The events of 2020 have seen large-scale employers question the need to continue to invest in centralized office spaces. The work-from-home revolution has fast-forwarded a decade in the space of six months, leaving many staff weighing the time and cost savings of being permanently OOO against the often poorly defined benefits of a dedicated workplace. Or should that be poorly designed? We’ve never had more insight into the impact our working environments have on our wellbeing, performance and personal progression than we do today. Rather than see 2020 as a sign that the era of the office is over, it’s an opportunity to take a look at what has been preventing it from reaching its full potential. The January/February issue of Frame outlines what the future office must be if it is, ultimately, to remain relevant.

Reporting From

William Richards looks at two Washingtons after gentrification’s first wave of change. Lukas Feireiss asks to what degree the German capital is both a benefiter and prisoner of its own myth and cliché – and what Berlin can learn from its past, for its future.

Business of Design

How hotels can become the centre of their communities. Why vending machines are experiencing a retail renaissance. How ‘schoolcations’ could transform luxury hospitality. How the pandemic helped interior designers correct their course. And: what it takes to build a net-zero interior.

In Practice

Mariana Schmidt and André Pepato, cofounders of São Paulo studio MNMA, talk about why they purposefully create ‘unfinished’ projects. Hong-Kong based William Lim of architecture firm CL3 shares how Covid-19 has shifted his focus towards health and the environment. Ekene Ijeoma, Nigerian-American artist and founder of MIT Media Lab’s Poetic Justice group, explains how he draws on data and lived experience to explore social inequality through his multimedia works. Plus, Laura Lee, CEO of the Maggie’s cancer support centres, explains why architectural briefs should prioritize feeling over function.


Semiotics agency Axis Mundi looks at how brick is being used across a range of spaces to revive both ancient and modern traditions. What’s more, we explore how live performances look in (extended) reality; how churches prioritize community over communion; how a cruise ship targets a younger, experience-driven generation; and why a car dealership focuses on membership, not dealership.

Work Lab

Challenged by the remote-working experiment of 2020, we asked global thought leaders if there’s still a future for the good-old hub office. Based on their visions, we lay out what a more resilient, responsive and responsible workplace might look like.

The Challenge: the Office of Tomorrow

In the lead-up to each issue, we challenge emerging designers to respond to the Frame Lab theme with a forward-looking concept. The past year has shed new light on the role of the office, prompting those who use one to reconsider its relevance. There are lessons to be found in not just the pandemic period, but the time before that. What were workplaces missing? What has working from home taught us? What would make us want to go back to the physical office? We asked four creative practices to share their ideas.


Flexible furnishings for the home, office and more. Top picks from Milano Design City. Why carpeting is important. How to design for dementia.  

Get your copy of Frame 138 here.