The inspiration of the Adaptable Meeting Room by Optima [BLOG]

The inspiration of the Adaptable Meeting Room by Optima [BLOG]

A blog by Optima (from FIS)...

Optima has created a new R&D unit at its UK manufacturing facility dedicated to the Adaptable Meeting Room (AMR). After more than three years in development, the Optima Adaptable Meeting Room (AMR) is Optima’s solution to modern office design.

This freestanding office is available in a range of sizes and it can be customised to meet all your design needs. As the office environment continues to change, companies are looking for new and interesting ways to design their office, whilst ensuring the safety of their workers. Here Allan Wood, Managing Director of Optima Major Works discusses the inspiration behind Optima’s Adaptable Meeting Rooms:

What was the inspiration for the AMR?

About three years ago, Jon Penney the Sales Director was delivering a number of presentations to architectural practices. Afterwards, clients would often ask about what new and upcoming products were in development. Following one presentation, with a large multidisciplinary practice in London, someone asked “have you thought about building pods?". At the time we didn’t know too much about them or what they really were. However, we were told that the pods on the market were predominately manufactured by furniture companies. One common issue with these pods was they did not have the same build quality as an office. As a furniture offering, they weren’t very robust, and they were not as nice to occupy as a standard office.

The feedback received was that they were only okay to sit in for short periods of time. But these furniture pods were not offering what a normal office fit-out would. We need to be offering staff a working area that is fit for purpose. It needs the acoustic integrity you expect from our fit-outs, with the structural stability of our glass partitions. You could put a roof on it and when you sat inside you could deal with air change and lighting. The AMR offers a space where people can work comfortably for long periods of time. This meant we had a lot to learn about areas that were not our strengths. However, the idea was that our clients wanted something that mimicked what we already do, but in one modular product.

We decided very early on that although the market was using the term “pod”, that was not what the industry was asking of us and that certainly was not what we do. Therefore, we have always called our systems “meeting rooms” because that’s what we were creating. We were asked to bring something to the market that utilised our expertise in glass partitions and that is how the AMR was born.

What do our clients want?

We are fortunate enough to work with some blue chip organisations and what we’ve discovered during the pandemic is that the office environment has changed. We’re all very concerned about how we are going to help our staff return to the office safely, and what that’s going to look like. Our clients tell us that whereas the office used to almost be a home from home, people are now returning to the office to collaborate with their colleagues. The Adaptable Meeting Room does not just provide a standard 3×3 meeting room. You can add wings and additional panels to create collaborative spaces inside and out. The AMR encourages a wide variety of working styles and this has allowed us to deliver several bespoke projects. For one large American search engine provider, we gave a presentation during the pandemic outside of the AMR. This meant we could utilise the surrounding space whilst allowing us to maintain social distancing.

Looking more short term

Other clients are looking at occupying an office space for a short period of two to five years and they don’t want to invest in a full fit-out. This is where the AMR really comes into its own. We can deliver it to site, it’s plug and play, and provides everything the user needs for a healthy, comfortable workspace. As a result, we can get companies up and mobilised very quickly and into spaces that would have previously needed a full commercial fit-out. Therefore, we are delivering our AMR’s into these spaces, and in a couple of days, you have a whole fit-out and everything you could possibly need in a meeting room or office. Also, because the AMR is fully demountable it can be put up, taken down, or relocated quickly, meaning it can adapt with a business’s needs. One unique design feature of the AMR is you can join multiple systems together. Corner to corner or by sharing cross walls, the AMR allows you to create intricate inner office neighbourhoods with unlimited design potential.

Designing the AMR

When we meet with architects, specifiers, or end users, our goal is always to establish their wants and needs first. We then take their ideas and work to meet their bespoke requirements. This has even led to the creation of completely new product lines to satisfy the needs of our clients. Therefore, we decided early on that we had to create the AMR in the same way. This means we can continue to offer complete design freedom to our clients. We can design the AMR to fit a budget, acoustic performance, or any specification that they need.

The future of the AMR

Now that we have AMR’s going out to site, we are happy to say that our clients absolutely love them. The office environment is always changing, and the pandemic has only accelerated this change. Therefore, we have now introduced features that focus on hygiene. Working alongside Future Designs and other external companies we have introduced a number of new features to the AMR. It can now integrate antimicrobial technology that provides protection against harmful, bacteria and viruses. Clients can also install anti-bacterial lighting removing up to 99% of all airborne bacteria within the AMR. You can set this impressive lighting system to clean the AMR after every use providing regular deep cleaning. The great thing about the AMR is that it is a flexible system so it is easily customisable and can adapt to the changing needs of the user.

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Finishes & Interiors Sector

Finishes & Interiors Sector

FIS (Finishes and Interiors Sector) is the representative body for the finishes and interiors sector where 11% of UK construction spend is on fit-outs. We have over 500 members drawn from contractors, manufacturers and distributors of ceilings, steel...
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