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The Age of The Long Near

London based consumer trend consultancy The Future Laboratory hosts a series of annual trend report seminars both here in Sydney and in London – inspired, engaging and intelligent, they will typically leave you feeling motivated in your work, with a fresh future-focused perspective, even propelled to try something new. Last month, The Office Space was invited to speak at The Future Laboratory’s Sydney Networking Evening, which we hosted at Paramount by The Office Space.

We were asked to interpret the agency’s most recent forecast for our immediate future – a new forthcoming era they have coined, ‘The Age of the Long Near’.

The slant is slightly more pessimistic than The Future Laboratory’s previous foretellings:

The Age of the Long Near looks at how (and why) brands, businesses and consumers need to embrace long term, more counter-intuitive, and radical strategies if we are to solve those big issue problems currently being thrust our way. Everything from how brands need to re-define their values and market themselves differently, to how and why ‘authenticity’ may no longer be so ‘authentic’. In The Age of the Long Near, the Future Laboratory believes that we have become trapped in a prison of search engines and mass media, and they’re making us smarter, but narrower in our thought processes. We’re living in a world of rapid innovation, yet permanence (and in fact ‘real’ moments seem transient because we aren’t truly engaging in them). So, how do we prepare for The Age of the Long Near when it appears that time is now not ‘constructively’ on our side? Perhaps most poignant (and confronting) for us was the concept of adopting anti-authenticity – how to prove your brand’s authenticity when the word is utterly overused and suddenly devoid of meaning? Do we simply invent a new set of adjectives? Or do we abandon the notion of authenticity all together?

Here’s what The Office Space director, Naomi Tosic had to say at the event:

Examining this question from Future Laboratory has reinforced for us the very premise of our existence – authenticity is the single, most defining quality that The Office Space is founded upon. There is no better word to describe who we are and what we do. Every since our inception, our guiding principal is to create inspiring work environments reflected in our investment in their fit-outs and design pieces, and our considered hang of artwork. Over our 4 floors at Reservoir Street, we have a very creative aesthetic – featuring pieces by Vitra, Herman Miller, Arne Jacobsen alongside contemporary artwork by Guan Wei, Paul Davies, and Stephen Powers. At Paramount, a completely bespoke office environment was achieved by balancing the original architecture of the building with modern, gentrified interiors. We respectfully took clues from the era of the building and the original architecture, but with Woods Bagot architects, interpreted it in a new and purpose-built way.  Authenticity, in it’s true sense, is absolutely paramount (no pun intended) to The Office Space’s business model. But it’s not just the built environment that validates our spaces – it’s the exceptional professional services and the engagement programs that create an authentic business experience. The Office Space unashamedly champions authenticity. More than just an authentic built work environment, we are place makers motivated by elevating the experiences, image and professional development of our residents. So if we can leave you with one thought, it is to MINE THE AUTHENTIC. Be what you say you are. Strive for innovative ways to engage your clients with your product or services, without loosing sight of what is truly a valuable commodity – and that is your deeply authentic brand.  

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