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Technical environment

Technical environment

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Flexible lighting for effective co-working: how to create shared workspaces that adapt to the diverse needs of multiple users

Lüdenscheid, September 2021. Co-working is the biggest workplace trend of the 21st century, but as the market becomes increasingly competitive, co-working spaces need to work harder than ever to create working environments that are attractive and effective. Particularly now, in the aftermath of the pandemic, they must offer users more flexibility and comfort than working from home, and more opportunities for collaboration than the traditional office. Intelligent lighting systems are key to bringing adaptability to co-working. ERCO offers a range of solutions for creating shared workplaces that can be used in a multitude of different ways.

Between 2012 and 2020, the number of co-working spaces worldwide rose from 2,000 to 26,000, according to Statista. With the rise of mobile devices, which has fuelled a global trend for remote working, co-working has become a global phenomenon. These flexible workspaces don’t only attract self-employed freelancers; they are also used by emerging start-ups and small businesses looking to benefit from a collaborative, creative office culture. And while the Covid-19 pandemic initially led to a decline in demand for co-working, workplace operators are now reporting a huge spike in demand, particularly as more companies are adopting flexible working policies that allow their staff to work in other locations beside the main HQ.

Offering flexibility and control

The most successful co-working spaces are able to offer their users two things. The first is flexibility; spaces need to be agile enough to enable focus work and group cooperation, as well as more informal discussions over coffee. The second is a sense of ownership; users need to feel in control of their surroundings and empowered to change things as they need to. Furniture can help to achieve both of these aims. With a variety of seating options, adaptable partitions and varied meeting spaces, co-working spaces can take on a range of different moods and configurations. However, changeable furniture layouts mean that the lighting must also be fully adaptable. ERCO downlights for track offer the perfect solution. The luminaires sit in a track rather than being rigidly mounted to the ceiling, so if the arrangement of furniture changes, they can be repositioned without tools in just a few simple steps. Designers can choose between oval wide flood and extra wide flood light distributions: The axially symmetrical oval wide flood distribution can be optimally aligned with the arrangement of workstations, while the rotationally symmetrical extra wide flood distribution ensures good uniformity even with generous, economical luminaire spacing.

Jilly track downlights are among the most versatile in the ERCO collection, designed to adapt to any environment. Instead of creating a blanket light across an entire space, lighting designers can realise optimal and efficient concepts that provide light only in those areas where it is needed. ERCO track downlights offer high visual comfort while providing energy savings. The system also offers maximum flexibility in terms of smart control. Different light scenes can be set up for various types of work activity, and light can be easily switched and dimmed with a smartphone or tablet via Casambi Bluetooth. The lighting setup can also integrate sensors to detect daylight and motion, and react accordingly.

Jilly features as part of the smart lighting system for CORE, a new co-working venue in Oldenburg, Germany, which offers a diverse mix of spaces for work and collaboration. Subtle changes in lighting between different zones – for instance, a switch from track lights to spotlights in communal areas like the coffee shop or reception desks – helps to subtly create different moods. The multilayered design also incorporates a variety of desk clusters, meeting spaces and quiet areas, not to mention the market hall at the building’s entrance, showing how adaptable lighting can enable unlimited possibilities.
The concept of flexible working is pushed even further by Fabege, one of Sweden's largest property companies, with its concept of “work away from work”. With four office locations spread across Stockholm, the company has created a co-working-style setup that allows their employees and those of their tenants to choose where they work. Lighting is equally innovative; thanks to a system that also includes Jilly pendants and Parscan spotlights, it was possible to create a dynamic environment reminiscent of cosy cafés, but which is still highly effective for working.

How to plan flexible office environments:

Design for wellbeing

Wellbeing is an equally important consideration in co-working. Spaces need to make their users feel comfortable, and that goes beyond the physical comforts offered by furniture. In addition to its track downlights, ERCO offers another solution with its recessed Human Centric Lighting downlight system, Iku, which uses a variety of light colours, tunable white, wattages and distributions for a positive biological effect and to support the circadian rhythm. Designed specifically for workplaces, Iku Work downlights integrate features such as good glare control, dimming capability to allow the luminaires to subtly adapt to different visual tasks. They feature perfect dimming behaviour down to 0.1% and flicker-free light, an essential for disturbance-free video calls.

Looking for more practical knowledge and planning strategies for your next HCL project? Download the ERCO Human Centric Lighting Whitepaper:

Project data

Project: Fabege, Stockholm / Sweden
Photography: Gavriil Papadiotis, London / Great Britain

Project: CORE, Oldenburg / Germany
Photography: Lukas Palik, Düsseldorf / Germany

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About ERCO

The ERCO Light Factory in the German town of Lüdenscheid is a leading international specialist in architectural lighting using LED technology. The family business, founded in 1934, now operates as a global player with independent sales organisations and partners in 55 countries worldwide. Since 2015, ERCO’s portfolio has been 100% LED. With this in mind, ERCO in Lüdenscheid develops, designs and produces digital luminaires with focus on photometrics, electronics and design. Working closely with architects, lighting designers and engineers, ERCO develops lighting tools used primarily for applications in the following fields: Work and Culture, Community and Public/Outdoor, Contemplation, Living, Shop and Hospitality. ERCO understands digital light as the fourth dimension of architecture – providing highly precise and efficient lighting solutions to support creative designers in turning their visions into reality.

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