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The future of the office is an open question, but this company is testing 3 designs to figure it out

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As a company that specializes in tests and measurements, NI is used to figuring out how to gauge things. From oscilloscopes that track changes in electrical signals to monitors that sense the tiniest vibrations, its products weigh and quantify with precision. So when the company set out to renovate its aging offices in Austin, Texas, no new design was going to slip past its scientists and engineers without some scrutiny.

The test-centric nature of the company has become part of a unique new design process that could be a model for how offices get designed in a pandemic-inflected world.

Working with the global architecture firm Gensler, NI is currently testing out different prototype office designs ahead of a grand renovation of its headquarters. Through detailed analysis and feedback, the company and the designers will measure each of three different layouts built into a corner of one of its buildings and then use that data to determine a wider rollout.

Formerly known as National Instruments, NI started thinking about refreshing its space back in 2019. Its campus covers 70 acres, with 750,000 square feet of offices spread over three buildings. All about 25 years old, the buildings were looking increasingly outdated among the new facilities being built across Austin’s bustling tech sector.

By the time the design process really got rolling, COVID-19 had upended most preconceptions about what offices should look like. Redesigning the space went from a matter of keeping up with competitors to redefining how the office would be used. The company and Gensler shifted focus from........

© Fast Company

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