An illustration with the Future State identity graphic.

5 Cities. 80 Designers. Countless Insights.

This is Future State. We gathered some of the most innovative and accomplished young professionals in the field to talk about the future of design and the design profession in an ongoing conversation. We invite you into this sneak peek at the discussions, sketches, and big questions that were addressed in our first round of Future State. Scroll to the bottom of this page and download the more in-depth publication that resulted from this meeting of the minds.

How can we keep humanity in the workplace?
A sketch shows what an office floorplan might look look in the future, exploring the balance between actual rooms and virtual spaces.

Technological advancements have long been key drivers in office design. When discussing what's next, the Future Staters considered VR for remote workers; smart offices with customizable, personalized, intelligent rooms; and the anxieties around “trying to be futuristic for the sake of being futuristic.”

A woman sketching during a Future State event.
What is the relationship between the workplace and the third space?

Beyond just changing how we work, technology has also changed where we work. Third spaces—coffee shops, parks, coworking spaces, and more—have become increasingly integral parts of many people’s workdays. Participants wondered if in the future, people will participate in meetings happening at the office via VR while physically working from a third space and asked each other what it means to be in a public space while completely embedded in a digital world.

A Future State participant sketches, depicting the relationship between third spaces, like coffee shops or parks, the office, and the home.
What happens to designers when computers start handling the rational work of design?
A sketch showing how a modular floorplan allows evironments to adapt to the evolving needs of the people that utilize the space.

One prominent theme that emerged in our discussions was the influence that tech will have on the creative process. Participants noted that artificial intelligence could free designers from the minutia of creating and allow them to focus on bigger ideas. But great design doesn’t just solve problems, it evokes feelings and responses.

Two women brainstorm ideas on a white board at the Future State event.
Do virtual objects have the permanence to let us develop a connection to them?

Some participants focused on the notion that “we talk about three physical spaces: the office, the home, and the third space. But there’s also a nonphysical space, which is more internal and is going on constantly in our minds.” One key challenge that future designers talked about facing is understanding how the design of virtual spaces can affect the experience a person has in their internal, mental space.

A sketch by a Future State participant shows examples of remote, virtual and physical offices of the future.

Take a Deeper Dive

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