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At first seating comfort, now environmental comfort: 30 years of continued success.

Ares Line, Italian leading company producer of office chairs and contract seatings, celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2017.
A substantial history of continued success and strategies to react to market changes.
So far the focus was on ergonomic aspects and seating comfort, now the scope has been extended to environmental comfort through Fonology based on acoustic technological solutions. Ares Line could combine passion for handicraft and the power of an economic structure, focusing on finding next-generation materials and innovative applications.

Environment-friendliness, internationalization and lean thinking are three basic driving forces behind its growth, as explained in our interview by Nicola Franceschi, CEO and founding partner of Ares Line e di Fonology, and creator of Contract Design Network.

Which are the main steps in the increasing growing of Ares Line?

“In 2017 we celebrated our 30 years and, together with my partner Roberto Zuccato, I can proudly say that, starting from scratch, we are now a top-level organization!
In short, four major milestones:
In 1995, when we realized that the chair was underestimated in workplaces, together with the designer Giovanni Baccolini, we expanded our supply to seating systems for universities, auditorium, conference rooms and theaters. This choice led to the success of our brand worldwide.
At the same time we were the first manufacturers of office chairs in Italy to certify the company (standard ISO 9001).
The collaboration with Pininfarina, in 2002, led to the creation of several successful models, among them Xten chair, the chair system for auditorium Premier and the cool waiting sofa PF3.
Finally, Contract Design Network (CDN) was established in 2011, it is a network of companies that work together, to combine their research in order to offer ergonomic environments and cutting-edge design.

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At first seating comfort, now environmental comfort…Being a manufacturer of chair, why did Ares Line extend its applications to the field of acoustics? 

Seating systems for community have always been an integral part of an acoustic project, and we aimed to the supply of an increasingly complete and qualified service, so we have now Fonology, a division specifically dealing with architectural acoustics and with a new design approach based on several materials. Our team is steadily looking for innovative and refined acoustic materials.

Which iconic products are representative of Ares Line identity to the fullest? 

Xten Chair is our iconic product by definition.
However, the best-seller is the desk system Omnia with the following new model named Evolution, both designed by Giovanni Baccolini.
Finally, Papillon, acknowledged as the best folding chair for theaters with several attempts to imitate the product.

 

Captions
1, Xten Chair by Pininfarina for Ares Line.
2, Evolution desk system by Ares Line and acoustic panels Listen by Fonology at Auditorium della Pontificia Università Gregoriana in Rome.
3, 4 Different fit out equipped with Evolution in the multimedia rooms of Future Learning Space: UPO Campus Perrone in Novara.


5, Papillon Chair inside the multifunction hall Crosà Neira
6, Rossini arm chair: customized solution for Teatro Comunale di Bologna.
7, Customized chairs inside the concert hall of Carmen Würth Forum designed by Chipperfield.
8, Customized solution at BNP Paribas in Luxembourg.

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999 questions on contemporary living.

Well done, Stefano Mirti! His idea of contemporary habitation is free from stereotypes and immune to the seduction of the so-called tasteful settings furnished with design masterpieces. For the actual home is dynamic and messy.

“999 questions on contemporary living” is not a “cool show” as traditionally understood. It’s a chaotic souk, lively and ever-evolving, just like our home and how we feel living in it.

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A concept emphasized by its outfitting (designed by Petra Tikulin): scaffoldings that refer to a work in progress. Provisional structures to define areas meant for several projects: a journey across continents, both physical and virtual, material objects and immaterial services, technologies and rites. Perhaps the object is not to find 999 answers, but to generate more questions.

999 is a difficult and engaging exhibition, a collective workshop not to be enjoyed passively, it calls for energy, open-mindedness and an effort to enter imaginary scenarios, logics and cultures based on unusual home ideas. A new display format, started on social media a few months ago and expected to live also after the closing date.
The show spins out its plot on concepts of community, co-design and shared economy, involving schools, institutions and enterprises..
About 50 different projects, from co-housing to coworking, from temporary hotel to shared spaces. Many approaches to engage in a participating and interactive manner.

Edison is the main partner.

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Caimi Brevetti, partner supplied the sound absorbing curtain and ask” Do you know that an acoustic solution can decorate your home?”

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Manerba, technical partner, furnished an “Undecided Space” an in-between area and a new approach for a flexible conference room that changes identity, image and function.

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The headphones RIG 800LX Plantronics won the Innovation Award CES 2018.

This is the tenth consecutive year that Plantronics, an audio pioneer and communications technology leader, has been recognized by the Consumer Technology Association for its innovative audio solutions. The wireless headphones RIG 800LX that recently awarded by the CES 2018 Innovation Award in the gaming category, are now available together with the RIG 400LX, RIG 600LX models. All the family of gaming headphones featuring Dolby Atmos innovative technology.
RIG 800LX will be on display in the Innovation Showcase in the Venetian Ballroom at CES Tech West 2018, which runs January 9-12, 2018, in Las Vegas.

Products entered in the prestigious CES 2018 Innovation Award are judged by a preeminent panel of independent industrial designers, independent engineers and members of the trade media to honor outstanding design and engineering in cutting edge consumer electronics products across 28 product categories.
The innovative technology Dolby Atmos of RIG 800LX, that seduced the jury, is also available with the wireless headphones RIG 400LX and RIG 600LX.
This special audio enhancement for Xbox One and Windows 10 lets gamers hear sounds with three-dimensional clarity – from above and below, in front and behind – giving them increased advantage in nearly any gaming scenario.

“I’ve never met a gamer who wasn’t looking for some sort of competitive edge- said Alessandro Laterza, Head of Consumer Sales at Plantronics Italia- Our newest RIG line with Dolby Atmos enables multi-directional, fully immersive audio cues like nothing else in the market today. Combine that with a long-lasting battery life and signature lightweight design, and the choice becomes obvious. If you want a true 360 competitive edge, Plantronics RIG with Dolby Atmos has you covered.”

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Plantronics RIG 800LX Wireless Features:
Dolby Atmos for Headphones Activation: Provides gamers with full, 3-D audio by changing the way developers treat sound in-game. Instead of placing audio in a flattened 2D circle, Dolby Atmos technology creates a full sphere of sound that moves around the gamer – above and below, in front and behind.
Performance Audio: Amplified audio with matched 40 mm drivers brings the soundstage to life. Low frequency resonators reinforce bass and limit distortion. When done talking, just flip up the mic to mute it.
Precise Controls: Analog dials help you quickly adjust the balance between game and chat audio, as well as master volume. Choose an EQ setting to isolate pure highs, intensify the mid-range, enjoy seismic bass or enhance vocal focus.
Advanced Battery: Wireless headset with a 24-hour battery life that allows players to focus on gaming without worrying if the headset will lose power. When the headset needs to be charged, the enhanced quick-charging battery provides three hours of gaming per 30 minutes of charge.

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Plantronics RIG 400LX and RIG 600LX Features:
RIG 400LX and RIG 600LX also feature Dolby Atmos for Headphone activation. RIG 400LX features 40 mm drivers which deliver explosive game audio that puts you right in the middle of the action. The noise-cancelling boom mic is always ready for chat and ensures your teammates hear you loud and clear. RIG 600LX delivers a balanced soundstage with distortion-free bass that helps you immerse in the experience without masking the subtle audio cues you must hear to stay in the game. Both models include the RIG LX1 pro level amp with three audio EQ modes, dual analog control-wheels for game/chat balance and an aux input for music.

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RIG 400LX, RIG 600LX and RIG 800LX are available at plantronics.com and major retailers for $99.99, $129.99 and $149.99 respectively.

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wellness at work: Italy is increasingly sit-stand!

Smart working by now is an expanding working mode. In Italy as well – at last-  it has been regularly inserted into a regulatory framework thanks to law 81/2017 that deals with key subjects, such as job duration, terms of notice, control methods and so on. And furnishing as well is adapting to this trend; for example with “agile” sit-stand workstations as Linak demonstrates.

“Sons” of smart working are widespread working and coworking. Since work is increasingly itinerant, fast, smart and agile. Meetings are more and more stand-up meetings, but they are also held in lounge areas and in common spaces. Just to make an example, in Milan, the Porta Nuova district is a bulwark of widespread work and coworking. There are many areas that rent workstations in exchange for affordable fees. Getting connected in every place and at any time of the day has become a life habit and new technologies enable us to fully live this change.

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Furnishing as well is adapting to this trend.

Pieces of furniture are designed to make our work simple and healthy wherever we are. From insulating panels to ensure a certain privacy though among people, to “variable” workstations, changing according to Activity Based Office to answer to different activities (for instance the focus room or the phone booth).
Up to sit-stand tables that are so popular  in North European offices and that are gaining ground in Italy as well, in prestigious head offices and in coworking areas. And the sit-stand trend perfectly integrates in the smart-working context.
Media have already highlighted, in different articles, the importance to keep a proper posture at work and to alternate sat down work to standing moments. This behavior enables to prevent disorders such as cervical, backache, dysfunction of the spine, thus reducing discomfort and absenteeism from work. Sit-stand desks, driven by Linak lifting columns, are gaining popularity in many offices and working places in Italy.
Plenty of Italian design companies are following this furnishing trend for office furniture to keep up with remote working, coworking, home office and everything makes a job highly smart. Italy is increasingly sit-stand!

 

Photo gallery:
1 Sit-stand desk by
Manerba  equipped with linear actuators Linak.
2 Sit stand table with central column by 
Emmeitalia equipped with linear actuators Linak.
3 Sit-stand desk  Estel equipped with linear actuators Linak.
4 It is designed by Tine Mouritsen and presented at Danish LIVINGroom the first sit-stand desk that integrates a power napping pillow. It is equipped with linear actuators Linak.

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Here is the well-workplace age: wellness, wellbeing and corporate welfare.

“Well” is now definitely used a lot in the context of lifestyle and, most al off, workstyle patterns.
Well-being, mankind’s prime concern, is modeling a new approach to the design of the workplace and the built environment.
There are ethical as well as economic reasons: we should not hide the fact that sustainability (and certifications, too!)and wellness are big business and marketing elements increasing the value of buildings. And employees more productive if they are fine.

It’s not just a trend, it’s a new widespread sensibility, that entails a different relation with the environment you live in.
A shared awareness is often synonymous with sustainability, yet “Sustainability is a means, man’s wellbeing is the objectiveGiovanni Fabris, founder of Welldome, quoted during the WellFerence conference.
The vision of wellbeing at work, mistaken for ergonomics for a long time, is now mostly oriented to health and prevention of diseases, but even physical, mental and social wellbeing is also taken into consideration.
This holistic view makes use of a measuring instrument thanks to the Well certification protocol.
Quality of life also refers to Corporate Welfare, not so long ago an approach made of a mix of sporadic projects targeted to the staff’s wellbeing. A concept that has recently developed into an actual organic and balanced system of staff management, adopted by big corporations but also small concerns.
WOW has often dealt with this subject and followed its evolution in the past five years.
IFMA, too, has discussed about wellbeing research, the way demand for welfare has changed and how it has affected the supply of services related to the staff’s wellbeing. ”Wellbeing means Culture, and that should not be disregarded, as it is strictly connected with communication and how the company is perceived”.
To produce wellbeing is a “work in progress”, don’t delude yourselves, there are no effective remedies, as shown by the Maslow Pyramid, still relevant after over sixty years, once realized our basic needs, new necessities arise, for the concept of wellbeing is ever-evolving, at work, too.
Editorial by Renata Sias, editor WOW!

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CasaCDN: people and things come together in Milan.

CasaCDN is a new meeting place in Milan where people and things come together to develop Contract Design Network (CDN) business. Opening next 13th and 14th December.

Nicola Franceschi, CEO of Ares Line, came up with the idea for the Contract Design Network (CDN) in 2011 and it has gone on to gain its own identity and strength over the years.
The CDN is based on a strategic business agreement between 11 Italian companies which together have total revenues of over Euro 70 million, employ a workforce of around 300 people and have a sales force of over 200 professionals. So far, they have performed almost 100 joint projects, for estimated revenues of over Euro 10 million (principally over the last three years).

One of the major driving forces behind the CasaCDN is Fabio Maset, owner of MosaicoGroup, one of the network’s most dynamic companies. It will be home to the entire CDN team. CasaCDN will be the place where the CDN partners meet and also the location for training events and the presentation of new products and solutions.

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The area is on three levels and includes a small multi-purpose room with seating for around 20 people on the ground- floor level, home to all the innovative aspects of the 11 companies involved. There is also a meeting area and a joint workspace with 8 workstations on the ground floor and the first floor, and a second conference room seating 24 people in the basement. There are video and audio connections in all rooms, which all have the latest technological equipment.

The intention is to open others in various strategic cities and add to the CDN showrooms already operating in Paris Rabat and Managua.

CasaCDN: Viale Gian Galeazzo 31, Milan.
Opening evening with musical entertainment and finger food on 13 and 14 December, from 4,00 to 8,30 p.m., by invitation only. (info@contractdesignnetwork.com)

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Eco-sustainability and design for resilient flooring.

After creating countless styles of modular carpet, distinguished by high performances and sustainability, Interface launches a luxury modular vinyl flooring featured by the same green vision and based on biophilic design approach.

Level Set is the first Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) collection by Interface. It is environmental friendly and is inspired by natural elements like wood and stone, according to biophilic design approach.
It offers options that evoke distressed, reclaimed and exposed natural materials. The textures, colours and patterns available provide more light reflection to maximising the benefits of daylight.
Available in 28 variations of Natural and Textured Woodgrains & Stones, it comes in Interface’s standard (25 cm x 1 m and 50 x 50 cm squares) and is complementary to carpet tile collections.
Since it is fully compatible in size and height, you can combine existing carpet and new LVT for a unique space of varied textures and designs.

 

We’re seeing an increased focus on cohesive design throughout the built environment, as well as a rise in demand for soft and hard flooring that blends well and functions as part of a modular design system– said Mandy Leeming, Design and Development Manager for Interface EMEALevel Set embraces our customers’ interest in flooring that has the look of natural materials with the functionality, durability and affordability of LVT, while ensuring they can select a mix of hard and soft flooring from a single partner to create a unified look and feel.”

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An eco-sustainable design aimed at environmental comfort.
To install Level Set is simple and clean thanks to glue-free TacTiles. It emits virtually zero VOCs and allows for an environmental footprint over 90% lower than installation with traditional glue adhesives.
Engineered to compatible height (4.5mm total thickness) with Interface’s carpet tiles, providing the ability to effortlessly move from hard to soft flooring without transition strips, eliminating an unnecessary trip hazard and reducing the number of materials for specification and purchase.
To improve acoustic comfort the sound absorbing “Sound Choice” is available for LVT collections.

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Undecided Collection: creative dynamism and refined sensuality.

More and more “indecided” and increasingly fascinating, Manerba‘s Undecided Sofa expands and becomes Undecided Collection. The seating solution designed by Raffaella Mangiarotti and Ilkka Suppanen, includes armchairs, chaise longs and sofas, available in different heigh of backrest and also made with sound absorbing upholstery and coatings to improve privacy.

The mood of Fioraio Bianchi Caffè in Milan (a former flower shop transformed in a romantic  bistrot) was the perfect setting for the presentation of the new seating collection to enhance its sensuality and dynamic creativity and to inspire fascinating environments.

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Undecided Collection is the perfect seating solution for hybrid, contemporary and creative workplaces that respect your privacy.
It is characterized by an adjustable in height backrest, like a “personal colored patchwork”.

Thanks to its high performances and marked chromatism, it defines a new and adaptable landscape that fits to different situations as at work as at home.

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Giuliano Dall’Ò is the new President of GBC Italia.

Green Building Council Italia votes its new president: Giuliano Dall’Ò, a member of GBC Italia’s Scientific Technical Committee since 2010. The vice-president is Marco Mari.

Giuliano Dall’Ò teaches Environmental Technical Physics at the Polytechnic University in Milan. He is one of the leading Italian and European experts in energy and environmental sustainability and certification.
He is also the author of Leadership in Green Building, that presents the main  LEED and Green Building in Italy.

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The new Executive Committee:
Giuliano Dall’Ò, President
Marco Mari ,Vice President
Roberto Cereda
Thomas Messervey
Manuela Ojan
Eleonora Sablone
Mario Zambrini

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Two new awards to Caimi Brevetti for Snowsound by German Design Award 2018.

Two new awards to Caimi Brevetti for Snowsound by German Design Award 2018: a new prizes to the calculation software and a Special Mention to Diesis sound absorbing element, designed by Atelier Mendini. Both the products were also awarded by Neocon last summer.

German Design Award is an authoritative competition funded by Bundestag since 1953 acknowledging products that represent pioneering contributions to the international design landscape.

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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.

The Snowsound calculation software has won the prestigious German Design Award award 2018 in the category “Excellent Communications Design Interactive User Experience”.
The importance of the award underlines once again the excellence of the calculation software that Caimi Brevetti makes available to its dealers.

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Special Mention to Diesis sound absorbing element, designed by Alessandro Mendini e Francesco Mendini –Atelier Mendini- made with the patented Snowsound Fiber technology.
It is a system of sound-absorbing Snowsound Fiber drapes, realized with soft interwoven polyester fibers that are inherently fire-resistant (in different versions: steel structure, free-standing or hanging).
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.

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From Wild to Glam: sustainable and trendy finishings.

Glam City, Time Out, Treasured Light and Wild Nature are the new evocative themes for Collection Futura 2018-2021 by AkzoNobel’s Interpon powder coatings brand. Architects, designers and developers have an exciting new source of inspiration for cool interiors and expressive green buildings.
Full of the latest material and design global trends, the collection features an extensive range of highly durable and sustainable colors and finishes developed by AkzoNobel together with trend experts PeclersParis.

Each theme in the Collection Futura – which is updated every four years – includes a unique range of colors, textures and effects that reflect the design and societal trends seen throughout the world. Innovation is also highly visible through two completely new finishes: silky texture and cotton.

“Our color expertise and continued development of durable and sustainable solutions drives the creation of our Collection Futura. It includes a range of special finishes for use on exterior architectural metal components; products which are innovative, sustainable and always on trend.” explains Jean-Paul Moonen, AkzoNobel’s Powder Coatings Global Segment for Architecture. 

It’s now 20 years since AkzoNobel launched the first special finishes collection for the powder coatings market worldwide. This is also the 15th year that the company has worked with Peclers to create a new trend collection for architects and designers as the global leader in powder coatings. In addition, AkzoNobel was the first powder coatings producer to launch the fine texture Sablé finishes, which have since become a major success in the powder coatings industry.

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Sustainability and green building development.

“The new range of finishes will enable customers to achieve just the right effect in any environment while helping them contribute to the future of green building and sustainable development.” Continues Moonen and adds “The company’s Interpon powder coatings have achieved a third party Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) certification, which includes a lifecycle analysis of the raw materials used in the product itself, the manufacture of the product, its shipment and application”. 

The new themes of Collection Futura 2018-2021.

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Glam City
includes modernist influences and baroque trends with intense, dark tones centered on reds, blues and greens.

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Time Out
provides inspiration for soothing living spaces, with light tones based on colored whites and soft neutrals.

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Treasured Light
offers sensual and more refined versions of metallic brilliance including brass, pink gold, pale copper and silver.

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Wild Nature
explores more primitive, wild expressions of nature and features earthy browns, peaty khakis, anthracite greys and charcoal blacks.

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Well: the real estate developing focused on wellbeing.

Well, the first building certification centered around people’s well-being. The focus shifts from the functionality of building to the functionality of the human body. The american guru Rick Fedrizzi was one of the authoritative speakers “the ‘second wave of sustainability is underway” he quoted.
The Well Building Standard was presented in Milan during the conference named WellFerence – first presentation in Europe organized by Apta Vitae.

The convention WellFerence aims to foster awareness of the importance of human health and wellbeing in buildings and communities. Designing, constructing and managing the sustainability of buildings and cities is a key part of ensuring a brighter future for us all while increasing architectural value.
WELL is an independently verified, performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of buildings that impact human health and well-being. WELL is also the first building standard to focus exclusively on the human health and wellness in our buildings and communities. It combines best practices in design and construction with evidence-based medical and scientific research – harnessing buildings as vehicles to support human health and well-being.

It is a rating system that shifts the focus from the operation of the building to the way the body operates and has a major impact also on the real-estate value and annuity.Well is the first protocol based on scientific evidence certifying the quality of the built environment and its influence on the physical and mental state of the occupants, thus increasing their well-being.
It was formed 3 years ago after a six-year research work that involved multidisciplinary teams and it refers to other standard credits.
There are already 580 Well-certified projects worldwide, among them ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) Headquarters in Washington, TD Bank in Toronto, Haworth showroom in Shangai and Sceneo offices in France.

Sustainability made a major contribution to the green building growth, yet not focused enough on people so far. Now the “second wave of sustainability is underway” explained Rick Fedrizzi, chairman and CEO at IWBI (WELL Building Institute).

What it’s like living under the best conditions?
Jessica Cooper, chief commercial officer at IWBI, explained that Well is based on 7 types of assessment and certification: air, light, water, nourishment, fitness, comfort, mind.

Kay Killman, managing director at GBC Europe talked about the new way of interacting between architects and Real Estate “By now 66% of developers include well-being in the successful elements of the real-estate market, in close connection with the increase in value and annuity”.

Daniele Guglielmino Senior Sustainability Specialist, has given a broader approach to the Well Community, explaining that the seven types can and should be applied to communal areas, too.
So, Well embraces the city, but much importance is attached to interior design and furniture, which can help achieve the objectives defined by the Well system.
Building materials as well as furniture play a basic role in ensuring the occupants’ health and well-being.”

WELL is not limited to the assessment of the physical well-being, but also to the intellectual, emotional and social well-being.
The holistic methodology, as professor Marco Filippi explained, followed stresses which part of the human body is directly affected by the distinct characteristics of a WELL Building. (you can download the presentation here) .

Alfonso Senatore, founder of Ongreening , closed the conference talking about materials and technology for green buildings.

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The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) headquarters office is the first space in the world to achieve both Platinum Level Certification for the WELL Building Standard (WELL) under WELL v1 and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), under the LEED ID+C rating system – the highest recognition awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). The office space, designed by Perkins+Will, incorporates the most innovative health and wellness design features, and has sustainability as a central philosophy.

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David Chipperfield designed Carmen Würth Forum.

Not everyone is given a cultural centre as a gift! But there are smart businessmen capable of such gestures: Reinhold Würth, last July 18th, celebrated his wife’s 80th birthday with the opening of the Forum, designed by David Chipperfield, dedicated to her.
Not only a gift to his wife, but to the whole community of Künzelsau, the place where the Adolf Würth company is based. Ares Line fitted out the concert hall with customized arm-chair designed by Giovanni Baccolini.

Reinhold Würth –a self made man 81 years od, 141th on Forbes lists 2016- from very young has been trying to reconcile his passion for the family business with his passion for art. One of the first acquisitions, in the 1960s, was a watercolour painting by Emil Nolde; today he has over 17,000 art works in his collection.
In 1987, he founded together with his wife Carmen the Würth Foundation which promotes art and culture, science and research.
The Carmen Würth Forum is the final stage of this path made of love for art.
The Forum is devoted for conventions, congresses, trade shows, symposiums and festive events; a conference centre and a museum for the Würth art collection are to follow in a second construction stage.

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The new building designed by David Chipperfield Architects is embedded in the landscape, with the chamber music hall and the lower level of the event hall hidden beneath a natural mound. Incisions in the hillside establish two framed external spaces.
These are flanked by retaining walls, made of concrete. The larger southern forecourt leads to the main entrance and serves as a forum for diverse outdoor events and concerts.

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The multi-purpose event hall, which is accessed from a naturally lit foyer, provides space for 3,500 people, and has a trussed-steel roof that obviates the need for internal columns. While the lower half of the hall is sunk into the ground, the upper gallery level rises above the highest point of the site and is glazed on all sides.

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The foyer also provides access to the more intimate chamber music hall. This hall seats up to 600 people and is completely clad in walnut.
The company’s corporate colour of red runs throughout the design of the interior spaces, appearing in the seating of the chamber music hall as well as in the flooring of both the foyer and the event hall.

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Ares Line, that supplied the seating for the chamber music hall is distinguished by its great capacity to meet customer requirements, going towards the need for customization.
The chair’s design comes from a project by David Chipperfield Architects. Since the beginning, the Ares Line technical team worked side by side with the Client’s designer to highlight the typical guidelines of an ergonomic and well built chair.

Ares Line also decided to pursue an alternative way planning a second prototype designed by Giovanni Baccolini, that integrates perfectly, becoming an unicum with the room, thanks to the choice of finishes with high aesthetic value. This chair was chosen for the music hall. Detail, but not negligible: the arm chairs are assembled with Würth’s components!

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ADI Design Index to Visual Guidelines by BTicino.

BTicino, leader of Gruppo Legrand  was many times awarded by ADI (Italian Association for Industrial Design) for its products. Recently  BTicino was included in the ADI Index 2017 and will participate to the next Compasso d’Oro in the new “Design for Communication” category thanks to its “ Visual guidelines for end user Apps”, conceived to develop a recognizable and coherent communication language for all the applications devoted to end users and designed to manage the products by BTicino and Legrand.

The “Visual Guidelines for End User Apps” for the visual identity of BTicino and Legrand solutions was developed by BTicino Design, in collaboration with MMG Interactive Concept + Design, The Permanent Advisory Committee of ADI underlined that “The technological and cultural evolution of the reference market has led to a similar change in the supply of products, but also a change in the experience of fruition: many of the products proposed by BTicino and Legrand can incorporate digital technologies that provide more value added services”. Some products offer Apps like additional function, others –oriented to IoT , such as the Eliot product line- were designed to be managed through Apps. The Visual guidelines was created to ensure continuity and coherence in communication and the right balance between digital experience and consistency with the brand.

The BTicino’s Apps are featured by an innovative approach both in operational management and in interface design. The manual replicates these vision, enabling users to easily navigate thanks to a user-friendly language: clear, in-depth and exhaustive, and able to consistently focus on the main features.
An eye-catching graphics was elegantly designed with the same attention to style and ergonomics that BTicino’s products.

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David Chipperfield restored the Procuratie Vecchie.

The Procuratie Vecchie, one of the most photographed sites in the world, comes back to life “in the sign of the Lion”. Thanks to David Chipperfield’s project these 16th century buildings at Piazza San Marco in Venice will be the headquarters of The Human Safety Net ( #THSNVenice), a new flagship initiative, powered by Generali, to help some of the most vulnerable communities around the world.

The Procuratie Vecchie, Generali’s historic home in Venice, will open its doors following the restoration by David Chipperfield to become the hub of The Human Safety Net, an initiative based on the idea that communities of ‘people helping people’ can bring about sustainable change, creating a positive ripple effect. It reflects Generali’s commitment to contribute towards a healthy, resilient and sustainable society where people can develop and flourish to their full potential.

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“To design the The Human Safety Net ‘home’ we have chosen the best” Philippe Donnet, CEO of Generali Group quoted “David Chipperfield Architects was a natural choice due to his love of Venice and shared vision for an architecturally and socially coherent restoration.

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Mr. Donnet also added “The beauty of Venice is a source of inspiration for the world, and Generali is very proud to enrich the city’s heritage by restoring the area of Piazza San Marco. By opening the Procuratie Vecchie to the public for the first time in nearly five centuries, we are creating new and vibrant spaces where people can meet to discuss some of today’s most pressing social and global issues” and he concluded “We are grateful to the Venetian authorities for their support in this endeavour. Venice has long been a crossroads of different cultures from around the world, and we hope to build on this tradition through The Human Safety Net and our movement of people helping people”.

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The 152 meters long building (11,000 sqm) on the north side of Piazza San Marco, featured by 50 arch and 100 venetian-bizantine style windows, will host Generali’s offices, exhibition and public areas and locations to be rent for social initiatives.
The Procuratie Vecchie will provide an open door for people to seek inspiration from programmes, exchange ideas, and volunteer to take collective action. The hub will host regular public exhibitions, events and discussions on pressing social and demographic challenges from poverty to migration.

During the press conference in Venice David Chipperfield explained the re-vitalizing restoration project underlining the importance to define the original identity of the Procuratie Vecchie.

The Chipperfield’s approach links Procuratie Vecchie together with other parts of the square and the Royal Gardens. When complete, the project will re-establish the historic paths and flow to and from Piazza San Marco.

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The restore of this magic garden founded by Napoleon is in progress and sponsored by Venice Gardens Foundation -president Adele Re Redebaudengo- in partnership with Generali.

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4 prizes to Kinnarps by German Design Award 2018.

Kinnarps with its brands MartnStoll and Skandiform, was awarded by German Design Award,  the authoritative competition acknowledging products that represent pioneering contributions to the international design landscape.
Among the winners of the 2018 edition there are Collection S collection family chairs, Space system, Matsumoto table and Phase armchair.
The prize-giving ceremony will be held on February 9th in the context of  Ambiente fair in Frankfurt am Main.

More than 5000 entry products were presented to participate to the final selection for the German Design Award 2018. Following the rigorous selection by the jury, were awarded only those that represent the highest standards in terms of quality and innovation at international level.

“We are very proud to receive such a highly prestigious award and we thank the jury for acknowledging our design and awarding two products work where the aim was to combine comfort and top quality in the best possible way says and develop solutions for the office life of today and tomorrow, offering endless possibilities.” says Elisabeth Slunge, Director Global Range and Communications at Kinnarps.

To win the German Design Award is very attractive since you are nominated and can not apply for the award. This of course makes the award even more desirable.” says Maria Lehmann, Sales- and Marketing Manager at Skandiform.

Kinnarps is proud to receive the prestigious award for four products:

Collection S, by MartinStoll (brand of Kinnarps Group).
The Collection S executive chair family, designed by NOA Intelligent Design, is rooted in the heritage of the brand and consists of task chairs, meeting chairs and lounge chairs, which offer various functional features and share the high level of quality and the common design expression.
“The chair family has thought-out material choices and a high level of craftsmanship that well suit the executive environments
” quoted Martin Rau, International Product Manager for MartinStoll.
“It is based on sophisticated performance like perfect ergonomic functionality, high quality and durability. Where heritage and craftsmanship meet modern lightness and sculpture-like design. The series is created to fit ideal into modern advanced office life” explains the designers Michael Lammel and Markus Heller from NOA Intelligent Design.

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Space furniture/storage system by Kinnarps.
Space is a furniture concept designed by Stefan Brodbeck (Brodbeck Design) for today’s and tomorrow’s way of working, meeting and storing. The range is based on a large number of storage modules which are connected and combined depending on the functionality and look you want. The flexibility of the range enables both concentration and discussions as well as space for group and private areas.
Design creates differentiation as well as orientation. So does the storage system Space, which has exciting features and options to create functional but also emotional and inspiring office space solutions” explains the designer Stefan Brodbeck.

 

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Matsumoto, by Skandiform (brand of Kinnarps Group).
A table named after the Japanese city Matsumoto, where Claesson Koivisto Rune has designed a flagship store with a café. It is a completely new table with a different design made for cafées. A table for two was developed, which when lined up edge-to-edge forms a kind of long café table. The tabletop comes in white or blackstained ash, pillar and footplate in white or black lacquer.

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Phaze by Skandiform (brand of Kinnarps Group).
An armchair that embraces you, providing generous personal space. Several linked together create a beautiful, undulating shape.
I was thinking of a design that embraces my philosophy of sensual minimalism and repetition.” said the designer Karim Rashid.

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Thinline by Ai Weiwei at Amsterdam Light Festival (30 november/21 January).

Amsterdam Light Festival is coming again from the 30th of November 2017 until the 21st of January 2018 and the city centre of Amsterdam will be transformed into the biggest open light museum with artworks and installations made by contemporary artists, designers and architects enlightening the canals and the Marineterre in Amsterdam.
35 artworks, among them is ‘thinline’ the site-specific by Ai Weiwei, who questions the concept of borders by creating a seven kilometers long light line representing a border through the city.

“We are very proud of the international line-up of Amsterdam Light Festival. Every year we welcome the international top on the art and design spectrum. Most of the Dutch participants are also active on an international level as well.” quoted Lennart Booij, creative director.
Star of the 6th edition is the Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei; his artwork will span over a distance of 6.5 kilometres and encompasses the entire water exposition.
With ‘thinline’ Ai Weiwei challenges viewers to think about the meaning of borders, figuratively as well as literally. Who determines a border? Do they protect or exclude?

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Thinline limited edition
Ai Weiwei created an artwork especially for Amsterdam Light Festival in a limited and signed edition of 100 pieces. Available through Amsterdam Light Festival. The profit of the series contributes to the realization of Weiwei’s artwork ‘thinline’ that has a prominent role during the festival. On the 29th of November there is a special meet & greet with the artists, who delivers the series after the festival.
The dimensions of ‘thinline, limited edition’ are 60 x 45 x 15 centimetres. The artworks will be signed and delivered with a certificate of authenticity. With pre-subscription the price of the artwork is € 2.500, including VAT + shipping costs. (For more information jorna@amsterdamlightfestival.com ).

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Artworks on the water.
English participants of the water exposition of Amsterdam Light Festial are artist Rona Lee and Studio Balmond. From Kosovo there is Driton Selmani and also Bagus Pandega from Indonesia contributes. Dutch artists and studios are Lambert Kamps, Floriaan Ganzevoort, Viktor Engbers, Paul Vendel & Sandra de Wolf, Claes Meijer, Lynne Leegte, VENIVIDIMULTIPLEX, Lighting Design Academy, VOUW, HOH Architecten and Gerard Slokker & Ludy Feyen. The United States are represented by Lauren Ewing and Ben Zamora, from Belgium design agency ACTLD from Koert Vermeulen creates an artwork and work of the German Claudia Reh is also to be admired.

Artworks on land.
From The Netherlands Peter Vink, Vinny Jones, Helmut Dick, Lidy Six, AlexP, Nick Verstand & Sjoerd Ter Borg, Bas Peeters, Verena Hall, Hanna Betsema and the Amsterdam Creative Industries Nework participitate on the land exposition on the Marineterrein Amsterdam. From Japan there are Takeo Sugamata and Yasuhiro Chida and also the Italian ATI Suffix delivers a contribution. In addition there are artworks by Reanne Niceforo & Phil Sutherland from Canada, Moritz Waldemeyer and Liubov Moskvina from Germany and there is work by the Iranian artists Shima Jahani, Zoha Khaniki & Sina Hasanlou.

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A major International corporation with 100 years of history.

Born in Como and a cosmopolite by vocation, Mario Colombo likes to establish relations with customers and retailers from different cultures and countries, for he believes that understanding diversity can be the key to a stable growth in all areas.
Now sales director for Herman Miller, a fitting role, as this International corporation was established in Michigan over one century ago and is worldwide renowned as  an example of innovation and excellence in design.

What are Herman Miller’s hallmarks?

Its acknowledged guidelines could be summed up in one sentence: “Design doesn’t mean business only, but it’s also a moral duty”.Herman Miller’s mission is the creation of design solutions to help people to do great things.That sums up our attitude in the approach to workplace and product design, always highlighting the central role of the individual. Along with this principle, there is an on-going commitment to the environment, a focus since the 50s.

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How do these values become a driver for your strategies?

Each product must be carried out through the so-called “Human Centric Design”. If it serves no purpose useful for the user, the objective has not been met. This modus operand is woven in the company’s genes and we work together with designers such as Yves Behar, Studio 7.5,Tim Wallace and more, who share our attitude and our passion.
Our environmental objectives go hand in hand with the design process. Each item is assessed for its recyclability at its end-of-life, but it’s likewise important to carry out products meant to last. For instance, the chair Aeron now available in the new version Remastered, up to 91% recyclable, carries a twelve-year guarantee, 24 h a day.

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Herman Miller has always been innovation-oriented, offering novel visions for the office (for example Action Office or Aeron). Such extraordinary evolutions are still possible today? 

The office scenario is constantly evolving, therefore it’s difficult to foresee how things are going to change over five or ten years.
Home office is now spreading in Europe and the Mediterranean area, flexibility is a guideline for many organizations, which could suggest a progressive and radical reshaping of the office. I think that teamwork areas are going to be more and more prevalent, hence companies like Herman Miller will try to find the best way to support the people, who work there. We have designers all over the world, who are developing new products, and new things are expected in the European and global market.

As a Sales Director for the vast area that stretches from Portugal to Israel, including Italy, do you find any difference in the culture of work, requirements and ways of working in the different countries?

Obviously, in such a vast area I can see a culturally diverse context and I’d rather make a distinction between an International consumer base and local organizations. The multinational companies have often standard operational guidelines throughout the world, for the choice of design as well, irrespective of the country in which they operate. Those organizations affected to a lesser extent by the global chain can still have an individual approach in their choices. The architects dealing with interior design, fit-out and design of new models are always the best ambassadors of the trends of modernization, because customers, both global and local, rely on them for advice. That’s a common denominator in all countries I work in. So diffusione through the architects is central for a company like ours, in order to expand our studies and the results achieved by observing the ways of working contained in the Living Office project.

Studies on issues and new prospects of the workplace that Herman Miller is developing in the US ares also applicable to the Mediterranean countries?

Many studies still come from the US, but we take into account that some trends are developed all over the world. We see the same trends in Italy, Europe and the Mediterranean area, open space and cooperative rooms.The Uk and Europe have been following this direction for many years and are moving even faster than the US. Another example is the request for sit-stand and height-adjustable tables in Scandinavia, and long before the Mediterranean area. Our latest studies concern “Happiness in the office”, a theme revealing how the dynamics of the approach to the office work are the same throughout the world, hence we are trying to understand the nature of our customers and the personality of workers, so that we can supply a holistic approach to the design of an office. This study is focused on the already mentioned Living Office project.

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In the last few months, the Italian branch has changed in a lot of ways. What are the strengths and strategies planned to cope with the Italian market?

After working several years in the Export area, I’m very happy to do my part also for the Italian market. The Showroom Herman Miller in Milan is a European Hub that, along with Paris and London, makes even stronger our presence in the EMEA area.
My priority is to keep and, where necessary, step up an efficient distribution network, in line with the view of growing in the Mediterranean area, where we work through long-standing executives and also a younger generation, now part of a matrix form of organization like ours.
Some colleagues belong to reporting lines, that are not related to me but to the UK branch. The company has consolidated the South Europe region, including Italy, Iberia and East Med, to conform the strategies to such different areas, some of them already working with established markets – like Italy, where we have showrooms and offices – while others are working off site like East Med and Iberia. The spread of our studies is an asset we use gladly in the whole EMEA region – also in areas we deal with from Italy – which gives us visibility with customers and architects, who play a key role. The diffusion occurs through workshops events and conferences, carried out together with our Insight Group and run by colleagues mostly dealing with R&D.

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#addmorecolour: a range of 302!

“Colors are food for thought!” says Christina Wiklund, and Kinnarps Color Studio is the tool for easy access to a wide range of colors and sustainable, creative and cool materials: over 300 colors and sustainable materials to create environments with different color personalities.

The intuition that colors influence our perception, our behavior and wellbeing is rooted in the culture of Kinnarps, this is why every three years the company updates the colors and finishes of its collection to anticipate trends and fashion. The 2017 update for the first time was created in teams involving 15 architecture and interior design studios (Tengbom, Wingårdhs, Krok & Tjäder, Semrén & Månsson, Spectrum, Note and White offices together with the designers Howl Designstudio, Idesign, Propeller e Brodbeck Design and the interior designer and blogger Hildur Blad) and has led to the insertion of 9 new fabrics into the already rich portfolio.

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“Our inspiring Kinnarps Colour Studio range gives you everything you could wish for in the way of creative and attractive materials (fabric, leather, laminate, veneer, metal, acrylics, plastic and glass). This sustainable collection with a wide choice of colours and patterns combines classic elegance with the latest trends. Everything you need to find the look that suits your environment”, explains Christina Wiklund, CMF Manager-Colour Material Finish in Kinnarps.
240 soft material variants, 54 hard material variants, 8 accent colors: over 300 finishes are available to “dress” the products by Kinnarps.

 

The website page “tools and resources” makes available to architects and designers this color universe and is also possible to download the dwg of all Kinnarps products.
The starting point is the insight that colours affect our behaviour and our feelings, along with the requirement for the sustainability, quality and safety of the materials. The Kinnarps collection is updated every three years, and it was time to do this again for 2017.
The colours make a major impact on how we experience interior design. Now, as many are daring to leave white behind, it is, of course, even more important to have both a planned strategy and an updated range in order to be able to design with colour. This new way of collaborating with architects and designers strengthens Kinnarps’ position even more. Our meetings have been both creative and fun and everyone really gave some of themselves.” said Hildur Blad, Interior designer, colour expert and blogger.

 

“It’s always the totality that determines which fabrics we decide to launch in Kinnarps Colour Studio. They should of course have the right colours and patterns, but also fulfil our requirements for sustainability, quality and safety. I always say that we should think of things our customers perhaps don’t always think of, so that they can feel sure that our textiles are always a safe choice – in terms of both aesthetics, function , environment and social responsibility.” explains Christina Calisir, Technical Manager Cover Materials, Kinnarps.

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Nine new trendy and sustainable fabrics.

Among 200 different seat cover textiles, the designers involved in the workshop selected the 9 new fabrics:
Step Melange, multicolored for a modern retro;
Rustico, durable, washable and multicolored;
Fenice, produced with recycled wool and eco-sustainable production processes;
Liv, reminiscent classic linen, but very functional washable fabric in Trevira CS;
Capture, vintage classic washable and fire resistant;
Fox, a very fashionable pattern inspired by art deco;
Bardal, antistatic and fire resistant wool in sober colors;
Synergy, wool in many colors for an ecological design;
Steelcut Trio, natural wool, a clear favorite of the architects.

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With an 80-year-old history, Italian Smart Office looks ahead.

Interview with Massimo Stella, 42 years old, third generation in Estel Group. Since 2012 he has been Sales Director, but he attaches greater importance to teamwork rather than to his role. So, no conflict with the previous generations and maybe right the dynamic balance and also a daily debate on strategies, communication, people and products are the reasons for the success of this company, now in the top 20 in Europe, that celebrates its 80th anniversary.

Since it was set up, what are in your opinion the key steps that brought Estel into the top 20 companies in Europe? Would you follow the same path now?

The turning-point coincides with the entry of the second generation to the company in the ‘70s, when this craft firm changed into an industry; another key moment was the entry into the office furniture industry at the beginning of the ‘80s.
In the early 2000s the company has further developed through an in-depth analysis of a design-oriented culture and the ability to carry out tailor-made approaches, mainly demanded by the major customers. The forthcoming path will be marked by an even higher travel speed.

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What are the company principles, which lead and mark out Estel worldwide?

Estel is steadily in the making, watching and analyzing the actual facts and the evolution of the market on a global scale, in order to find the right answers as regards the product. We are now a leader in the office furniture sector in a quite different context: the static condition of the workplace has been questioned in companies of all sizes; the possibility to work anywhere entails the necessary adjustments of the whole working environment. Technology is the driving force behind this major evolution and that’s why Estel has increased its investment in R&D.
Design is no doubt another crucial aspect: we don’t consider ourselves just “mere” furniture makers, we can also offer comprehensive, space-planning solutions.

 

First-rate design and research are also Estel’s success factors, how many energies and resources, in per cent, were necessary to achieve the intended purpose? 

The new ways of working dramatically changed the design approach and the office space planning.
Research has always been a strategic factor for Estel. In our planning approach the worker is at the core of the creative process, that’s why our range of furniture is no longed divided “hierarchically” (executive, clerical, etc) but by function.
By the collaboration with architects, interior designers and a professional team, Estel can be a leading company in the Smart Office sector, with high quality level products bond in terms of materials and design.

Estel has also launched the “pleasure of agile working”, through the claim “Italian Smart Office”; how many of your costumers in Italy and abroad follow the Smart Working approach and how many have a more traditional attitude?

Compared to the United States, the pioneers of smart working, our country is definitely limping along, but 2016 was a turning point thanks to the new law. Among UE countries, only England, German and the Scandinavian countries are far “ahead” but just in numerical terms.
It’s a meaningful change of mentality. Workers are becoming flexible and “nomads”, willing to “give up” habits that were once rooted like personalization and dimension of their own territory.

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You fit out some of the major Headquarters all over the world, how is your view of Italian Smart Office accepted? Which differences do you find in the culture of work and ways of working in the other countries?

In countries, where there is already a “smart” approach, you deal with stakeholders already fully formed in the subject, while in other countries these theories are still little known and arouse curiosity and interest. So, the commercial approach changes considerably, for instance, in the US the design of products is more emphasized while in the Far East they are rather spreading a more complex concept.
Companies like ours cannot do without flexibility, for it has an impact on our identity: we can offer serial products yet with customized measures and finishes. It is essential in an international context where taste and ways of working may differ a lot.

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