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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ways of designing, Design & Advisory: Metrica.

People appreciated two very interesting products presented at Salone del Mobile in Milan (Collaborative Room di Estel e Woods di Fantoni) designed by Metrica, while Boccaporto, designed for Koleksyion was awarded at NeoCon and Orgatec.
Metrica is a design studio based in Milan with an international reputation.
Their approach to contemporary furniture design consists of a strong mix of design management and technical advisory.
WOW meets Robin Rizzini, chief designer & partner, and Lucio Quinzio Leonelli, president & managing partner, to know their unique “ways of designing”.

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Is your design approach the same everywhere and with all kinds of companies or does the approach change to the different situations?

Each of our projects has a double soul -imagination and manufacture- and the design of every piece of furniture always takes into consideration its engineering.
That’s why we called out practice Metrica, which evokes ties and stimuli set by production, market and commission, we call it educated design.
Every design is shared with the customer, according to Gantt, and mainly based on two steps. The fist one is the product concept (mood boards, researches and marketing analysis); it also included sketches and technical draws, renders and 3D.
Design & Advisory: the advisory service supports design for new or existing products. It is a flexible model able to adapt to different companies.
We can also offer turnkey projects, from design to manufacture. That mostly occurs abroad and sometimes with start-up companies.

You operates on quite different design markets. Do your analyses show new users life styles and requirements by the users?

Over 50% or our designs goes to the contract market. Pieces of furniture created for public and commercial spaces (offices, museums, libraries, lounges and hotels). Users, whose taste is moulded by the thousands of images found on social media, ask for products with a recognizable look yet offering the same kind of comfort, quality and functionality of a house decor.

How has the workspace vision changed in the past few years and have these changes an impact on the new interior design and furniture products?

What has actually changed is the request for private places for concentration however not excluding light and shared open plan workspaces. The outcome is furniture looking like micro-architectures: collaborative rooms, private offices, hubs, seating like workplaces for informal meetings.

What scenarios and evolutions do you expect for the office and the ways of working in the near future?

Flexibility. “Responsive Space” suiting all the user’s changeable requirements. Waiting rooms that can transform in meeting room or individual workplaces; meeting rooms that can transform in shared offices.

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1 Estel, Collaborative Room, design Metrica.
They are modular cells available in three different range of dimensions, all highly customizable by structure and finishes. Small (able to accomodate up to 2 people); Medium (suitable for meeting and focus group up to 4 people); Large (a real meeting area able to host up to 8 people). They are built with an aluminium structure, customizable with glass sheet or wooden panels covered up with sound absorbing foam. Entrance module with hinged or sliding door or without a door.

 

2 Fantoni, Woods, design Metrica.
A complete series of tables designed for the contract market and specifically for a dynamic working environment. The key feature of the project is the use of wood that accompanied to the comfort offered by the sit-stand table. The design of the leg gives the table a simple and sophisticated look, comprising two telescopic cylindrical elements, one of which is in wood. Inside, an electronic mechanism effortlessly adjusts the height of the table top.


3 Koleksiyon, Boccaporto, design Metrica.
A single freestanding seating unit designed for the contract market able to create a small hideout that interacts with the surroundings space, either be public or office. The upholstered and soundproof shell with integrated recharge and lighting facilities. 

4 Arper, Cross, design Metrica.
A table equally suited for residential spaces, boardrooms and collaborative working environments. Thanks to optional configuration arrangements, it offers a flexible and supportive workspace. Its substantial length, both minimal and architectural, features a sturdy structure with a generous surface that can serve as a temporary meeting ground for group gatherings or a wide co-working station. 

5 Intertime, Mesh, design Metrica.
A reclining lounge chair designed for the residential market. It is made out of a tubular steel frame dressed in a 3D mesh fabric combined with the textiles and leathers of the seating element. These elements are held together by a crafted mechanism that enables the chair to recline and the integrated footrest.

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Quiet, please! We work here.

This furniture typology has no name yet: pod? box? booth? acoustic room? Call it what you may. It’s designed to define oases of privacy featuring levels of sound absorption that vary according to need. WOW has selected a few of the most effective systems.

A versatile system coming in several sizes and flexible when fitting, featuring high-performance acoustics, agility in in-use times, expanding over time and designed for the application of ICT technologies: that’s what “personal bubbles” require, a territory which man uses both to leave out his own kind and establish relationships (do you remember the “personal bubble” of Edward T. Hall?)
A dual identity of “shelter” to cut oneself off and not disturb the others, but also of “lodge” suitable for teamwork.
They are free-standing, pre-fab, modular systems to ensure a quick fitting and custom-made solutions. The walls don’t reach the ceiling of the building so a covering is required, however allowing the air-conditioning circulation. The sound insulation is a must.
There are boxy shapes available commercially, but the most advanced systems also provide for curved, blind or glass modules, lending these interior design units the look of a small “Pod” just landed in an open space and already waiting for takeoff.


Estel: Collaborative Room.
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 and a wide range of optional floor finishes. Top feature of this product are the high level of acoustic isolation, efficient air-conditioning and the possibility to customize the electrical system.

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Fantoni: Acoustic Room.
It can be equipped with sound absorbing panels, glazed walls and flooring. Two modules in different sizes (254 x 254 x h254 cm – 254 x 134 x h 254 cm) allow you to create acoustically protected islands. The module is made of 4akustik sound absorbing panels.

 


Universal Selecta: Chakra – The Inner Sound.
Design R&D US with AMA-Albera Monti and Ezio Rendina.
An architectural, prefabricated, modular partition system covered by 5 patents; it is freestanding and requires no anchors on the ceiling nor on the floor. It ensures ideal conditions of customized acoustic comfort and tailor made conditioning air system in any kind of collective environment. From phone booth to large meeting rooms for 12 people. The patented assembly system ensures flexibility, simplicity and speed in the assembly.

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Citterio: Sound System.
Design Franco Mirenzi andVittorio Parigi
CSS is a family of cubicles made of aluminium, glass and wood fibre panels that ranges from phone-booths to medium-sized meeting rooms. Each cubicle is finished with highly-soundproofing patented finishings, flat or pyramid-shaped.

 


Faram: Bubble.
A design oriented space that accomodates an individual and his/her needs. The curvy shapes ease the positioning inside environments. Everything can be customised, upon customer’s request: finishings, chair, top, electrical function, lights, air conditioning, phone and PC charger. The Bubble Meet version accommodates 4 people.

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Orangebox: Air3.
Launched in 2014 and award winning, it is one of the most advanced room system: Interchangeable panels allow you to swap, change and refresh your colours and fabrics anytime. The patented opening room system featuring an advanced fire safety system, it is demountable and therefore can be moved, re-positioned and fully re-used.
There are 17 standard Air3 pods providing a variety of curved, square, small and large private meeting rooms.

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Two prestigious prizes to celebrate Kinnarps’s 75th anniversary.

Moment of glory for Kinnarps, winner of two very prestigious prizes: its stand was appointed “Best Stand” by Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair’s award – Editors’ Choice.
And two Kinnarps’s products –Space and Fields– have been awarded by iF Product Design Award 2017. The best way to celebrate its 75th anniversary!

“Silhouettes of Kinnarps” is the title of the amazing blue installation created for Stockholm Furniture 2017, an architectural monument that celebrates the company’s 75-year history, its present and its future. The jury of “Editor’s Choice Award” concluded that it was the Best Stand at the fair.
“We are of course very happy for this award. Kinnarps celebrates 75 years this year, so we wanted to draw attention to our history, but also our present and future in the stand. We want to show our offer “Workspace Solutions” that lead to wellbeing and prosperity and offer our visitors an experience. We see this award as a proof that we have succeeded” says Elisabeth Slunge, Director Global Range & Communications.
The Creative Director for Kinnarps’ stand is Johan Ronnestam
– an innovator, entrepreneur and experienced brand expert. To create the stand, he teamed up with Björn Förstberg and Mikael Ling from Förstberg Ling, an architectural and design agency in Malmö experienced in both architecture and interior design.


“The construction is a space where people can meet, share ideas and be inspired. It’s a celebration of the Kinnarps history and future. A concept intended to celebrate 75 years by inviting the visitors to become part of the experience. The modern workspace solution is an open atmosphere where conversations between people, creativity and productivity leads to innovation. This were the key components we wanted to communicate when we created this transparent construction – says Björn Förstberg and Mikael Ling- For us, the concept “The Silhouettes of Kinnarps”, is a temple of transparency and sophisticated detailing that shares design principles with the company’s workspace philosophy.”

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Photo by Åke E:son Lindman. 

Space and Fields win iF Product Design Award 2017.

Inside its “Best Stand” Kinnarps displayed its products and concepts, among them two furniture systems -Space and Fields- were awarded by iF Product Design Award 2017.
“We are honoured that our products have received awards of this nature.- says Elisabeth Slunge, Director Global Range & Communications at Kinnarps– The iF Product Design Award is a highly prestigious award and proves that Kinnarps creates world class furniture. Both Space and Fields are a range of furniture for the modern day workplace, adapted to be flexible and meet the individual demands and requirements of today’s working life.”

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Space, designed by Stefan Brodbeck (Brodbeck design) is a furniture concept for today’s and tomorrow’s way of working, meeting and storing. The range is based on a large number of storage modules which are connected and combined depending on the functionality and look you want. The flexibility of the range enables both concentration and discussions as well as space for group and private areas.

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Fields, designed by Olle Gyllang (Propeller Design AB), is a range that works as a link between the traditional workplace and meeting rooms. With the furniture range it is possible to create shared environments, meeting areas, rooms within rooms, creative environments and spaces for concentrated work or private workplaces. The range also consists of a number of modules which can be combined, linked together and placed in a wide range of different ways. The range, contains sofas, easy chairs, tables, screens and accessories.

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A color code for a vivid headquarters.

The concept design by GaS Studio for this new headquarter in Rome is inspired by smart working approach to optimize the space and it is marked out by a “color code” to identify various functions, to underline the unusual shape of the floor plan and encourage team work, creativity and energy.

The principal objective of the project was to regroup separate departments in diverse locations into a single complex thereby facilitating communication, efficiency and cost control as well as creating an opportunity for the renewal of new workplace standards towards smart office concepts.
The project consisted of roughly 6500m2 distributed over 6 floors (reception, various meeting typologies, closed offices, multi purpose work areas, employee break areas and some specialty labs).
This specific project represents this company’s first forays into the concepts of the smart office and integrated some of it’s predominant features such as unassigned task oriented spaces, remote reservation of conference spaces, BMS control of many technological functions, phone booths and some collective services.
The base building presented the unusual characteristic of being split into two distinct zones on every floor: one relatively shallow and the other unusually deep for Italian standards. This, in turn, lead to a design solution that took advantage of this characteristic.
In fact, service and traditional closed offices are organized in the narrower half of the floor plate while more flexible and multi-use spaces occupy the deeper half. This was purposely proposed in order to encourage movement and communication amongst a larger segment of the companies employees.


The shallower side of the corridor was treated with silk-screened black and white graphics
to control somewhat privacy and the spaces on the opposite side of the corridor were treated with brightly colored blinds of various shades. The result is a very vivid and ever changing prism of colors that create combinations as one looks thru multiple spaces and perceives the colors in transparency and depth.
Brightly colored vertical blinds
make meeting areas particularly recognizable and appealing, but also help identify various functions within each floor following a simple color code.
On the other hand, the more traditional side of the office space is characterized neutral colored soft furniture reflecting the more sedentary functions within. This approach produced a very vibrant yet serene working environment, constantly changing as users close or open the vertical shades and allow the client to modify almost unconsciously his spaces by simply using them.


The pervasive use of color is not derived from the corporate identity. Colors “energize” the deeper half of the floor plate which, by it’s nature is better adapted to collective activities such as team working.
This unusual feature of the building was used to zone each floor into a service half, treated in tones of grey and used for closed office spaces, copy areas and other sedentary functions; whereas the deeper half of the floor was organized to provide more collective or task oriented functions and to accomodate much more flexibility. Color is used to stimulate and encourage team work, creativity and energy.
An interesting feature of this approach is that the horizontal blinds are never in the same position and given the depth of the space, create a multilayered effect where colors combine and result in a space constantly in flux.
In order to balance this play of colors, neutral floor finishes were selected consisting of vinyl flooring in circulation areas for ease of maintenance and grey carpet in closed spaces in order to control acoustics.
Photo by Beppe Raso

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10 trends from Orgatec 2016.

Following the WOW! live streaming from Orgatec, here we confirm some of the trends for the workplace identified at the 2016 edition of the exhibition.

Trend 1: furniture 4.0
The 4.0 approach is a cross-trend that transforms the production and involves the final user in design; service and technology are integrated inside the furnishing.

1 Tecno io.T is a smart system of connected furnishings integrated with IT systems to offer solution to managers of smart buildings.
2 Thonet: a flexible radio-controlled numbering system integrated in the backrests of chairs designed in collaboration with Mauser Sitzkultur.
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PrintStool One, Thorsten Franck for Wilkhahn, the stool is the first ready-to-use and customizable furnishing product made by 3D printer.

Trend 2: the sit-stand desk, is a must.
Every company has at least one or more models of height-adjustable desk. In the passage between Halls 10:11 Linak, the most important producer of linear actuators incorporated the mechanisms into outdoor furniture in a garden to remind that smart working allows you to work anywhere (see trend 6).

1 Vitra CDS system, designed by Antonio Citterio. industrial aesthetics and sophisticated mechanism.
2 Design Meets Movement installation by Linak.
3 Sedus furniture systems focused on Productive Wellbeing to promote the movement in the office.
4 Okamura SW heigh adjustable desk designed to offer optimum positioning.

Trend 3: Acoustics.
Sometime acoustic comfort can become an obsession…

1 Offect Sound Wall designed by Christophe Pillet.
2 Koenig + Neurath: too much is too much …
3 Thonet Canon, whiteboard with sound-absorbing function

Trend 4: Glory be to wood!
True, natural and light wood.

1 Haworth, dipped System.
2 Sinetica Use Me, storage system.
3 Citterio Wood_Wall, partition wall system with wooden structure.

Trend 5: So much color!
Bright colors, sometimes unusual in the office such as the purple or salmon pink, coral and burgundy. In addition all shades of blue, perfect color to improve creativity.

1 New color palette by Sedus, inspired by nature to personalize the workplace.
2 Unifor chooses coral color for the desk.
3 Segis choices warm and bright compositions for the Lounge system by Biagio Cisotti.
4 Alias: pink lalmon for Slim seating family, design by PearsonLloyd.

Trend 6: Cocoons for privacy in in-between areas.
The new typologies of furnishing for in-between areas improve efficiency and functional performances to create visual and acoustic privacy in open spaces and common areas.

1 Okamura, Muffle can be assembled in various configurations.
2 Teknion, essential design and wood.
3 Universal Selecta, Chakra is a patented modular system of solid panels or glass to create define closed environments.
4 Alias, Eleven, design PearsonLloyd

Trend 7: The nature in the office.
The benefits of nature for a human centered workplace are confirmed; plants will be integrated in the furniture design. The nature inspires Biophilic design too and suggests color choices that reproduce the outdoor.

1 Interface, new modular carpet collections inspired by Biophilic design.
2 Fantoni integrates olive trees in the desk Hub designed by Matteo Ragni.
3 Offect, On Point designed by Mattias Stenberg integrates plants in the middle off the meeting table.
4 Ersa Edge desk system designed by Claudio Bellini.

Trend 8: home-like office with rocking chairs.
The work-life balance issue is emerging in new seating suitable for cross-lounge, coworking and the workplace that points on hospitality and homeliness and the rocking chair comes in the office.

1 Fun rocking stools by Nurus.
2 Traditional style for the rocking chair by True.
3 Buzzi Balance family, designed by 13 & 9, to encourage conversation.
4 Viccarbe design oriented rocking chair.

Trend 9: home-like office with kitchenette (Upper photo: Estel).
Food promotes socialization; lunch time and coffee break offers the opportunity of informal meeting with colleagues or customers. Smart working is also made of convivial moments.


1 Bralco Domomag, Fornaciari design & Fait, modular assembling container with kitchenette facility.
2 Estel Coffice, convivial multi function islands to create different ways of informal meeting.

Trend 10: sustainability.
Quality of life and wellbeing in the office are strictly related with the wellbeing of the planet. It is not a new trend and constantly increasing; some companies invest in research for new materials and assembly systems designed to life cycle and  eco-sustainability.

1 Driven by its commitment to Mission Zero, Interface has developed a method for using 90% renovable energy and 100% of recycled or bio-based raw materials to made its carpet tiles collections.
2 Offect, Phoenix chair by Luca Nichetto developed in the thorough LifeCircle. All components are exchangeable and renewable. 

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A dynamic and biodegradable 3D-printed stool.

The collaboration of Wilkhahn with the designer Thorsten Franck has produced PrintStool One, a stool collection whose shapes are ideal for 3D production with its sparing use of materials. The Orgatec showcase will feature prototypes of the current stage of development to try out in diverse colours and shapes (Hall 6.1 B88).

3D printing is considered a key technology in Industry 4.0; this techniques allow the roles of producer and consumer to merge: customers become prosumers. Once they send their printing jobs, they control production and can become co-designers who define structures, shapes, colours and even sizes.
It’s the innovative technology that makes the progressive design and aesthetic of the PrintStool One possible in the first place. The sophisticated, three-dimensional structures of the stool’s body stand out for efficient use of material. The stool is very strong due to the clever way the seat and base are connected and it can take people weighing up to 100 kg.
The renewable and fully biodegradable printing material also has huge potential. The results are simply sent as data sets to 3D printers that produce the stools within just a few hours.

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Linak & partners at Orgatec: Design Meets Movement.

The outdoor area on 260m² – passageway between halls 10/11– is one of the attractions at Orgatec 2016; Linak participates in this multifunctional environment with the installation named Design Meets Movement, involving some of the best partner companies producer of height adjustable furnishing that use linear actuator by Linak.

The benefits of Green Living in the workplace is well known and we alla experienced that our own personal creative space –working or relaxing- might as well be outdoor.
These concepts inspired the innovative idea to move outdoor workstations and living rooms that will break the usual barrier between indoor comfort and outdoor spaces.
Linak enthusiastically embraced this approach involving some companies (Estel, Fantoni, Brunoffice, Frezza, ICF, Sinetica Industries e IVM ), creating two different environments around two of the four seasons, mixing ergonomic movement with the best design to offer an installation that aims to surprise and challenge conventional thinking about adjustable furniture by moving interior design… outdoors. 

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Hybrid Office Design against hyper-specialization.

Organized by WOW! together with Dieffebi at the opening ceremony of their new showroom in Milan, the panel discussion “Office Design Ibrido” was an official event of the last #DesigncityMilano that has opened new perspectives on the hybrid design. Nowadays everything is getting hybrid: spaces, objects and furniture, mixing together different functions and features, trying to cope with a more flexible and fluid lifestyle and work style.

Hydridization is one of the keywords of the contemporary design. It is the “grey area” of the project, as it was defined by the designer Giulio Iacchetti. “Grey is not something negative as sometimes we use to think: it is the mix of the three primary colors”. Presenting his new project, the Smart Writing Desk by Moleskine, Giulio Iacchetti has focused on the constant research of the contemporary design, far away from the super-specialized object, keen to join together the traditional objects with the new technological innovations.
This is the kind of research capable of rediscover the potential of these object, like a notebook (Paper Tablet by Giulio Iacchetti), a pen, which a digital company like Microsoft has found to be still extremely useful in a learning and creative process, and a aluminum paper, that the company e-wenco has turned into an autonomous heating and cooking system in their Notecook.
As Claudia Bonatti, manager of Microsoft’s office division, said, the technology is the real driver in these design revolution, changing everyone’s ways of working and living and therefore bringing changes in interaction between the company and the consumers and in the way of thinking, designing and producing the product.

How is it possible to face the challenges of this new trend? The 40 years Dieffebi’s history, told by the president Alberto De Zan, shows how a company can renovate itself, trying ceaselessly to find and add new hybrid solutions for their products, in order to satisfy the always new consumer’s needings. An example of this way of thinking is in the new products as the seat-cabinets CBox, design to allow the user to have always the important files or objects at his fingertips, or the soundproof bookcases Primo 1000 acoustic. Products like these are perfect for the new office spaces, like the ones Cesare Chichi by 967 has shown during his speech, tracing the hybrid scenario of the contemporary office, “from the paper to the digital and comeback”, form the home office to the home “in” office, till the hybridization between the desk and the urban space.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
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Interior Design becomes Green: LivingOffice 3rd event (Rome, Sept.13).

The next free meeting of the cycle workshops “Paths of sustainabilityorganized by LivingOffice with the technical and scientific support by Officine Green Building and the patronage of Green Building Council Italy, Acquisti & Sostenibilità and Fondazione Ecosistemi will take place in Rome on September 13th from 4,30 pm.

After the issues concerning materials and lighting, the focus of the next event, coordinated by the sparkling Mirella Raccuja of LivingOffice, will be the interior design with a special focus on furnishing: from ecological impact to the whole life cycle of the furniture for a new awareness on sustainability.
The conference will be opened by Riccardo Hopps secretary of the Chapter Lazio that will bring the greetings of the Green Building Council Italia, followed by the architect Laura Scrimieri, founding member and vice president of Officine Green Building and Dr. Santi Angelo Spina, founder and Co-President of Acquisti & Sostenibilità, a nonprofit organization devoted to economic, ethical, social and environmental issues.
Among the speakers Mauro Pauer, International Acoustic, distributor of Buzzispace and Ettore Schioppa of Unifor.
A light installation will be made for the occasion by IGuzzini; the meeting will end with cocktails and DJ sets on the LivingOffice’s terrace (via del Porto Fluviale, 9).
Registration is requested by 6 September.
Ilaria Tana, Communication and Press Office: i.tana@livingoffice.biz

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Thonet Pop-Up Cafe: new temporary showroom concept.

The Thonet Pop-Up Café has been recently opened in the center of Vienna; for one year, it will be the must-see for Design lovers and Vienna Culture lovers. It is the perfect place to celebrate the coffee house culture and, thanks to the wi-fi, to accommodate smart workers who like a comfortable workplace in a unique atmosphere… like the Central European writers did, a century ago, with pen and notebook.

The Thonet Pop-up Café brings new life to the Alte Post – a building complex comprising almost 35,000 m2 in the heart of Vienna, that after the summer of next year, will be converted into a special real estate project with high-end flats, hotel, green atriums, galleries and businesses.
This innovative temporary showroom-cafè concept (250 sqm) offers the opportunity to enjoy the refined Jonas Reindl selected coffee creations from all continents, in a location that reflects the history of the well renowned Austrian brand; an unusual tribute to Viennese coffee house culture and a perfect set to show some of the masterpieces of furnishing design, living, lounge and office furniture: chairs, sofas and armchairs as well as tables, bar furniture and desks. From the bentwood classics including the famous Vienna Coffee House Chair 214 designed by Michael Thonet, the popular wing chair 808, the lounge classic S 35 by Marcel Breuer from the Bauhaus era, to the modern pieces of furniture by James Irvine.

An inspiring and out of time locations that does not neglect the new lifestyles; thanks to the wi-fi connection, smart working and job meeting are also possible.
The showroom-café project was conceived and realised in cooperation with Jonas Reindl Coffee and Standart Mag, the quarterly magazine for beauty and the specialty of coffee.
Thonet is supported with the furnishings by the following partners: USM, Porzellanmanufaktur Augarten, Vorwerk Flooring, Carpet Sign and Cooper Colours.

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Glamour cardboard, outdoor too.

Creativity, sustainability and a high quality design: the eco-friendly collection Anime di Carta (Paper soul) by Staygreen, presented at the FuoriSalone 2016, gives a new perspective on cardboard as a WOW! materials to create different kind of objects from chairs, tables to lamps and bookcases.

Light, ductile and recyclable: these characteristic, as we have already talked about, make Cardboard one of the most interesting materials we have seen at FuoriSalone 2016.
The innovative vision by Staygreen and its collection Anime di Carta is to turn a poor material with a raw look reputation, into a high design material, showing its glamour side.
Developed in collaboration with different designers as Robertopamio+partners and Setsu & Shinobu Ito, the collection take the eco-friendly theme to another level, not only for the materials (cardboard and natural glues extract from pea starch), but also in the process, managing the energy consumption and reducing waste.
The collection is based on different kind of object as chairs, bookcases, lamps or other furnishing accessory, thought for different environment, office and home, outdoor and indoor, thanks to the covering Solid Green, suitable for all the elements of the collection.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

Captions:
1. Jvett, Omm, Stone.
Jvett is Staygreen’s symbol: made by a multilayer poplar and steel legs, it can come in different covering as eco-leather, cotton or leather. The shape of table Stone is inspired by a rock smoothed by the water, while the bookcase Omm (150 cm height; 32 cm thickness; 38 kg)  recalls to the perfection of the circle: both of them present the typical Staygreen’s double-cardboard-wave structure.
2. BOTTO sofà. Designed by the japanese Setsu & Shinobu Ito, along with STAY Chair, BOTTO sofà is a complete couch with pouffe and a compartment for glasses and bottles, that makes it ideal for welcoming spaces and lounges.
3. @Luce shape. Staygreen’s collection present a rich line of lamps and table lamps. @Luce Shape, with the elegant curve of its stem, is made, as well, by a double kraft cardboard wave structure.
4.. Jarres.  Jarres is one of the totemic vase with Amphora, presented at FuoriSalone 2016. The innovative audio system they are equipped with, make them original loudspeakers with a strong visual impact.

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Cardboard and Wood: #din2016.

150 designers, more than 100 thousands visitors and different workshops and events: Din-Design In 2016 by Promotedesign.it has hosted successfully the best of self-made produced design and industrial at FuoriSalone 2016, where two antithetical materials like cardboard and wood stimulated creativity, versatility, experiments and innovation.

“This edition had very good results: very positive is the feedback I received from the exhibitors telling me that they met different buyers coming from different countries”. With these words Vincenzo Carbone, founder of Din-design In, has shown his satisfaction about the fourth edition of the exposition dedicated to the best of self-made produced design.
An exhibition that expresses the will of investigate the potential of a flexible, light and poor material like cardboard, of which all the set-up is made, and in particular the temporary shop by Carton Factory and the Conference Area and the InfoPoint by A4Adesign.
The company has also presented different products like the bookshelf Bookstack, the dish Plato, the chair and the couch Heaverest. Cardboard finds his way also in the office, where helloStandy has designed a practical and easy-to-use “extension” to turn every normal desk in a standing one.
While this material needs to be still fully experimented, wood is the classic, but still always open to new solutions and capable to stimulate the designer’s imagination.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

Captions.
 Opening. Area Conference, A4Adesign. A Conference area made entirely by cardboard.
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Havearest armchair, A4Adesign. The Havearest collection includes also a two-seats  sofa and a three seats one. All the objects were realised using recycling cardboard.
2. Standy +, helloStandy. The first standing desk made by cardboard, easy to open, close and place.
3. Playwood, Stefano Guerrieri. A wooden easy-to-use and practical modular furniture system.
4.
Bookstack, A4Adesign. A Bookshelf made in cardboard, allowing a free configuration over four different levels.
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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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The office is a drag!

It is not a smart office, it’s 4,59 pm: countdown to the last minute before five o’clock  the basket game starts with the throwing of paper pellets, the symbol for boredom on the work. The players in this video created by Lernert & Sander, are not the furniture units, but the vital Energy that can liven up the workplace, people’s will to play.

Lensvelt chose a really strange and intriguing way to promote the new furniture system designed by Space Encounters. The company says first of all that it was the disappointment for the large quantities of low cost and second-class furniture now on the market that led to this project.

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The answer to the boring office was the result of this critical view: Boring Collection.
It will be launched at FuoriSalone 2016 (Zona Lambrate, Via Privata Oslavia, 1).
Boring Collection does not pretend to be more beautiful, in fact; it does not claim any attention. To the last detail, the furniture is a modest soft grey, and all shapes are archetypical, discrete, the only one goal is to draw the eye to the things that actually matter. Because its not about the furniture!

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Ergonomics & Wellbeing: a priority for Millennials, too.

Four generations (Millennials, Y Generation, X Generation and Baby Boomers) are working at the same workplace for the first time. A survey commissioned by Kinnarps demonstrates that this affects our workplaces less than we might think. The survey revealed that the younger generation feel that ergonomics is as important for their wellbeing in the workplace as having a high salary. Very interesting inputs for the new office furniture concepts presented by Kinnarps at Stockholm Furniture Fair 2016: Space and Fields systems offer many options for feeling good, in both body and soul.

According to Kinnarps’ survey, ergonomics is a priority area for all generations and a 58% have joint pains linked to their workplaces (62% of Baby Boomers, 57% of Generation X, 56% of Millennials) and the perfect workplace is characterized by both modern and ergonomic work equipment. For the younger generation, ergonomic work furniture is as important as high pay.
When the interviewed were forced to choose between office furniture that is nice-looking/designed or ergonomic, 84% selected the latter.
“It is surprising that young people place such a high value on ergonomics – quoted Elisabeth Slunge, Brand/Range/Design Director at Kinnarps- Thinking about this when you are young entails investing in wellbeing for the future, and the results are therefore very positive”.
The survey shows that health and wellbeing are important at all ages, with some differences among the generations: Millennials are more open to new typology of office solutions; Generation X like to work standing up; Baby Boomers prefer to have their own individual office, silence and privacy.
Obviously to create the employers’ satisfaction it is important to give them options in terms of both workplace and equipment.
Most generations (76%) also need to control their own working time, to work when it suits them.
“Despite different generations having somewhat differing preferences, the most flexible and smart companies have to understand that wellbeing can vary from person to person and according to job activities. Increasing wellbeing requires a broad definition of ergonomics. It is about the whole person feeling good, in both body and soul.” says Elisabeth Slunge.
Actually we can talk about “Design of the Options“.

Captions

Kinnarps Space system, design by Stefan Brodbeck. Brodbeck.
With a wide range of modules and smart solutions, Space series is packed with potential. By focusing on flexibility and a range of options, the series is designed and adapted for the individual and the tasks that are performed over the course of a working day.
“Space is about how storage is used today and how it will be used in the future. It links in with our perspective on how people wish to work and act in a modern workplace. The aim with Space was to create a universal system that works with many different needs. A flexible and modular solution with great adaptation possibilities. A unit with exciting features and options to create functional but also emotional and inspiring workplaces,” says Stefan Brodbeck.

Kinnarps Fields modular system designed by Olle Gyllang (Propeller Design,Stockholm).
The new modular product series Fields is developed and adapted for active workplaces. With sofas, tables, screens and easy chairs, it adapts itself to the user. Whether you wish to socialise or need to work undisturbed.
“The aim with Fields was to create a balance. This is done partly through its calm and gentle design, but also through the balance that is created in the overall interior. Where both the individual and group find the space required, for some private time and for time shared together,” says Olle Gyllang.

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Balancing privacy and open space: Casio Offices (D2U).

Privacy is one of the main concerns of an open space working environment. That’s why D2U – project manager arch. Corrado Caruso– has included an informal office in the redevelopment of the Casio Italia’s headquarters in Milan: an in-between area equipped with special furniture for private calls or network surfing or for arranging comfortable informal meetings, protected by soundproof elements.

The redevelopment of the Casio offices in Milan had to deal with the reception desk on the ground floor and a narrow and long space (8 x 90m) with a single exposure. Re-arranging the layout, Design to Users (2DU) moved the work areas in an open space located on the southern façade in order to get maximum natural light, keeping three separate closed offices for the management, and building a dedicated space for the privacy need of the workers: the informal office.
This is a non working area where employees can go for private calls or network surfing by standing in touchdown areas or sitting on wooden stools, or  organising informal meetings with colleagues or customers, by sitting in comfortable sofas protected by acoustic panels.

The brand identity of the space is given by the use of the corporate colour Casio electric blue, that create a pattern throughout all the environments over the “tone on tone” grey and white combinations of the structures and walls, the beige PVC floor and the dove-grey work surfaces of the working furniture.
Smart features of the project are a flexible and reconfigurable space, the use of natural, recyclable and sustainable fit-out components and materials and the break area/kitchenette conceived as a central area for staff relationships.
A careful acoustic control of the environment is given by the sound absorbing panels Snowsound Caimi Brevetti’s Snowsound (Mitesco, designed by Michele De Lucchi), storage elements located between the individual work areas, along with the Gyptone acoustic ceilings.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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Designforyou: evolving furniture for creative people.

Emme Italia draws attention to itself after a 20-year development in the back office trade. The new e-commerce website www.designforyou.it and its entry into office and retail trade are the latest steps of the steady progress of a brand, that keeps its craft identity. Alessandro Barison, design manager at Emme Italia, tells us the history of this company.

After dealing with the leading restoration workshops and museum archives in the world and the studios of architects and creative people, the Italian brand Emme Italia is now more and more visible through the project of a design-oriented small-sized enterprise awarded at the 2009 Eindhoven Dutch Design Week as one of the top five in Europe.
It was established by Maurizio Barison in 1995, when the advent of the CAD caused the collapse of the drafting machine industry.



But it was his son Alessandro – graduate at Scuola di Design in Padua- who, a few years later, changed the once machine shop into a design brand supplying customized products and addressed to “creative people” :
As though a 20° anniversary celebration of the company, the Draftech drawers were chosen and displayed in large size at Triennale di Milano, to contain original drafts by some of the most important Italian architects, on the occasion of the exhibition “Comunità Italia. Architettura, città e paesaggio dal dopoguerra al Duemila”.

Marked by a rigorous industrial design, the furniture offered by Emme Italia can be found at startuppers’, coworking spaces – for instance Jamko in Milanand workplaces all of them featuring a minimal look.
Through the e-commerce site, the supply expands with new office collections, that include sitting-standing desks and fitting-out products for shops. From the workshop to the office and through to retail trade.

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BuzziBoutique in Atlanta: from workplace to home.

Buzzispace opens its first BuzziBoutique in Atlanta and it’s an overnight success. After the outdoor seating presented at Orgatec 2014 and the bicycles at 100%Design London 2015, the Belgian company doesn’t cease to amaze and presents a selection of interior design items perfect for the house and hybrid settings in one of the liveliest cities in the United States.

Buzzispace’s products together with pieces of furniture by exclusive emerging European brands: the fitting out, tastefully furnished, allows a break among new and vintage objects, not only refined for their top-quality manufacture and design, but also for their history.

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From some acoustic solutions for the workplace to the home: after the workplace, Buzzi explores now the privacy of one’s home with an original and innovative concept, consistent with one’s identity and with an outstanding strategic vision.
Text by Silvia Fattore

Captions
1, BuzziBoutique is located in Westside Provisions, a boutique shopping center in Atlanta. This district is known for its bustling community of specialty shops and unique dining experiences. The sprawling center was born out of an old industrial area, making it a prime spot for both small, emerging companies and large, established brands.
2, A peek inside the BuzziBoutique flagship store. Office furnishings mix with residential styles.
3, BuzziBoutique mixes new and old. Society Linens from Italy drape on vintage pieces from Europe. BuzziLight, an acoustical lamp, from BuzziSpace hangs above classic pieces from by Lassen.
4, An eclectic mix: lighting from Alix Reynis, vintage table, Murano glass stools by Fattore. 

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