Office Design Is Always Evolving; Here Are 5 Trends For 2023

Companies and buildings are feeling pressure to do more for the environment, so they’re using sustainable practices to do so.The world of work is constantly evolving, so office design has to keep up. Here are five trends that we are seeing that will continue into 2023.

office design

  • The office sector will have to adapt to new ways of design that are more eco-conscious, and this is already being seen. 
  • Organizations can be expected to integrate the remote and in-person employee experience by installing new, flexible technology within meeting rooms, common areas, and individual offices.  
  • The multi-modal design also impacts the post-pandemic workplace due to its benefits to workers. 

Workplace design is being pulled in a million different directions. But it must also be flexible, sustainable, data-driven, multi-model, and integrate all necessary and new technologies. Here are the top five workplace design trends that will make their way into 2023.

1. Net zero buildings will gain more momentum 

Net zero means reducing greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible to zero. For a long time, net zero buildings have been gaining popularity. As the world continues to suffer from climate change, more real estate companies may adopt the net zero approach. 

About 40% of annual global carbon dioxide emissions come from buildings and construction. The future design of these buildings/offices will reduce carbon emissions by using sustainable materials and suppliers.

Over 450 firms worldwide have pledged to finance the transition to net-zero emissions by 2050.  

The office sector will have to adapt to new ways of design that are more eco-conscious, and this is already being seen — the best examples being La Jolla Commons in California and The Unisphere in Maryland.    

office design


2. Companies are solidifying how hybrid and remote work will shape the physical office space 

Tim Gawel, Market Sector Leadership Associate Principal at sustainable design firm HED, told Allwork.Space Many organizations are unhappy with how their current office supports hybrid work and virtual interaction as 2022 winds down.

Companies have solidified their hybrid workplace policies and are looking to redesign their offices to support remote and in-person workers over the past six months. By installing new, flexible technology in meeting rooms, common areas, and offices, Gawel expects organizations to integrate the remote and in-person employee experience.

“Conference rooms with technological integrations that allow everyone to have the same on-camera appearance and audio quality are one of the major design elements we expect to see in the new year. We’ll also see technology enabling live working meetings with constant video and audio connectivity and the ability to move around the office while interacting with virtual employees. Gawel told Allwork.Space, “Organizations that consider the entire workplace, both virtual and in-person, in their 2023 renovations will have the edge over those who update their office furnishings.”

As employees return to the office and further embrace the hybrid experience, there is less need for individually “owned” spaces like closed offices. More emphasis is being placed on a team and community-centered areas that can be utilized for various events.   


3. Data-driven design will be in demand as organizations create their office design strategies in the new year

Many organizations have approached facilities with a trial-and-error approach about what works best for their company and employees. The pandemic has shaken that tactic and created a demand for an evidence-based approach to office design.  

The data-driven design considers worker behavior, such as office/coworking space activity.

Data-informed workplace design optimizes office space use by utilizing real-time data and trends, increasing productivity.  

Gawel predicts an increase in facility analysis, user feedback, tech and furnishing prototypes, and space concept testing in 2023 to help companies make data-driven office design decisions.   



4. Multi-modal design will optimize the future of work

Multi-modal strategy is making a significant impact in the post-pandemic workplace due to all that it offers.   

This workplace design includes deep-focus spaces for quiet work, “soulful” spaces with comfortable and creative furniture and conversation nooks, innovation or event spaces, formal gathering spaces, and community spaces.    

This design can help to break down silos and encourage greater collaboration and interpersonal encounters. These spaces allow more movement and usage because employees don’t have to remain at a desk or area. 

“Multi-modal working combines layers of a well-considered, simple technology with pragmatic design solutions and is overlaid with storytelling and relevant experiences that optimize the work experience,” according to Forbes 


5. Offices are greenwashing rather than achieving biophilic/sustainable design 

Companies and buildings are feeling pressure to do more for the environment, so they’re using sustainable practices.

Some are engaging in greenwashing instead of actual biophilic design; greenwashing is a false impression of sustainability. An office filled with aesthetically pleasing plants doesn’t mean that it isn’t still contributing to climate change.  

 You create a biophilic design by connecting people and nature within their built environments. The most effective biophilic method considers the environmental impact of every incorporated aspect, placing importance on sustainability over “green” looks. 

Biophilia is becoming increasingly demanded by office workers. Because they want to accommodate workers and get them back to work, companies are listening more.

If organizations want to be sustainable, save money, and gain social popularity, they must become truly green, not just greenwashed.  



Women in Construction Series: Featuring Roxanne Espiritu

As a senior site QS, I love that my job doesn’t limit my learning to paperwork and the office. It lets me experience site operation and quantity surveying firsthand.

Roxanne Espiritu was looking for her next job as an aspiring professional when she discovered SDW had an opening for a Senior Quantity Surveyor. “I was still in the province working for a private construction company as a project engineer. I was looking forward to returning to Manila after having some time to breathe when the epidemic hit. One of the firms I’ve seen people apply for is SDW. I browsed its website and what impressed me is that the executives are composed of both locals and foreign nationals.”

Roxanne has worked for six years since graduating from Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. She has worked at four different construction companies. She is one of SDW’s notable women in construction who, despite the difficult job in a male-dominated work environment, has excelled and proven herself.

Let’s get to know Roxanne as we asked her some questions about her work and construction.

women in construction

What does your job entail?

As a Senior Quantity Surveyor on site, one of the most critical aspects of my job is to check that the scope of work being implemented by the operating team is right and following our contract. These include the location, quantity, and cost of each activity. And because our company engages other subcontractors to complete some of our jobs, I also need to analyze their performance and certify their billings. Finally, we must prepare our monthly billing claim, containing all necessary documentation.


What is the best part of your job?

As an engineer with experience in site operation and office work, I would say that one of the best parts of my job as senior site QS is that it does not limit my learning to paperwork only and on the four corners of the office. It allows me to explore and experience firsthand the correlation between site operation and quantity surveying work. It also challenges my knowledge and ability to work effectively with the two different construction departments, the operation site team, and the commercial team. They are very different in many ways but also very connected. This kind of work setup improves my negotiating skills and allows me to immerse myself in varying levels of understanding.


women in construction

Do you like working with SDW?

In my more than three months with the organization, I would say that one of the benefits is having an environment that encourages you to speak English. It enables me to gain confidence and improve my communication abilities.


What has been the most memorable moment working with SDW?

My daily experience in the company is, I believe, memorable. Every day is different, adding to my recollections of the company. My regular conversations with coworkers or managers, whether at work or during breaks. Those days appear to repeat themselves or when nothing happens. Those days, I don’t say much since I have a lot on my plate. It is also how they make you feel significant as a team member and how they make you feel during those demanding schedules and submittals. Those are the things that will remain.


What personal qualities help you be pleasing in your job?

Listening with analysis is one of my skills that gives me an advantage over others. Next, I am not scared to make decisions and hold myself accountable. Humility, as well as an understanding that learning is a never-ending process, has greatly assisted me.

Who inspires you?

My family, like others, is what keeps me going. My ambition is to provide them with a comfortable lifestyle and enable other family members to realize their dreams.


I didn’t picture myself working in industries other than construction. I believe it is my professional calling and that I was born to do it. My manner of thinking, desire to construct things, and create solutions are all aspects of who I am.


What are the advantages of being a woman in construction? What are the disadvantages?

One of the advantages of being a woman in the industry is that they will assume you are organized and good at documentation because it is typically reserved for women. However, I must say that sometimes it is also a downside because they will limit your role to that and will give the more physically demanding activities to men. For this reason, there is no equal opportunity for both genders.


What is the biggest challenge of being a woman working in construction?

As a woman in the industry, aside from the fact that it is mentally and physically exhausting, it is a great challenge to prove that we are equally capable as male engineers. Not only in terms of strength but also in effectiveness on site or in office work, intellectual or physical, in management or operation.


How do you handle the pressure?

When there is the pressure at work, I try my best to stay calm and intellectual. For me, this is how it works. I need to stay focused. Keep attention to the details, then work it out.


What advice do you give a young woman entering the industry?

I would encourage those young ladies who want to pursue a career in the construction industry to do so because it is an adventure. It is very challenging and fun but exhausting at the same time. So I think for you to be able to enjoy one thing, you must love it. I mean not only in construction but in general. So yeah, if you think you are passionate about this industry, go for it.


How do you think construction can attract more female candidates?

I think the construction industry itself is very attractive. It is so inviting for those people that are interested in joining. I mean, it is mentally, physically, and socially challenging. There is no need to convince the girls to be part of it. We need to expose and educate the younger generation about it so that they will appreciate and see how beautiful it is.


I am proud that my professional career is in the construction industry, mainly because being a female engineer is something to be proud of, and I am doing what I love.


What do you think is the most important change happening in the construction industry?

As construction advances, we could see more and more women in the industry becoming normal. The industry is embracing female potential and contribution. Both men and women are now working together with the same responsibilities and accountabilities.


In this day and age, women are more empowered. Women holding positions in a male-dominated industry gets more common. Get to know more about SDW’s women in construction here.



2023 Design Trends Emphasize “Global Fury” and Post-Covid Communal Focus

2023 design trends

Interior design trends for 2023 reflect “anger in the world” and post-covid community focus.

Interiors for 2023 design trends will get weirder with bolder colors, mushroom materials, and less birch plywood, designers have told Dezeen.

As the new year begins, Dezeen asked 12 interior designers and architects about their predictions for the interior design trends that will dominate in 2023.

Interiors feature maximalism and weirdness.

British interior designers Jordan Cluroe and Russell Whitehead of 2LG Studio believe interior design will be wilder and weirder this year.

“It’s violent time we are living in,” the duo told Dezeen. “There is anger in the world, and design needs to reflect that dynamism and not shy away from it. The deco period has been important to design for several years, and we are now looking to expressionism and cubism for bold inspiration.”

“Weirdness has always been there, and we’ve always been here for it. Think Haas Brothers. But now it feels like we are in such a wild historical moment that weird is becoming the norm. See Nicolas Devlin and Charlotte Kingsnorth.”

“When the world gets too weird to comprehend, the designs of the moment reflect that. Let’s all get weird and express our wonderfulness.”

2023 Design Trends_Wild Things by the Haas Brothers
2LG Studio believes we’ll see more weirdness in design, such as in this Haas Brothers project. Top image of Hotel Les Deux Gares by Luke Edward Hall

One of the overarching 2023 design trends looks to be maximalism as the world gradually moves on from the more pared-back interior designs that have been popular over the past two years.

“Last year saw a shift towards maximalism, experimenting with patterns and rich color schemes,” Sanchit Arora of New Delhi studio Renesa told Dezeen.

“This year will continue this trend with a fresher fervor. There will be bold and forward designs that give increased personality to the space. For both commercial and residential areas, clients opt for customized patterns and colors rather than conformable products that suit just any space but compromise on standing out.”

Bolder colors and prints will take center stage.

While interiors last year often bore a discrete, natural color palette – as evidenced by the homes in our list of top 10 home interiors of 2022 – 2023 look set to be color-drenched.

“I think I am seeing, after a few years of a mostly conservative approach to color, a more fresh and daring use of color,” Raúl Sánchez, founder of Barcelona studio Raúl Sánchez Architects, told Dezeen.

“We are leaving the haven of neutrals and stepping into a rainbow!” added interior designer Pallavi Dean of Roar.

“The safe beige, grey and white walls are on their way out, and we are experimenting with bold hues and darker tones to add depth to the space,” she added.

“Tread with caution when you choose your shade; it can impact your mood and change your perception of the size of your space.”

2023 Design Trends_Interior of Dreams store in Atwater Village
Different colors contrast in Adi Goodrich’s design for the Dreams store in Los Angeles.

Spatial designer Adi Goodrich thinks color will be especially prominent in kitchen interiors.

“I think people are finally embracing color and will choose to redesign their kitchens in a wash of color,” she told Dezeen.

According to interior designer Kelly Hoppen, neutrals are firm but increasingly complemented by bold prints.

“The way we use our homes has evolved over the last few years as we appreciate the comfort and warmth of our own spaces, especially as many people are still in part working remotely or hybrid working,” she told Dezeen.

“This will continue to reflect our color choices, and so for multifunctional yet homey rooms, calming neutrals will be favored, including cozy greys to classic beiges and taupes,” Hoppen added.

“That said, bold prints are making a resurgence, and the asymmetrical feel in rooms will be huge. Wallpaper, which is also coming back, will be used through 2023 decor. For example, textural walls can be used as a backdrop for artwork or asymmetrical wallpaper borders to add contrast.”

Rich and tactile materials dominate

According to the designers, tactile, rich materials will be prevalent in the coming year.

“We are craving a ‘multi-sensory palette,” said Dean.

“The recent pandemic deprived us of one of our most ‘human’ senses: touch. In response, I feel it will become increasingly important for designers to use materials that bring tactility to the interior scheme and devise spaces that provoke emotion in its users.”

“In the post-pandemic space, the well-being of the end user is considered more than ever,” agreed interior designer Tola Ojuolape.

“Humble materials and finishes that give rise to a relaxed sophistication will continue to dominate the interior design trend landscape. Lime plaster walls and finish, brick, and natural wool will be visible.”

Lime plaster walls inside London extension
Humble materials such as lime plaster will be popular. The image is of a London extension by Emil Eve Architects.

Meanwhile, an increasing appetite for bold designs could lead to some currently popular materials falling out of favor.

“I think the era of birch plywood might be coming to an end,” Goodrich said. “I believe richer woods like walnut, cherry, and red oak will be seen more in interiors moving forward.”

“Bold, colorful marbles balanced with neutrals will be particularly trendy,” predicted Hoppen. “People will be eating in a lot more in 2023, so table tops (especially marble) and dining spaces will make a huge comeback–perfect for those looking to entertain.”

Studios are also open to working with new materials this year as they strive for more sustainable designs.

“Materiality excites us as a studio,” 2LG said. “Mushrooms are going to become more important. Brands like Mylo Unleather are making waves and getting us excited about mushrooms’ possibilities as an ethical and sustainable alternative to animal skin.”

Mylo mushroom leather
Designers think interior brands will follow fashion houses using mushroom leather from brands like Mylo.

Interior designer Kelly Wearstler agreed: “Sustainability will continue to live at the forefront of all design conversations and innovations. I have been very interested in the rise of mushroom leather.”

“This fabric innovation has already been revolutionary for the fashion industry, offering a sustainable alternative,” she added. “I expect we will continue to see its presence grow within interiors and design.”

Sustainability is becoming a “necessity.”

Designers are also more focused on Sustainability than ever before and wary of greenwashing.

“Sustainability is an evolving subject in the interior space; this will continue in 2023,” Ojuolape predicted.

“Designers will continue to find ways to ensure it is considered and adapted into the life cycle of an interior project from the onset.”

“Intentional and deliberate education will continue to ensure resourceful materials selections, upcycling and reuse of furniture, and smart reduction of plastics and waste,” she added.

Tatale restaurant inside The Africa Centre in London
“Sustainability is an evolving subject,” says Tola Ojuolape, who worked on the interior of the Africa Centre

“As we confront ourselves with the ever-increasing issues of energy consumption and global warming, interior design projects will be greatly affected in many aspects,” Japanese designer Keiji Ashizawa predicted.

“I believe projects that trace the context of sustainability will become a necessity, and it will no longer be something that is merely spoken about as an idealized concept,” he added.

“I think it’s safe to say we are all sensitized to greenwashing,” Dean said.

“Designers and clients are better educated about their work’s impact on the environment and steer clear from box-ticking certification goals. Instead, the focus is on long-term strategies – waste disposal, efficient MEP systems, and better construction methodologies.”

Human connection meaningful after the pandemic

The importance of working together as a community was also highlighted by many of the designers Dezeen spoke to.

“Due to the pandemic, we have all been more or less isolated – so what we see is a longing for truly connecting and interacting with the world around us again,” said Norm Architects partner Frederik Werner.

“Translate that into the field of interior design – and we see how we seek tactility, sensibility, and natural materials in the constant pursuit of well-being.”

Australia-based designer Danielle Brustman agreed, saying: “There seems to be a sculptural and more organic design trend growing in interior design. There is a return to the soft curve and using more organic materials. We have all been rocked by the Covid pandemic, and I think people require some nurturing.”

Minimal interiors of forest retreat designed by Norm Architects
Organic and collaborative design is set to grow after the pandemic. The image is of Forest Retreat by Norm Architects.

This theme of the community will also play out in the production of design projects, predicts Ashizawa.

“After experiencing the Covid-19 pandemic, I believe there will be more opportunity to reflect on the community – along with the cost of import and logistics leading to a slower progression of projects,” he said.

“This would spur the expansion of community-based projects that focus on cultural values of local production for local consumption.”

Similarly, Alex Mok of interior design studio Linehouse believes the difficulty of the past year will enhance the need for collaboration.

“2022 was a difficult year for many countries and cultures, so we look towards 2023 with a focus on human connection, authenticity, and social interaction,” she told Dezeen.

“We’re seeing a greater consideration on the use and purpose of spaces beyond form and instead activating communities. We hope to see more projects revitalizing existing buildings or connecting to local crafts.”

For more design inspirations, read:

Discover why Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2023 is Unconventional

In a cultural moment shaped by countless challenges, Pantone’s color of the year for 2023 is a bold shade of red that speaks to the strength and vitality needed to forge a more positive future. PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta, a vibrant and nuanced shade of crimson red, is a study in contrasts. The color’s origins are grounded in nature, drawing on warm and cool tones. It has an electrifying hue found in both the physical and virtual spheres. It speaks to the diversity of our contemporary world.

Now in its 23rd year of selecting the annual color, The Pantone Institute considered the onslaught of challenges people have faced recently, like the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they have shaped perspective, values, and attitudes in finding a color for 2023.

“We chose this color because it was an unconventional shade for an unconventional time. Something that could present us with a new vision,” Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the institute, tells TIME. Viva Magenta, Eiseman notes, communicates power. But in an assertive, not aggressive way. “It’s a color that vibrates with vim and vigor. It demonstrates a new signal of strength, which we all need for a more optimistic future.”

Eiseman, who described Viva Magenta as an “animated red, pulsating with movement,” points to nature as one of the main inspirations for the Pantone color selection this year. Namely, the cochineal dyes derived from insects used since as early as the second century BC. To imbue rich red hues on fabrics and paper with the increasing influence of technology in our contemporary world. It is strongly reflected in the touchscreen-inspired shade of last year’s color of the year, the vibrant periwinkle blue. Very Peri has a reminder of the primordial world with a shade like Viva Magenta is a chance to revisit, honor, and reconnect with history while imagining a brighter future.

“We’re hoping that the symbolism in this color will create a dynamic world that encourages experimentation,” Eiseman says. “One that leverages the virtual within the physical realm and emboldens our spirit to explore groundbreaking possibilities.”


The Future of Architecture

Eitan Tsarfati is a serial tech entrepreneur and Co-Founder and CEO of Swapp, an AI-based construction planning company that partners with architects to leverage the power of AI-driven platforms. 

Over the past few years, various architectural construction planning technologies have emerged, changing how we design. It seems inevitable that as the world goes through digitization, the world of architectural planning will eventually follow. While many see this transformation as unfavorable, I see it as positive. I’ve never understood why we are already using technology in our daily lives to save time and energy and not using it at the office to improve our productivity as architects.

Why should we, as architects, spend so much time on manual processes that can be automated? If we wouldn’t spend so much time generating output, we could use our time to explore new ways to innovate and improve our designs. Architects have always needed to embrace new technologies to keep up with the changing needs of cities and communities. Yet, the past year has illuminated the growing need to innovate how we work, live, and collaborate. Many emerging technologies will change the face of architecture as we know it. Let’s take a look at some technologies that are set to transform the field.

1. Generative Design

As I mentioned in my last piece, “How New Technology Is Enabling Architects to Realize Their Dream Designs,” generative design has been used by architects to explore hundreds of design sets, offering solutions to the challenges we often struggle with. Currently, most generative design software tools provide hundreds of options without screening them or optimizing them to match a particular construction project’s needs. This technology will be further developed and enhanced, primarily through AI-powered and machine-learning planning platforms. These innovations will help architects to free up more time to concentrate on other tasks.

2. Collaboration Platforms

Significant developments in this field are collaborative software solutions aimed at helping architects take a leading role in the design and construction planning processes. Real-time collaboration software is already considered to be an essential part of the construction planning process. Today’s work environment has proved that communicating effectively and sharing data in real time can transform how we approach the construction planning process.

Every architect’s planning cycle involves constant coordination with numerous stakeholders, and interaction with them often impacts our designs. For this reason, the latest AI technology offers more than just a collaboration platform. It provides planning teams with access to the latest, most updated information. Additionally, it can quickly calculate and automate numerous iterations simultaneously, in hyper speed and complete transparency for all relevant stakeholders.

3. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

In addition to Collaboration Platforms, BIM adoption, and generative design, AI technology serves as the basis for our field’s subsequent key technological developments. Architecture is an industry where creative processes suffer countless obstacles on the way to the final design. I argue that AI and machine learning technologies are the most powerful tool for helping architects regain control over the design process and re-inject creativity into the industry. These technologies already help architects and other key stakeholders to create a significantly easier process by providing access to countless data, models, interpretations of building environments, and cost estimates. These tools allow architects to create shorter, smarter, more creative design processes, leading to fewer design omissions or system clashes.

4. Additive manufacturing (AM)/or 3D printing

As an executive at Autodesk, I lead a software development team as part of the company’s Additive Manufacturing platform. Additive Manufacturing, most commonly referred to as 3D printing on an industrial scale, enables the digital to transform an object from the ground up physically. A layer-by-layer creation allows for complex and lightweight structures that could not be achieved by any other method. Architects can use this technology to convert their 3D digital model into instructions for the 3D printer. Despite the great promise of 3D printing technology, it is still considered one of the most controversial technologies because of its various technical constraints. I believe this technology will significantly evolve in the next 5-7 years, but there’s still a long way to go before it becomes a standard in the construction industry.

Final Thoughts

After a transformative year, there is no doubt that architects are set to see the introduction of more and more technologies into their daily workflows. The industry’s many challenges are likely to be eased, if not solved, by technological developments. And these technological trends are undoubtedly opening up new opportunities for greater creativity, productivity, increase in efficiency, and optimization of our work processes for years to come.

The ability to adopt new technologies will soon become the bread and butter of innovative architects ready to embrace the future. I think it’s time we stop seeing ourselves as “worker bees” and start using our creativity and deep-thinking capabilities to explore new possibilities — this will help our industry evolve.

Meet the SDW Experts: Ronnie Mata

Every fit-out project has someone behind it to ensure successful completion. With SDW, we have Ronaldo “Ronnie” Mata, our project director. He ensures that SDW’s construction project goes well from the start to the handover to the client. See that the project is executed within time, within budget, and with excellent quality. He is one of SDW’s experts when it comes to fit-out.

Ronnie, as his colleagues call him, is a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering graduate from the Mapua Institute of Technology. He joined SDW six months ago but has been in the industry for 24 years. He has worked with major building corporations in the Philippines and the Middle East. His significant accomplishments include the Amazon Office Fit Out, the Doha Metro Station Project, the Mandarin Hotel in Doha, Qatar, and the Burj Khalifa Tower, the world’s tallest skyscraper. He is an expert in project management for interior fit-out.

We asked him a few questions to learn more about his background and thoughts.


interior fit-out expert

Q.  What companies have you worked for before? What was your role?

I worked as a project manager for Chesneyvale Philippines, Redco International in Qatar, Fino International in Qatar, and Fino International Dubai.


Q.  How did you end up in your current role with SDW?

Turner & Townsend Country Manager Richard Stewart recommended me to our CEO, Gaz Holgate. I worked with Richard on the Amazon MNL13 Project at the MOA Complex.


Q.  What does your job entail?

I was overall in charge of the execution of the project, from mobilization up until handover to the client. See that the project is executed within time, within budget, and with excellent quality.


Q.  What is your expertise?

Interior fit-out. I have been in the interior fit-out industry for more than 24 years. And I worked in the Middle East, Dubai, and Qatar for twenty-one years.


Q.  How do you feel about your job? Do you like working with SDW?

I enjoy working with SDW since it allows you to have independence in making project-related decisions, and the management has been supportive so far.


Q.  What types and sizes of projects have you built?

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest skyscraper; the Armani Hotel interior fit-out inside the Burj Khalifa; and the Doha Metro Project, which I am proud to have been a part of.


Q.  What is your dream project?

Green building projects. Something sustainable—something different than conventional projects.


Q.  How do you handle the pressure?

In every project and every organization, there is always pressure. So I deal with it one day at a time. Staying focused on the goal is how I manage stress.


Q.  Have you ever experienced conflict with superiors, and how did you handle it?

Yes, I have. The strategy I wanted to implement was different from what my superiors had planned. The key to this is sometimes you need to compromise.


Q.  Have you ever experienced conflict with clients, and how did you handle it?

There is a saying, “The customer is always right.” I respect that. I have so far avoided conflict with the client.


Q.  What actions would you take if a project fell behind schedule or exceeded the project’s budget?

I always have a mitigation plan or catch-up plan for falling behind schedule. If you go over budget, use value engineering to find ways to limit the loss.


Q.  What has been your biggest challenge on site, and how have you overcome it?

I guess COVID-19 has been the biggest challenge, and everyone has been affected by it. But being resilient is the way I have overcome it.


Q.  What would you do if some of your workers were not using the necessary safety equipment?

For the first offense, warn them. Remove them onsite for repeated violations.


Q.  How would you describe your ideal work environment?

The ideal work environment for me encourages creativity rather than suppresses it. Imbibe a positive attitude and team camaraderie.


Q.  As an SDW expert, how do you approach leadership?

Lead by example. Firm in decision-making or decisiveness, and open to or accepting suggestions or criticism to improve project execution


The SDW team are experts in interior fit-outs specializing in office, commercial, and hospitality projects. Explore here, for details of our services.





How to Choose a Fit Out Contractor

Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, office interior design plays a critical role in creating a productive work environment. Sustainable design improves employee health while increasing productivity and lowering operating costs. We recommend researching before beginning your search for a dependable commercial fit-out contractor.

Finding the best contractor for your interior fit-out requires some legwork. The last thing you want to do is choose a company randomly and then be surprised by problems that may arise later. You are not just selecting a contractor; you are selecting a partner who will implement your ideas and collaborate with you and other team members (e.g., interior designer/architect) to bring your vision to life.


Choosing the Right Fit-Out Contractor

When selecting a contractor to oversee your fit-out project, these simple steps can mean the difference between complete confidence and sleepless nights. Here are some pointers to help narrow your search for the ideal interior fit-out company.


fit-out contractor in the Philippines

What You Should Do


1. Prepare a Detailed Brief

Before the project begins, hire experts to create detailed guidelines. It should include information about your company, employees, needs, and facilities. Discuss the fit-out with your team. The brief should consist of a schedule and budget.


2. Obtain the Required Permissions

Ensure that your fit-out contractor is knowledgeable about any regulatory approvals that may be required and that your proposed works are by health and safety and building codes. If you don’t own your office space, make sure your fit-out contractor gets permission from the landlord.


3. Do Your Homework

Research is vital. Determine which commercial fit-out contractors are the best in your area.

Make use of the resources listed below:

  • Internet research: business and industry websites, news articles
  • Customer referrals
  • Industry associations

Concentrate your search on companies with a reputation for honesty, professionalism, and industry knowledge.


4. “Think Green & Sustainable.”

Consider contractors with a long-term vision who can design and deliver energy-efficient, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective designs. Research has shown that “green offices” increase profitability due to higher employee productivity and lower operational costs.

The criteria to consider are sustainable sites, water efficiency, optimized energy performance, minimized energy use, use of materials with recycled content, waste management, and indoor environmental quality.


5. Create a Shortlist

After you’ve completed your research, you’re ready to narrow down the companies that offer interior fit-out services in your area. How do you choose among them?

Prepare a list of 2-3 companies with whom you’d like to work and who can execute your vision and offer improvements. You may need to add to or remove from the shortlist.


6. Do Background Checks

Check the Portfolio: Assess the company’s portfolio to determine the breadth and relevance of its experience.

Obtain Client Feedback: Contact previous clients (at least three) and ask them to rate the contractor on critical deliverables such as quality, responsiveness, value for money, service level, and delivery on a scale of 1 to 10. If the overall score from the three clients is unsatisfactory, you know that contractor must be removed from your list.

Check Financial Stability: Make sure that any company you are considering has the financial resources to complete the project and can negotiate the best prices for materials and services on your behalf.

Pay On-site Visits: Go to their most recent completed project because a contractor is only as good as their most recent.

Pay Office Visit: Pay a visit to their place of business. A visit to a company’s premises can teach you much about it. Are they well-organized? Do the employees appear to be happy and engaged? Is the office in good shape?



office fit-out

7. Request Proposals for Design and Fit Out

Distribute the design brief to your shortlisted companies and request that they submit a proposal by a specific deadline.

Evaluate them on the following criteria:

  • Understanding of the Design Brief
  • Work requirements or considerations
  • Cost breakdown
  • Options and their associated costs
  • Timetable for delivery with milestones
  • Assumptions exclusions
  • Contract terms and conditions include insurance, liabilities, payment terms, and conflict resolution terms, among other things.
  • Follow-up or after-delivery service, if applicable.


8. Interview Candidates

Interview your candidates and pay close attention not only to their responses but also to how they respond.

Conduct phone and in-person interviews to thoroughly assess the people you will be working with.

  • Do they have the knowledge, experience, and collaborative attitude?
  • What is the mechanism in place for weekly written and verbal reporting?


9. Criteria for Selection

Create a scoring chart and assign a score to each company on your shortlist based on key deliverables such as design proposals, client recommendations, budget, timeframe, and experience.

After doing all your research, don’t forget to trust your instincts.

Working with any company entails far more than just nuts and bolts. Cooperation and collaboration must be ingrained in a company’s practices and people. All else being equal, choose people you like and trust because they will make communication and project management less stressful.


What to Avoid


1. Do Not Set an Unrealistic Budget

Hire the best contractor you can afford at all times. Reputable, experienced fit-out contractors can provide you with a clear budget that includes cost breakdowns and a list of options.

Always consider cost efficiency; never take the cheapest offer.

  • Hiring a low-cost contractor can be a costly mistake because low-cost contractors are not the best at generating accurate bids.
  • A bid that appears low at the outset may not have considered additional cost variations that may occur during the project. It will result from either a deliberate attempt to “lowball” the bid or inexperience. Knowing that change orders are a given in any project will help you save money in the long run.
  • Change orders require a contract amendment, which has time and cost implications. Few interior fit-out projects are completed without change orders, but they can be costly.
  • Hiring an inexperienced, low-cost commercial fit-out contractor may result in more change orders than hiring someone with experience.


2. Do Not Set an Impossible Timeframe

What has been said about budgets also applies to work schedules. Money is equal to time. Any contractor who gives you a significantly lower estimate for project completion is either inexperienced or deceiving you. Make sure that all steps are completed in a reasonable amount of time and that no corners are cut.


3. Don’t Just Take Their Word For It

Honest fit-out contractors will want to get everything in writing because it protects both them and the client. Ensure that everything discussed and agreed upon is documented. Many inexperienced contractors are willing to agree to almost anything verbally to win a contract. However, during execution, you will be surprised at how bad a contractor’s memory can become.

  • You must be able to provide evidence and written acknowledgment of all communications and agreements.
  • Once you’ve chosen a contractor, ensure you understand the contract terms. Before signing a contract, consult with your legal advisor and any other professional advisors.


4. Do Not Overlook Regulatory, Building, and Health and Safety Regulations

Regulatory approvals are required for all projects, and specific works require building control approval. Make sure that your chosen contractor is aware of all relevant laws and regulations and can ensure compliance with local standards before work begins.

Using a reputable commercial fit-out company will ensure that these issues are adequately addressed.

Local governments are responsible for building safety by implementing unified building codes that address construction safety and fire protection issues.


5. Look Beyond the Bottom Line

When choosing a contractor to assist you with your fit-out, look for a company with values, vision, and commitment, not just the elements involved in the execution, such as timeframe and budget.

Choose a company that is aware of the latest design and technology trends and a leader rather than a follower in its field. Your office interior design expresses your company’s values and brand; choose a partner who can help you articulate that most dynamically and appealingly possible.


Choosing the Best Commercial Fit-Out Contractor Candidate

Selecting a commercial fit-out contractor for your new office or existing facility is a major undertaking. This is the final step in preparing your offices for human occupancy. Since your employees will be spending most of their day in these facilities, it is critical that your office environment is safe and healthy and promotes productivity while minimizing environmental impact. Given that your office fit-out may be the first thing, clients and partners notice when they visit, it must reflect your company’s values and brand.

During your selection process, keep the “Do’s and Don’ts” in mind. Do not rely solely on an internet search. An excellent website is an excellent place to start, but it should only be the beginning of your research. Finally, the best candidates will be those who can demonstrate, with tangible evidence, the following:

  • Knowledge and Experience
  • Reputation
  • Sustainable Design and Fittings
  • Quality
  • On-Time Delivery
  • Support (Before, During & After the Project)
  • Commitment and Reliability


SDW Realty Delivers High-Quality and Sustainable Fit-Outs

SDW Realty is the ideal partner to help you complete your fit-out successfully. A leading design and build firm in the Philippines, SDW is a premier fit-out contractor. For the past ten years, SDW has provided exceptional service to its clients, which range from government agencies to multinational corporations and small businesses. It has completed over 300 projects with a client satisfaction rating of 92%.

SDW Realty takes sustainability seriously and incorporates it into every step of the design and execution process. SDW follows the international ISO 9001: 2015 quality management system for all projects. Putting its clients’ needs first and assisting them to:

  • Achieve their environmental goals by improving building energy, water, and resource efficiency.
  • Make inspiring workplaces in order to improve employees’ health and happiness; and
  • Deliver operational savings, increase the value of the building, and reduce utility costs.

Click here to see our outstanding interior fit-out projects.

Contact us for your fit-out construction requirements.



Fit-Out Construction

Many terms in construction may be unfamiliar to outsiders or those new to the industry. Fit-out construction is one such term. It usually refers to activities that prepare a commercial tenant’s interior space for occupation. A tenant’s contractor usually does the fit-out construction rather than the landlord’s construction company.

Typically, contractor working for a commercial space landlord will create an interior space as “white box” or “shell.” It usually happens whether it’s for a new build or preparing a previous tenant space for new tenants to look at and sign a lease on. However, the areas inside a building are commonly left bare in commercial establishments and real estate for the occupants to modify according to their needs and requirements. In essence, fit-out construction involves transforming a space into a usable setup based on the preferences and goals of a company.

Difference Between a Fit-Out Construction and a Renovation

Fit-outs typically include installing architectural features such as various partitions, window placements, door fittings, plumbing, and ventilation. While renovation typically focuses on the design aspect and revamping the space for aesthetics. Fit-outs, on the other hand, emphasize changes and customization of the area for functionality. That’s why a fit-out construction typically takes longer than a simple renovation.

Different Types of Fit-Out Construction:

Fit-outs, like other improvement projects, are classified into two types based on their inclusions.

category A fit-outs

Category A – Functional

Category A fit-out installs mechanical and electrical systems in a building. While the shell and core highlight the exterior, Category A covers the interior. It’s usually in a rented commercial space. Since a Category A space is a blank canvas, it’s easy to sell. But no matter how functional their interiors are, Category A fit-outs require secondary design features to meet their goals.

Here are other things included in a Category A fit-out:

  • Grid ceilings
  • Electrical outlets
  • Fire protection systems
  • Lightings
  • Toilets
  • Lift Shafts
  • Reception areas
  • Lobbies
  • Raised access floorings
  • HVAC systems (Heat, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Systems)

transforming a space

Category B – Aesthetic

Category B fit-out complements Category A by installing everything not completed during the Cat A fit-out. It means that in addition to the elements required to make an office or commercial space functional, it also involves implementing the aesthetics and anything else that will enhance the interior space and facilitate daily work operations. Cat B fit-out allows you to emphasize aesthetic design and customize the interior space to better reflect the company’s brand and identity.

Here are some of the installations included in the Category B fit-out:

  • Workstations
  • Kitchen areas
  • Design and company branding
  • Furnishings
  • Décor
  • Meeting rooms / Conference rooms

Turnkey Fit-Out Construction

A turnkey fit-out construction is also known as a design and build fit-out. It happens when the developer or tenant of the workspace ensures that the current build is ready to be occupied. Consequently, the contractor provides a complete and integrated line of service to deliver a space from bare to fully completed. A turnkey fit-out project involves the contractors from design conceptualization to construction and handing the space to the client ready for use.

Some clients prefer a turnkey fit-out to coordinate with a single point person, making the process more concise, efficient, and smooth. It is especially appealing to clients unfamiliar with the construction process.

SDW specializes in turnkey fit-out construction solutions and services. They offer high-quality, turnkey solutions that include comprehensive space planning, project management, and M&E services. They can meet the construction needs of multiple industrial sectors in the Philippines, from new development to interior fit-out.

Need help with your fit-out project? Contact SDW today to discuss your options.

SDW is a leading fit-out construction company in the Philippines specializing in high-quality office, hospitality, and commercial projects.

Please read our blog entitled the office fit-out checklist to guide you in planning your fit-out project.

Reach out at info@sdwrealty.com or call +632 8642 8088.



Office Design Trends to Watch in 2023

What comes to mind when you think of corporate office design? Is the overhead lighting bright and the walls white? Open, spacious workspaces? These are all common ideas about what office space is or should be, but businesses are beginning to move away from these design trends. Today’s offices are more personalized and geared toward meeting the needs of their employees.


What Office Design Trends to Expect in 2023?

Though numerous factors influence office design, we’ve identified five common trends. They are as follows:

  • Creating a Sense of Place at Work
  • Including Associate Feedback in the Design
  • Modular Construction
  • Providing a Variety of Workspaces to Accommodate Various Work Styles
  • Promoting Workplace Well-being

Below, we’ll go through each trend in more detail. Explaining what it means to design, how to apply the concept, and instances of trends in prior works.


Creating a Sense of Place at Work

Placemaking identifies distinctive community characteristics that speak to the culture, environment, and people. This concept has long been a driving factor in airport planning and design. It is now beginning to inform corporate office design. To apply this office design trend to the corporate world, look for unique qualities within a company’s culture to inspire innovation. Placemaking has been linked to increased job satisfaction and motivation in the workplace. You can combine community inspiration and corporate culture to create an inviting and engaging office space.

office design trends

Incorporate community elements into your design by including artwork by local artists or using natural materials. Consider the company’s culture for the color palette and office layout inspiration. If a company values teamwork, the design can reflect this by including numerous open spaces for employees to gather and collaborate.

Thorough research is required to portray community and corporate culture adequately. Look to your community’s museums and cultural centers for ideas. Also, have open conversations with leadership and associates to get a sense of corporate culture.


Including Associate Feedback in the Design

Survey company representatives at all levels before beginning the design process. Inquire about any issues or challenges they are experiencing in their current office so they can be addressed. You may find agreement from all departments, but you may also discover a problem that one department is experiencing and, through design, help to resolve the issue.

biophilic design

You can also solicit associate feedback on design elements such as the color palette and onsite amenities. Surveying associates can assist you in developing a consistent design vision while informing your associates that their feedback is required to create a successful workspace.


Modular Construction

Modular construction is a method in which a building is built offsite in modules and assembled onsite. The same materials and building regulations are used in modular construction as in traditional construction. Prefabricated walls, room dividers, and flooring are examples of modular elements.

This construction method is gaining traction in various market sectors because it provides several strategic advantages, including constructing building components and systems in factory-controlled environments in locations less impacted by labor shortages. Modular construction is ideal for projects that must be completed quickly. Because most of the building is done offsite, disruption should occur only when the modular elements are ready for installation.

Modular construction also allows flexibility, allowing you to meet the critical needs of various departments during construction and in the future. During the initial construction phase, you may discover that different departments require a different number of private offices; modular construction will assist in addressing this concern. If one department grows in the future, you can expand quickly and with minimal disruptions.


Providing a Variety of Workspaces to Accommodate Various Work Styles

There are fewer private office spaces in many corporate offices today, as open-concept floor plans have taken over to increase collaboration. There is a shift now from open offices to offices with various workspaces. As associates return to work in the office, they want the same balance and choice in workspaces they had at home.

conference room design

Smaller conference rooms where groups can brainstorm can help to increase collaboration, and pods in quiet areas of the office can help to increase privacy. These options allow associates to work wherever they want based on the task.


Promoting Workplace Well-being

Design can do a lot to improve employee comfort and productivity. Incorporate bright, uplifting colors, designate areas for associates to step outside, and, if space permits, include exterior windows that allow plenty of sunlight.

Improving workplace amenities can assist you in promoting well-being while also attracting and retaining employees. A break room with a ping-pong table or a relaxation pod lets employees relax and unwind.

eating area

Lunch breaks can be difficult to squeeze into a busy schedule, especially if your office is in the suburbs. Onsite cafes allow associates to take a break and grab a coffee or lunch while remaining in the office. Some restaurants are simple, with self-service coffee and grab-and-go items, while others are elaborate, with various made-to-order stations.

Whether you want to make minor office improvements or completely renovate a space, these office design trends can help you conceptualize an office appealing to both recruits and associates returning from home.


If you want to know how to incorporate these guiding trends into your next office upgrade, contact our interior design team.

Women in Construction Series: Featuring Yhe Perucho

“Women in construction can always move up, do better, and learn new skills in a field that has traditionally been dominated by men.”


Construction may be one of the first industries that come to mind when you think of a male-dominated business. Women account for only 10.9% of all construction workers. The number of females working on construction sites is much lower – barely one for every 100 workers. Given that women account for 47% of all working adults, the construction industry benefits from only around 1.25% of female employees.




Several reasons contribute to this massive gender disparity, including unconscious gender bias, a lack of proper training, and negative opinions of women working in construction. Despite these obstacles, women continue to carve out their professional paths.

One of SDW’s remarkable women in construction is Ayetha Perucho, or “Yhe,” as her friends call her. Her job as a stock administrator and lead at the SDW Workshop is critical. She is in charge of keeping track of and managing the inventory of consumables and fixed assets.

As a stock administrator, she keeps track of how all the consumables and fixed assets move from the central stores to all the project sites. Aside from that, she is also in charge of keeping the inventory lists up-to-date and ensuring that management has accurate numbers for all stocks at the end of each month.

According to Yhe, the best part of her job is the continuous learning and challenges that come every day from interacting with different people. She loves working in SDW because she enjoys going to project sites, dealing with inventories, checking them, and interacting with architects, interior designers, warehouse workers, and carpenters. Training, coaching, and mentoring are also new and challenging roles for her. Focusing on the job, setting goals, and doing tasks effectively and efficiently make her good at her work. She considers that being a woman in the male-dominated construction industry is a challenging and empowering role.


What are the advantages of women working in construction? What are the disadvantages?


“I believe that the advantage of women in construction is that they can take on any role. We are good at multi-tasking and excel in office positions, management, and client relations. However, there are also disadvantages. One is the feeling of isolation because construction is a male-dominated industry. Second, women have limited strength when it comes to heavy lifting. But that is what the men are for!”

As a stock administrator, she is responsible for tracking stock movements from the warehouse or from one location to another. As much as she wants to assist in loading cargo for a faster turnover, she can’t because of the heavy loads. So she delegates the heavy lifting to the men and focuses on supervising them.

And like everybody else, she also experiences pressure in her line of work. “Pressure is an unavoidable part of any job. The way I handle it is that first, you need to analyze the situation. Prioritize what to do first and what can wait. I also delegate some tasks to my colleagues when they are free.”


Why did you choose construction?


Construction is way too far from my degree, which is mass communication. But when I got the opportunity to work in the construction industry, I learned a lot, and it was a great experience. I recommend it to girls or ladies looking for a challenging and exciting career.

Yhe graduated from the Lyceum of the Philippines University with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication, majoring in Advertising. This degree is a long way from her current line of work. But she has worked for SDW for five years and is very good at what she does. It shows that you can always excel if you are willing to learn. Being a woman in construction can be advantageous.

She joined SDW as an inventory and warehouse assistant for the Pioneer headquarters. “We started with a tiny storage unit, but the company later invested in a larger warehouse in Mandaluyong, relocating the warehouse department.” Later, the warehouse and joinery departments merged in Cupang, Muntinlupa, where I was the stock administrator.


What has been your most memorable moment working with SDW?


“The most memorable experience I had while working at SDW was realizing who I am and what I am capable of. Even though I am a woman, I can do more and take on more challenges than is expected or has previously been done. I believe there is always room for women in construction to advance, perform better, and develop skills in what has traditionally been a male-dominated field.”


What advice would you give a young woman entering the industry?


“The most important advice is to develop self-confidence.” Young women should be able to take on and face all the challenges. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions and face obstacles head-on.”


Who inspires you?


Alicia Keys’ song “Girl on Fire” inspired me. It says, “She’s living in a world that’s on fire, filled with catastrophe, but she knows she can fly away.” 

I believe we can do anything if we set our minds to it. But the one that inspires me the most is my family. They support me in everything I do to achieve my ambitions and goals.


What makes you proud of working in the construction industry?


“I feel proud whenever I see the creative and innovative outcomes of the projects and products of SDW. It makes me feel honored that I somehow contributed to that achievement.”


Yhe believes that the most significant change happening in the construction industry is the continuous change and improvement in efficient technology. People are always looking for processes and techniques to improve quality, reduce costs, simplify work processes, and improve customer satisfaction and profits for the company. And as one of the women working in the construction industry, she is proud to be part of it.