Designing for millennials: BoConcept


Why has BoConcept been working with Dr Steffi Burkhart on the development of small, super-flexible hybrid spaces for living, socialising and working?


Dr Steffi Burkhart knows millennials. She knows, or at least has a very informed, deeply researched opinion, on how they want to live and how they want to work. And given that millennials – commonly accepted as those born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s – will soon dominate the workforce, understanding their professional and personal needs and aspirations is very useful information. And vital for companies, cities and countries that want to attract and usefully employ the best millennial talent.

For Burkhart, that requires a radical re-modelling of how and where we work and live. And she has methodically applied this thinking in her plans for the Human & Technology Centred Ecosystem (HTCE), a projected ‘hybrid platform for new work’ in Cologne.

HTCE is essentially a tech-enabled – think sensors, artificial intelligence, augmented reality – professional campus and laboratory where companies can test and develop new products as well as new technologies and new working practices and cultures. It is also a co-working and co-living space, a testbed for new models of work-life balance and how we blend and manage time at home, work, shared professional and social spaces, or ‘third places’, and what Burkhart calls the ‘fourth places’ – digital spaces where we engage personally and professionally.

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated these shifts and asked all sorts of questions about working time and space. It has also raised questions about what millennials actually need from their homes.

BoConcept has been working with Burkhart on the development of HTCE’s ‘micro-apartments’, small super-flexible living spaces, ‘first places’ for millennials who need space to live, socialise but also act as bridges to the ‘fourth place’, providing the privacy and technology that allows for hybrid working and hybrid living.


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