1-herman-miller-living-office-wow-webmagazine

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.

2-herman-miller-living-office-wow-webmagazine

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.

4-herman-miller-living-office-wow-webmagazine

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.

studio-banana-wow-webmagazine

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.

5-equal-measure-beautiful-thinking-biophilia-interface-wow-webmagazine

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.

studio-banana_env_rolex-wow-webmagazine

SalvaSalva

01-pollock-wow-webmagazine

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.

creativity-open-mind

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.

01-piramide-Maslow-wow-webmagazine

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:

zappos-felicità-wow-webmagazine

 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-report-jll-wow-webmagazine

 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.

03-Bridgit-Gebhardt-redesign-your-office-wow-webmagazine

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.

02-sedus-insight-felicità-wow-webmagazine

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

ASID-HQ-DC- first-building-WELL-certification-wow-webmagazine copia

Well: the real estate developing focused on wellbeing.

Well, the first building certification centered around people’s well-being. The focus shifts from the functionality of building to the functionality of the human body. The american guru Rick Fedrizzi was one of the authoritative speakers “the ‘second wave of sustainability is underway” he quoted.
The Well Building Standard was presented in Milan during the conference named WellFerence – first presentation in Europe organized by Apta Vitae.

The convention WellFerence aims to foster awareness of the importance of human health and wellbeing in buildings and communities. Designing, constructing and managing the sustainability of buildings and cities is a key part of ensuring a brighter future for us all while increasing architectural value.
WELL is an independently verified, performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of buildings that impact human health and well-being. WELL is also the first building standard to focus exclusively on the human health and wellness in our buildings and communities. It combines best practices in design and construction with evidence-based medical and scientific research – harnessing buildings as vehicles to support human health and well-being.

It is a rating system that shifts the focus from the operation of the building to the way the body operates and has a major impact also on the real-estate value and annuity.Well is the first protocol based on scientific evidence certifying the quality of the built environment and its influence on the physical and mental state of the occupants, thus increasing their well-being.
It was formed 3 years ago after a six-year research work that involved multidisciplinary teams and it refers to other standard credits.
There are already 580 Well-certified projects worldwide, among them ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) Headquarters in Washington, TD Bank in Toronto, Haworth showroom in Shangai and Sceneo offices in France.

Sustainability made a major contribution to the green building growth, yet not focused enough on people so far. Now the “second wave of sustainability is underway” explained Rick Fedrizzi, chairman and CEO at IWBI (WELL Building Institute).

What it’s like living under the best conditions?
Jessica Cooper, chief commercial officer at IWBI, explained that Well is based on 7 types of assessment and certification: air, light, water, nourishment, fitness, comfort, mind.

Kay Killman, managing director at GBC Europe talked about the new way of interacting between architects and Real Estate “By now 66% of developers include well-being in the successful elements of the real-estate market, in close connection with the increase in value and annuity”.

Daniele Guglielmino Senior Sustainability Specialist, has given a broader approach to the Well Community, explaining that the seven types can and should be applied to communal areas, too.
So, Well embraces the city, but much importance is attached to interior design and furniture, which can help achieve the objectives defined by the Well system.
Building materials as well as furniture play a basic role in ensuring the occupants’ health and well-being.”

WELL is not limited to the assessment of the physical well-being, but also to the intellectual, emotional and social well-being.
The holistic methodology, as professor Marco Filippi explained, followed stresses which part of the human body is directly affected by the distinct characteristics of a WELL Building. (you can download the presentation here) .

Alfonso Senatore, founder of Ongreening , closed the conference talking about materials and technology for green buildings.

Upper photo:
The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) headquarters office is the first space in the world to achieve both Platinum Level Certification for the WELL Building Standard (WELL) under WELL v1 and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), under the LEED ID+C rating system – the highest recognition awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). The office space, designed by Perkins+Will, incorporates the most innovative health and wellness design features, and has sustainability as a central philosophy.

1-osw17-wow-webmagazine

#OSW17 research: Smart Working in Italy.

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

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

benefici-osw17-wow-webmagazine

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

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

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

osw-smart-working-award-2017-wow-webmagazine

Smart Working Award 2017

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

SalvaSalva

SalvaSalva

Communication via architecture for a new WOW-effect office.

“The design of the office space has to focus on the structure of the human collaboration and communication”. The idea of workplace presented by the trend expert Birgit Gebhardt at the showroom Dieffebi is based on a “landscape of learning”, where networks and data will allow every individual to find his own way of expressing himself, through constant development and self-organization.

Will the office loose its WOW effect in the future, replaced by different spaces more suitable for a more creative, convenient and flexible kind of job? It is a pretty ongoing question that Birgit Gebhardt has studied for the last years, focusing on how we have to rethink the office space in order to let it have an important role still to play.

That was the topic of the lecture “The evolution of Smart Working: Rethink human work, redesign your office”, held by the German trend expert during the Brera Design Days at the Dieffebi Showroom, that celebrates for the occasion the first year of opening. Our society, as long as the economic world, is going through a radical structural change: from an industry-focused system, based on concepts like massification and standardization, we are moving toward the digital era where network and data produce a massive layer of information that help us to focus and produce at an individual scale.
If once the motto was “bigger, faster, further, cheaper”, nowadays is more like “unique, on the spot, feasible by anybody, as many as needed”.

06-scuola-di-atene-Birgit-Gebhardt-wow-webmagazine

Communication and collaboration are becoming the core of this new structure and therefore they are changing also the way of designing and living the workplace.
The office can’t be anymore the stiff and hierarchical environment, where the inside is hidden from the outside, but it has to be a transparent, intelligent and malleable space, a stage where competences and performance can happen freely.
A communication via architecture is therefore fundamental, enhancing the different structure and social and psychological features of the collaboration and communication processes, offering a variety of codes and sensual stimulations, that allow the people to build a profitable learning culture.

03-Bridgit-Gebhardt-redesign-your-office-wow-webmagazine

“Learning” is another keyword of the future office. In fact, communication and collaboration are not sterile events, but their main focus has to be the developing of personal and group competences and creativity.
The workplace has to become a blended learning space, where like in gaming, everyone is free to try and experiment, where, as Gebhardt suggested no one should be afraid of thinking in a totally different direction”. We need to create, therefore, a “landscape of learning”, based on a free and constant process, and on a good self-organization.

01-Oerestad-Gymnasium-Birgit-Gebhardt-wow-webmagazine

At the same time, it is necessary to create an environment where design and people are strictly connected, entangled, and capable of freely modifying one another. “A space that can’t be too designed: you need to touch it, to change it. If it is too designed, people won’t touch it”. So it is not just the human being to adapt to the situation, but it also the other way around. A stimulating space, finally, is a workplace where people are allowed also “not to focus”. As neuroscience shows, to be creative we need alpha waves that our brain produces when we are not too concentrated on one particular task. That’s why another catchphrase of the future office might be “Let it happen”.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Pictures from New Work Order by Birgit Gebhardt
Captions:
1. The School of Athen, Raphael: a model for the nowadays office space
2. The metaphorical pictograms used by Rosan Bosch
3. Ørestad Gymnasium, Denmark, picture by Adam Mørk.

01-Bridgit-Gebhardt-redesign-your-office-wow-webmagazine

1-report-jll-wow-webmagazine

Real Estate and the Human Experience in the office.

The workplace is more than a property, is a living ecosystem, where numerous experiences take place. The study by JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle’s brand name)Workplace powered by Human Experience” underlines three most important drivers: Engagement, Fulfilment and Empowerment. Real Estate is confirmed to be a powerful changing factor, leading a company through the present and future challenges.

“As workplace strategy moves from practical, design-based decision making to a more experience-led approach, expect an overlap with functions that have traditionally been the domain of HR teams. This will impact workspace design and decision-making”, with these words Marie Puybaraud, Global Head of Research di JLL Corporate Solutions, comments on their report “Workplace powered by Human Experience”.

The research was run over 40 client companies and 7.300 people (age 18-65), in 12 different countries: Australia, China, France, Germany, italy, Japan, India, Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, U.S.A. and Great Britain.

The study has found that there are three priorities to drive the change: Engagement, Empowerment and Fulfilment. Engagement means fostering a sense of commitment and creating mutual trust and kindness. Empowerment, instead, is about giving people a sense of control in their working environment and the opportunity to take the initiative, while fulfilment can be achieved making sure work feels comfortable “beyond the surface level of happiness”, giving the chance to grow professionally in a challenging environment.

2-report-jll-wow-webmagazine

Some key findings of the research are that spaces dedicated to collaboration and teamwork have the strongest impact on productivity, that agility improve performance, and that effectiveness is linked to a low density in the workplace.
The innovative offices are the ones that offer a mixture of collaborative and community spaces, support services and creative environments. Additionally, 28% of the companies provide an incubator, a dedicated space enabling colleagues and external talent to develop personal projects while making use of the company infrastructure, support and advice.

03-JLL-Workplace-human-experience-wow-webmagazine

70% of the interviewed people agree that happiness at work is the key ingredient for a good human experience, while the 54% see positively Chief Happiness Officer should be fully devoted to employee wellbeing. While large corporations are still attractive, employees crave an entrepreneurial culture: 46% of employees aspire to work in a start-up environment.
“A workplace that is powered by the human experience goes beyond a work-life balance” Marie Puybaraud concludes. “It drives how people feel about their place of work. How empowered, engaged and fulfilled they are, it’s the purposeful fusion of life and work based on authentic human experiences”.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

01-JLL-Workplace-human-experience-wow-webmagazine

 

Cassina-Plaza-cbre-wow-webmagazine V2

“Be”, being well: a human-centred redevelopment.

Being well, productive, connected, innovative: the verb “to Be” is the centre of the contemporary workplace. The requalification of the business district in Cassina De’ Pecchi, next to Milan, by InvestiRE, design a modern vital village, thought to promote a productive interaction and wealthy working environment, through different services and integrating the outdoor and indoor space in the same concept. CBRE is the exclusive agent.

Nowadays revitalizing a working environment can’t be just about re-designing spaces and furniture. Evening if the “packaging” still plays a fundamental role, the core of the Real Estate project must be the “human experience” created by integrating internal and external spaces and services given by the company.

01-Be-Cassina-wow-webmagazine

That’s the concept that has driven the project of the requalification of the 40.000 sqm of the business district in Via Roma 108 in Cassina de’ Pecchi, few kilometers from Milano: productivity, engagement, and collaboration, good health and well-being practices for the people, all these key concepts of the modern workspace are expressed in the simple name that has been chosen: “Be”.

02-Be-Cassina-wow-webmagazine

The main building, re-designed by Park Associati, is created to promote socialization and collaboration, balancing private spaces with different environment to share among the companies and external professionals: co-working, meeting rooms, temporary offices and event rooms (up to 110 people).

04-Be-Cassina-wow-webmagazine

The peculiarity of the project, however, is the focus on the wellbeing and on the work-life balance of the workers. Along with dedicated space and services such as an healthy restaurant, a full-equipped gym and a nursery school, outiside pedestrian walkways pass through a private green park, with movable and fixed facilities, that aims to create a “continuum” between the space indoor and outdoor, recalling the idea of “The Walk by De Lucchi of a “peripatetic office”.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

 

SalvaSalva

SalvaSalva

SalvaSalva

SalvaSalva

citterio-privacy-pod-wow-webmagazine

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.

Acoustic-Room-fantoni-wow-webmagazine

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.

citterio-sound-system-wow-webmagazine

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.

2-orangebox-air-wow-webmagazine

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.

orangebox-air-wow-webmagazine

zainocrazia-zaino-nava-wow-webmagazine

Backpackcracy.

The term Backpackcracy expresses the “power of mobility” opposed to a static Bureaucracy, the etymological meaning of which is “power of the office”. “A change of perspective, a prerequisite to cope with the volatility, agility and complexity of the current job market” explains Leonardo Previ, professor of Human Resources Management at Università Cattolica in Milan and author of the book “Backpackcracy”, the e-book will be soon available in English, too.

Bureaucracy counts on norms, no provision for exceptions, while Backpackcracy is based on improv elements in addition to the structural ones. So, should our organization require unforeseen solutions, Backpackcracy could be the right answer.
Backpackcracy is based on the key principles:
Mobility, Nimbleness, Miniaturization, Quickness, Exploration, Conviviality.
A lot has already been written about Mobility, Nimbleness and Miniaturization,
while rather new is the concept of Conviviality, something that smart business enterprises are already reclaiming through comfortable kitchens and break areas for their employees to improve informal meetings.
Quickness is a new concept of the Millenials’ culture, it means that the way of working can be changed no less quick and fast than software is changing.
The word Exploration evokes journeys to remote countries and discovering of different cultures, yet the desks, offices and ways of working of our fellow workers can be explored with equal curiosity, thus generating value added.
Following the example of the Wandering Clerics in the twelfth century, even the Backpackcrats help greatly to the dissemination of knowledge.

Here are the things a perfect Backpackcrat usually carries:
First, the Void, a space for those things we thought couldn’t be of some use.
Of course a tablet or smartphone, a small connected device,, you can always be sure, together with traditional writing tools like a pen and paper notebook;
a along with something absolutely necessary such as a book of tickets for public transportation to move and contribute to sharing economy and a folding rule to measure all that can be measured.
Finally, a black box -a cybernetics symbol- to show how impossible it is to establish transparent relationships with people we are talking to: being aware of it allows an easier solution of misunderstandings.

( In the photos backpack by Nava)

passenger-tech-nava-design-wow-webmagazine

sedus-se-work-sofa-system-divani-wow-webmagazine

Sofa system and lounge seating: are they the new workstations?

Collaboration, concentration and sharing” repeated over and over like a mantra, the keywords of the Workplace 3.0 that require informal atmospheres and dynamic and versatile furnishings to express themselves in the best possible way. That’s how the lounge seating and the sofà systems turn into very inspiring objects for the designer.
Here are some of the most interesting products launched at Salone del Mobile and FuoriSalone.

The perfect settings for smart working are those hybrid areas, borderline between relaxation and work; and also in the transit places of contract world like hotel’s halls; in the fluid in-between areas both public and privacy spaces, too.
So even the sofas have to be hybrid and they are often used as unconventional workstations.

What are the prerequisites for a sofa system?
First of all, they must be pleasant and comfortable to host a meeting in the better way; the look is also most important fore their task is to to liven up and lend a recognizable image to those circulation areas risking to be nondescript: unusual shapes and bright colors are a must.
And they should also be flexible, modular, and transformable, in order to easily change configuration to answer to the different needs.
They are versatile and customizable, sometimes involving the user in a co-design activity.
Sometimes look even like a cocoon and integrate acoustic and visual insulation solutions, to define undisturbed areas.
They are equipper with functional accessories (coffee table, recharge station for devices, fixed and rotating work tables).
As for all kinds of workplace, ergonomics should never be overshadowed.
Here are the amazing seatings for in-between areas launched at Salone del Mobile and Fuori Salone.

Sedus, se:work, Design by Sedus Design Team.

2-sedus-se-work-sofa-system-divani-wow-webmagazine

An ergonomic and multifunctional upholstered furniture to make people feel at home in the office. To achieve perfect comfort when seated, specially contoured back padding provides optimal support for the lumbar region; an elastic membrane composed of cords gives further support under the seat upholstery.
Thanks to its modules, tables and power supply options, it provides unlimited combinations for all kinds of use while creating a flexible office environment. You can choose a standard formation such as a circle, S-shaped, face-to-face or bench, or your own individual layout. It is equipped with various tables and work surfaces.

Blå Station, Bob, design by Thomas Bernstrand and Stefan Borselius.

A sofa, which is supplied by the linear metre. As a result of its narrow construction modules, it is an extremely versatile and self-evident modular sofa in moulded polyurethane with built-in connection fixtures. Bob consists of ve unique, 26 cm wide modules which facilitate almost endless configurations. 

Estel, Dolly, design by Stefano Gallizioli.

estel-lounge-dolly-sofa-system-divani-wow-webmagazine

Dolly is a new family of modular sofas, armchairs and benches created to furnish public spaces. The sofa is available also in Privé version, with high backrest that has the function of privacy screen. It can be configurated with two sofas, facing each other and linked by a Privé panel. The Privé padded panel can be équipped with wired table and TV arrangement.

Nowy Styl Group, Tapa, design by Mac Stopa.

Nowy-Styl-Group- Tapa-sofa-system-divani-wow-webmagazine

A system of pouffes that combines a striking look with clever functionality.It is a modular solution whose basic element is an “island” consisting of mobile pouffes that turn on a pivot. It ensures different arrangement possibilities in one space using the same modules. The line is complemented with freestanding pouffes whose shape reflects the upper and third level of the basic modular unit.

True Design, DNA, design by Leonardo Rossano & Debora Mansur.

DNA-True-Design-sofa-system-divani-wow-webmagazine

A captivating piece of furniture, shaped after the helix form, inspired by the dynamic forms of DNA; it consists in a unique construction assembly which is created by a single section of curved plywood, that is mirrored in design to create multiple seating configurations. It is is also available in the upholstered collection, in fabric or leather.

Offect, Dune, design by studio Front (Sofia Lagerkvist and Anna Lindgren).

DUNE-offect-sofa-system-divani-wow-webmagazine

Dune is an oasis that comes to life when it is used, it is so airy it almost appears to levitate; it is a large piece of furniture that easily can seat up to eight people”. Despite being so delicate, Dune stands firmly on the ground. Its legs not only support the asymmetrical seat, they also rise above it to hold four table tops that are all equipped with the latest generation usb-sockets.

Segis, Longway, by Bartoli Design.

longway-segis-sofa-system-divani-wow-webmagazine

New names and new endless configurations the masterpiece of the sofa-system. It is a modular system of narrow and wide ribbons of upholstered seating which undulate to form seats and armrests creating large. The collection includes single and modular elements and creates results never seen before, the alternation of horizontal planes and curves offers a marked visual impact.

Lapalma, Plus, design by Francesco Rota.

4-screen-lapalma-add-system-desk-rota-wow-webmagazine

Soft form and easy modularity are the characteristics of this modular system. The seating is wider, deeper and more generous, the structure loses its fine outline and elegant linear design; the new concept is about softness and big-heartedness rounded shapes. It offers a variety of units, and can be used in combination with the Screen partitions that can act as a backrest to the piece, providing welcome intimacy and a feeling of exclusion from the surroundings, with the added possibility of sound absorption.

Manerba, Undecided Sofa, design Raffaella Mangiarotti e Ilkka Suppanen.

2-Manerba-Undecided-Sofa- Mangiarotti-Suppanen-wow-webmagazine- lounge

It is created for the perpetual redefinition by changing height and colors: the high upholstered backrest is an invitation to carve out a private corner where to meet without formalities; an acoustically comfortable and isolated place to talk vis-à-vis, leaning on the soft pillows.

Luxy, Puzzle design by Itamar Harari.

luxy-puzzle-sofa-system-divani-wow-webmagazine

It is a waiting system available in three different modules –one, two seater and an ‘L’ shaped three seater– that could be combined to fully exploit the qualities of the space, decorating with modern style the environment.The geometric modularity of the infinite combinations is enhanced by the design of the seams chosen.

Ares Line, Base, by Frigerio Design.

ares-base-sofa-system-divani-wow-webmagazine

A modular sound proofing screens system to create protected individual or relational spaces; places to meet up, focus, relax or participate; affording privacy when necessary, or room for interaction and sharing as needed. It can be used as a simple sound screen, as a seat or a meeting space, since it is versatile by vocation.

Moroso, Bell Lab, design by Ron Arad.

moroso-bell-lab-arad-sofa-system-divani-wow-webmagazine

It was originally a site-specific design for the Bell Lab technological research and development centre, located in New Jersey, and designed by Eero Saarinen. Ron Arad’s idea sets out from the pattern on the hall floor, which is made up of large, rectangular slabs in black, white and grey. The sofa is instead made up of large grey and black cylinders positioned horizontally and overlaid to form the seat and back, creating a flexible interaction with this extremely striking space. 

Alias, Okome, design Nendo.

Ci aveva già vaffacikato a Orgatec questa famiglia di sedute e schienali caratterizzati forme morbide e naturali e curve di ampio raggio caratterizzano questa armoniosa famiglia di sedute che evoca i ciottoli levigati dall’acqua. I diversi elementi possono essere uniti tra loro in configurazioni diverse, grazie a un sistema di aggancio sofisticato.Okome-alias-nendo-wow-webmagazine

scrivania-del-futuro-IOT-curioctopus-wow-webmagazine

Desk systems: is a really groundbreaking desk possible?

Can a product design make a desk “groundbreaking”? While I’m asking myself that question, the video, posted by Curioctopus, about the desk of the future enabling us to perform any task by using very simple intuitive gestures is raging on Facebook. But maybe that’s not the only possible way to breathe new life into a furniture unit, that still remains the archetype of the office.

The video picture of the lively and interactive worktop by Curioctopus is the opposite of the emptying out shown in that “Evolution of the Desk posted a couple of years ago.
In the hybrid domain of the Workplace 3.0, the desk should still be an analogue unit made for comfort or should it turn into a digital object?

evolution-of-the-desk-harward-innovation-lab-wow-webmagazine

The first outlook, generated by Internet of Things, refers to an intangible desk, to a smart and interactive technological tool, provided with information systems, where what matters is software design rather than industrial design.
The second concept means a tangible furniture unit, increasingly pleasant and versatile.
A comfortable, ergonomic, equipped, customized piece of furnishing … maybe inspired by the San Girolamo’s Studio painted by Antonello da Messina …

Antonello_da_Messina-san-gerolamo-nello studio-wow

The distintive features are fittings that become an integral part of the system and the perceptive and design components, in particular colours, finishes and materials. Last but not least, the functional performance: customisation, both aesthetic and anthropometric; sit-stand, easy wire management and installation, versatility and disposition to fit different requirements and jobs and space organization.

WOW selected some of the more innovative desk systems launched at Workplace 3.0 and during Milano Design Week.

 

Estel, I Pianeti – Evolution.
A versatile and integrated desk system that allows to create different and extremely customized configurations for the workplace. From the single desk to the 3 or 4 cluster stations, available with sit-stand with height adjustment devices harmoniously inserted inside the wooden frame. The range of accessories also includes Lockers that houses personal boxes and Chairboxes that accompany the user moving in the different working areas.

Fantoni, Woods, design by Metrica.
The key feature of the design is the use of solid beech or oak wood that gives a natural mood to the system. It includes large executive and meeting tables, fixed office desks and sit-stand workstations.The sloped design of the leg gives the table a simple yet sophisticated look, comprising two telescopic cylindrical elements, one of which is in wood. Inside it is an electronic mechanism that effortlessly adjusts the height of the table top.The table’s electrical connections are hidden under the top, while the modesty panel can be fitted with storage accessories and with a USB socket for recharging electronic devices.

Herman Miller, Atlas Office Landscape, design by Tim Wallace.
A work system which brings together height-adjustability and collaborative working in one elegant solution. The ‘no beam’ structure, frees the workspace from clutter so people can sit or stand in comfort, adapting postures to their activities. The desk system includes sit-stand height-adjustable desks, screens, tables and storage elements to create a whole office environment. “To me the problem wasn’t in creating a single desk, there are plenty of examples of those- the designer explains-The real challenge comes when that single desk needs to be multiplied and then fitted into a space. I saw the opportunity for a system that really benefitted the working environment, both today and in the future.”

MDF Italia, 20.venti, design 967.
The technical challenge starts from the use of a slender frame generated by a 20×20 profile. The collection includes both individual tables and double workstations, which can be aggregated, and a wide selection of screens and accessories. An intentionally iconic system that renounces unidentifiable stylistic solutions.

io.T (intelligence of Tecno), design studio Gtp and other partners.
io.T is a smart system of connected furnishings with the capacity for integration with IT systems, devices and hubs, designed to offer information and real time solution to owners and managers of smart buildings and end users. A project combining the tangible, analogue world with the intangible world of digital through a smart furnishing system designed to improve the well-being of the end user. The missing link that transforms users into recognized people.
Tecno picks up on studio Gtp’s intuition and creates a working team of experts such as TIM, STMicroelectronics, Digitronica.it, Ilevia, InfoSolution and Videoworks who have worked for the past two years on developing and optimizing the io.T furnishing system.

consuline-a-joyful-sense-at-work-workplace-30-wow-webmagazine

A Joyful Work in a Liquid Society: A Joyful Sense at Work (Workplace 3.0, hall 24)

Our attention is focused on the relationship between Work and Happiness. We are living in a liquid society, where social relationships and the individual experience are constantly composing and recomposing, and there is an individual who manages to achieve his aims in a nourishing and fecund work environment will be Joyful. “We have to ask ourselves the Workplace’s Sense, prior to redefining the shape” quoted Cristiana Cutrona, curator of “A Joyful Sense at Work”, the cultural installation we can enjoy at Salone del Mobile – Workplace 3.0, hall 24.

“Liquid organisations correspond to a way of working that pushes us to be more and more fast, efficient, flexible, nomadic, ubiquitous, synchronous, connected: a new era in which the technological evolution is no longer merely a scientific issue, but one that also impinges on the realms of biology, psychology and cognition. This change has altered our relationship with technology, space and time: 4-dimensional chronotopical reality is the stage for the unforeseeable phenomena of the universe, all of them.
It’s time to compose the dialectic between the inherent stiffness of form and the temporary nature of needs, which you define in its particular declination of adaptability.

2-consuline-a-joyful-sense-at-work-workplace-30-wow-webmagazine

Let us define the spatial model of the new WorkPlace “Adaptive”, as in adaptability to the creative possibility of managing unexpected and unforeseeable situations (serendipity) both in the long term and at a moment’s notice and to the intrinsic ability to evolve and devolve, to adapt to the need to recreate a space that can at once be open, fostering coworking, and a place for concentration and individual working.
The building needs to free itself from constraints, meshes and grids, office products need to go back to their essential and archetypal forms, simple and modular, capable of offering innumerable options for aggregation and reconfiguration, part Lego, part the cardboard box that every child looks at and imagines a world, which he builds in the space/time of the imagination.
The office shakes off its static image and enters the era of the stage, of creativity and imagination.” Cristiana Cutrona explains.

3-consuline-a-joyful-sense-at-work-workplace-30-wow-webmagazine

(The upper sketchs of A Joyful Sense at Work are by Consuline Architetti Associati lighting designer of the installation).

The installation is a poetic representation of the new WorkPlace: a landscape ready to change, simple to understand and use, the backdrop for theatre of improvisation, a stage set ripe for appropriation.
A luminous sculpture, suspended like a ribbon of clouds, represents the man-technology-space-time relationship and serves as a metaphor for a particular new sphere bound up with well-being: we need to take stock of the meteorology of the emotions (as Francesco Schianchi says).
The areas devoted to needs (Concentration, Sharing, Creativity) converge in a large central piazza, four closed structures contain projects by the 4 international architectural firms invited to interpret “A Joyful Sense at Work”.
From sotto the Italian firm 5+1AA founded by Alfonso Femia and Gianluca Peluffo; from east Ahmadi Studio by the Iranian architect Arash Ahmadi; from north the Dutch UnStudio and Scape founded by Ben van Berkel and Jeff Povlo; from west the American studio O+A baed in San Francisco and founded by f Primo Orpilla and Verda Alexander.

5+1-a-joyful-sense-at-work-workplace-30-wow-webmagazine

Chronotopic System, design by 5+1AA (Italy)
One spends a great deal of his lifetime at work. That is why our commitment and duty should be to transform working time into lifetime.
When we think of the definition “A Joyful Sense at Work”, we immediately think of life and the desire to live our lives to the fullest and sincerely.
We can do this by making the workspace into a chronotopic place, a space that changes according to time and location, a lively place, that is created and modified according to its use and according to the needs and the desires of the people that “live” there.
The workplace of the future will reverse the percentage of static spaces that are fixed and don’t change, towards a majority of changing, dynamic spaces. It is the radicalization of a complex and ever-changing place, that leans or declines on one or more basic elements that are anchoring at the site.

ahmadi-a-joyful-sense-at-work-workplace-30-wow-webmagazine

Ham-Dasti, design by Ahmadi Studio (Iran)
This symbolic space enriched with fabrics, carpets, ceramics, paintings and calligraphy want to enclose the essence of different cultures and traditions of this vast geographic area through emotional and symbolic references.
Ahmadi Studio sees the Workplace3.0 as an area in which everyone can find themselves in harmony with nature. The vortex which dynamically surrounds the tree and rises high recall both the movement of the arcades of bazaars and the waterways of Persian gardens. An open space, easily editable according to the needs of those who work. The walls are made of traditional oriental fabrics. The Iranian word that gave the title to the project is Ham-dasti, complicity.
Architect Arash AhmadiI gave through this word, which literally means “Hand in Hand”, a message of harmony, belonging and sharing for the work space of the future.

02-Reset-UNSTUDIO-Scape-Salone Ufficio 2017-wow-webmagazine

Reset, design by UNstudio and Scape (The Nederlands)
Reset is a fully immersive, modular structure that features six scientifically proven stress reduction methods in a playful and interactive way. It is designed to empower people to deal with stress more effectively—especially aimed at the workplace. Two protoypes, housing the stress reduction methods ‘Intimacy’ and ‘Sound’, are featured in this exhibition.
The ‘Sound’ pod is built on sound therapy principles, while the ‘Intimacy’ pod is all about inspiring calm. Prior to experiencing the active versus passive experience, visitors register their names and are fitted for both an EMOTIV Insight EEG brain sensor and an ECG heart monitor watch. Once the sensors are reading, they are ready to go.
RESET serves dual goals. In line with the quantified self (self-tracking with technology for self-knowledge), the sensors inform the pod which in turn adapts its physical environment to the user’s state. And using a special algorithm, it generates a Reset Index, personalised feedback that recommends the most appropriate stress relief methods for the visitor.

2-o+a-a-joyful-sense-at-work-workplace-30-wow-webmagazine

The Water Cooler, design by O+A (USA)
For over 25 years O+A has been at the forefront of a revolution in workplace design. Drawing on a West Coast culture that makes core values of experimentation and innovation, O+A dives into the aesthetics of space design with a playfulness and irreverence that has changed the way we think about work. The future of workplace is now.
This exhibit posits a radical re-thinking of the work environment, an entryway to space, both physical and mental, that releases us to think creatively and provides a respite from the stresses of the day.
Like water changing properties according to its form, the new office will change to meet a user’s need. O+A envisions that need in four postures, four ways to interact with space, four ways to interact with work.

o+a-a-joyful-sense-at-work-workplace-30-wow-webmagazine

unstudio-joyful-sense-at-work-workplace-3-0-wow-webmagazine

Reset: adapting the space to your stress level (Scape and UNstudio at Workplace 3.0).

Reducing the stress level in the office adapting constantly space to whom is living in it. At the Salone Ufficio 2017’s installation A Joyful Sense at Work, UNStudio and Scape will present Reset, a living laboratory where the ambient intelligence will demonstrate which stress reduction methods work best for different individuals, through the experience of the visitors.

Investigating how technology can be used in order to reduce effectively the stress level in the office, focusing on individual needs, is the main goal of the Responsive Emotional Transformation pod (RESET), a fully immersive, modular structure that features scientifically proven stress reduction methods in an interactive way.
The project has been developed thanks to a multidisciplinary teamwork consisting of UNStudio, SCAPE, the neuroscientist Teresa de Sanctis, Jurjen Söhne and Diederik Veelo, specialized in interaction design and ambient intelligence.
“The uniqueness of the RESET pods is that space actively responds to you”, Jeff Povlo, Founder of Scape says. “The wearable technology enables personalized experiences based on the input of your stress levels.

The concept of ambient intelligence refers to responsive and sensitive environments that use electronic systems and devices to adapt to the presence of the people.
Reset, one of the four environments of the A Joyful Sense at Work installation is based on biosensors that will provide information on how visitors will respond to stress reduction experiences with a factual and immediate feedback.
Using design to benefit human health on multiple levels is one of the most important things that architecture can contribute”, Ben van Berkel by UnSpace concludes. “Stress is one of the essential issues we need to tackle in today’s workplace.”
Reset set a new concept: it is not the man adapting to space, but it the other way round.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

03-Reset-UNSTUDIO-Scape-Salone Ufficio 2017-wow-webmagazine

03-Microsoft House-Milano-wow-webmagazine

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

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

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

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

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

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

10-Microsoft House-Milano-wow-webmagazine

The office way to wellbeing: PwC Switzerland by Evolution Design.

The PwC Switzerland offices in Basel by Evolution Design offer a new horizon for the working environment design, taking the concept of work-life balance further: can a workplace teach how to stay healthy through the space?Working healthy is about far more then ergonomics” explains Stefan Camenzind, executive director. Creating health and energy is about keeping yourself active without forgetting rest and relaxation, building a positive attitude and eating healthy.

Concentrating on the connection between wellbeing and productivity is on of the most interesting trends of the working environment design. The PwC offices in Basel follows the Evolution Design’s recipe, a subtle blend of creativity, planning and humanity, providing variety and choice of workspaces, with a particular attention to the role of informal environments and networks, focusing on individual needs such as relaxation, nutrition and empowerment.

“Since they already offer pilates and yoga classes, we focused on how the workplace design can support more movement. Keeping active is crucial for energy and health”, Camenzind says. The project has three main kinds of environment: a desk area where everyone can work on his own projects, feeling still part of a team environment,  called “The Focus Space”; a “Quiet Zone”, with private spaces where it’s possible to concentrate without interruption or noise; and a “Team Space” with large shared desks, whiteboards and walls on which it’s possible to pin project work, ideal for group projects and tasks. The different furniture of each spaces, from sofas to cafe tables and stools allows everyone to find his own favorite setting. All the workers are also free to choose and use the room they need and like, following the feelings and mood.

But energy it is not just about movement, sometimes it requires rest. A peculiar feature of the PwC offices is the “Relaxation Room”, with natural motifs, with low-level lighting and music, massage chairs and the MetroNap Energy Pod, especially designed for taking power naps.  “I know it sounds strange to take a nap at work, but in the future people who don’t take time out to relax will be seen as irresponsible”, Stefan Camenzind comments.
Another peculiarity is the attention given to the food as a symbol of a correct lifestyle: a series of graphics are drawn throughout the office space to remind and motivate people to eat well, while healthy snacks, fruit and water are also on offer.

An healthy lunch is also served at the 7th floor rooftop restaurant, while different coffee areas and social hub are spread throughout the space, encouraging informal meetings where ideas can be shared and improve the creativity.
The Evolution Desing’s creative director Tanya Ruegg concludes: “Empowering people. The design here is all about making it easy and enjoyable for workers, in oder to do a task in the best way possible. It’s functional, but also emotional.”
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Pictures by Peter Wurmli.

10-PwC-evolutiondesign-Presentation Space-Picture by Peter Wurmli-wow-webmagazine.jpg

2-Tortato-AB-Medica-DEGW-wow-webmagazine

The AB Medica’s speadboat: speed and comfort, productivity and leisure.

Giuseppe Tortato designed an iconic headquarters inspired by fast boat hulls to reflect dynamism and innovation of the Italian pharmaceutical company AB Medica; space planning and interior design by DEGW aim to wellbeing, too and interact with the architecture and outdoor.

The project for the headquarters of AB Medica, designed by Giuseppe Tortato, incorporates all the functional/symbolic features the client specifically requested in a landmark building designed to develop and enhance a suburban location right alongside the Milan-Varese motorway.

1-Tortato-AB-Medica-DEGW-wow-webmagazine

Inspired by the hull designs of super-fast speed boats, the architectural design embodies the dynamism and innovation of a group at the very cutting edge in the realm of research, combined with a real focus on energy-saving and the psychophysical well-being of the company workers.


My activity has always been aimed to break with conventions, proposing projects that focuses on sensory experience in a larger whole that is the urban territory. Create a place in which to work and live, but also refuge, an oasis, a refuge regenerator, showing where possible the presence of nature. A project in which the viewer never loses the dialogue with his sensory side, as opposed to what happens in many artificial casings which tend to cancel the man in established patterns. My projects at the center put a conscious man, who feeds on true experiences as opposted to what happens in many artificial casings, which tend to cancel individuality with established patterns”explains Giuseppe Tortato.
2000 m² of offices over an overall area of 9000 m² serving about 130 people.
The distinctive shape of the building lot and all the motorway restrictions/constraints dictated the design of a triangular-shaped form reminiscent of a ship’s hull gliding between man-made hills designed to provide heat and sound insulation for the entire construction.

The cutting-edge plant-engineering, which even exploits geothermal power as a renewable energy source through a hybrid system of heat pumps: a multipurpose water-water heat pump using groundwater and a multipurpose air-water heat pump exploiting heat in the air. Using groundwater for air-conditioning the premises by means of high-performance heat pumps is optimised by a supply of water for fire-extinguishing purposes. The groundwater also supplies the irrigation system for the extensive area of greenery.
The greenery blends indissolubly into the architectural object to become part of the building material itself, contributing to its insulation and the quality of life of its users.
The structure, which is sculpted at the base by the large sloping stanchions of the ventilated curtain facades, opens up at the top floor into an airier and more brightly-lit section composed of a column set on the prefabricated construction below but structurally freestanding.

5-Tortato-AB-Medica-DEGW-wow-webmagazine

This free and totally-glazed floor accommodates the open space offices, where all the structural features are set around triangular patios and the irregular perimeter of the building.
The roof, which, in turn, is rotated in the direction of sunlight compared to the ground floor’s fixed position, has major overhangs acting as sunscreens and featured by the triangular perforations of the patios, which provide comfortable natural lighting throughout the entire operating level.
Natural lighting for the office floors is guaranteed by positioning the facades appropriately and the carefully-gauged use of overhangs in relation to almost fully-glazed walls.

Space Planning and Interior Design.
DEGW worked with Giuseppe Tortato on certain design features: the space planning of the offices, concept for the corporate canteen, the reception desk and general mood of the colour scheme and materials.
The Space Planning for the offices area was aimed at making the most of all the surface areas and different depths of each floor, setting out the enclosed and open space workstations around the perimeter, which, in turn, is focused around an elaborate central support hub: a diffused Hub consisting of a photocopying area, break area, lockers, niche informal areas and meeting rooms, which wind around a long and sinuous customised bench designed for touchdown stations and create a mixed-use environment where formal work comes together with more spontaneous and informal operations.

11-Tortato-AB-Medica-DEGW-wow-webmagazine

The Interior Design was focused on new finishes, the concept for the canteen, the reception desk and the general mood of the colour schemes and materials, based on a palette of two main colour: fluid watery blue and cool technological shades, enhanced by qualities like transparency, care, reliability and comfort coming from the materials used.
Special features were studied for the executive offices, the reception, and the ground-floor canteen area (featuring a combination of a “set” of niche chairs and more conventional tables) and an area accommodating meeting rooms, open-space stations and informal areas to provide multiple potential uses between productivity and leisure, work and rest.

Photo by Dario Tettamanzi and Daniele Domenicali.

3-Tortato-AB-Medica-DEGW-wow-webmagazine

estel-orgatec-2016-wow-webmagazine

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.
3
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. 

1-osw16-smart-working-wow-webmagazine

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 subito.it, 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.

3-osw16-smart-working-wow-webmagazine

600-sugru-jane-ni-dhulchaointingh-new-british-inventors-wow-webmagazine

Invention in Design to shape a better future.

The British Council’s Invention in Design program creates a platform for an international debate about the potential of design to shape the future and celebrates pioneering designers (link New British Inventors pdf booklet below). This article written by Ria Hawthron, New British Inventors Project Manager, summarizes the lively meeting organized by British Council at Base Milano.

There is fertile ground in Italy and the UK for inventive design. Designers are experimenting with new modes of cross-disciplinary practice and collaboration, capitalising upon advances in digital technology and risk-taking through research.
One of the most significant effects of invention is where design has the potential to shape the future with a positive social impact – on inclusion, health, education or environment.  There are many inventive ideas surrounding social design but often there are barriers to turning these ideas into reality, and making a difference to people’s lives. From design for ambulances, to portable digital eye examination kits in developing countries or changing attitudes to disability – these ideas take time, money and determination to realise.

new_british_inventors_booklet

On 7 September, 5 designers from the UK and Italy were invited to participate in an afternoon of discussion chaired by Abitare’s design editor and curator, Marco Sammicheli.  Leading architect Hugh Broughton, industrial design engineer Oluwaseyi Sosanya, and Creative Director at the Crafts Council UK, Annie Warburton travelled from the UK to join Enrica Carvazan, co-founder of design studio Zaven, and Giorgio Biscaro, Creative Director at Fontana Arte.

halley-hugh-broughton-new-british-inventors-wow-webmagazine
Hugh Broughton started the afternoon with an awe-inspiring talk about his experience designing the Halley VI Ice Station in Antarctica, situated on a slowly moving ice shelf in one of the harshest environments on earth where temperatures are always below freezing and reach as low as -55 degrees Celsius in winter. His design allows the building to be towed to a new location in case the ice shelf becomes unstable, and also lifts itself above rising snowdrifts using hydraulic legs. Broughton vastly improved the human experience of living for 6 months of the year isolated in total darkness by creating better social spaces and use of light.
Enrica Carvazan revealed very contrasting, and multi-faceted approach to design, taking inspiration from a myriad of sources and often investigating the relationship between art and design, influenced by her background in visual arts. Taking an entrepreneurial approach to innovation, Zaven has formed a small publishing house, Monos Editions, as well as Something Good, which produces and distributes collections of work from a select group of designers. Carvazan’s mantra is ‘practice and the rest will follow’.

The second session was a panel discussion focussing on research, risk-taking and collaboration – themes which all the panelists felt were integral to their work and successful projects.
Annie Warburton explained how the Crafts Council provide a vision and advocate for the crafts sector in the UK as well as the critical importance commissioning research to prove the value of the creative industries when lobbying the government, and others, for support.
The key themes that were discussed were increased collaboration between designers and makers with scientists, technologists, and researchers and how designers can transform the ways that other industries work.

3d-weave-oluwaseyi-sosanya-new-british-inventors-wow-webmagazine
Oluwaseyi Sosanya gave the example of his 3D Weaver which he developed by working closely with traditional weavers to create a machine that can weave in three dimensions.  He initially thought about wearable applications for the new materials, but when those from other fields saw it they suggested alternative applications.  Scientists thought the technology could be used to innovate in the fields of medicine or aerospace.
Giorgio Biscaro, a multi-disciplinarian revealed that designers need skills beyond the technical design knowledge.  Fostering invention is often about creating an open attitude in colleagues and winning the support of others.  Working with a traditional and renowned lighting brand took a great deal of persuasion to try new technology and materials and bring efficiencies in the production process.
The event brought the space and time for the participants to reflect on design practice and to exchange ideas.  It was reassuring to see a common drive to challenge the status quo in design production, to constantly re-appraise the design process and a common openness and desire to collaborate with others in many different fields.
In fact, the naivety of a designer while working in a new field is valuable, as it can bring fresh ideas that are the catalyst for invention and have the potential to change the world around us.

Text by Ria Hawthron, New British Inventors Project Manager, British Council

Captions
Upper photo: Sugru, design by Jane ni Dhulchaointingh, is a patented, formable silicone that can be used for fixing or improving objects.
Down, from left:
Halley VI Antarctic research station, design by Hugh Broughton Architects.
A product made by 3D Weaving Machine, design by Oluwaseyi Sosanya.
Pictures of the meeting at Base Milano.

invention-in-design-base-wow-webmagazine

sala-introduttiva-reporting-from-the -front-biennale-venezia-wow-webmagazine

Biennale Architettura Venice: a call to modesty.

The Biennale Architettura by Alejandro Aravena is involved in social work, no spilling over into art and no hypertechnological visions, no “archistars” and no wow effects. Reporting from the Front doesn’t just show the fine and groundbreaking architecture you find in magazines, but a viewpoint conscious of the impoverished architecture of suburbs, made of scraps, unskilled labour, creativity coming from poverty. However, a strict view of the “politically correct” in all its faces sometimes revealing a sort of boring rhetoric.

The introductory rooms of the 15th Biennale Internazionale di Architettura, Reporting from the Front, at Arsenale is an actual declaration of intent the Aravena’s vision of the future of architecture and the first of the new imperatives for the architect: no waste. It was built with the 100 tons of waste material – 10,000 m2 of plaster board and 14 km of metal studs- generated by the dismantling of the previous Biennale Art  2015.
Obviously sustainability is a must, but what is interesting in this Biennale is that sustainability is a need for those who have no financial means, it’s an instrument for survival. Or maybe it’s just common sense – as stressed by Transsolar– carried out by complying with nature instead of opposing it, but most of all sustainable architecture has not only to cause less damage but also give more benefits, as Michael Braungert explains.
The use of raw and poor materials, and craps, is the unifying element of the project and fitting out and through architecture they try to help improving the quality of the environment and life even on that “Front” ruled by segregation, migrations, natural disasters, inequalities.
The challenge is to give an aesthetic nature to ugliness, to make a poor built area poetic, as  the poor art of the sixties had already done, to generate emotions and positive relationship in the places of poverty and segregation.
The town becomes impermanent, the urbanism is inspired by nomadic models.
The ephemeral dimension coming the “Front” is a prerequisite for a sustainable, resilient, unfinished planning to fit in and change according to the people’s needs.
A lesson of humility that architecture should learn.

Some examples are the floating school “Waterfront” by Kunlè Adeyemi in Nigeria (rebuilt at Gaggiandre); Spain Pavilion “Unfinished”, winner of Leone d’Oro; the research by Rahul Mehrota exhibited at Arsenale devoted to the ephemeral city on the occasion of the Kumbh Mela religious celebration in India.

Kunle-Adeyemi- arsenale-e -front-biennale-venezia-wow-webmagazine