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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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#OSW17 research: Smart Working in Italy.

Crowded with people as usual, the annual meeting entitled “Smart Working. Underneath the tip of the iceberg” (Sotto la punta dell’Iceberg) for the presentation of OSW research (by Osservatorio Smart Working, School of Management of Politecnico di Milano) Increased by 14%, smart workers are now 305.000.
Especially the big corporations (36%) already have structured projects as against 5% of Public Administration and 7% of small and medium sized companies.
All of them are pleased with the benefits: increased productivity and work-life balance, lower absenteeism, costs and pollution.
WOW! is media partner of the conference.

In Italy, Smart Working concerns the private sector in particular (large and small-medium companies), but Public Administration (17% of total smart workers) is making up for lost time, also through the new law, that aimes at making “smart at least 10% of its employees within three years.

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Once again it was found that there is no single model of smart working, every company must define the most stuitable project for its structure: flexible working time to a higher level of mobility; off-site working one day a week or, on the contrary, at least one day a week at the firm!
Fiorella Crespi, director of OSW, and Mariano Corso, scientific director, presented the results of the research 2017 and underling the benefits of the smart working with a special attention on the important role of workplace as smart working driver.

The Italian Smart Workers spend 67% of their working time at the company on average, 15% of time is spent working at different positions inside the headquarters, and 13% in other branches of the company. 33% from home, coworking spaces, or customers and suppliers offices.

50% of smart workers consider themselves satisfied and declare a better capacity to work together. even in virtual teams, and a good command of Digital Soft Skills. Only 1% is not satisfied.
Reflecting the findings of the 2017 study, the meeting brought Public Administration in progress projects to the fore and emphasized some successful experiences.
And then OSW partners got on the stage, all pioneers in smart working, who provided an all-round overview of the various issues (among them Plantronics and Sedus).

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Smart Working Award 2017

The conferences ran out with the size giving ceremony of Smart Working Award 2017 and the presentation of the winner projects:
AXA Italia project “Smart working, smart life”, presented by Pascal Bérnard.
CNH Industrial project “Lavoro da Casa”, presented by Riccardo Iessi.
Costa Crociere project “Sm@rt Working Costa – Moving Forward!”, presented by Paolo Tolle.
Generali Italia project “New Ways Of Working”, presented by Simone Viola.
Hilti project “Smart Working@Hilti”, presented by Maria Vittoria Loi and Sandra Polito.
Special mention to Benetton for the project “Stretch your Time”.

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The joy of a colored easy comfort.

New ways of working require increased flexibility, simplicity and ease in office furniture, for the times when workplaces were occupied permanently are long gone. Nomadic workers move a lot and are often on the road – and when they do come to the office, then it is at meetings, workshops and maybe even briefly at a workplace that happens to be free. This calls for a simple, comfortable and versatile chair. And Sedus se:joy, designed by Martin Ballendat is the answer.

“I was intrigued by the task of designing a competent and ergonomic net covering of a shell – instead of the conventional thick circumferential frame – with a futuristic support structure reduced to a minimum, which is fine, sensual and intelligent.” explains the designer Martin Ballendat.

Se:joy is a dynamic and fresh chair that boasts many features. The harmonious lines and adesign inspired by nature stand out. The delicate yet durable supporting structures reflect an independent character, which not only complements sophisticated surroundings. adds an inspiring, refreshing touch to any kind of office environment.

The one-piece supporting structure enables optimum pressure distribution along the spine without having to make any adjustments. The sophisticated construction adapts automatically to each user, regardless of shape or size.
The finely balanced swing mechanism (seat tilt 4° forward /7° behind) supports the user’s movements and depending on the situation enables a dynamic or relaxed sittingposition.
Innovative fabric structures in the seat and backrest provide a supportive seat as well as an adaptable backrest, which will not stretch over time. Sedus se:joy combines long-term seating and product quality.
The elegant adjustment lever on the underside can be used to adjust the seat height between 390 mm to 510 mm.
Fresh colour combinations for the mesh cover (six colours) and carcass (black and light grey) are available.

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Great sportsmen testimonials for the new communication of Smarther BTicino.

The BTicino’s attitude to innovation is focused on products and communication, too. Following the intriguing episodes serie titled “Il Mistero Sottile” (The Thin Mystery), the new amazing communication “Your Ideal Climate, at Your Own Home, too” chooses as testimonials for the Smarther connected thermostat, two legendary international extreme sport masters.

Michele Pontrandolfo arctic explorer with active explorations in Greenland and the South Pole- and Marco Olmomarathon runner who participated several times at the Marathon des Sables in the Moroccan desert- are the testimonials for the warm and cold temperature in the new, engaging campaign of communication BTicino to launch Smarther, the user-friendly Wi-Fi connected thermostat of the Eliot family by BTicino, leader of Legrand Group.

Until the end of October, the ADV campaign integrates web, social and press and provides online videos  and the same contents on the Facebook and Instagram pages of BTicino as well.

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The iconic orange scissors by Fiskars are 50 years old.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary, the Helsinki Design Museum dedicates an exhibition to the legendary scissors created by Olof Bäckström, the first with plastic handle, a masterpiece of Scandinavian design part of our daily scenario and present in the design collection of MoMa in New York.
The success orange color, now patented and become corporate color, was a fortuitous choice!

The history Fiskars steel mill, based in the homonymous village in Finland, started in 1649.

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During the following centuries, it marked a constant evolutionary path; among many important steps, a fundamental one was in 1967 when the first scissors with plastic handle were created, this material was innovative and particularly ergonomic, too.

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Fiskars Orange, a successful random choice.
Three colors were proposed for the handle (red carmine, black and green), but when the prototype was sent to production, in the machine remained the orange color of another product.
So, this bright color was added to those already selected and a democratic poll among the factory workers led to the final choice: 9 votes in favor and 7 dissenting.
Thanks to that choice, Fiskars Orange® has become a registered trademark and the corporate color of the company.

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Design for all, ergonomics and constant innovation.
Today, Fiskars expands its design, engineering and production to a wide range of professional and amateur tools, for home and office, for tailoring and hairdressing.
The concept of design to all inspired scissors for left-handed users and scissors equipped with a patented effort reduction mechanism to assist users with reduced hands skills.

 

Thanks to the steering of Olavi Lindén, Chief Designer at Fiskars since 1984, innovation is constantly in progress; research, development and production cover nowadays a wide range of knives, kitchen tools and pots and gardening tools.
Design and ergonomics remain the main concepts and the focus for all production.

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Colour trends for an unstable world. Hearth Wood, Colour of the year 2018.

Since 25 years the AkzoNobel Global Aesthetic Center, based in the Netherlands, has been conducting an extensive global analysis based on the general mood and the social, cultural and artistic trends in order to capture the mood of the moment and the colour that better reflect it.
Heart Wood is the Colour Futures 2018 and it was declined in four different palettes to inspire a Welcome Home or a Welcome Workplace.

We live in a time of unpredictability. We have access to more information and more choices that ever before. There are more expectations and more demands on our time. We have seen evidence of division within our societies. Our usual sources of reassurance can’t be relied upon”. This is the mood of the moment identified by the experts -11 international designers and trend watchers led by Creative Director Heleen van Gent.

What we need in the current climate of instability?
As life gets faster, now is the time to choose to press pause. conversations, we need to give ourselves permission to take a step back. Our home needs to be a place where we can turn down the noise, where we can nurture our values and recharge. This can be our sanctuary where we can all look forward to…”

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To better understand the different ways consumer are responding to emerging sentiment, the Akzo Nobel’s experts considered three kind of person: Warm-hearthed; Open-hearted; Lighit-hearted.
We need a Welcome Home or a Welcome Workplace
that makes us feel welcome and at ease.
Hart Wood is Color Futures 2018: a soft and dusty pink tone that expresses the tactile qualities of natural wood and captures the essence of ‘A Welcome Home’.

The four Color Futures 2018 Palettes
The four Color Futures 2018 Palettes reflects four different moods: The Heart Wood Home, The Comforting Home, The Playful Home, The Inviting Home.

Download here the Colour Trends 2018 book.

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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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