Senior Neha Pathare, Interior Design, B.F.A. dreamed of a workspace that provided more than just a place to work – she imagined a space in which start-up companies, small business owners, and entrepreneurs (like herself) could work comfortably in a community-like setting that thrives on a sense of belonging.
Neha’s thesis project titled, Con Nex employs design solutions to provide real estate property as a ‘service’ and provides an example of a co-working environment that replaces the traditional work solution with a virtual studio environment.
“I want to provide a space that doesn’t conform with the typical nine-to-five office space or the distractions we usually encounter while working from home,” Neha said.
The traditional office working space is one we are all familiar with – the gray or beige small, cube-like spaces that partition us from our colleagues. The cubes are usually set in the midst of a huge office spaces where artificial light casts a drab dull hue, temperature settings are one of two extremes, and there is very little interaction with our colleagues except hearing them punch keys on their computers or inadvertently listening to their phone conversations.
However, working from home provides challenges as well. While most may feel as though they accomplish more because they avoid battling traffic, many are distracted by errands or the temptation of turning on the television. Plus, Neha pointed out; one is isolated from organic interaction with colleagues.
In the last decade, one-third of the US workforce has moved toward the concept of a shared working space or “co-working spaces.” Neha adopted the co-working space idea and tailored it to her own demographic (entrepreneurs and small business owners). She described her project as a “construction design industry nexus that is more than an appropriation of spaces.”
“I want to propose an environment that is more fluid to the way we now live our lives – where we are comfortable but invigorated to work. I am providing a space that is designed specifically for the end user to work at their optimum.”
Neha’s design caters to the human and interior environmental factors, like daylight consideration, temperature control, noise control, acoustics and ergonomic seating options. At the end of the day, the productivity of the end user relies on their work structure. Most importantly, the Con Nex project highlights real-estate properties that are accessible via public transportation.
The Con Nex project offers a month-to-month leasing solution with a virtual office set up, and an in-house material library that individuals can create collaborative nodes and moments of opportunity and innovation.
“This is the point where community and creativity intersect,” Neha stated.
To physically display the interaction, Neha created an elaborate open-faced sculpture using thread and pieces of yarn to display the intricate connections that emulate possibilities of interactions facilitated by Con Nex.
“Each point represents the endless possibilities of innovation and how ideas can be exchanged.”
“I believe my project provides an honest work place solution. Con Nex is a 24/7 fully functioning, sharable modular professional environment that lets its end user work for themselves rather than just by themselves.”
Neha Pathare’s project, Con Nex is now on display at Corcoran School’s NEXT Thesis Exhibition.