Manuel Navarro on Conjuring the Workplace of 2022 and Beyond

Manuel Navarro on Conjuring the Workplace of 2022 and Beyond


This week’s DMTV Milkshake guest is workplace interiors expert Manuel Navarro, design director and a principal of the Austin office of IA Interior Architects.

For this week’s Milkshake, we asked Manny to pull out his crystal ball – specifically, a sizable wedge of selenite – and look to the near-term future: Will the office of 2022 look like the office of 2019 – or something else entirely? “The open office workplace is really going to have to become much more flexible and agile than it ever was before,” Navarro says. “Typically we weren’t designing open-office workspaces that could accommodate a ton of virtual collaboration and online calls. At least in the short term, [that will mean] creating spaces that are good with acoustics. Great lighting for when you’re on camera, so you don’t look like crap. And the equity within the experience of [some] people being in the office and [others] being at home is going to be a very difficult thing to resolve. We need to create spaces that people really want to come to every single day.”



Also in this Milkshake: Manny adds his favorite spaces to our global bucket lists, leading off with Houston’s Menil Collection, designed by Renzo Piano. “It’s a private collection of art, but the way that [Piano] treated the ceiling creates this amazing light coming into the space,” he says. “The way he stained the pine floors allows you to see how the people circulate through the space – so as people go through the studio space and all the galleries, you see the wear and tear of the floor, which is an interesting aspect of seeing how people occupy space. And there’s another part of the museum that was built later on – and that place is just pure magic.”

Tune in for the rest of his picks – including a must-visit SoCal hotel – and why he thinks 2022 will offer a “little laboratory” for wherever we’re headed with our collaborative spaces.

Diana Ostrom, who has written for Wallpaper, Interior Design, ID, The Wall Street Journal, and other outlets, is also the author of Faraway Places, a newsletter about travel.

Milkshake, DMTV (Design Milk TV)’s first regular series, shakes up the traditional interview format by asking designers, creatives, educators and industry professionals to select interview questions at random from their favorite bowl or vessel. During their candid discussions, you’ll not only gain a peek into their personal homeware collections, but also valuable insights into their work, life and passions.



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