New trends from Worktech17: Living Office, co-design and IoT.

A self-learning space, open-designed for the future needs, based on the individual experience and wellbeing. This is the way of designing that was debated at the forum Worktech 2017, among leader companies as Herman Miller and Interface and architecture firms like Carlo Ratti Associati, Zaha Hadid Architects and Studio Banana.

The office must follow the life that takes place in it. That’s the core of the Herman Miller’s seven provocations, seven statements thought to guide the discussion between designers and companies, and based on the last company’s research “Living Office”, presented at Worktech17, one of the worldwide most important forum dedicated to real estate, technology and innovation. The study has involved anthropologists, psychologists and designers in a new holistic approach to the workplace, aiming to define the facts we need to understand when we think about today’s ways of working.


One of these provocations states: “we feel before we think”. The environment has a great impact on us, therefore it is the main feature we have to take care of. It must be a living environment, where communication takes constantly place (quoting a provocation, “you + me = 3”) in a “wonderful mess” that facilitate creativity and innovation.


Ulrich Blum, from Zaha Hadid Architects, has given a really good insight during his speech “The self-learning workplace”, describing a way of designing that starts from the use of IoT and sensors to collect data about the habits of every employee. “We have to think about the office as a “living network” Blum said. The data are divided in different parameters as distance, visibility and lighting, in order to give to designers the right knowledges to create a space that fits with the needs of every single person living in the workplace, optimizing the desk arrangement, the communication, the use of working time and the disposition of different environments. Furthermore, datas give the opportunity, using the generated algorithms, for creating more effective team works and arrange them in an ideal workplace. “The idea is to enhance the hierarchy of the office as it really is, and not as it is in the boss’s mind. We have to join furniture and artificial intelligence in order to increase the flexibility the furniture can give us”, Blum concludes.

As we can already see, technology is crucial in nowadays office, even though, quoting another provocation, “we have to forget about it”, meaning it has to be like a comfortable shoe: we have to perfectly walk in it, without feeling anything. As Marco Maria Pedrazzo, by Carlo Ratti Associates, said, exposing the firm’s research about the “technological management of the workplace”, “technology has to create a resilient environment. We have to change our perspective: it is the environment that has to adapt to us, not us to the environment. We have to design as we are designing 20 years ahead, and the only way to do that is making experiments, trying prototypes and see how people react to them“.

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Even though it seems in contrast with Herman Miller’s provocation “The next thing isn’t for you”, it isn’t, because innovation must be based on the company’s culture, and design must fit with the actual ways of working and corporate policy of each situation, but at the same time it has to be open-designed, giving the chance of being reinvented in the future, following the evolution of the company itself and of the times.
Something too ahead, in fact, can scare people, while innovation has to generate engagement, fulfilment and happiness.


Key Portilla, from Studio Banana, suggested some interesting approach, like co-design sessions, where managers and employee are an active part in the workplace’s construction or restyling, or university-campus-like offices, based on a different environment that supports different states of mind and activity.


Finally, even in a new tech-workspace, nature can be the secret of a happy and stress-free office. Oliver Heath, from Interface, has talked about “biophilic design“, meaning the need to recreate the “sense of nature“, enhancing the presence of real natural elements, like light, plants and water, or a reference to them, using colors, patterns and materials that help to recreate visually and emotionally the feeling of really being in a natural environment.
Report by Mario Colombo (Herman Miller), editing by Gabriele Masi.




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.”


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.




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.


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.


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!



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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The best stands at Salone Ufficio – Workplace 3.0.

As usual the Salone stands out for the excellent quality standard of companies and exhibits and the refined and original installations full of charm.
Each stand is a temporary architecture carefully designed and it’s really hard to sort out the finest ones, that share bright and fascinating atmospheres, the use of plants and rich drapes.

WOW! has selected at Salone Ufficio – Workplace 3.0 edition 2017 those stands expressing the key words of the new ways of working in the best possible way.

Dieffebi: IOT, Wellness and “smart plants”.


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The stand designed by 967 is focused on wellness and biophilic design, key concepts of the Workplace 3.0.
On the occasion of the 2017 edition of Workplace 3.0, a new element is added to the minimalist design and clean lines that characterize the DotBox series, an element capable of making the workplace healthier and more pleasant: each storage module can be customized with a built-in flower box, with the dual functionality of purifying the air and giving a touch of style to the environment.

Inside the DotBox there is a ‘smart vase’ that uses Itair® technology, an innovative system of natural air purification for indoor environments. Thanks to this, the plants not only have the function of furnishing the space and making it more visually pleasing, but their natural purification properties are also amplified by a technological core inside the ‘smart vase’. The plant thus becomes an actual filter capable of metabolising the harmful agents in the air, and, thanks to the Itair® technology, which has a forced mechanical ventilation, the system increases the air flow inside the plant and amplifies its effectiveness exponentially.

Estel: 80 years of expertise for Italian Smart Office.


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Estel celebrates its 80th anniversary. The claim Italian Smart Office inspired the 400 sqm exhibiting space designed by Progetto CMR characterized by an elegant mood and a perfect lighting. The stand was organized around the main environments of the Smart Office:

“Personal Workstation”; “Comfort & Relax” with lounge and reception and informal meeting areas; coffeeshop and shared workstation entitled COffice; and last but not least executive desks and meeting-teleconference tables for the “Common Area”. Some Collaborative Rooms in different sizes – from phone booth to meeting room- offer solutions for acoustic comfort

Universal Selecta: Inner Sound and privacy oasis.


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The design of the stand by AMA – Albera Monti & Associati was inspired by the claim “The Inner Sound” and display the features of Chakra, the innovative prefabricated modular system for interiors that delimits areas of privacy and ideal conditions of acoustic comfort.

At the center of the stand a bed, expressing silence and calm, around it four different Chakras able to offer the same calm and silence in open plan offices and public areas.Outside the stand a smallest Chakra was available as phone booth for visitors.

Caimi Brevetti: acoustic comfort and artworks by Gillo Dorfles.


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In view of the 107th anniversary of Gillo Dorfles, Caimi Brevetti pays homage to the Master. The Snowsound panels made precious with some graphic works, designed by Dorfles from 1937 to 2017 are a perfect example of  how to combine art and industrial production can merge.

This evocative “art gallery” was the core of the installation organized in different sets partitioned by Snowsound Fiber curtains were new products for workplace and in-between areas were displayed.
Another amazing set was the sculptural suit designed and made by Moreno Ferrari.

Hoofddorp, 19th of March 2017 – Plantronics office. Photo: Mats van Soolingen

The sound of Smart Working.

Acoustics, technology and design: after the opening of their italian headquarters, in the offices in Hoofddorp (Netherlands) Plantronics experiments the efficacy of their own product in creating a smart working environment.  An opportunity for the company  “to bring to life our vision for the modern workplace”, as the president Joe Burton says.

Situated in the innovative Park 20|20 in Hoofddorp, the architecture firms William McDonough + Partners, N30 and Gensler, conceived the Dutch offices of Plantronics as an acoustic showcase that accommodates various employee work styles, in a symphony of sound layers that make possible for diverse activities to take place simultaneously with minimal disruption, including hallway meetings, pop-up brainstorms, quiet concentration, video conferences, even product testing.

Hoofddorp, 21th of March 2017 – Plantronics office. Photo: Mats van Soolingen

The noise management is based on the copany’s technology and research, from active acoustic management to headsets that help employees easily and comfortably work anywhere, and on the natural sound of the water:  three waterfalls act as a complementary visual aid to the audio overlay of a babbling brook that can be heard from the speakers. This allow to reduce the intelligibility of background noise, following a biophilic way of designing.

The building, as the entire park 20|20, is build following a “Cradle-to Cradle” design approach that allow to easily disassemble the building in case of need, and it is made entirely with recyclable materials. The attention to the environmental and energetical sustainability worth the  BREEAM certificate at Excellent level: from solar panels, designed to harvest at least a quarter of the building’s required energy, water systems that include greywater harvesting, filtration, cleansing, and reuse, and also carpets fabricated from recycled fishing nets.

Hoofddorp, 19th of March 2017 – Plantronics office. Photo: Mats van Soolingen
Gensler has also created an exhibition space where the company’s innovation can be tested and shown in action with an interactive sound table that shows the impact sound has on people’s daily lives, and a sound chamber where visitors can learn how Plantronics analyzes the impact of sound levels to help create its headsets.
“In designing the Expo space, our aim was to integrate the Plantronics story with their technology innovations, to create a narrative and provide an informative journey through the space,” said Milena Jovovic, design director at Gensler. “A holistic and immersive experience, consistent with the overall design of the building.”
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Pictures by Mats van Soolingen.

Hoofddorp, 19th of March 2017 – Plantronics office. Photo: Mats van Soolingen


Interface appointed Nigel Stansfield as president of EMEA.

Nigel Stansfield is the new president of EMEA appointed by Interface, the worldwide leader in the design and production of modular flooring products, committed to sustainability and minimising its impact on the environment while enhancing shareholder value. Innovation an sustainability are the key points included in the Stansfield ’s ambitious business objectives.

We have ambitious business objectives to drive global growth. Achieving these targets depends on innovation across our business and through the supply chain to provide new product offerings and grow the core carpet tile business. It’s a privilege to have been part of Interface for over 30 years and a pleasure to have the opportunity to lead the business forward and continue our journey in achieving these goals.” Stansfield quoted.
Stansfield has over 30 years’ experience in the industry at Interface and previously held a variety of roles in both manufacturing and innovations. He has had global responsibility for developing and implementing Interface’s strategies in innovations, sustainability, product and design, and most recently held the position of Chief Supply Chain Officer.

His extensive technological background and expertise will complement the company’s growth strategy throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Stansfield’s responsibility will be to drive growth in the core carpet tile business, while bringing new offerings to market and delivering supply chain efficiencies. He will also spearhead efforts to deliver Interface’s Mission Zero® commitments in the region, and pursue the company’s new Climate Take Back mission focused on addressing climate change.
In 2014 Interface commissioned The Human Spaces Report, a global research into biophilic design. The survey demonstrates the relationship between individuals and their environment can be a crucial determinant of how they feel, perform and interact with others. This research inspired The innovative Human Nature floor carpet collections.




Beautiful Thinking: green design inspired by nature.

The connection between nature and people is in Interface’s DNA, it is litterally and figuratively woven into every square and plank of carpet the company produces.
Sustainability, the core every product and manufacturing processes of the company, is also enhanced by the Biophilic design and the Beautiful Thinking in the new products.

Art, design and architecture inspired by Nature have been around as long as we have. What’s taken shape over just the last two decades is evidence that designs that mimic Nature not only please the eye, they also change the people who inhabit them: people are more engaged, more collaborative, more creative. The design inspired by Nature promotes a sense of wellbeing.
For this reason Interface’s approach is Beautiful Thinking oriented -that means to create a product and a planet that are good for people- and the new products are inspired by Biophilia.
The new collections are sustainable (made with 100% recycled content nylon yarn and manufactured respecting the green life cycle of the product from production to disposal) and create a sense of well-being because they reproduce the tactile and visual textures present in outdoor scenery: cobblestone paths or grassy fields, stone or gravel paths.

Equal Measure collection is inspired by the traditional cobblestone streets found all over the world, creating a sense of the familiar and the original at the same time. The classic, irregular look of a lived-in street is combined with the soft luxury of carpet tile and all its associated benefits.


collection tells a fascinating tale about contrast and minimalism. A figurative pattern created by differences in pile height and construction.


Near & Far Collection is somewhere between made and found. The organic reference is clear, but we can see the artisan’s hand in the shape and materials.