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Gianfranco Marinelli is the 7th president of Assufficio.

On September 20th, 2017 the directory board of Assufficio (Italian Association of Furniture Manufacturers for office and contract) unanimously voted the new president: Gianfranco Marinelli. He is the seventh president of the Association.

“The task and responsibility of the Association is to give new boost and lymph to the office furniture sector,” quoted Gianfranco Marinelli, who was sales manager in Unifor for a long time and now works in Citterio (Molteni Group).
The new President of Assufficio also highlighted the priorities of the new strategies:
The next edition of the Salone Ufficio Workplace3.0 that will be held in 2019;
the relationship with Consip;
the expansion on international markets;
the evolution and the technological development of the office industry.

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The new directory board is composed by:
Gianfranco Marinelli (Citterio Spa)
Alberto De Zan (Dieffebi Spa)
Alessandro Fantoni (Fantoni Spa)
Nicola Franceschi (Ares Line Spa)
Massimo Stella(Estel Spa)
Raimondo Taraborrelli (Styloffice Spa)
Libero Gregoletto (Luxy Spa)
Remo Lucchi (Line Kit)
Roberto Cigana (Quadrifoglio)
Giuliano Mosconi (Tecno Spa)
Grazia Manerba (Manerba Spa)
Carlo Molteni (Unifor Spa)
Giancarlo Cappellari (Facau Srl)
Gianmaria Mezzalira (Sinetica Industries Srl)
Roberto Motti (Centrufficio Loreto Spa)
Massimiliano Zamò (Lineafabbrica Srl).

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Piazza del Vento: an installation by OBR and Renzo Piano for the Genoa Boat Show.

Piazza del Vento (The Square of the Wind) is the poetic site specific installation designed by OBR, inspired by a ​​Renzo Piano’s idea, for the Salone Nautico Internazionale di Genova (Genoa International Boat Show). It expresses the strong link between the city of Genoa and the exhibition promoted by Ucina (with the support of Spim). More than a landscape design and interactive square, it is an art work that underlines wind, sun and sea: the environmental and energetic phenomena that represent the legacy of the ancient Marinara Republic of Genoa.

The Square of the Wind is a new urban landmark and multisensory installation in the heart of Genoa’s harbor; it was conceived by Renzo Piano, designed by OBR and realized by Capoferri for the 57th Genoa International Boat Show (21/26th September 2017).

Paolo Brescia and Tommaso Principi, founders of OBR, quoted: We conceived a temporary installation which turnes into a permanent artwork, creating a public space where to celebrate the rite of urbanity on the sea, enshrining the unbreakable link between the Salone Nautico and the city of Genoa”
La Piazza del Vento allows all the citizens to interact with the environmental and energy phenomena of the sea, such as wind and sun.

“It consist of 57 masts in red maple wood and white steel (engineered and offered by Capoferri), 12 meters tall and bound together with textile cables with dacron triangular jibs inferred on. On the top of each mast a Windex is placed, sewing colored spinnaker’s fabric to form the shape of a “flame” highlighting the direction and the intensity of the wind”.
In order to enhance the interaction with the people, and to enjoy this amazing experience, OBR designed some double seat swings in between the masts, where to sit in couple in the shade of the sails while looking toward the sea.

This emotional experience can realize the claim of the 57th edition of the Boat Show: “where life and sea come together“.

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Technical sponsors of the Piazza del Vento:
Capoferri spa, Harken, Gottifredi Maffioli, OBR, Studio Borlenghi, North Sails, Mure a Dritta, OneSails, Quantum Italy, Boris Production, Aster e Spim.

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Sit-stand and user-friendly workstation.

A user-friendly multimedia workstation with a light design, and without any cable thanks to the use of Linak‘s bluetooth technology: these are the features of Tecnus Evo -evolution of the height-adjustable table Tecnus- designed and produced by Emme Italia, a company that since 1995 marries innovative technologies with Italian handicrafts to offer customized and constantly in progress solutions.

The growth of Emme Italia continues with the usual passion: from the traditional drafting tables to the electrified sit-stand version using linear actuators by Linak and, recently, the most advanced step Tecnus Evo.
Tecnus Evo is a new result of the collaboration between Emme Italia and Linak: a multimedia workstation inspired by a common vision of dynamic ergonomics, well-being and IoT in the workplace.
It is featured by clean design and high performances:
the integration of Linak’s new bluetooth technologies allows the elimination of wiring and a user friendly approach;
the rechargeable Battery Pack makes the table independent by power supply;
height adjustment can be controlled either by the traditional push-button panel housed into the column or by a smartphone (for iOS or Android App).

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The App Desk Control allows the adjustment of the table with a touch and also to save custom settings and set personal goals for wellness.
Standard height adjustment from 72 to 112 cm is perfect for workstations and informal meetings, other adjustments are available on request.

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Height-adjustable table, structure in painted steel column (black, white or RAL tailored colors), desk top in melamine.
Dimensions cm 100 x 200; height cm from 72 to 112.

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The Green & The Gray: how to marry nature and city. An exhibition by Carlo Ratti @EDITDX.

Is it possible to bridge nature and cities? Can new technologies help to reconcile these two fundamental dimensions? “The Green & The Gray”, a 2000 sqf interactive exhibition curated by Carlo Ratti Associati at EDIT (Expo for Design, Innovation & Technology) answers to these questions (Toronto, September 28th/October 8th) celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary.

Today, new technologies allow us to bridge the eternal rift between city and nature and contribute to a “Prosperity for All” (main theme of EDIT).
“The Green & The Gray”
features artifacts and initiatives that stand out for their ability to reconcile these two fundamental dimensions of the human condition, envisioning a thriving future for local communities worldwide.
Inside the immersive environment, visitors can explore the exhibition while moving over a floor that gives the impression of walking over water.
The exhibition showcases features 19 projects, selected of 100 international projects presented, among these: Grant Associates’ Supertree Grove, Transsolar’s Reversío, Terreform ONE’s Cricket Shelter, Philippe Rahm’s Spectral light for Artemide, Arctic Food Network by Lateral Office and The Lowline Lab.


Carlo Ratti, director of the Senseable City Lab at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and a founding partner of Carlo Ratti Associati, quoted: “I have always been fascinated by the words of French anarchist geographer Elysée Reclus, at the end of the 19th century he wrote: ‘Man should have the doubled advantage of access to the pleasures of the city […], the opportunities offered for the study and practice of art, and at the same time should be able to enjoy the freedom that lies in nature, and which is explained in the field of its vast horizon’. The Green & The Gray, with its Stendhalian title, aims to explore how, thanks to new technologies, we can finally contribute to Reclus’ vision of marrying city and nature”.

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“Since Marc-Antoine Laugier’s celebration of the ‘primitive hut’, architecture has always acted as a separation between mankind and nature. Could new technologies allow us to think about it in a different way?”, says Emma Greer, Project Manager at Carlo Ratti Associati: “The integration between nature and cities through the use of new technologies has been at the core of many of Carlo Ratti Associati’s recent projects, from the Trussardi Dehors in Milan, for which we developed the first vertical garden in Italy, to our soon-to-be-opened pavilion for FICO Eataly World, which leverages hydroponics cultivations and the Internet of Things to turn visitors into potential farmers”.

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“We are thrilled to be working with Carlo Ratti and his team on this ambitious exhibition, which touches upon some of the world’s most pressing issues and looks at design as integral to how we can make the world a better place for all people”, says Shauna Levy, President and CEO, Design Exchange (Producers of EDIT).

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Ways of Designing with a tailored approach: 967.

967 Architetti is a team of architects and designers -967 is the promoters’ birth date!- provides, both in Italy and abroad, a wide range of architectural works, interior and industrial design.
their Ways of designing are based on research, innovation and experimentation, from the design concept to the final phase of project management; with great attention to details and cost control and sustainability (since 2008, 967 has become a member associate of GBC Italia and applied the LEED protocols); while the research on new materials and lighting is a result between emotional and functional components.
967 has achieved a conceived experience by working on complex projects and has developed and managed projects at many different levels (for example the Italian headquarters of international companies such as Google, Cisco, Petronas, Amplifon, BCC, FC Internazionale and WPP) and smaller but very qualified interiors for example Dieffebi showroom in Milan or Dieffebi’s stands at Salone Ufficio).

WOW! meets Cesare Chichi, one of the founder of 967 Architetti Associati.

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Is your design approach the same everywhere and with all kinds of companies or does the approach change to the different situations? 

For all our designs we follow the same approach, a “tailored project” concept, which is the theme underlying our services. Our solutions are every time different as based on the customer’s requirements and suggestions, its very genes, yet not neglecting our identity.  Every project is different, as every customer is different in their attitude towards the importance of design.

You operates on quite different design markets. Do your analyses show new users life styles and requirements by the users?

We pinpoint changed needs and behaviors, however defining them as “new” would be too much. Technology has always played an instrumental role in change and leads us to reconsider some products and new architectures from different standpoints. Some typologies are so mature that the only possible interpretation is aesthetically.

How has the workspace vision changed in the past few years and have these changes an impact on the new interior design and furniture products?

No doubt, some substantial changes can no be seen – smart working, agile working, liquid office- that arouse interest also in someone who was totally uninterested in the office issue till recently. Sometimes they create a disruption in the use and hierarchy of space, but most of all they are to be considered as opportunities to look at the real working requirements in facilities all distinct from one another.

What scenarios and evolutions do you expect for the office and the ways of working in the near future? 

We foresee a growing interest in a field, which, in our opinion, has lacked polling power for a too long period and has a strong potential for growth, also on account of the fact that we spend  most of our time at the office. A few successful examples of new workplaces can be the driving force.

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1 Dieffebi, bookshelf Chiave di Volta, design 967.

2 Dieffebi, Primo Acoustic, design 967.

3 Davide Groppi, wall lamp Folder, design 967.

4 Davide Groppi, wall lamp with indirect light Foil, design 967.

5 MDF Italia, office furniture system 20.venti, design 967.

 

6, 7 Headquarters Kantar.

8, 9 Headquarters Amplifon.

 

10,11 Showroom Dieffebi in Milan.

12,13 Stands Dieffebi at Salone Ufficio 2015 and 2017.

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Ways of designing, Design & Advisory: Metrica.

People appreciated two very interesting products presented at Salone del Mobile in Milan (Collaborative Room di Estel e Woods di Fantoni) designed by Metrica, while Boccaporto, designed for Koleksyion was awarded at NeoCon and Orgatec.
Metrica is a design studio based in Milan with an international reputation.
Their approach to contemporary furniture design consists of a strong mix of design management and technical advisory.
WOW meets Robin Rizzini, chief designer & partner, and Lucio Quinzio Leonelli, president & managing partner, to know their unique “ways of designing”.

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Is your design approach the same everywhere and with all kinds of companies or does the approach change to the different situations?

Each of our projects has a double soul -imagination and manufacture- and the design of every piece of furniture always takes into consideration its engineering.
That’s why we called out practice Metrica, which evokes ties and stimuli set by production, market and commission, we call it educated design.
Every design is shared with the customer, according to Gantt, and mainly based on two steps. The fist one is the product concept (mood boards, researches and marketing analysis); it also included sketches and technical draws, renders and 3D.
Design & Advisory: the advisory service supports design for new or existing products. It is a flexible model able to adapt to different companies.
We can also offer turnkey projects, from design to manufacture. That mostly occurs abroad and sometimes with start-up companies.

You operates on quite different design markets. Do your analyses show new users life styles and requirements by the users?

Over 50% or our designs goes to the contract market. Pieces of furniture created for public and commercial spaces (offices, museums, libraries, lounges and hotels). Users, whose taste is moulded by the thousands of images found on social media, ask for products with a recognizable look yet offering the same kind of comfort, quality and functionality of a house decor.

How has the workspace vision changed in the past few years and have these changes an impact on the new interior design and furniture products?

What has actually changed is the request for private places for concentration however not excluding light and shared open plan workspaces. The outcome is furniture looking like micro-architectures: collaborative rooms, private offices, hubs, seating like workplaces for informal meetings.

What scenarios and evolutions do you expect for the office and the ways of working in the near future?

Flexibility. “Responsive Space” suiting all the user’s changeable requirements. Waiting rooms that can transform in meeting room or individual workplaces; meeting rooms that can transform in shared offices.

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1 Estel, Collaborative Room, design Metrica.
They are modular cells available in three different range of dimensions, all highly customizable by structure and finishes. Small (able to accomodate up to 2 people); Medium (suitable for meeting and focus group up to 4 people); Large (a real meeting area able to host up to 8 people). They are built with an aluminium structure, customizable with glass sheet or wooden panels covered up with sound absorbing foam. Entrance module with hinged or sliding door or without a door.

 

2 Fantoni, Woods, design Metrica.
A complete series of tables designed for the contract market and specifically for a dynamic working environment. The key feature of the project is the use of wood that accompanied to the comfort offered by the sit-stand table. The design of the leg gives the table a simple and sophisticated look, comprising two telescopic cylindrical elements, one of which is in wood. Inside, an electronic mechanism effortlessly adjusts the height of the table top.


3 Koleksiyon, Boccaporto, design Metrica.
A single freestanding seating unit designed for the contract market able to create a small hideout that interacts with the surroundings space, either be public or office. The upholstered and soundproof shell with integrated recharge and lighting facilities. 

4 Arper, Cross, design Metrica.
A table equally suited for residential spaces, boardrooms and collaborative working environments. Thanks to optional configuration arrangements, it offers a flexible and supportive workspace. Its substantial length, both minimal and architectural, features a sturdy structure with a generous surface that can serve as a temporary meeting ground for group gatherings or a wide co-working station. 

5 Intertime, Mesh, design Metrica.
A reclining lounge chair designed for the residential market. It is made out of a tubular steel frame dressed in a 3D mesh fabric combined with the textiles and leathers of the seating element. These elements are held together by a crafted mechanism that enables the chair to recline and the integrated footrest.

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A storage system that integrates “smart plants”.

The Dieffebis stand at Salone Ufficio, designed by 967, was like an amazing greenhouse; the plants evoke the green culture and the wellness-oriented vision of the company. This vision inspired a new biophilic version of Dotbox, a masterpiece of modular storage systems, that now can integrate planters equipped with air purification system.

Plants make more pleasant the workspace and make a better air quality, too. This is why DotBox integrates a “smart pot” with Itair® technology, an innovative natural air purification system for indoor environments.
Thanks to IoT (Internet of Things) the plant are connected to a computer and becomes a real filter able to metabolize harmful agents present in the air provides for a forced mechanical ventilation.

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DotBox is a multifunctional, modular and flexible storage system able to configure workspaces, made of sheet steel laser-cut, fully recyclable. It can also be customized with pillows and panels in different shapes, colors and fabrics, including fireproof and sound absorbing. It allows to efficiently organize the space with a unique personality.

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Ultra matt and metallic shades for durable surfaces.

The sustainable approach of Akzo Nobel includes components and to give long service life. The new collections Interpon Anodic III and D2015 Précis provide high aesthetics, super durability and “green” impact.

Collection Interpon Anodic III: anodization.

Interpon Collection Anodic III features 6 new products developed to meet the latest trends in anodization: Soft Silver, Soft Champagne, Gold Splendour, Steel Blue Platinum, Steel Bronze and Steel Bronze 2, all available from Stock.
Supplied in Interpon D2525 super-durable polyester technology to give long service life. These attractive matt and metallic effect finishes provide a great alternative to anodized aluminum with an extended warrantee up to 25 years.
Collection Anodic meets the demanding weathering requirements of the leading industry specifications: Qualicoat class 2, AAMA 2604, GSB Master, BS EN 12206.

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Collection Interpon D2015 Précis: ultra matt.

Interpon D2015 Précis super durable ultra matt powder coating opening up new possibilities in aesthetics and the interaction of light with surfaces.
Ultra matt surfaces are a designer’s dream that become reality with Interpon D2015 Précis. Using a high innovative technology, this hard wearing powder coating has gloss levels of only 10-15 (a typical matt is 25), delivering an attractive flat matt finish.
The super-durable backbone of Interpon D coatings, with a proven track record spanning over 30 years, ensures long term resistance against hard weather conditions.
This new technology is available in a range of stylish metallic shades to enhance objects and achieve a look never before seen in a powder coating.
Interpon Précis enhances objects and achieves a look never seen before in a powder coating. Interpon D2015 Précis is non-reflective, aesthetically pleasing, with a selection of metallic colors, is the perfect ultra matt finish.
Designed to meet the demands of Qualicoat Class 2, AAMA 2604, GSB Master approvals where required, BS EN12206 “enhanced durability”, and Interpon D2015 Précis will maintain its appearance long-term, having been developed to survive 5 years in South Florida without major change in color  or gloss level.

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Upper photo: Les Rives de L’Orne by Valode & Pistre Architects.

 

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No noise and distraction wherever you work.

According to a research by Oxford Economics, employees ranked the ability to focus on work without interruptions as their top priority, with nearly 40% taking steps to mitigate noise. Plantronics a pioneer in audio and wearable technology and smart working, designed Voyager 8200 UC a business-grade headset to answer to the needs of digital nomads and smart workers.

The premium audio quality and clarity ensure an optimal experience whether you’re taking a conference call in the middle of an open office, listening to your favourite music on the train, or working in a crowded coffee shop.
Voyager 8200 UC is designed for the connected executive who needs to be in constant communication, and for employees in an open office space who find themselves facing distractions and noise.
“When a workforce is highly mobile, a business’ ability to ensure their associates can focus while collaborating becomes a top priority,” said Gavin Sear, Global Product Marketing Manager at Plantronics.
Voyager 8200 UC will be available in the U.S. near the end of July, 2017 and worldwide by early September (at Plantronics authorised partners with an MSRP of € 349 / £ 309).

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Additional Voyager 8200 UC features and benefits include:
Four “beam-forming” microphones detect and amplify the speaker’s voice, while two additional microphones detect and block environmental noise for the Voyager family’s business-grade audio experience, which ensures crystal-clear call quality in a boomless form-factor.
Enhanced voice alerts announce caller names, mute and connection status and talk-time level.
Wireless battery life offers up to 24 hours of listening time and a 3.5 mm audio cable facilitates in-flight use.
Microsoft Skype for Business certified; compatible with Cisco Jabber and other softphones.
Using Bluetooth technology, Voyager 8200 UC can pair to Windows and Mac computers, and many IP phones through Plantronics’ BT600 USB audio processor, as well pair directly to both iOS and Android phones and tablets.
Wireless range of up to 98 ft/30 m from supported Class 1 Bluetooth® devices.
Smart sensor technology detects if the headset is worn – pausing streaming media when removed, and resuming media play when the headset is put back on.

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Marelet: food quality, comfort and green passion.

People who really pursue quality apply this concept on a full scale, as the Colleoni family did with its Marelet, an accomodation facility offering excellence synaesthetically: from food to hosting, with a variety of speciality dishes and interiors designed to principles of sustainability and biophilia.
A refined space made even more pleasant through the use of plants and natural elements. The lush walls and amazing plant paintings by HW Style improve the acoustics and purify the air as well as used to decorate.

After the sought-after Michelin star, awarded to the Treviglio-based “San Martino”, the Colleoni family got a further important accolade with the new location Marelet in Treviglio too (close to Bergamo): the Prize by Illy Caffè “Migliore Bar d’Italia 2017” because of the high quality of food and the ability to interpretate the needs of third millennium.

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The facility -bar, bistrot, pastry, and 18 rooms hotel- is located downtown and gives onto the park, and the greenness acts as a link between outside and inside through the substantial vegetal walls and plant paintings looking like beautiful works of art (all them made and managed by HW Style).

These green elements are not just meant to decorate, but they can purify the indoor pollution and have soundproofing performance improving acoustic comfort, which is often one of the major issues in public places.
The overall project follows a green passion and is based on wellness and an environmentally sustainable approach: it’s a technologically advanced pre-fab wooden building, that makes use of photovoltaic panels and geothermics. Interior design is carried out in recyclable materials free from harmful emissions.

 

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Biophilia and Mindful Design at Wellness17 (London, 9/5th).

Oliver Heath and Aidan Walker are two of the key speakers for the conference Wellness17 that will address main wellbeing issues in the workplace. From a mental and physiology perspective that pretends to improve our work life balance to a design approach to generate a healthier and more natural work space.
The leading event on wellness in the workplace, will return to London on 5th September 2017 at Credit Suisse.

Oliver Heath talks about Biophilic Design.

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The concept of Biophilia is becoming more present within the workplace as employers and employees alike seek healthier and more balanced working lives. Oliver Heath will discuss “The Science and Style of Biophilic design”. A new research that demonstrates how we can harness the human attraction to nature to reduce stress and aid recuperation by utilising Biophilic design principles. In this way we can make tangible benefits to the workplace including reducing costs such as absenteeism whilst improving productivity, engagement and happiness.

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Oliver Heath is Founder of Heath Design Ltd, an architectural and interior design practice combining three key strands: sustainable design, consumer engagement and communications to inspire the uptake of future thinking in the built environment. He stimulates the adoption of happier, healthier places to live and work. Oliver is currently a Biophilic Design ambassador for Interface flooring.

Photos: courtesy of Interface and HW Style.

Aidan Walker talks about Mindful Design.

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Aidan Walker, Director of Aidan Walker Associates and fellow of the Royal Society of Arts will share his thoughts on “Mindful Design. Principles in practice”. 

Leaders in business, education, hospitality, health and government are paying ever more careful attention to personal wellbeing. It can be about cranking up productivity, generating a new profit centre for guests who mistake luxury for inner solace, or reducing stress.
For workplace professionals and designers, the driving principle is changing from Sustainability to ‘Wellness’. With the ‘Seven C’s of Mindful Design’ Aidan Walker proposes a map of the new professional and personal landscape.

Aidan has practised Hatha Yoga, including a spell teaching, all his adult life, and in his 20s spent six years as a fully dedicated member of the Brahma Kumaris, living and teaching the principles of Raja Yoga. This has led to the publication of the book ‘The Ecology of the Soul’, and he is now working on developing its message to apply specifically to mindfulness in the practice of design.

Wellness17 will also focus on confronting mental health in the workplace, defining best practice, work-life balance, people, place, design and much more. Wellness17 builds on the success of Unwired’s Worktech series of conferences and encompasses all aspects of Wellness including Mind, Body and Spirit, addressing some of the most interesting and challenging subjects such as the stigma of mental health, taming technology, nutrition, design and much more.
Book now at the Wellness17 Early Bird rate and save £100!

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Global Change: nature-inspired, biophilic flooring.

Global Change is Interface’s most versatile collection to-date, launched during last NeoCon. It was designed by Kari Pei, the company’s Lead Product Designer, and pairing nature-inspired biophilic design with Interface’s modular flooring system expertise. The collection offers architects and designers the ability to bring biophilic flooring into their spaces, leading to more positive experiences and improved wellbeing for the people who use them.

Biophilia is a growing trend in interior design and architecture, but we can not say that the “innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life” is a novelty indeed. This scientific hypothesis was introduced by Edward O. Wilson in 1984.
Interface has been among the first companies to intercept this philosophy and has been applying biophilic design approach for several years in its textile flooring systems.
Global Change is the last collection by Interface, launched at NeoCon 2017 and offers an integrated range of design options that can be composed to solve a variety of unique business challenges.
The collection evokes foliage through artistic interpretation of tree and leaf shading patterns. Biophilic elements and references are also reflected in random patterns and fluid transitions inspired by natural textures.


Global Change is comprised of seven face styles available in six organic color palettes. Progression 1, 2,3, the collection’s foundational tiles, offer three gradated base textures at three different price points and pile heights.
Glazing and Shading take inspiration from the tree canopy with foliage appearing as positive shapes against striations of texture.
Ground and Raku resemble the cracked appearance of dried earth and can be installed as non-directional squares.
The styles are available in a mixture of 50cm x 50 cm squares and 25cm x 100cm Skinny PlanksTM, ranging from flat to plush. To complement the seven face tiles, the Interface design team developed six earthy, mineral-based colors for the collection, inspired by global trends:
Eclipse, Evening Dusk, Desert Shadow, Fawn, Daylight and Morning Mist.
Global Change has one of the lowest carbon footprints of any of Interface’s global collections to-date. and is in line with Interface’s sustainability commitments.
Global Change takes the end-user on a journey from the forest to the coast, offering beautiful aesthetics that also deliver modular versatility and functionality – Kari Pei quoted – Each product within the collection was designed to harmoniously blend into the next, and the collection has the unique ability to adapt as design and tastes evolve.”

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Neocon: HiP Award to Favaretto and Luxy.

The seating Ribelle –design by Favaretto & Partners– won the Interior Design’s 4th Annual HiP Awards, as Best Product in the category Outdoor at the 49th Neocon in Chicago, while Italia armchair was one of the honorees between the 5 products in nomination for the category Task Seating. 

Ribelle design by Favaretto & Partners (patented # 003661602).

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Make a chair as easy as possible but without simplifying and get out from traditional forms and benefit of ergonomics: this was the ichallenge of Ribelle, the first indoor/outdoor chair of Luxy.
Entirely made in rod steel, the collection is composed of 2 versions: chair and stool. The front angles of the seat are cut to facilitate the end user to get up. The functional advantage of this cut is emphasized in the stool version, where it is possible to put the foot on the floor without moving forward on the seat. Available 13 finishes of which 9 can be used both indoor and outdoor, instead the chrome, brass, copper and carbon finishes are suitable only for indoor use.

Italia, design by Favaretto&Partners (patented # 003164540-0003 – 003164540-0004).

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Italia is a perfect combination of ergonomics and style. It has an exposed metal structure in high-strength steel-rod, available in a chromed or embossed black or white painted version, provides a stylish support to a cold-foamed shell of varying density. The design and technology are completely innovative. It is available in the high or low version with chrome frame or black or white painted. Leathers and fabrics are available in wide range of colors.

 

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Snowsound collects two awards at NeoCon 2017.

On the occasion of the Neocon 49th edition, particularly focused on Italian design, Caimi Brevetti earned once again two Awards: the first Best of Neocon Silver is for the sound-absorbing system Snowsound Diesis, the second one for Snowsound Analysis Software. 

Snowsound was awarded several international recognition mixing innovation with product design. This coexistence of unique aesthetic qualities with outstanding performance greatly contributes to its success.

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The latest Best of Neocon Award won, in “Software/Application for Specifications” category, is a meaningful recognition for the Snowsound Analysis Software thanks to its user friendliness and quickness in estimating the required acoustic material for a given environment.

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Diesis, designed by Alessandro and Francesco Mendini, is a system of sound-absorbing Snowsound-Fiber drapes, realized with soft interwoven polyester fibers that are inherently fire-resistant and supported by a steel structure (either free-standing or hanging from the ceiling). The interaction between its special acoustic fibers and its particular shape leads to signification reduction in annoying acoustic reverberation, thus improving acoustic comfort and life quality.
Snowsound products and technologies are covered by exclusive patents that represent the result of intense in progress research and development in collaboration with Universities and Research Institutes.

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Neocon: hub of inspiration for new workstyles.

Neocon at its 49th edition confirmed itself as an amazing hub of inspiration for solutions and trends: workplace design is becoming essential for attracting and retaining workers of the Gig economy, Millennials and Generation Z, new faces of this modern work style dominated by the “sharing culture”. Pleasant, warm and healthy interiors answer to the new co-officing, co-creation and collaboration norms.

Adaptive furnishings, privacy on demand, acoustic comfort and sound control, biophilic design and new technology for wireless charging device and immersive visualization experiences are inspiring the new workspace design.
Versatile, modular, reconfigurable, multi-use, highly adjustable products offer flexible and dynamic solutions enable the maximization of different workspace settings: from privacy when desired for one or two users, to collaborative work sessions or impromptu meeting areas.
Lighting, wall partitions, desking and seating, all the components can be reconfigured time and again offering virtually endless configuration options for inspiring and supporting the work, from formal to casual. Serpentine shapes, straight models, transitional units are the new geometries.

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Floors, wall partitions, products in general are incorporating natural materials, nature views and other experiences of the natural world, drawn by the biophilic design trend.

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“The office is unoffice
is the evocative proposal by West Elm, an home furniture brand based in New York expanding innovatively in the workplace solutions.
Neocon always deserves the trip especially this year with the celebration for 100 years of Florence Knoll, legendary and visionary designer, former President of Knoll and founder of KnollTextiles, and the master lecture from Antonio Citterio at the MCA in Chicago, considered one of the most important appointments in the Windy City, together with his month-long retrospective hosted at Luminaire.
Looking forward to see what the 50th Edition will be, it is better to book the trip on time!

Text by Silvia Fattore.


1. West Elm, Haus, design by Qdesign.

A private workstation, inspired by traditional architecture and first-class airline cabins, designed for individual and small group work. Clustered together, the three Haus configurations transform an open office into a dynamic village, a creative community landscape.

2. Buzzispace, BuzziPleat, design by 13&9Design.
Vnner of Best of Neocon 2017 Gold.
Category: Acoustic Panel & Solutions.
BuzziPleat reinterprets ancient techniques used in fashion design, like smocking and pleating, to create large-scale, yet lightweight sculptural forms, made of sound-absorbing BuzziFelt. It combines the hanging acoustic pendants with a light source to marry sound control and illumination in one multi-purpose product.

3. Arper, Parentesit, design by Lievore Altherr Molina.
The bold, graphic forms are available in three shapes a circle, a square or an oval that can be further customized with the addition of a speaker or ambient light, to create a visual element that is as functional as it is modern. The collection is now complemented by the freestanding version, a modular stand alone system for concentration or quiet conversation in shared workspaces or collaborative environments.

4. Fluidconcepts & Design Inc., Orbit, Inline Systems.
Orbit workstations conform to how people actually work by providing single location access to a user’s work area in one continuous ergonomic circumference. They can be complete circular workstations or partial segments. Workstations can be linked in various configurations in snake like configurations, tangents, or as independent pods. Orbit can be specified in multiple diameters, radii and heights. Curved dividers are available in a variety of materials such as laminate, fabric, metal printed and acrylics. Circuit electrical and date system can be specified. The system offers installs extremely fast to create flexible and dynamic workstation environment.

 


5. Steelcase, Surround, design Steelcase Design Studio.
Winner of Best of Neocon 2017 Gold.
Category: Healthcare Guest/ Lounge seating.
A collection of healthcare furnishings designed to support family members in healthcare environments. Surround with 3-seat sleepers, available in 2-seat and 1-seat options supports the family’s dynamic role and involvement, eases their burdens and fosters their wellbeing. Surround supports the activities and moments that matter most from rest and rejuvenation, to productivity, hosting guests and communicating with clinicians.

6. Davis, Q6, design by Jonathan Prestwich.
Winner of Best of Neocon 2017
Innovation. Category: Furniture Collections for Collaboration.
Inspired by how people work today, Jonathan Prestwich has created an all-inclusive line which addresses the need for different kinds of working spaces. Comprised of open seating, screens, benches, tables, and ottomans, Q6 provides a versatile line of stylish and highly functional pieces. 

7. Snowsound USA (Caimi Brevetti), Snowsound Diesis, design by Alessandro Mendini, Francesco Mendini.
Winner of Best of Neocon 2017 Silver. Category: Acoustic Panels & Solutions.
Diesis is a sound-absorbing element with steel base and drapes based on Snowsound-Fiber technology. These pieces feature steel frames at the top that create the sound-absorbing drape, thus assuming precise rays and layers, designed to optimise acoustic performance. Diesis is available in both ceiling mounted or free-standing versions.

8.Interface, Global Change. Design by Kari Pei, Interface Lead Product Designer.
It is the most versatile collection to-date, pairing nature-inspired biophilic design with Interface’s modular flooring system expertise. The collection offers an integrated range of design options that can be composed in a custom-made design. It evokes foliage through artistic interpretation of tree and leaf shading patterns. Biophilic elements and references are also reflected in random patterns and fluid transitions inspired by textures found in nature.

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9.Herman Miller, Prospect, design by Richard Holbrook.
Winner of Best of NeoCon Gold. Category Furniture for Collaboration.
Collaborative and individual creativity in today’s workplaces and learning environments need just the right amount of privacy, Prospect is mission control for individuals and small- to medium-sized teams replete with whiteboards, tackable surfaces, and media display. It’s an ideal place for brainstorming, pinning, and visual thinking that allows people to easily transition between working together and alone.

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Smart working between physical and virtual space.

The success of smart working is driving organizations to design different scenarios for work and workplace. A large number of companies welcome smart working while leaving the collaborator the freedom to work in the office or anywhere else. Finally, more and more companies, called “location-independent“, have decided to not have an office and to make their collaborators only work remotely.
The last trend is the online office thanks to software that simulates the physical workspace that still many people feel the need.

Some companies reject smart working by postponing the change at a future time that will sooner or later come. But those companies that decide not to have an office make a bold choice, but it is not without sense. In most cases, it is a shared choice with their collaborators. Recently, Automattic, the company that develops CMS WordPress, has decided to sell its offices in San Francisco: 1400sqm of open space offices with many attractions. The reason for the sale is simple: 5-6 collaborators go to the office, while everyone else prefers to work remotely.

 


Buffer
is another company that after a few years of working in an office has decided to leave it to let its collaborators have the freedom to work where they prefer.
The “location-independent” companies have made their choice an extra reason to invest in corporate culture and create a strong team sense. They also have perks and benefits to capture new talents remotely and keep those that are already present, for example they reimburse those who decide to work in a co-working.
When we talk about working in an office or working remotely, people can be divided into two groups: some prefer to work remotely and gladly give up the office; others need the office as a place of aggregation and relationship that give meaning to the word work.
Millennials and even more the generation Z usually approve remote working and often require it. Previous generations are opening up to smart working thanks to higher quality of life and work.

A new trend: the virtual online office.

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Among these new ways of working and generational incentive there are companies that work in an online office. This means that employees use software that simulates the physical space of an office. For now the spaces are drawn in 2D, but the 3D step is close because companies like Facebook are already integrating Oculus Rift technology.

These softwares have nothing to do with second life or ludic use of virtual spaces.
The purpose of an online office is to recreate the personal proximity and functionality of a physical space that is needed for teams to work together remotely. Teams are co-localized online in an office designed on a visual map with avatars representing people within virtual space.
The rooms and common spaces of this virtual office simulate the kitchen, the space with a relaxing couch, the rooms where you are very focused and do not want to be disturbed. The concept is very similar to the design of the spaces according to their function. The policy of such a space describes how to behave internally.

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My personal experience has improved a long way since I joined Virtual Team Talk, an international co-working space where different professionals meet and work in the space created by the service sococo.com.
In this space it may happen that I am in the “casual” room together with a person and I take the opportunity to know him or her.
Or else I am in the “very focused” room where everyone is very focused and I will not venture to disturb my colleagues. I can go to the “open discussion” room for a remote brainstorming where all the colleagues have the webcam on.
In the “after party” room I can informally get to know my colleagues after work.
With the passing of time the feeling of closeness of your colleagues is undeniable. Working in a remote team often gives the feeling of not knowing what your colleagues are doing: whether they are working on computers or are out for a commission.
Integration with tools that facilitate communication is already advanced. Also with this work mode, people are free to go and come into virtual space by communicating their presence to others.
The global movement of remote workers is growing constantly and an online office can help simulate a physical space that still many people feel the need.
Choosing to adopt smart working so that a collaborator can choose when to work in the office, and when to work remotely, following a clear company policy, it looks even better with the use of an online office.

Text by Giovanni Battista Pozza, Digital Entrepreneur.

Photo Automattic: credit Scott Beale https://www.flickr.com/photos/laughingsquid/ 

Photo Office online: Virtual Team Talk Sococo 

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An urban landscape inside the office.

The project for the GFT Italia Headquarter in Milan by DAP Studio wants to shape a paradox: to design an office for a company who works with the immaterial world of Information Technology, taking inspiration from the greatest material invention of man, the city.
Instead of excluding urban life from the workplace, the interior design transform it into the very paradigm of work experience.

“We designed a working place where human relations and knowledge can move along ‘streets’ and ‘squares’, where people can discuss in cozy lounges or share opinions in front of a long dining table. Thus the open space of an ordinary office building becomes a new urban landscape, the theatre of a new way of understanding work”. explain Elena Sacco and Paolo Danelli of DAP Studio.

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To reflect the non-hierarchical company, the space organization is fluid and facilitates interpersonal relationships and exchange of information.

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The entrance to the office is designed as a threshold area between the “outside world” and the inner new office. Beyond the threshold, an elongated architectural volume, with its highly recognizable shape.

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This iconic element is the fulcrum and the common background for spaces and paths and has a double value.


Its cross-section, with its sloping roof, refers to the archetypal shape of the house and emphasizes an idea of office that hybridizes with the domestic space: an informal place where people use to meet and share their ideas.

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Its longitudinal flow refers to the standard image of the factory, too; with bright and warm color inside and a reflecting metal-like surface that captures the light. The exterior, instead, has a white perforated cladding, a mutable surface thanks to the effect of the filtering inner light and colour.

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This dialectic between material perception and evanescence of shapes is a key to interpreting the project and we can find it also in the contrast between concrete walls and wide glass surfaces, minimal white furniture and strong wooden window frames.
Photo by Barbara Corsico

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Art and Design #withRefugees (June 20th, Refugee Day).

On June 20 celebrates the United Nations’ World Refugee Day to commemorate the strength, courage, and resilience of millions of refugees. Also Art and Design can contribute to raise the public awareness about refugee’s situations throughout the world. Here are some examples.

La Triennale di Milano and Fondazione Nicola Trussardi: The Restless Earth.

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The exhibition, curated by Massimiliano Gioni at Triennale in Milan, explores real and imaginary geographies, reconstructing the odyssey of migrants through personal and collective tales of exodus. Its title from a collection of poems by Édouard Glissant, a Caribbean writer who probed the question of how different cultures can coexist. The exhibition shares in Glissant’s project—a pressing and necessary one that tries to describe this unstable and agitated present as a polyphony of voices and narratives. Through the works of more than sixty artists from more than forty countries—such as Albania, Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, and Turkey—and with historical documents and objects of material culture, this exhibition charts both experiences and perceptions of migration and the current refugee crisis as an epoch-making transformation that is reframing contemporary history, geography, and culture.
The Restless Earth focuses in particular on how artists bear witness to historic events, and how art can describe social and political change in the first person.
(Francis Alÿs in collaboration with Julien Devaux, Felix Blume, Ivan Boccara, Abbas Benheim, Fundaciéon Montenmedio Arte, and children of Tanger and Tarifa / Don’t Cross the Bridge Before You Get to the River, Strait of Gibraltar, 2008 / Courtesy Francis Alÿs and David Zwirner, New York/London).

Moroso supports Achilleas Souras in Milan and Olafur Eliasson at 57th Biennale di Venezia. 

“SOS – Save Our Souls” by Achilleas Souras in Milan.
On the occasion of Salone del Mobile, Moroso hosted in its showroom “SOS Save Our Souls” by Achilleas Souras. This installation of great political-social impact is built around the life jackets discarded by refugees on Greece’s shores. The work fuses social engagement with the practical aim of extending protection from water to land. The young Achilleas is repurposing life jackets that saved refugees on the sea to shelter them on land.

Green light – An artistic workshop by Olafur Eliasson at 57th Venice Biennale Art.

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Green Light – An Artistic Workshop is a project by the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson in association with Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary of Vienna (TBA21). The project was created in response to the current problems caused by migration and mass displacements. Moroso’s contribution to the project was to develop some of the furnishings in the workshop space. The workshop will be held throughout the period of Viva Arte Viva, the 57th Venice Biennale, from 13 May to 26 November 2017. The geometric Green Light tables and shelves were designed by Eliasson’s studio especially for the workshop and produced by Moroso.
(Photo Credit © Damir Zizic)

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Quiet, please! We work here.

This furniture typology has no name yet: pod? box? booth? acoustic room? Call it what you may. It’s designed to define oases of privacy featuring levels of sound absorption that vary according to need. WOW has selected a few of the most effective systems.

A versatile system coming in several sizes and flexible when fitting, featuring high-performance acoustics, agility in in-use times, expanding over time and designed for the application of ICT technologies: that’s what “personal bubbles” require, a territory which man uses both to leave out his own kind and establish relationships (do you remember the “personal bubble” of Edward T. Hall?)
A dual identity of “shelter” to cut oneself off and not disturb the others, but also of “lodge” suitable for teamwork.
They are free-standing, pre-fab, modular systems to ensure a quick fitting and custom-made solutions. The walls don’t reach the ceiling of the building so a covering is required, however allowing the air-conditioning circulation. The sound insulation is a must.
There are boxy shapes available commercially, but the most advanced systems also provide for curved, blind or glass modules, lending these interior design units the look of a small “Pod” just landed in an open space and already waiting for takeoff.


Estel: Collaborative Room.
They are modular cells available in three different range of dimensions, all highly customizable by structure and finishes. Small (able to accomodate up to 2 people); Medium (suitable for meeting and focus group up to 4 people); Large (a real meeting area able to host up to 8 people). They are built with an aluminium structure, customizable with glass sheet or wooden panels covered up with sound absorbing foam. Entrance module with hinged or sliding door or without a door and a wide range of optional floor finishes. Top feature of this product are the high level of acoustic isolation, efficient air-conditioning and the possibility to customize the electrical system.

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Fantoni: Acoustic Room.
It can be equipped with sound absorbing panels, glazed walls and flooring. Two modules in different sizes (254 x 254 x h254 cm – 254 x 134 x h 254 cm) allow you to create acoustically protected islands. The module is made of 4akustik sound absorbing panels.

 


Universal Selecta: Chakra – The Inner Sound.
Design R&D US with AMA-Albera Monti and Ezio Rendina.
An architectural, prefabricated, modular partition system covered by 5 patents; it is freestanding and requires no anchors on the ceiling nor on the floor. It ensures ideal conditions of customized acoustic comfort and tailor made conditioning air system in any kind of collective environment. From phone booth to large meeting rooms for 12 people. The patented assembly system ensures flexibility, simplicity and speed in the assembly.

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Citterio: Sound System.
Design Franco Mirenzi andVittorio Parigi
CSS is a family of cubicles made of aluminium, glass and wood fibre panels that ranges from phone-booths to medium-sized meeting rooms. Each cubicle is finished with highly-soundproofing patented finishings, flat or pyramid-shaped.

 


Faram: Bubble.
A design oriented space that accomodates an individual and his/her needs. The curvy shapes ease the positioning inside environments. Everything can be customised, upon customer’s request: finishings, chair, top, electrical function, lights, air conditioning, phone and PC charger. The Bubble Meet version accommodates 4 people.

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Orangebox: Air3.
Launched in 2014 and award winning, it is one of the most advanced room system: Interchangeable panels allow you to swap, change and refresh your colours and fabrics anytime. The patented opening room system featuring an advanced fire safety system, it is demountable and therefore can be moved, re-positioned and fully re-used.
There are 17 standard Air3 pods providing a variety of curved, square, small and large private meeting rooms.

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Bespoke furniture: fashion, new aesthetics or a real need?

“Bespoke furniture” used to be for luxury environments only, executive suites or middle-class houses. Then, the “special” alteration was necessary to adapt too rigid systems to the building, or to prevent from slipping into standardization.
Still now that industrial design has accepted the concept of the design of options, the “custom-made” furniture can be found  in coworking settings and turns into “shabby mannerism”. Is it less expensive? Or does everybody want to create their own aesthetics?

The new production systems provide for maximum product customization, yet it’s not uncommon for the major bank groups to rely on the architect for the design of their desks; how can it be that none of the hundreds of products on the market could meet with their requirements?
The beskpoke “virus” also hits the smaller workplace, that aims at a domestic mood (Plantronics, Digital Entity, Clubhouse Brera, for example).
It may be less expensive, but do the standards of quality, ergonomics and strength  match the industrial products, engineered and tested in accordance with the regulations?

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Also, the coworking world is ever-expanding with its “raw design” aesthetics, made of shop tables, chairs found in the attic and the do-it-yourself trend to recycle  the wastes of a consumer society.
However, this vision is becoming a new form of standardization. Its rule-breaking spirit has gone.

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Some companies are also launching this kind of “garage spirit” furniture systems (Hack by Vitra,-up photo- Pakiet Zieta, PlayWood by OSB, Pixel by Bene – photo below) but, in my opinion raw wood and rusty iron are becoming really boring.

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Among the “shabby manierism” lovers there is Carlo Ratti that designed the desks and the mobile partitions of Talent Garden Calabiana Coworking;

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while another coworking, Cowo, created a project team to design his own “perfect desk”.
I can’t come to a conclusion, I have no answers, I’ll just wait for remarks and different opinions.
Editorial by Renata Sias, editor WOW! Webmagazine

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