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Increasingly, organizations’ most productive and envelope-pushing work takes place in shared spaces. Well-planned shared spaces not only improve workplace dynamics—addressing cultural context, providing amenities, and solving for practical issues, like privacy, for example—but they also connect people to their space and to each other. Because of the exchanges they foster, they are in many ways the cultural heart of today’s workplaces.

Shared spaces play key roles in all planning approaches. They may take the form of go-to spaces for tailored types of activities, or blur the lines and transform at a moment’s notice. They support a variety of work modes and styles, from private calls through team lunches.

The range of Knoll furniture can be tailored to support and enhance the choices people will make at work every day. The space types identified below are settings for all kinds of experiences—team work, individual focus, gatherings, free address work, workplace amenities. A range of materials, furnishings, and spatial elements attract people, support ever-changing tech, and clearly differentiate them from primary work areas. Flexible furniture and adaptable architecture provide people with even more control and choice when it comes to how they work.


A get away space that enables focused or confidential work, the Refuge is a key room or area for workplace focus.

The typical Refuge may include a video display, wall-mounted whiteboard surface, and adaptable furniture. Or, it may also be an open area with furniture encouraging a sense of privacy.

1-2 People | 50 sq. ft


Enclave spaces are get together areas for collaborative seclusion.

Generally a small open or enclosed space, three to four people can work together in enclaves equipped with a desk height table or lower table, work chairs, touchdown seating or work lounge, and digital and analog communication tools.

3-4 People | 100 sq. ft

Team Meeting

For broader gatherings, Team Meeting spaces allow a larger number of people to come to the table.

Team Meeting spaces may be open areas or fully enclosed work rooms with either a large table or clustered tables, flexible seating options, work lounge, and digital and analog communication tools.

4–8 People | 200 sq. ft


Assembly spaces are dedicated areas for planned interactions and collaborative work.

Enclosed or partially open, Assembly are large group areas equipped with multiple display surfaces (tackable, whiteboard and video), credenzas for storage and counters, and tables or hospitality carts for refreshments.

Conference rooms are typically formal meeting spaces for presentations. Furnishings include a very large, fixed table with power, data and communications. Training Rooms are more flexible spaces for multiple activities – from education to informal presentations – and typically include freely reconfigurable tables and agile seating.

10+ People | 400+ sq. ft


As town center spaces, Community areas encourage interactions where office culture can flourish.

Commons and Cafés are large, multipurpose spaces for social events or unplanned interactions. And on a smaller scale, ad hoc spaces with informal seating and table groups, lounge settings, and standing height counters with stools. Both encourage a similar sense of spontaneous, flexible use.

Varied number of people | Varied size





Downloads & Documents

Shared Spaces Research

  • Immersive Planning

    Research June 07, 2016

    Our study revealed a workplace that is dramatically different than one of just a generation ago. Knoll found five significant factors that contribute to a new way of working and drive new thinking about the work environment.

  • Activity Spaces Animated Infographic

    Research September 07, 2014

    An animated summary of the Knoll Research paper "Activity Spaces."

  • Activity Spaces Infographic

    Research June 14, 2013

    A visual summary of the Knoll Research paper "Activity Spaces: A Variety of Spaces for a Variety of Work"

  • Creating Collaborative Spaces that Work

    Research June 07, 2013

    This study presents a view into the future for creating and planning successful spaces that encourage productive exchanges, connection between people and technology, cooperation and sense of community.

  • Activity Spaces

    Research October 24, 2012

    Activity spaces are “go to” spaces that include several types accessible to everyone as needed, for focused, shared or team tasks, assembly spaces for larger group meetings or training, and community spaces for socializing or casual work.


Related Case Studies

  • Civic Hall Case Study

    Research December 16, 2015

    Challenged with a highly compressed schedule, Civic Hall, a work-and-community space dedicated to civic technology, partnered with Knoll for design-driven furniture solutions that would allow it to serve its mission.

  • Edward Jones

    Research April 01, 2015

    Edward Jones, a leader in the financial services industry, takes a highly personal approach to business and its clients. Seeking to maintain its family-like culture and commitment to employee growth while creating a workplace that meets the needs of both today's and tomorrow’s workforce, they turned to Knoll to help study and test new workplace strategies at their St. Louis headquarters.

  • Accela

    Research July 14, 2014

    Accela, a distributor of a leading engagement platform that powers thousands of services and millions of transactions daily for public agencies worldwide, found itself in need of more space to accommodate its growing staff.

  • University of Portland, Clark Library

    Research March 26, 2014

    At the University of Portland, administrators and library staff sought to create a space that would serve the digital natives of Generation Y, not only with state-of-the-art technology, but also an environment that supports the highly collaborative way students work and learn today.

  • LogMeIn

    Research January 07, 2014

    LogMeIn was committed to getting all its employees under one roof and creating an environment that reflected its innovative spirit and appealed to the energetic team behind it.

  • Galvanize 1.0

    Research April 16, 2013

    Designed to give entrepreneurs and innovators the best chance for a successful launch of their new ventures, Galvanize created an innovation ecosystem, a space defined by growing startups through capital, community and curriculum. Its ecosystem offers support for every phase of the business development process from shared areas for one or two people to large suites for 10 or more. Watch the video to learn more.


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