Office design, like other fields of design is very much driven by trends. Cubicles, private offices, and open offices are all examples of trends which started off being used by a few early adopters, only to later become the norm in office design. Another trend I've seen appearing in many of my other projects is known as the Work Lounge.
"A lounge-like workspace for two to six people; suitable for short-term activities which demand collaboration and/or allow impromptu interaction."
But in regular terms, the Work Lounge is essentially made up of restaurant or cafe-style seating used mainly for work purposes. These can be used individually or in groups, and are meant to be used without the need to reserve the space as might be the case in a regular non-desk work area.
Work Lounges seem to be creeping into offices as a way to build an atmosphere of relaxed areas which are suitable for both work and relaxation. Because these spaces have their roots in places of fun like restaurants, bars, or coffee shops, they are wonderful for talking, negotiating, collaborating, or working in a relaxed space away from the traditional desk.
Work Lounges are also fairly broad in which features they provide. Some might provide food and snacks with a nearby pantry. Others might provide power and data hookups along with printing capabilities. Many offer more private spaces, while still others are made using normal tables and chairs. But because the spaces look like lounges, employees are instantly familiar with them and seem to know how to use them when they arrive.
If you're interested in creating a Work Lounge of your own, I've put together a collection of great examples of this growing trend.
Does Your Company Have a Work Lounge?