs an in-depth understanding of personality types and user profiles.”

SUSTAINABILITY GOES FURTHER

A year ago, Conscious Design was already playing a significant part in our process. In 2022, demand from investors, developers and tenants will evolve, requiring designers to deliver a seamless blend of creativity, experience and responsibility – everywhere from residential projects to new workplace and wellness-focused spaces.

An essential part of our EXCD process has long been to design for the greater good. This year, we're taking our cue from the fashion industry and pushing sustainability through materiality by sourcing natural, non-toxic and third-party certified organic materials wherever possible. Fundamentally, the materials we're selecting have a considered purpose that contributes something unique to comfort and durability while narrating a story that feels relevant to the eco-aware tenants of today.

Pinatex, an innovative natural textile that’s made from waste pineapple leaf fibre and colored using GOTS-certified pigments, is already used by fashion brands such as H&M, Sezane, Paul Smith and Delaunay. Applied to upholstery, it lends a piece strength, durability and water resistance.

Likewise, TENCEL fibers are extracted from sustainably grown wood using a unique closed-loop system that recovers and reuses solvents to minimize the environmental impact of production and provide a more conscious approach to upholstery. REPREVE fibers, on the other hand, are manufactured from 100% recycled materials, namely plastic bottles and post-consumer materials.

Cushions may be filled with a natural latex rubber; furniture springs can be made from highly-durable, mildew-resistant and biodegradable recycled steel and hemp twine. Frames are now being made from lightweight but eco-conscious bamboo, while finishes play out through recycled brass.

All in all, 2022 is shaping up to be an exciting year.

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