Partner Content

Elevating Workstyles Q&A

London, UK

Following flexible workspace provider Fora's merge with TOG, new design director Guy Smith talks about cultivating the ideal office environment

Liberty House, designed by SODA

DESIGN ANTHOLOGY UK: Tell us about Fora’s vision and your goals as its new Design Director.

Guy Smith: The brand’s mission is to elevate every workstyle to ensure that people can really get the best out of how they work, however they work. 

For me, this means digging deeper. Understanding how and when people want to focus, collaborate or recharge is crucial. Some people need a pure white anechoic chamber with zero distraction to concentrate on work, but I will happily sit in the middle of a crowded coffee shop. We acknowledge that everyone is different, and our spaces aim to both reflect and embrace those individual needs. It’s about building out the workplace environment from the interactions we’re fostering to create a space that redefines your experience at work.

D/A: What do you consider to be good design when it comes to creating an effective, flexible working environment?

GS: In an ideal world, people using our spaces won’t be aware that there is lots of thinking going into everything around them – they will just know whatever it is they do, works. It’s all about dealing with the invisible, and if we ace it no one will ever notice the pre-planning. That’s the mark of success.

Fora's new Design Director, Guy Smith
The Black and White Building, with interiors by Daytrip Studio

D/A: How does a Fora workspace differ from a typical day-to-day office?

GS: There’s a particular kind of furniture language that seems to exist in the world of the corporate office: you never see those pieces in a boutique hotel or a lovely home.

We’re the opposite. If you went to ask your workforce to create a moodboard of places where they actually want to spend time, that’s far more in tune with Fora’s place in the world.

D/A: Can you tell us about Fora’s next London launch, The Jellicoe in King’s Cross?

GS: Some buildings, when you step across the threshold, you know what the rest of the space is going to be. But what we’re trying to innovate looking onward is a much broader constellation of spaces, interactions, and changes in tempo and pace.

For example, at The Jellicoe, there’s an events space on the top floor and it has tremendous views across the city. A real moment can be captured up there.

Fora meeting room

D/A: What do you see in Fora’s future?

GS: We have to ask ourselves how we can design buildings now that are adaptable enough to evolve and remain continually flexible in their future functionality. As people continue to work in different ways, too, Fora will concurrently aim to maintain a nurturing role in supporting all possible futures.