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The 4 Design Elements That You Need for a Legible Workspace

Rapidly changing technology and the influx of millennials and Gen Z in the workplace continue to change the way offices are designed.  The work style of the new workforce is much more collaborative and driven by the need for social connections. Further, they want choices in the way that they work, so they need a variety of options from which to choose.  They don’t want rows of cubicles or private offices, they want excitement and diversity in the look and feel of their space. So the workplace continues to change in order to suit their needs.

Office design is now focusing on creating legibility in the workspace.

What is a legible workspace?

Legibility is a people-centered approach that offers office configurations that are easy to navigate and easy to understand.  According to Ann Harten of Haworth, “Legibility can be designed into the office space by using landmarks that help people orient themselves. One can also leverage outside landmarks and signage to further guide people. These markers allow employees to create a “mental map” of the layout and find any location within the building, even with limited experience with that building.”  For millennials, and especially for Gen Z, the intended use of a space needs to be clear, if there is any sort of ambiguity about what a space is supposed to be used for, the space will simply be wasted because they will avoid using it.

If your space is designed with legibility in mind, your employees benefit because it will make choosing a spot for their next task and the transition between different work modes easier and quicker for everyone. It reduces the amount of energy, time and stress related to navigating the space which makes the workplace more effective and productive.  

The legibility of your space can be accomplished through these simple design elements:

  1. Landmarks: Interior features such as a kitchen area or breakout space act as landmarks which are important physical cues within a building.  They can also be outside the facility, such as other buildings or landscapes that can be seen through windows. Landmarks are important because they serve as a way people can anchor themselves in the space.
  2. Plan configuration:  The configuration of a workspace needs to be as clear as possible and easy to understand.  When configuration of a space is irregular, or cubicle farms, it creates confusion and stress for employees.
  3. Visual access: It is important that the workspace is open without workstations or walls blocking visual access.  This will allow people entering the space to see landmarks, make a quick mental map in order to navigate their workspace easily.
  4. Signage: Signage can also serve as landmarks or provide information about the intended use of the space.

If you want to increase the legibility of your space, Bellia can help. We will do a thorough evaluation of your space to help you determine ways that you can have a legible workspace that will increase the efficiency, productivity and happiness of your employees,  Give us a call today!


Make a first impression

You only get one chance to make a good first impression, so when people walk into your lobby/reception area, your clients, employees, potential employees and guests will immediately notice its appearance. The design of your office should embody the personality, vision and culture of your company.

If you are considering making an upgrade to your office design, the lobby/reception area is a great place to start. Here are two reasons why:

It Creates the First Impression of Your Company

When any potential or existing clients or employees walk into your office, the reception/lobby area is the space that will communicate who you are as a company. Guests are often left alone in this space for a few minutes, without a person to talk to, so naturally they will begin to notice the design, layout, decor, the furniture and the flow of the room.  Immediately, they will begin to take notice to your company’s aesthetic and culture.

If your reception space is thoughtfully designed to include your branded message, company values and an overall reflection of your company’s personality, it will set an important tone about the expectations this potential client/employee has from your company.

It Creates a Positive Office Environment

Recruitment and Retention of current employees is often a struggle for many companies, especially in an increasingly competitive job market. When your current employees or potential ones walk into a brightly lit, strategically designed space that has a clear brand message, beautiful artwork and the right furniture, you are creating a clear reminder to your current staff and potential staff that you care, not only about your company, but about your employees as well.  

Bellia has had extensive experience designing and upgrading reception spaces. Here are a few of the reception spaces that we have designed.

Thermo Fisher Scientific–In order to accommodate Thermo Scientific’s rapid growth. Bellia renovated their existing space including creating a bright and open reception area with a sleek, modern reception desk to welcome guests to the firm.







Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau–The nature of Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau is to welcome everyone to Philadelphia.  Bellia renovated and redesigned PHLCVB’s entire space to create a modern space with a flexible work environment.


Update Your Space in 2017 & Save BIG!

Posted on: November 14, 2017

As a business owner, you are undoubtedly reviewing capital investment options in order to reduce your company’s tax burden by implementing IRS Section 179 by December 31st.  Before you settle for just another piece of equipment, why not leverage this opportunity to update your work space in a way that will reduce your company’s recruitment and retention costs and increase your ROI by creating a workspace that will help you attract top talent and new clientele. Is your business in need of an update? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does your floor plan boost employee productivity and engagement?
  • Is your space supporting your brand image?
  • Are you planning to grow?

Taking advantage of this opportunity will both save you money in corporate taxes and give you a workspace that will pay you back.  Here’s how it works –

Let’s say you are profitable this year.

You have a net income of $100,000 that you are posting on your 2017 corporate tax return.

If you are a C Corp then your blended tax rate will be 22.25%, and owe the federal government $22,250 for corporate taxes for 2016. Not to mention applicable state taxes.

However, if you purchase $100,000 in assets, you get to 100% depreciate that $100,000 purchase on your 2017 corporate tax return.

Now you have an additional depreciation expense of $100,000 on your 1120.

$100,000 in net income – $100,000 in depreciation expense = $0 in net taxable income.

$0 in net taxable income = $0 in tax dollars due = $22,250 is savings for your company and its owners.

But remember all invoices must be sent before December 31st. So don’t wait!


Improve business with a well designed space

Studies have shown that a well-designed workspace is a simple, cost-effective way to improve your business. By bettering the design of your space you can achieve many positive outcomes including maximizing productivity, inspiring collaboration and innovation and attracting and retaining quality employees.  

Before just diving into making design changes that will improve your workspace, it is important to ask yourself some critical questions?

Is the layout of your space helping or hurting the ability of your employees to get work done?  

A great way to determine this is by taking notes or having a professional help you conduct a study of the traffic patterns of your space.  By observing how employees use their desks, conference rooms and even asking employees to track their own movement throughout the day, you will gather important data and information about the efficiency of your current layout.

Do the equipment, furnishings and space support the way your employees work?

Take a close look at your employees during the course of the work day.  Are employees using the collaborative space that you currently have or are they finding other places to collaborate that weren’t intended? Are they bringing lamps and lighting from home to relight the space and take away the harshness of fluorescent lighting?  While these things may seem small, they are very impactful in terms of the efficiency of your layout and design.  If you notice that the equipment, furnishings and design is not working for your staff, it is time to call a professional to really help you redesign your space to better support your employees.

Once you have delved deeper into the ways your employees are using your space and you have found that your space isn’t where you want it to be, a great place to start is by setting some goals for your redesign.  Every workplace has different needs in terms of design, the right team of professionals can help you determine the goals of improving your space and will make your office work for you.  For example, many business hope to achieve some of the following outcomes through the design and layout of their workspace:

  • Attract top talent and increase retention
  • Balancing collaboration with privacy
  • Creating a space that inspires innovation
  • Increasing employee comfort and engagement

These are just a few ways that you can improve upon your existing space. The ultimate goal of redesigning your workspace is to see a return on your investment. By evaluating and designing a space with certain business outcomes in mind, you will set the stage for growth and success.  Are you ready to make your space better?

Five Trends Influencing Workplace Design

Workplace design is continually changing and evolving.  The ultimate goal of workplace design is to create a physical environment that supports employees so that they are engaged and productive. Here are the top 5 trends influencing workplace design:

  1. Increasing Competition for Talent.  As the workforce continues to age, many companies will face talent shortages.  Because of the slow growth of the labor force expected in the next few years, businesses will need to find new ways to attract the best people to their organization, one way to do that is through workplace design. Providing employees with a workspace that not only supports their wants and needs, but also offers them flexibility and choice will be critical in attracting and retaining top employees. 
  2. Maximizing Employee Well-Being. A happy and engaged employee is 12% more productive.  Focusing on employee wellness when renovating or redesigning an office, will not only increase employee wellness but can increase efficiency and productivity and decrease overhead spending.  Because more flexible working practices are taking hold, such as working from home, many workspaces have replaced allocated workstations to more flexible seating such as hoteling or hot desking.  Another design feature that increases employee wellness is landscaping the interior with plants and water features that bring the outdoors in.   
  3. Boosting Employee Engagement.  By creating a workspace where employees feel engaged in the work that they do can boost a company’s bottom line by 20 percent.  One of the best ways to increase employee engagement is through flexibility, allowing employees to work when, how and where they choose.  By including a combination of areas in your workspace like collaboration areas, quiet spaces for focused work and comfortable areas to relax will increase employee engagement.  Also, companies with engaged employees have 30-50% less turnover. 
  4. Increase Collaboration Areas.  Providing flexible, diverse spaces for employees is key and while companies still include more formal conference rooms within their space, the trend is leaning towards more comfortable and relaxed areas for employees to collaborate.  Including intimate and cozy meeting spaces will encourage impromptu collaboration and conversation for employees, oftentimes where some of the best, most innovative ideas are born.
  5. Activity-based Work Settings.  Business is always changing and unpredictable, so designers are including activity zones for specific types of activities which all employees can utilize if the need arises.  Activity zones might include comfortable, impromptu meeting areas, formal conference rooms, break out areas or collaboration rooms.  Because every employee works differently, this provides different areas for employees to work in a space where they will work best.

4 Hot Design Trends in Education

Posted on: July 11, 2017

The world of education has changed in the 21st century, and classroom design has changed along with it.  Here are a four trends that are leading the way.

Flexible, Reconfigurable Spaces

Like the business world, schools are schools have moved away from traditionally designed classrooms and have adopted a flexible, open floor plan. Because students need to have furniture that can be easily rearranged and reconfigured as learning needs change during the course of the school day.  Research has shown that flexible learning environments have positive impact on student learning.

Breakout Spaces

Breakout areas in the school setting are small spaces located adjacent to classrooms.  Supporting the flexibility and adaptability of a space, these areas are used as alternative spaces for students to engage in small group instruction, collaboration work or individual work.

Incorporating Technology

Technology is an absolute necessity in order to create a 21st century classroom. Having reconfigurable and flexible furniture in the classroom can ease students’ interaction with technology.  Furniture that is also beneficial to integrating technology include tables with power and data ports, seats that can rotate and tables with markerboard surfaces.  Creating a versatile classroom environment will enhance and support innovation, collaboration and creativity.


Sustainability in school design has become a major focus. Schools want to use the most environmentally friendly materials so that the materials do not contribute to harmful indoor air quality or a negative indoor environment.  Having access to natural lighting and focusing on improving acoustics so that students have a comfortable and positive learning environment has become an important part of classroom design.

These trends highlight that in the modern day classroom, variety is really the name of the game.  This generation of students are more diverse and technology-immersed than ever before.  By providing students with a variety of spaces to learn by using a free-flowing open floor plan, adaptable, technology-integrated furniture and incorporating breakout spaces into your design will create a learning environment that enhances effective teaching (and learning) for students and teachers.

Welcome Ariane Sirizzotti

Posted on: January 31, 2017

Bellia Office is pleased to welcome Ariane Sirizzotti as our new workspace consultant. Bringing in-depth knowledge and experience in fiber design, graphic/web design, renderings and site plans and field surveys for design development, Ariane’s forward thinking vision to utilize layout and design will allow our customers to tell their story while achieving their corporate goals.

Working alongside Bellia’s team of in-house interior designers, project manager and the director of business development, Ariane Sirizzotti will support existing customers and new clients by providing innovative and customized interior solutions. With her understanding of the relationship between design solutions and achieving short and long term goals, Ariane will be a great asset to the Bellia team.

Ariane Sirizzotti

Attract Top Graduates

Attract Top Graduates To Stay & Work in The Tri-State

Posted on: January 10, 2017

Are you poised to attract top graduates? 2017 is the year that businesses begin investing in the future of the Tri-state area.

Did you know that in this area, there are a number of colleges that are continually producing top graduates in their respective fields, yet the Philadelphia area continues to lose this talent to the larger markets? As we look ahead, what steps can be taken to attract top graduates, refuel the business of the area and keep top talent working in the Tri-state?

Why is it so important to attract top graduates in the area? According to a recent study, the presence of young professionals in a city is the key to continued economic growth. Exploring ways that your business can entice the best talent to stay will ultimately help your organization reach its corporate goals. The Tri-state area has often had a reputation for its inability to keep young college graduates here, but that is beginning to change. Let your business be a part of that change.

Flexibility through Technology to attract top graduates

When looking for ways to attract top talent and have your business begin to pick up speed in the new year, think about technology. Technology, when fully integrated and optimized will bring a number of benefits and strengthen the fiber of your organization. For jobseekers, using company technology to allow for remote collaboration, video conferencing and other applications will support their desire for flexibility, comfort, and choice in their work environment. For your business to be running at its ideal operational efficiency, your technology systems must be updated and be adaptable to accommodate rapidly changing business systems.

Embrace the future to attract top graduates

The new year is a time of reflection on the past and goal setting for the future, ask yourself: is your company on track to continue growing? Think about your current workspace, is it a space that maximizes square footage while minimizing costs? Is your office design in line with your organization’s goals? Making sure that your workspace is designed to be flexible and adaptable leaves room for your company to change and grow in the future. By creating a space that fits the needs of top talent and current employees, your organization will have set the stage for growth because a well-designed and efficient office environment leads to innovation, creativity, and productivity. Focusing on maximizing operational efficiency through office design will minimize costs while protecting your bottom line.

Consider the Impact of Strategic Office Design to attract top graduates

So often strategic office design is seen only as a cost and not a driver of profitability. Make this the year that you consider making changes to your office environment that are in line with your corporate goals. The impact of a well-designed space will yield maximum results for your business and help revitalize the economic growth in the Tri-state area.

Serving other businesses within our community is important to us, which is why we are focused on making the Tri-State area more magnetic in 2017! We would love to hear how you are handling the changes in this changing economy, and how you plan to attract top talent to grow your business further.

Cumberland County Technical Education Center

Cumberland County Technical Education Center

Cumberland County Technical Education Center

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When Cumberland County Technical Education Center (CCTEC) was approved for a full-time vocational facility, they knew they needed a strong strategic partner to help them create an engaging space that would foster a relationship between the students and their education.

Working closely with Bellia, they were able to create an educational environment that would not only attract new students, but also engage student learners, boost their productivity, and provide comfort and flexibility.

Cumberland County Technical Education Center CLASSROOMS

Bellia outfitted CCTEC with innovative classroom environments that included multifunctional desks, so that students could work independently as well as collaboratively.

Cumberland County Technical Education Center STUDENT LOUNGE

In its design, Bellia used collaborative seating to encourage conversation between students and teachers. This bright and modern space makes it the perfect place for students to achieve study independently or collectively.


With crisp furniture lines, and tranquil colors Bellia outfitted the teacher lounge with a variety of dining options.  The addition of high top tables and lounge seating creates a calming enviorment for the teachers to enjoy their free period.

The Power of Coworking

Coworking evolved when the home office proved to be insufficient for freelancers, who require a productive, creative, and satisfying work atmosphere. As more people with ever differing values, technology, and work requirements seek workplaces, coworking spaces are poised to meet those needs—because it offers great potential for fostering innovation. But, where are the roots of this potential? How can they be transferred to different types of businesses?

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