Human Connections for sustainable and positive spaces.

Urban textures for the office environment. The flooring system Human Connection, designed by David Oakey for Interface, recalls the kerbstone, the paver or the flagstone of well-worn city streets to help to trace the map of a dynamic working environment, while embraces nature’s elements to promote a biophilic design.

Increasingly technology driven working environments and flexible work policies have created the need to trace clear pathways across the office in order to manage the constant flow of people, ideas and activities.
Human Connection created by David Oakey for Interface draws inspiration from neighborhood meeting places, such as streets, squares, and pathways in order to design a flooring system suitable for a dynamic working environment, based on communication, technology, and the wellbeing of the people: a project developed through the guidelines of the WELL Building Standard that Interface has called “+Positive spaces”.

“Human Connections is an example of modular tile achieving a new level of flexibility”, said Oakey. “The product line genuinely mimics city surfaces such as turfs, patterns, textures and grounds, using them to create interiors that function more like neighbourhoods that encourage collaboration.” 03-Moss In Stone-Human Connection-Interface-wow-webmagazine

Human Connection is comprised of eight different styles, all 50cm x 50cm squares, which can be fit together to create the desired composition, also with already existing Interface collections, such as Human Nature and Urban Retreat. Sett in Paver, Stone, Kerbstone and Flagstone recall well-worn city streets, while Moss and Moss in Stone attach seamlessly to introduce greenery.

The collection was developed respecting the Interface’s Mission Zero protocol, focused on design and manufacturing sustainable practices: the collection uses a 100 percent recycled, solution-dyed yarn system with an average of 56 percent overall recycled material. Also, the Interface’s installation system, TacTiles, is thought to eliminate the need for glue, forming a “floating floor” that makes the tiles easy to update and replace.
Text by Gabriele Masi.




Welcome to the Jungle Office: XOhub.

A technological, hyperconnected and green “Jungle”: XOffice, dealer of Vitra and Thonet, has designed his multifunctional offices in Rome focusing on the the central role of plants and green in a workplace. XOhub is thought as a contemporary urban jungle that brings greater well-being to their inhabitants, in a constat balance among human, tech and nature.

The desire to promote an increasingly conscious use of greenery in the workplace lies behind XOhub, the first Office Jungle in Rome, in which plants become the real protagonists of the space. The 500 sqm multifunctional office designed by XOffice is completely pervaded by greenery which gives a biophilc sensation, aimed to enhance the well-being of the workers.


Other key features of XOhub are the eco-sustainability and the use of domotics and of an innovative technology that garantees a high level of flexibility and engagement. An example of it are the virual workstations that allows to work everywhere, building an interconnected and agile working enviroment. The contemporary language expressed through the selection of colors and materials create an original narrative throughout a multifunctional, open and modern working environment with a wide collaborative space, a dedicated area for informal meetings, a video conference and training room and a vip lounge.


The “Jungle Office” stages the meanings and the challenges of the contemporary ways of working, expressing the necessity of creating an ecosystem capable of reinterpreting the strategic intertwining between designed and technological space.
Text by Gabriele Masi.



Methis OfficeLab: a happy end case study.

After a few years of intermittent activities Methis, Office Furniture Division of Coopsette Scarl, changes its ownership and thanks to a Workers Buyout operation becomes Methis OfficeLab. Soc coop.

From July 1st, 2017 the company based in Campegine (Reggio Emilia) has regularly resumed production thanks to a Workers Buyout operation: a group of proud and brave employees invested their own unemployment insurance to acquire ownership and control of the company where they worked.

We want to give continuity to our experience and our past, maintaining the range of products, the quality of services and in the meantime renovating and innovating the proposal of our products– quoted the workers’ delegate- because we are persuaded that the office furniture market represents a dynamic and complex context, but full of opportunities for growth and development: we intend to work for projects and not for products, where the first project is the product itself!


The attitude towards innovation, the ability to offer tailor-made solutions, the flexibility in the offer, the attention to place design and taste inside efficient products, are the basis on which they intend to focus an ambitious project, full of expectations and passion for doing.

WOW! wish Good Luck to these wow-workers!


02-Torre Sassetti-L22-wow-webmagazine

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.

03-Torre Sassetti-L22-wow-webmagazine

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.

06-Torre Sassetti-L22-wow-webmagazine

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.

11-Torre Sassetti-L22-wow-webmagazine


Smart design for Arcadis offices in Milan.

Implement the smart working approach and create more synergy in the working team through a smart design: that was the brief given to D2U to design the Arcadis offices in Milan. Furniture, materials and colours were chosen to improve an ergonomic approach, sound absorption and to create a comfortable and, at the same time, flexible environment.

The 1.500 sqm workplace chosen by Arcadis to join all the company’s offices in the same place, as the Managing Director Roberto Talotta says, represented the opportunity to “create more and more synergy within the working team and to efficiently implement group guidelines on smart working approach”. The architect Jacopo della Fontana has led the D2U architect team along with the Arcadis Project Manager Alberto Spacone.


The project has been conceived with two big naves, accessible by both the two floors, connected by open stairs and separated in the centre with a mezzanine. The offices are divided into activity areas, separated by big conference tables and individual and private workstations, allowing, however, the required flexibility to embrace the possible company’s future needs and changes.


These space, along with the reception area and the internal coffee bar, contributes to create a good balance of individual, teamworking and private spaces, in order to allow the workers to find the perfect setting for each daily need.


As Jacopo della Fontana says, “working alongside with the client has allowed us to implement the brief with a creative approach, respecting schedules and costs constraints”, focusing on materials, colors and furniture, in order to create a communicative environment, where all the material, sound absorption and ergonomic parameters are thoroughly respected.
The furniture is most of all designed by the Dutch company Ahrend, with the adding of some other pieces as the moquette Interface.
Text by Gabriele Masi.





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“.

04-Fondazione Agnelli-termobolla-Carlo Ratti Associati-wow-webmagazine

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.




Creativity is already there: instructions for use.

Creativity is not a matter of being a genius, it is a matter of living in an environment and constantly adapting to it and at the same time modifying it.
So creativity can be fostered through space, enhancing well-being, flexibility and malleability of the furniture, accountability, communication and new technologies. That’s what WOW! has sustained at the conference “The boundaries of fantasy: is creativity in the office going too further?” at the  IFMA’s Facility Management Day 2017

Talking about creativity in an office environment is sometimes cause of anxiety. Workers feel like they have to do something extraordinary that they feel they can’t do, even if they don’t know exactly what and how. On the other hand, managers are struggling to create more and more innovative workplaces and ways of working, questioning, at the same time, their real effectiveness of them and trying to define where it is possible to draw boundaries.


There’s another way to think about creativity that helps to take the pressure off: creativity is already there, it is a part of our everyday life in every environment.
The American anthropologist Tim Ingold once said that “we don’t build to dwell, we dwell therefore we build”.
Creativity arises in a constant relationship within an environment that is made of space, objects, people and rules.
A set of rules is essential for creativity, which is our own way to move inside and bend their boundaries and to keep on recreating them, like kids playing a “what if” game.
Think about the workstation of a hierarchical old-style workplace: on each desk it’s owner create his own territory, piling up papers, adding photos or other kind of objects, positioning monitors or pens in different ways. This is what I call an “inner focused” creativity, and its aim is “survive the boring routine of each day”. The challenge is nowadays to make this “already-made” creativity visible, enhance it, and use it to improve the company’s productivity.


If we think about the Maslow pyramid of needs, we can turn outwardly this creativity, by creating a space capable of satisfying the well-being, sense of belonging, engagement, fulfilment and safety, basic needs of everyone.
How can we do that nowadays? Here we give five practical suggestions:


 1) A malleable and pliant space.
When it’s a matter of creativity, flexibility is not enough. We need a sensorial environment that people can touch, reassemble, and constantly modify and re-invent. A multifunctional space is essential, but it is not enough: it has to be open designed, thought not just for the today’s needs but capable of adapting to ten years ahead needs.

2) Objects are actions and relationships.
“Two empty chairs, one opposite to the other, are already a conversation”. Objects are both symbols of identity both a suggestion of an action. Through furniture, managers can transmit messages and influence the behaviour of the employees, creating a space suitable for the goal they want to reach, making it easily perceivable.


 3) Accountability and trust
Social facts, like office’s life, has always something that is unpredictable and often the project you have in mind comes out in a totally different result.
We need to accept this unpredictability, creating a working environment where two smart working keywords like accountability and trust are perceived and put into practice constantly.


4) Space as communication and learning.
As Birgit Gebhardt has studied, it is more effective to design space, not thinking about the material side of it, but like a stage where conversations, communications and actions take place. We need to shape communication if we want to foster new perspective and new ways of interaction, which are the foundation of a creative workplace. Moreover, we have to think about the office as a life-long learning environment, where people can exchange competences and knowledge, stimulating their personal growth.


5) The key role of technology.
As a recent Sedus’s research shows, technology is having a strong impact on architecture and design, developing the concept of a “spacial happiness” based on the capability of the individual to dominate the environment, deciding the lighting, heating, humidity, acoustic conditions. Technology is also crucial to control the unpredictability we talked about before: IoT and sensors help to collect a huge amount of data that managers can use to design more effective and more engaging workplace, satisfying the needs of each employee.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

02-FM Day- IFMA-wow-webmagazine


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.


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.

action-office-herman -miller-1964- wow-webmagazine

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.


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.






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.


metrica-Lucio- Quinzio- Leonelli-robin-rizzini-wow-webmagazine copia

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”.


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.



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.





The role of light in IoT era.

The idea of flexibility and of a human-centered environment, with the IoT interaction, have become the trend also in the lighting design. “Lamps” are not made just for giving light, but are the core of technological infrastructures, data collectors and creators of atmospheres and environments. Some of the Artemide‘s new projects, presented at Euroluce 2017, can give us a hint about the future role of light in the IoT era.

Despite a general revival atmosphere recalling the 50s and 60s design, Euroluce 2017 has shown some example of the potentiality of light for the future office design.
The key concepts are almost the same than in the other design field: human-centred, flexibility and a two-way interaction that allow every object to collect data and to be controlled by a system.

A lighting spot can be used as a data transfer device or an internet connection point. This is the idea behind Light as Quanta, the Li-Fi project by Artemide. The system is based on an “optical wireless” connection that works through lighting impulses, instead of radio waves, only in the light cone of the lamp, giving better performances and safety.

In the years Artemide has also developed a project called “The Human Light”, designing products capable of creating real-time various and complex light scenarios through communication technology as Target Point, Artemide App and LOT Software. The concept behind the Human light is to create an environment that fits perfectly with the needs of whom are living in it, regulating the presence and the role of the light in the space. Emissions, movements, speed, colors are controlled via app by smartphone, using an intuitive and easy-to-use interface, enabling all kind of users of personalizing their experience.
Text by Gabriele Masi

1, Yang IoT, Carlotta de Bevilacqua, Artemide, 2017. A two-way communication system that allow to separately control the three lamps, using the LED technology to enable the user to choose the right scenario for different situations and needs.
2, A24, Carlotta de Bevilacqua, Artemide, 2017. A24 is a unique 24 mm thick that can be installed everywhere,  in the recessed, ceiling or suspension mode to continuously follow the angles on a flat or three-dimensional surface. A flexible framework for different Artemide’s products, diffused light, sharp optical units with three beam angles, or a smart magnetic track.
3-4, LoT-LoT software, Tapio Rosenius, Artemide 2016-2017. LoT is the first Artemide’s software based on the concept of interaction design. A serie of lighting tools that allows design professionals to reimagine, reveal, reinterpret and to modulate space through light.

Building automation and ergonomics.

Automation, flexibility and an interconnected space: the Campus Perrone’s Pavillion C of the UPO’s University shows how probably the future learning spaces will be. The key role of the ICT is enhanced by the comfort and ergonomics of the Ares Line’s seats Evolution and by the MosaicoGroup’s audio-video and lighting system, following the concept of a Technology Enabled Learning space.

How is gonna be the future learning space? Studio CM has tried to give us a hint with their project of the Campus Perrone of the University of the Eastern Piemonte in Novara, showing how the interior design trends of the office and of the learning environments are following the same paths: energy saving, building automation, and the research of a constant link between the inside and the outside of the building.

The project has been realized in collaboration with two companies of the Contract Design Network: MosaicoGroup has designed the audiovideo and lighting system, enhancing the role of the ICT, providing the building with a low latency and easy to control streaming framework that allows to broadcast and receive the audio-video signal throughout the Campus and the entire university. Ares Line has supplied about 1000 seats for the different environments and in particular Evolution, an improvement of the best seller product Omnia, and has designed the teacher’s desk in order to fit perfectly the different multimedia applications provided by MosaicoGroup.
The whole building appears as a functional and colored environment, easy to control through personalized devices that allow to manage the different rooms, the volume of the microphones, of the streaming and of the lights.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

01-Ares Line-Campus Perrone-wow-webmagazine



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.


03_Copernico Torino Valdocco_ph Gabriele Zanon-wow-webmagazine

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.

05_Copernico Torino Valdocco_ph Gabriele Zanon-wow-webmagazine



The bench desk is dead. Long life the nomadic design.

No doubt: the bench desk is dead. I’m writing this death notice, as I would do for someone I respected and I feel the need of finding new answers to the new ways of working and what the market asks for: customized and flexible tables together with a wide range of options for in-between areas. Smart working needs a smart design and the latest trends are addressed to the “third spaces”, as we could see at Orgatec 2016.

In 2002 Vitra launched Joyn, the very innovative bench system designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec and inspired by the memories of the happy get-together in the French countryside where the whole family gathered for lunch.
The bench desk was eagerly welcomed (mainly to cut back on, not to be sentimental).
So all the big companies have chosen this typology to equip the huge open plan offices in their headquarters. A new standardization in the interior design of workplace has been applied for over ten years.
But then they realized the office isn’t a joyful countryside and workers are not happy table companions.
So the drawbacks of the bench desk started to be evident: no privacy and irritating noise are the first signs that caused the proliferation of all kinds of acoustic panels. Even the excessive static condition of 6/8 linked workstations causes some significant problems in terms of flexibility, while the static desk tops cause ergonomic problems.
Hence, urban fancies, even somewhat plain (for instance the Garage by Vitra), and new aesthetics have replaced the bucolic visions.

The number of desks decrease, yet with a higher performance (free standing structure to allow a simple and flexible management, sit-stand tops a.s.o).
And most of all we explore the new-nomadic worlds changed by those mobile technologies -smart working, coworking, cloud computing, traveling working- typical of the places we live in and that affect design, too.
And innovation for the workplace probably comes from the approach to the nomadic design.
Editorial by Renata Sias, editor WOW! Webmagazine


upper photo:
Bench system Joyn, design by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, launched by Vitra at Orgatec 2002.
middle photo:
Hack, garage-style system, design by Kostantin Grcic, launched by Vitra at Orgatec 2014.
Mastermind High Desk, organic and flexible system for creative areas launched by Sedus at Orgatec 2016.


Ways of Designing and hybridization: Giulio Iacchetti.

What does designing in an hybrid way mean? We have talked about it with the designer Giulio Iacchetti at the round table WOW! Office Design Ibrido. Two times Compasso d’Oro Award winner, with Moscardino and Sfera, designed along with Matteo Ragni, Iacchetti focus his work on the research and definition of new object typologies, in an approach that we can define hybrid.

From the half spoon and half fork Moscardino, Compasso d’Oro 2001, to the last Paper Tablet for Moleskine, hybridization has been always a feature of Giulio Iacchetti’s design.An way of approaching the project that we have discussed with him during the round table “Office Design Ibrido”, official event of the Design City Milano 2016, organized by WOW! and Dieffebi.

What does hybridization mean?
It’s a real contemporary word. I like to use the image of a mule, the best example of hybridization. It is not a negative example. For me the mule shows what a man can do when he looks for a compromise. Even if it doesn’t have the majesty of an horse or some features of the donkey, it has other and useful peculiarities, as his great resistance and his stubbornness to face the obstacles.

Which place does the hybridization have in the contemporary design?
I think hybridization is “the grey area” in the middle of the extreme trends of design, a specific place between the a generic solution and an hyper-specialized one, between originality and anonymity. It is the most interesting trend of contemporary design.

What does “grey area” mean?
Again, it is not a negative example, as people sometimes tend to see. Grey is a color that you can obtain mixing all the primary colors. It is really interesting, because nowadays we are all moving in hybrid, not defined, not fixed situations: it is a kind of contemporary instinct.

In which way do designers approach to an hybrid project?
Every designers try to create something new, therefore it tries to hybridize existing forms. The correct approach is to understand the value of different and apparently distant things and put this value into the design process. Projects are like bridges between different worlds, they are the link that create a new situation in the in-between area.

What was the experience of designing Moscardino in 1999, referring to the hybrid design?
We had to design an object that would allow people to easily consume food at happy hours, that were really successful in those years. We tried to hybrid the fork and the spoon in order to design an agile, versatile and small object allowing people to eat while standing. Moscardino was the result me and Matteo Ragni came up with. For sure hybrid has some limits: as someone said, “if you use it first as a spoon, then you’ll get your fingers dirty…”

What about the new project for Moleskine?
Moleskine is basically a paper object in a world where digital prevails. Designing this object I tried to identify myself in the hybrid dimension where we are all leaving nowadays, searching for a match between a smartphone and a paper agenda. That’s why we came up with Paper Tablet, a Moleskine with curved edges, with a shape that recalls a digital object. By this design I wanted to convey the potential of this notebook, that can be connected to a smartphone where you can download all the sketches and notes you have taken by hand through an app. It is a design based on the ambiguity of our age.

What is the meaning of an “hybrid world”?
Our job has become hybrid, our roles not defined, as well as the spaces we are living in and the objects we are using. All our life is oriented to flexibility, a dimension were we feel good, without any need of fixed boundaries. I guess the motto for the hybrid design can can be “less specialization, more freedom and usability”.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
1. Rolo, Giulio Iacchetti, Internoitaliano. 2013
2. Surf-o-Morph, Giulio Iacchetti, project assistant Mario Scairato, Surfer’s Den. 2014
3. Siptel, Giulio Iacchetti, project assistant Alessandro Stabile Fontana Arte. 2015
4. Bard, Giulio Iacchetti, Internoitaliano. 2014. Photo Credits: Fabrizia Parisi
5. Paper Tablet, Giulio Iacchetti, Project Assistant Alessandro Stabile, Moleskine. 2016
6. Newcastle, Giulio Iacchetti, project assistant Alessandro Stabile, Meritalia. 2013
7. Ora In / Ora out, Giulio Iacchetti, project assistant Alessandro Stabile e Mario Scairato, Alessi. 2015 Photo Credits: Alessandro Milani e Matteo Imbriani.
8. Moscardino, Giulio Iacchetti e Matteo Ragni, Pandora Design. 2000




In Italy Smart Working in big corporations has doubled: #OSW16.

Smart Working is a work in progress as proved by the results coming from this most interesting meeting for the presentation of the survey 2016 by Osservatorio Smart Working of Politecnico di Milano.
It shows interesting data, shares experiences and awarded the best practices, among these the SW implementation in, winner of the Smart Working Award 2016.
WOW! is partner of Osservatorio Smart Working.

The survey 2016 shows the liveliness of a “phenomenon going now viral” in Italy, as quoted prof. Mariano Corso, scientific manager of Osservatorio Smart Working.
People ask for more flexibility , because strict rules produce a widespread frustration. 
30% of big enterprises has an organized Smart Working  activity (17% in 2015), as against just 5% in small and medium-sized enterprises, although awareness is growing, yet with some uncertainty about the introducing of Smart Working.

35% of firms are still at the experimental stage while 40% are already extending the project, and 25%  may be considered as running regularly.
However, being smart working a work in progress a constant monitoring is necessary, explained Ilaria Santambrogio of Plantronics and Alessandra Stasi of Barilla.

Also important, the definition of places; home working is carried out just on and off , corporate hubs, third spaces and coworking are growing and offices feature hybrid space layouts, focused on , desk sharing and time and place flexibility .
“Smart Working also means to create offices where people “want” go to work, quoted Lorenzo Maresca of Sedus.
According to Doxa survey, Smart Workers in Italy are about 250,000.

What about criticalities in implementing Smart Working?
The real time survey by Twitter shows that 37% points out lack of coordination and planning, 30% lack of personal maturity and discipline and only 7% worries about work intensification.
Rules and regulations are at 99% made by mature people -quoted Alessandra Stasi- featuring soft skill and a good response to unexpected occurrences –  and the remaining 1% either takes advantage or cannot handle them.
The more people are level-headed and complete the more organizational wellbeing the company will attain.



A flexible workplace like a forest.

Junya Ishigami is the winner of the 5th edition of BSI Swiss Architectural Award. We meet him in Mendrisio at the prize ceremony and the opening of the exhibition that collects the projects of all 28 candidates.
In the video interview Ishigami talks about his vision of “flexibility”, the relationship between outdoor and indoor in his design philosophy and explains the KAIT Workshop that represents his ideal workplace.

The exhibition of the fifth edition of BSI Swiss Architectural Award 2016 in Mendrisio offers a snapshot of world architecture articulated through projects by 28 candidates from 17 countries.
Extensive documentation is obviously dedicated to Junya Ishigami, the jury of BSI Swiss Architectural Award 2016 unanimously awarded winner (100,000 francs) for its three works that “create spaces of great beauty and serenity and underline an unusual iconic strenght”: KAIT Workshop (Kanagawa Institute of Technology), the “House with plants” built in the suburbs of Tokyo for a young, recently married couple and the Japanese Pavilion at the 11th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale (awarded Golden Lion 2008).

According to the jury, Ishigami projects are characterized by “an innovative structural research with no heroism, which results in delicately refined architecture” and “a promising relationship with the vegetal element, interpreted and presented in every changing ways“: the building is a metaphor of a forest, in the KAIT Workshop, or the total the integration between building and vegetation in the” House with plants “.
They are ambiguous spaces, as suggested by the title of the installation of Japan Pavilion “Extreme Nature: Landscape of ambiguous spaces”, vertical uprights irregularly arranged in the space that are both greenhouses and architectures integrated in the landscape.

We can find the same structural research and the same vertical vegetal elements in the house for the young couple in Tokyo where the boundary between house and landscape, -nature and building- gets even more blurred.

This design approach is even stronger in KAIT Workshop: a fully glazed building with slightly irregular shape, located in the center of the campus and surrounded by trees; an uncommon 2000 sqm of “open space” working environment dedicated to manual activities of the students of the Polytechnic of Kanagawa.
It contradicts the axiom flexible environment = regular and standard texture with the minumum number of pillars.
Ishigami explains that his intent is to recreate an outdoor environment inside the building.
Entering from any of the four accesses, the visitor is literally immersed within a surprising forest of pillars.

Not identical pillars, or distributed according to a regular grid: just like in a real forest of trees, all the metal pillars are different from each other in size and orientation, thin out and cluster together in space to form different spatial pattern apparently without any rule.
You can understand the function of this amazing “forest” -the result of an obsessive and very precise layout- passing through and using the environment, changing depending on the point of observation, offering different perspectives and different functional areas.
The vertical pillars generate places where people meet, or create virtual walls, establishing different degrees of visual permeability, enable workers to find their own privacy in a totally open space environment, or to interact with colleagues with high flexibility.
The approach and philosophy of the KAIT Workshop’s design is the topic of the exclusive interview with Junya Ishigami; he explains why it represents his ideal workplace model.
Photos KAIT Workshop: Enrico Cano

In short:
Title Exhibition: BSI Swiss Architectural Award 2016, curated by Nicola Navone. Architectural Foundation, Lugano, in collaboration with the Accademia di architettura, Università della Svizzera italiana (Mendrisio) and Archivio del Moderno (Mendrisio).
Where: Accademia di architettura (Gallery), Mendrisio.
When: from September 30th to October 23th 2016.


Junya Ishigami received the prize by architect Mario Botta.


New World of Work: HQ Microsoft in Milan.

An eclectic space with a “human touch”. The Microsoft headquarters in Milan, designed by DEGW, is inspired by the company’s project “New World of Work”, a flexible and technologically innovative approach to the smart working.

Flexibility, teamwork, openness and innovation are the four keywords of the Microsoft culture on which the company wanted to base also his headquarters in Milan.
That’s why DEGW has design the 7.500 sqm of the milanese Microsoft’s headquarters to allow a fluid organisation, with open-space work areas where everybody is free to move though the space, with an informal, domestic and playful atmosphere.
The non-assigned workstations on the various operating floors differ from each other in terms of layout and aesthetics in accordance with function, some encouraging communication and interaction and others more private, with meeting rooms and relaxation areas in between and customized “social hubs” focusing around three chosen themes: sport, nature and the city. 

A greater flexibility of the environment is made possible also by a cutting-edge technology solution as the Building Management System, capable to control the environment through sensors, apps, interactive screens and virtual assistants, allowing a dynamic interaction among people, space and information.
The entire project has also been inspired by the architecture of the building, projected by Herzog & De Meuron, in the Porta Nuova area, influenced by the concept of a Gothic-style Lombard cathedral.
“The Microsoft headquarters are a place where virtuality encounters and becomes reality”, Alessandro Adamo, DEGW director said. “It is not just a simple office, it is a dynamic, transparent and recognisable environment open to the city, a benchmark for the company and its clients and partners”.
Text by Gabriele Masi.



Which office are you?

During the workshop “The key words of Smart Working” organized by Assosvezia at the Kinnarps showroom in Milan, Peter Knecht Manager International Concept di Kinnarps, presented the Next Office™ approach based on the concept of Diversity, to determine one’s requirements and choose one’s ideal workplace. This in-depth study may be forestalled by an amusing online test: Which office are you?

Kinnarps’ study suites any organization wishing to improve its performance, as in all stages of the elaborate course to the achievement of a Smart Working approach -a complex cultural and management process.

A thorough analysis of trends about ways of working and places shows that there isn’t just one formula or one only ideal space because Smart Working means resilience, agility, dynamism, mobility, personalization and flexibility.
A working environment for the near future should be based on the concept of Diversity: not only from a physical point of view but also a psychological variety, of gender and generation.

And also considering different activities during the working day, different organization models and sizes – not only multinational and small, medium,large companies, but also new micro-multinational identities: start-up, coworking spaces, free lance entrepreneurs, and so on.
The space planning has to consider all the functional and personal diversities together with the technology.
Kinnarps uses the word Techiture
to define the technology and the built environment blend together, the intelligent building that generates big data.
The Next Office study is based on the Activity Based Working approach that offers flexible and stimulating workspaces based on variation.
Thanks to the Kinnarps’s analysis method and tools , return on investment is proven and fast and implementation is far from complex.

Which office are you?

It is possible to start with the online self check -almost a play- also for tablets and smartphone.
Three questions requiring just two minutes only.
Easy questions and pictures help analyze one’s needs and define interior design solutions to match them.
The personal design preferences (Which office design do you prefer?) are followed by the functional analysis (What do you do in a work day? ) and the choice of the ideal places (Where would you prefer to do your daily tasks?).
At the end the Office-o-meter will tell you which office you are ( traditional office, activity based working oriented, Activity Based Office)
A closer analysis, on certain and actual data, will allow you to achieve your ideal Next Office!