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Sassetti Tower, the icon of the Financial District.

A place to host professionals and foster technological innovation in the financial community, in the heart of the Fintech District in Milan. The renovation of the Sassetti Tower, designed by L22 Urban & Building, started from the glass curtain façade to the internal offices, a dynamic ecosystem created by Sellalab to promote cooperation and business partnership.

The renovation of the tower Sassetti at Via Sassetti 32 in Milan wanted to create an iconic building in the Fintech District area, recently become the financial and commercial heart of Milan.

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The L22’s design approach, as commissioned by Invesco Real Estate, which bought the property in 2015, is based around a cutting-edge vision where the efficiency and flexibility of the workplaces are combined with an innovative façade design, that literally opens the building to the city, emphasising the building presence in the square.

Starting from the original project made by the engineers Franco Morini and Emilio Pereira in 1990-92, the glass curtain facade is featured with an overlapping pattern of slender horizontal and vertical elements, a structural grid extended beyond the terrace to emphasise the vertical nature of the tower, while the Santafiore Lavagrigia stones and columns at the base gives a sensation of solidity and elegance.
The entrance gates facing the square have been completely removed to open up the first floor to create visual continuity between the outside and the interiors where the double-height hall announces functions both as a reception area and a dynamic rest area.

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The office spaces are designed by L22 Urban & Building. The first eight floors of the office building are taken up by Copernico with Banca Sella occupying levels 9-11. The 12th and 13th floor, instead, are designed as a co-working environment and the events space with the terrace.
Copernico has also chosen the professionals and the star-ups that will be accommodated in the office levels, renovated by Sellalab focusing on efficiency and flexibility, with a dedicated loggia at the rear for each floor.
The last floor hosts a 270 sqm spacious terrace with an events room incorporated in closed and ancillary spaces.

The renovation has also involved the energy efficiency of the building: chosen materials, low-energy lighting and the quality of the interiors has made the Torre Sassetti suitable for the platinum-level LEED certification.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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Copernico Martesana: well-being and business trends.

A dynamic hub where well-being and business trends are well balanced, a flexible, hybrid and multifunctional workplace, core of an urban renovation process. The simple internal design of Copernico Martesana in Milan follows the main trends and needs of the new ways of working, like the biophilic design of the Oxygen Room and the home-feeling given by the Loft Office.

The Copernico Platform for Smart Working is constantly growing; following the successful experiences of Copernico Centrale, ClubHouse Brera , the workplace in Turin, and many others, the 6.500 sqm of the thirteenth Copernico hub in the north-eastern part of Milan.
“With Copernico Martesana we want to put our focus on the wellbeing of each worker becoming, at the same time, actors in the new economic processes that lead to new business opportunity”, Pietro Martani, Copernico’s CEO, says. “We want to anticipate the ever-evolving market and workers needs”.

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Copernico Martesana is designed by the firm Studio DC10, mixing different and connected environments as offices, meeting space, lounge area.

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Interior design is inspired by “genius loci” and the building of the ’70s was transformed in a vibrant environment featured by a cool, industrial design.

The centre of the project is the main cafeteria, a hybrid and informal meeting space, designed together by Bunker, Torricelli Associati and Weltgebraus to foster the culture of communication and interaction.

08-Copernico Martesana-hub-wow-webmagazineStudio DC10 has, also, added two environments completely dedicated to the wellbeing of the people: the Oxygen room, a green area where workers can find some rest form the daily stress,  the Loft Office, a comfortable place giving the sense of home-feeling and cosiness and an Art Gallery.

For the interiors, a neutral and neat design was chosen in order to help communication and to create a homogeneous workplace.
“The innovative system Copernico is made by three dimensions: space, connection, culture“, Pietro Martani concludes. “Copernico Martesana wants to become a benchmark in the area”, transmitting his features to an urban redeveloping area.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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The Microsoft House in Milan: opening the innovation towards the city.

The Microsoft House in Milan represent a new model of a headquarter based on the idea of being an open innovation centre for the city and professionals, schools and clients. 200 thousands visitors are expected to enter this year the three open floors of the first italian building by Herzog & De Meuron.

Designed by DEGW to be an innovation laboratory, the Microsoft House in Viale Pasubio in Milan, with 832 windows coving six floors, reflects on the city the ways of working and a new conception of a company’s opened headquarter.

Three entire floors are designed for visitors, with different environments as the Showroom, the Digital Class, the Microsoft Technology Center and the Loft.
The idea behind these environments is to give the opportunity to experiment new technologies and solutions for students, teachers, business or just for playing.
The Showroom is equipped with an interactive Modern PC Windows e Intel space and 13 game stations, as well as free wi-fi, and it will the set of numerous workshops. Instead the Digital Class is specifically designed to offer to schools the opportunity to come and try and experiment new solutions for the 3.0 classes and the edutainment.
The first floor, divided in for different environments, is open to professionals, businesses and startups: the Interactive Center, with workstations where it is possible to try experimental management software, the technological space of the Immersion Suite, the Briefing Suite, where focused consultation can be run, and the 80 seats multifunctional auditorium Envisioning Center.
At the last floor the Loft is a refined environment, with a Made in Italy furniture and design, thought to host special events.

The 7.500 sqm central floors are dedicated to the working area, based on the smart working ideas of a dynamic and fluid workspace. The open space based environment, with a strong attention to the acoustic design, includes the Ateliers, transparent workstations for short-term individual works, a Creative Garden in wooden frameworks with plants and colored element to promote team working, and Social Platforms for private gatherings.
A peculiar solution is the Garden Tables at the fifth floor, a system of reconfigurable desks that, through a creative system, uses plants in the centre of the table as partitions.
“Our Microsoft House in the heart of Milan, in a dynamic and connected area, wants to set the new direction for the innovation in Italy”, Carlo Purassanta, Microsoft Italia’s managing director says. “From big companies to startups, from students to the NGO’s world, this is a place to innovate, collaborate, to find ideas and create an ecosystem. Only together we can make great thing to let Italy grow”.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

Project Team:
Space planning, interior design, modifica impianti, change management FUD Brand Making Factory: Communication Design & Physical Branding di DEGW (Client Leader: Alessandro Adamo, Senior Architect: Cristiana Boienti).
Among the suppliers:
Arper, Artemide, Caimi Brevetti, Knoll, Kvadrat, Interface, La Palma, Omnitex, Pedrali, Tecno, Viabizzuno, Zanotta and HW-Style, supplier of the indoor green.

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The Vodafone headquarters in Padova (Dante Benini&Partners).

After the Smart Vodafone Village in Milan, Dante O. Benini & Partners Architects designed the Vodafone’s offices in Padova: multifunctional, eco-friendly, open space workplace where materials, colors and lighting create a dynamic and harmonious rhythm, reflecting the ways of working of the company.

The Vodafone’s offices in Padova are a polyphonic environment designed to support the wellbeing of the workers, through the interaction between cutting-edge technologies where different kind of environments and furniture by several companies, such as Sedus, Caimi Brevetti, Arper and Segis. The whole creates a peculiar rhythm throughout the space, dividing, but at the same time unifying, formal and informal, privacy and meeting workspaces.

The project follows the features of the Vodafone Village in Milan, also designed by the same firm Dante O. Benini & Partners Architects: a fully connected, multifunctional and shared open space, with a particular attention to energetic sustainability which candidates the Cittadella to the LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).
The key of the project is to enhance through the space the smart, flexible and dynamic ways of working of the company, using visible and tangible elements as materials, colors, acoustic elements, and lighting. While the different colors reflect the switch between two different environments, the lighting system and the space are expanded by the using of honeycomb aluminium papers on the surfaces and on the custom furniture.

The interior design plays with its own elements: the working islands defined by free-standing and self illuminated workstation in a big letter shape are a perfect example as well as the relax area where rocking chairs and furniture are inspired by organic and embracing shapes.
The graphic project by Gr Interior, the repetition throughout the space of models, materials and geometrical elements creates connected environments which differ in purpose and configuration, in a single harmonious and at the same time flexible working setting.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Pictures by Beppe Raso.

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The Copernico’s hub in Turin: a fertile ecosystem.

The historical L’Oreal headquarter in Turin is being turning into a new efficient coworking space designed as a fertile ecosystem, a dynamic system where sharing spaces and resources means shearing also experiences and ideas. The 12.000 sqm Copernico’s hub will be inaugurated this spring 2017, following the success of the Copernico Milano Centale project.

“We want to build an environment that creates the need of sharing experiences through a dynamic system, where ideas can be concretely realized”.
Pietro Martani, managing director of Copernico, introduces with these words the project of the last company’s coworking environment. Turin, best city in Europe for innovation, after Amsterdam, will host the ninth Copernico’s hub, a wide environment capable of satisfying all the need of the new ways of working with private and sharing working stations. A space to encouraging productivity, a good life-work balance, mobility and flexibility. A “fertile ecosystem” designed with a clear idea: a space, multifunctional and flexible, with a strong connection with city, that aim to be a model for a cultural transformation. This idea is gonna be represented on the ground floor from a café, designed to be a centre of connection, “a social floor” to encourage networking and the informal sharing of ideas.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Pictures by Gabriele Zanon.

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Hack: the desk by Konstantin Grcic with a garage spirit.

A creative and practical system of desks, capable of joining rest and work, formal and informal: Hack designed by Kostantin Grcic and produced by Vitra, fits into dynamic working environments, of which its unfinished and experimental raw design is a perfect image.

Hack is a challenge to the modern conception of working desk and the symbol of a new way of thinking about the office furniture: design has to anticipate the needs of companies and workers, proposing different solutions, concentrated in one object.
Hack is a manual adjustable height desk (form 200 to 1250 mm) easy to close and move, thought a simple manual system, that improves its versatility.
The panels on the back and on the sides allows a better privacy and helps concentration.

At the bottom level the desktop can be covered with cushions and turn into a couch for a quick break or informal discussions.
The sensations of an experimental project, a “not yet finished” design given by the the simple and raw wood and metal structure, is thought to fit with the mentality of nowadays companies, dynamic laboratories of innovations.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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No space for boring offices at #VL16.

Office as inspiration and innovation but also as a stimulating, young and dynamic habitat for creative talents. Ventura Lambrate, the FuoriSalone 2016’s area dedicated to new designers, offered some interesting ideas about the way the new generations see the working environment. From the innovative cardboard standing desk helloStandy, to the furniture of the In Our Office project by MA Lund University’s students, to Space Encounters’s Boring Collection, Milano Design Award’s Best Concept prize.

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Ergonomics and Wellbeing
are a priority for the Millennials, but often the offices of young designers or companies seem to be too small to become a productive a enjoyable working environment. To solve this problem the MA students from Lund University (Sweden), School of Industrial Design, has developed In Our Office, a concept of 12 pieces of furniture designed for young creative talents’ offices.

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The furniture itself create a cooperative and funny way of living the working environment: bunk or roll-away workstations, pop-up furniture landscapes, innovative solutions to increase either acoustic insulation and the need of privacy and concentration, blurring the line between informal and working environment and at the same time allowing to maximise the space.

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Healthy and capable of promoting dynamic ways of working: standing desks are a new trend in the office. Sometimes, however, it is impossible to change all the furniture or the interior design of a working environment to make space for them. That’s why Matteo Cracco and Federico De Megni created helloStandy, a simple and easy-to-open 50x50cm foldable cardboard square, 5mm thick, that allows to turn a normal workstation into a standing desk in few seconds.The synthesis of these projects lays in the concept behind the installation-happening Boring Collection, designed by Space Encounters for Lensvelt: sometimes it is not only about furniture, but about the vital energy that a workspace can emanate.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

Captions:
Opening Zip it, Rae Bei-Han Kuo. A workplace always have distracting noise or annoying colleagues that don’t allow to concentrate properly on work. Zip It! is a sound insulator chair that can assume different configuration, allowing to live freely the interaction with the working environment.
1. Umbrella, Malin Yngvesson. A lamp created to facilitate privacy and concentration in the workspace, a shield from distraction.
2. Bunk Desk, André Gunnarsson. A smart solution for small offices with chatting problems: a “bunk desk” for new perspectives.
3. Workaround, Sofie Aschan Eriksson. A plastic and wood system, pop-up furniture landscape transforming along with the different activities and needs within a small scale office: a tool for creating trust and relations within a space.
4. helloStandy, Federico De Megni and Matteo Cracco. Presented at FuoriSalone 2016 the “desk extension” was designed to promote a new, healthier and more dynamic way of working”.

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Pillow Table: sit-stand-nap desk.

Displayed at Salone del Mobile,at Danish LIVINGroom,(hall 10 stand B03) the very first height-adjustable desk (linear actuator systems by Linak) coming with a cushion for a comfortable power nap at work. Tine Mouritsen, inspired by new WOW, designed it.

A lot has been said about how healthy the height-adjustable desks are, a real symbol of a new dynamic ergonomics, and this trend is spreading in Italy, too, where  companies more conscious of the employee’s wellbeing don’t give up the pleasure of a sitting standing workstation.

The benefits of a nap are also well-known, especially after lunch, a real drive for multitaskers. Not accidentally, nap rooms are often considered in smart offices and several major companies have already started to study functional furniture allowing to take a nap.
Yet, we’ll see something original at Salone del Mobile that combines these two must-haves to feel at ease and way happier in the office.

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Pillow Table is a sitting-standing desk equipped with integrated pillow in its top.
Linak Danmark A/S has been invited to participate on the Danish LIVINGroom booth –  stand B03, hall 10 – at Salone del Mobile in Milan. The Danish manufacturer of linear actuator systems is the only sub supplier on the Danish joint booth, as the other participants are well-known Danish manufacturers of furniture and famous designers. The company presents a range of solutions featuring top design, comfort and ergonomics, including a sit-stand desk, designed by the Danish architect Tine Mouritsen, who took inspiration from the thoughts behind New Ways of Working into consideration. The desk shown at the exhibition is therefore mounted with a pillow intended for a powernap.

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BCG’s headquarters by AMA.

Every environment of The Boston Consulting Group’s headquarters, in an historical and central building in Milan, has been designed by AMA Albera Monti & Associati to obtain the best efficiency and to surprise the visitors. The attention paid to the acoustic, the lighting, the green, the technology, the brand identity and the art have made the project a synthesis of the most recent trends and philosophies in office and interior design. All the spaces are designed to be usable every day by everyone: from the BCG Club coworking, to the Agorà on the sixth floor, to the rooftop with a wonderful panorama over the city centre.

After the Google, Wind, BNP Paribas offices and ethe renovation of the Palazzo Ravizza, AMA Albera Monti & Associati designed the new The Boston Consulting Group’s headquarters, the renovation of an historical building, built in 1873 by the architect Giuseppe Mengoni in the city centre of Milan, in Foscolo st. 1.

500 employees spread over 7 floors comprising more than 6,200 sqm and a 300 sqm terrace. These are the numbers of the BCG’s new headquarters. A modern and innovative environment, reflecting the most recent trends and ways of working, designed not only to ensure the best working environment to the BCG’s staff, but also to give to the public a space where it is possible to enjoy exhibitions, conferences, cultural events and concerts, giving a piece of the city back to the citizenry of Milan.
The anamorphosis of the BCG’s logo, create with the collaboration of the Truly Design studio, at the reception, on the ground floor, welcome the visitor in a surprising and a polyhedric space, with different and original environment. Here every worker is free to move all over the 7 floors of the building, choosing his workplace among 64 adjustable height desks of the coworking space, bookable through an app or by the installed panels, or on the rooftop, at the bar or at the restaurant, fully equipped with all the technological comforts to allow all the workers to use this area in a productive way.

A dynamic workplace, where the space can be change in different compositions, as the board room on the last floor, where all the table can be removed and hung on the ceiling in order to create an exhibition space, or the agorà at the sixth floor designed with a scenographic terraced step, as an amphitheatre that can be used as an auditorium, exhibition area, conference room or for office parties.
The novelties of the new BCG building include also a spa area, a hi-tech room where films and videos can be watched in surround sound, digital rooms, open-plan offices and the the longest indoor green wall in Italy. The attention paid in creating a green office, as it is shown by the terrace on the sixth floor, inspired to a Zen garden, it is just one of the innovations and trend, we have already talked about on WOW!, that makes this project a synthesis of the new ways of working and their application: a private place open to the community, the use of graffitis on the walls, the strong brand identity and the cutting-edge acoustic and lighting solutions, as the technological window CoeLux in the BCG’s partner rooms and in the areas in front of the elevators.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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From a father-like to a mother-like company model .

The final Jelly Session of the WOW! Agile Working Island has inspired new questions about the need of an anthropological approach to the new ways of working: while the line between home and working environment is becoming more and more dense and blurred, the smart working model is realised through the design, as an instrument capable to introduce the worker in the new system.

The 2nd edition of the WOW! Agile Working Island has left many insights about the designing of the new working spaces, focused on wellbeing, flexibility and dynamism. Although these key concepts have been widely discussed, it is useful to analyse them through another point of view, an anthropological one, starting from the latest experiences discussed during the event.

1. From a controlling father-like to a mother-like model of the company.
The office space is no longer the stiff and sever place it used to be, image of the inflexible look of a father, but it’s a more like mother’s womb environment, welcoming, home feeling oriented and capable of cuddling his employees. The new spaces, like in between areas, nursery, break areas, and the attention paid to the effects of the noise, stress and a pour environment over the workers, and so on, show how the office is becoming a nice place to live. That’s because the paradigm has changed: beauty is wellbeing and wellbeing is productivity.
The best example of the mother-like company is the “cuddling environment” of Mattel in Milan, a space designed to challenge the classical conception of the working place towards something we can call “ the school of wellbeing”.
The company is a kind of an “adoptive family”, not only focused on the wellbeing of the employees, but also on how to teach them the way to properly take care of themselves: a part from the Green Project, we have already talked about, Mattel implemented a monthly plan with several services thought for his employees such as free osteopathic treatments, the presence of a psychologist or the blood test through the blood donation directly organised in the workplace, in addition to a free at-the-desk breakfast the first day of the month, fresh apples at the reception every day and subsidies for extra office services like medical check-ups or bus tickets.

2. A cultural perspective: peculiar deviations form the standard smart working model.
If “Design and Smart Working are about culture” as Andrè Straja underlined during the Jelly Session, the peculiar situation of Italy, where concepts such as flexibility, ergonomics and work-life balance, are perceived as new ones, has not to be considered totally in a negative way, but like a fertile and fruitful chance to “re-model the model”.
The indian Discovery Centre designed by Giulio Ceppi (TotalTool) is an example of retail shop where the made-in-italy is not just about the object and the product design, but also about a way of thinking based on always considering the context where the idea has to be applied as the main point of the project.
If the design is a cultural expression and we can’t overlook the cultural aspects, we can’t just adopted directly and entirely the models coming from Cupertino.
That was the insight that drove the project of the Digital Entity’s office in Milan, a space with an essential and clean design, as NTTdata wanted it very similar to the essential Japanese concept of working.
And, as Rossella Destefani reported us, this choice was perceived as a plus by their customers since “they don’t buy just the product, but also the Japanese reliability”.
That’s why design is not a neutral and ephemeral element, but the main instrument of the smart working change, a lived expression of the company management and of the new ways of working.

3. From the corporate to the body: how it is possible to create a group identity in the “flexibility era”.
Smart working is about trust and about educating to the trust. But how can a company teach trust and create a group identity at the same time? Through design.
Design is not just about making the office a nice place, but it has a deep influence and an educational power over the workers’ body  and therefore over the worker himself: flexible spaces and adjustable height desks force the work to be more dynamic; in between spaces, graffiti, and kitchenette create a new way of living the space and through a more informal space, blurring the line between the outer space and the office space, between the time in and the time out, enhancing the undefined working continuum given by the new technologies; meanwhile the open space model lets the company to be perceived as more transparent and horizontal in his hierarchy.
Design is also essential to make the workers perceive the brand identity and values, as we have already underlined for example talking about the new Star’s headquarters.
Another example, that was we have analysed in the final Jelly Session of the WOW! Agile Working Island is Technogym Village in Cesena (Italy). Here the leader company’s motto “we promote wellness in everything we do” is reflected throughout a space created to make the employees fitter: free use of gym machines  and of a jogging track before or after the working time, a selected and healthy food served in a “wellness restaurant”, the use of the wellness balls as chairs and writings at the side of the elevators that encourage the use of the stairs.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Captions:
1, 2 Wellness Campus Technogym, Antonio Citterio e Patricia Viel & Partners, Cesena (Italy).
3, Wellness Room, Mattel Italia’s offices, Milan (Italy).
4, UniCredit International Centre, SGS Architetti Associati and Studio Scagliotti, Sofia (Bulgaria).
5, Star’s Headquarters, Il Prisma, Milan. (Italy).
6, Digital Entity’s offices, deamicisarchitetti, Milano.
7, 8 Discovery Centre, TotalTool, Bhartiya (India).

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Hotel meeting spaces for traveling workers.

The Simone Micheli Architectural Hero firm, founded in 2003, is based in Florence, Milan, Dubai and Rabat. His projects range from interior to architectural design, from visual to industrial design; he is worldwide known as a specialist in the contract sector.
During the interview he expresses his ideas about the hybridization between workplace and hospitality sector and about the new needs of workers on a journey.

Simone Micheli plans for public administrations and private customers in the residential and contract sector. He received several international prizes. For example his design for RubensLuciano offices and showroom in Venice was awarded in 2014 “Iconic Award”- Frankfurt organized by German Design Council. Last December 2015 received in Montecitorio, Rome the “100 Italian Excellencies” award.

Is the planning model of Simone Micheli the same everywhere in the world and with all kinds of companies or design products or does the approach change to the different situations?
My planning philosophy, well-defined yet always evolving, is each time developed in different ways. The important thing for every work is to fit perfectly in the space it is meant for and respect its features. Everywhere my architectural works can be recognized for they are a direct consequence of what I am and of my experiences.

Has the hospitality/contract project anything in common with the workplace industry?
Man and his wellbeing are the crux of every work, so a project should contain life, namely action and motion. Although still separate approaches yet, especially in the past few years, architecture and interior design are more and more oriented to flexible and wide-ranging spaces to understand the human being as a whole. So hybridizations are also growing to create “smart” surroundings hitting men straight in the  heart.

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Hotels always provide space for conferences and meetings. Have these areas specific requirements? 
These facilities can be considered as well-made only when they create one consistent ambience, that cannot be sectioned or repeated elsewhere.
Of course, we must not forget that when planning them it’s basic that words are clear and intelligible thanks to top-quality acoustics and integrated technological systems.

Smart working means that we can work outside the conventional offices. What are the needs of workers on a journey? 
The keyword marking our time is flexibility. Hence rooms previously used for other purposes now features smart working areas while offices have relax and fitness spots.
Larger structures get rid of unnecessary things and adapt to different requirements. Light still plays a basic role and is often the protagonist in all rooms. The fil rouge underlying every work is the technological component.

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What kind of scenario is expected for the office?
People now travel a lot and in a short time and can share information quickly and throughout the world, so ideas and thoughts are combined. I picture the future workplaces as ethereal spaces, suspended, spacious, bright and clear. Changing and dynamic places meant to foster wellbeing, free expression and human creative imagination. Shared and smart spaces.

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Captions
(upper) Barceló Milan Hotel. Interior and lighting design by Arch. Simone Micheli (2012). Photo: M.Marcato/J. Eheim
(below) Worldhotel Ripa Roma. Interior and lighting design by Arch. Simone Micheli (2015). Sala Sironi (conference room). Foto di: Juergen Eheim

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Color@work: AkzoNobel Center & Art Space in Amsterdam (Group A).

The AkzoNobel Center & Art Space’s project by Group A is an harmonious and dynamic open building where detailing, lights and colours produce a coordinated balance. With its strikingly stratified façade and his exhibition area at the entrance, the AkzoNobel Center is the symbol of the Zuidas district in Amsterdam.

The main features of the project by Group A (that designed both the interior and the exterior), are summarise in the glass and timber multi-skinned façade.
The dynamic design is highlighted by the different types of glasses, which create a sophisticated interplay of light and reflection, and by the timber elements’ coatings in a spectrum of shades and colours that differ slightly from one to the next.
The backbone of the interior is the two linked atrium spaces: at the first floor, the public space is dedicated to the “AkzoNobel Experience”, which includes the entrance, the reception, a restaurant and the l’AkzoNobel Essential Art Space, a natural transition with the adjacent square, where the collection AkzoNobel Art Foundation is exhibited.

At the first floor there is a semi-public space, the core of the daily activity of the 700 workers hosted in the building and their business partners, linked with the last floor and the “Working at AkzoNobel” space.
The design of both of the environments recalls the dynamism of the façade and it is thought for an intensive and efficient use of the space, capable of inspiring and communicate an idea of an healthy workspace.

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Colour is a peculiarity of the AkzoNobel activity. Therefore, designing the project, a bright colour palette was chosen, different for each floor, in order to create a vertical colour spectrum, which lighting makes more prominent as evening approaches.
The sustainability of the building lays on the 4 star-BREEAM-NL New Build Design Certificate’s parameters: solar panels on the roof, photovoltaic cells in the atrium glazing, a ground source heat pump system, but most of all the multi-skinned façade, that allows a better regulation of the temperature inside the building: both in summer, when the hot air between the innermost and outermost skins of the multi-skinned façade is vented in order to prevent heating of the interior, and in the the winter when stationary hot air insulates the building.
Text by Gabriele Masi
Pictures by Frank Hanswijk.

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Adjustable height desks require a new office design.

Adjustable height desks are becoming more and more popular and soon they are gonna be the new standard in the office. The Gensler’s interior designer Amie Keener has defined them a new challenge for the workplace design that has to rethink the space in order to include these agile, dynimc and “well-being oriented” workstations in the best way.

“Sitting-standing” desks, as any other innovation in the beginning, offer indisputable benefits, has we already talked about, but they also need some change to give their best.
The downsides, has we are going to see, are not about the object itself, but problems that can be easily solved with a different office design, capable to give an answer and integrate all the new working environment’s trends like flexibility, smart, activity based, hybrid, sharing.
Amie Keener, on the magazine GenslerOn, has counterposed the ergonomic, physical and psychological benefits of the dynamic posture (that supports a flexible use of the workstations and helps to prevent health problems) with some downsides, she has personally experienced in her everyday’s office life, mostly linked to wires and power sources, noise and eyesight.

First of all, Amie Keener had to deal with length of wires problems and the need of having the power sources in the proximity of the desk. This, of course, has a strong impact on the position of the desk in the space: motorized adjustable desks and mobile devices, as laptop, needs power to work properly. So, as the designer said, it is useful “to consider a neat wire management spine or enclose to hide wires and cords”.
An interesting issue is the relationship between adjustable height desks and acoustic comfort. In fact the acoustic design of the space need to be changed, because an higher position requires different solutions to avoid the voices and the noises of the office to disturb.
Dealing with a new position of the subject in the space, it is necessary to rethink the partitions and the dispositions of the workstation and of the sound absorption elements.
The last problem Amie Keener has pointed out is the terrible eyesight given by a messy high desks, striking more at a glance due to the fact that it is closer to eye level than a standard desk height.
“Even the most elegant workspaces can quickly come resemble barely organised pig sites”, she writes.
That’s why adjustable height desks require an higher level of responsibility from the workers, something, however, that is  already required by the new ways of working, that are based on the concept of space and object’s sharing.
As also Keener has to admit, adjustable height desks are growing more and more popular in the office, and they are becoming the standard that the office design and the management need to consider in order to create spaces where they can be perfectly integrated.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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Neomobile: different layouts for different activities.

Passion, innovation, transparency, and beauty”, according to the CEO Gianluca D’Agostino, these are the ingredients of the new Neomobile headquarters in Rome, designed by Salvatore Marinaro and Antonio Borghi of Unispace, who presented the project in a Jelly Session at the WOW! Island Work Agile at pool Cozzi. “Behind the striking brick façade, a world-class, four-story work space, modern, flexible offices support our growing team and inspire us to drive forward the mobile monetization technology”.

Established in 2007, today Neomobile is a mobile monetization enabler for app developers, adnetworks and digital companies such as content providers, merchants and stores.
“We are talking about an international company, with a clear concept of smart working and we didn’t have to work on the change management”, Antonio Borghi, the Unispace’s architect who followed the space planning of the new Neomobile’s headquarters project at the Rome’s district EUR, said.
“We had to deal with a complex building, the architecture of a former monastery and its close relationship to the surrounding garden. We immediately understood our project as the capacity to establish a lively dialogue between the company and the existing building and we are very happy about the result”.
The four floors of the building were designed in four different layouts in order to answer to different needs.
Starting from above, on the second floor, where the tech sector works, you will find teams of engineers working in dedicated spaces, all connected with a large circulation space. The spaces are separated from each other by glass walls that can be also used as board to attach film packs, papers or notes. On the same level there are also some more dedicated meeting facilities.
On the first floor you can find the top management and board room, along with the departments which have a closer collaboration with them.
The main space is the ground floor, a spectacular open space, hosting the most collaborative functions, with large windows on the garden, few enclosed offices, meeting spaces, phone booths and access to the open air terrace.
“Since the building didn’t have a classical central aligment of pillars we decided to create a central spine of desks” Antonio Borghi explains . “The light is high and it is a bright room and this make us choose a solution with a single nave and a dense “tree configuration”, which will probably change and evolve over time. Since the company removed the landline for every employee, we also thought to create some Phone booth, for quick calls”.
The basement is a big open space, as well, with large windows and direct access to the garden, and represents the so called “comfort zone”, a place to break out, meet up, enjoy and exchange.
“Trying to sum up the Neomobile headquartes’s project in just 3 key words I would say that first of all it is an efficient and fit for purpose workplace”, Antonio Borghi concludes. “No space is left unused and no function exceeds its space requirements. Then I would say it is extremely dynamic, with every space flowing into the next one, reflecting the attitude of the company. And of course it is a smart space, supporting various kind of activities with an unconventional architectural language, thinking out of the box”.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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Dancing and interactive lighting.

They rotate as whirling dervish’ skirts or floating in the space with slow and sensual movements, they are moving light sculptures that interact with the viewers and the users. Along with these scenic proposals, we saw other innovative dynamic, fluid and interactive lights. Customizable lighting is one of the main trends of Euroluce 2015.

The moving lights change in space as living organisms, these new light fixtures are based on experimentation and research on the potential of LED technology. They offer multiple dramatic lighting scenarios for personalized performances.

Les Danseuses by Artemide, design by Atelier Oi.

This product is based on the Coriolis forces, the same forces that govern the physics of hurricanes. These inertial forces are perpendicular to the direction followed by a body moving in space, which rotates uniformly in turn, as seen by an observer that shares the same reference point. The fabric of the Les Danseuses gowns has a cone-shaped symmetry and the material can freely flow along its surface without stretching or warping, like the atmosphere surrounding the earth.

Supernova by Lasvit, design by Petra Krausova.

The breathtaking Supernova is an interactive glass kinetic sculpture. It magically transforms itself in both time and space, responding to the viewer’s movement by changing its form. The installation is composed of clear glass elements with linear texture that creates fascinating light patterns while moving through various angles.

Mesh by Luceplan, design byFrancisco Gomez Paz.
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The designer explains: “I set out to create a lamp by starting with this capacity for spatial separation of LEDs, scattering them to optimize the spread of light, but above all with the aim of giving each of these points of light its own independence.
I wanted to make a lamp that lets you control the position and the quantity of light, a flexible object to adapt to space and the needs of the user. To organize the breakdown of the luminous points I used parameters similar to those identified by Fibonacci in nature, like the arrangement of the seeds in a sunflower, the eye-shaped features of a male peacocks plumage, or the complex forms of a head of cabbage. A precise sequence that inspired me for the distribution of the lights in space.” 

Free Pixel di Artemide, design di Carlo Ratti.

“Rather than nodes clinging a rigid infrastructure, LEDs can act as their own dynamic and living ecosystem, independent and mobile. As these technologies become ubiquitous, we are witnessing the dawn of the Free Pixel”. Carlo Ratti explains (see the article on Free Pixel).