LOS ANGELES—Residential designs are beginning to inform officedesign, according to Patricia Rhee, a principal atEhrlich Architects, which, along with WareMalcomb, is responsible for the design of theelevon creative office campus.For the unfamiliar, elevon, which is currently under development in El Segundo, CA, is afor-sale mixed-use office complex with a designcertainly fits into this trend. The 46.5-acre, 15-building campusboasts 210,000 square feet of communal and indoor-outdoor spacesthroughout—which likens the campus to a neighborhood more than awork environment. To better understand the emerging design trendsin the office space and why people are gravitating toward workenvironments with a residential atmosphere, we sat down with Rheefor an exclusive interview. Here is what we found out:

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GlobeSt.com: What are the major office design trendsyou are seeing right now?

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Patricia Rhee: People want to be partof a neighborhood/community, even at work. We are focused on thecomforts of home being tangible and readily available in the workenvironment. Flexibility that accommodates different ways ofworking and the rapid growth (and shrinking) of companies is key,along with the flexibility to convert desk space into meeting spaceand vice versa. This means communal, ad hoc collaborativespaces—where people can run into others that aren't necessarilyfrom the same company—but especially outdoor spaces. Amenitiestoday go beyond just a café. Elevon not only has the ubiquitousgood coffee, but outdoor living room, bocci ball courts, on-siteretail, dining and services and a dog park.

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GlobeSt.com: The elevon project is especiallyinteresting because it offers customizable, for-sale units. Why doyou think companies want to own their own office space versusrent?

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Rhee: Tenants want to buy a qualityproperty and make interior investments in their own space, not justtemporarily fitting out a space. Ownership also offers a loweroccupancy cost with today's historically low interest rates and thecontinued value appreciation of premium real estate. It alsoprovides control over building systems if the user doesn't fit the8-6 schedule of traditional office space. Ownership providesgreater flexibility for growing or contracting tenants: It is mucheasier for an owner to lease space or sell their building than tosublease space in the middle of a lease term. And of course thereare the tax benefits of ownership.

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GlobeSt.com: These trends recall more personalspaces. How do trends in residential design affect officedesign?

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Rhee: A common theme in our customhomes is complete openness to the yard and extension of the livingspace outdoors. People living and working in Southern Californiaexpect this same connection to the outdoors in their workenvironment. The glass roll-up door in our own office gets openednearly every day of the year, and the adjacent patio is the mostmulti-functional space in the office: It's a lunchroom, meetingroom, private phone room, break space and the site of our pechakuchas, summer barbecues and events.

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GlobeSt.com: The spaces at elevon seem to have beencreated with optimum flexibility in mind. Why is it important foroffice tenants to have this amount for flexibility in their officespace?

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Rhee: The way people work isconstantly evolving, keeping pace with technological changes.Flexibility in the use of the building, indoor and outdoor spacesneeds to accommodate this.

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GlobeSt.com: Although popular, these are stillrelatively new trends. How do you see this office space evolving,and are these design details "trends" or are they here tostay?

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Rhee: As technology evolves so willthe way people work. If you have an open flexible plan for the workenvironment, that goes a long way.

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.