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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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


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




#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.


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).


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”.




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.


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.


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.




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.


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.
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.


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.



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.


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.


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.

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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.


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 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.


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.


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.

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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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


(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.


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.


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.

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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.


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.


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.

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Milan Design Week 2015: events on Workplace and the new WOW.

WOW! offers a selection of the most interesting events dedicated to Workplace 3.0 and new Ways Of Working: at the Salone del Mobile or in locations of the Milan Design Week 2015. The events and preview of the new products will be updated in the coming days. Stay tuned and follow WOW!
For events: Kinnarps “Workplace Wellness”, USM “Rethink the Modular”, Dieffebi “Color trends for the workplace”, Involucri, Workshops by  Assufficio, events at La Passeggiata Agora’s at Salone Ufficio, please see the dedicated articles.

San Babila Design District: The Cinema (Casa dell’Opera Nazionale Balilla).

Great curiosity for the new San Babila Design District the center is the House National Opera Balilla. It will be the  headquarters of designjunction edit Milan and Tom Dixton install The Cinema inside the 400 sqm theater. After a period of neglect the charming buildings built in the ’30s (10000 sqm total) re-born thanks to the design.
Title event: designjunction edit, The Cinema, The Green Room.
Where: via Pietro Mascagni 6  Milano
Whene: 15,16,17,18 april (h 11/19), 19 april (11/15)

Interface: flooring on show and Bowls Design Trophy (Via Tortona 21).

Present with its textile flooring in two of the most important installations of Design Week 2015, Interface also provides a break of pure fun with his bowling tournament. The innovative Interface textile flooring are also inside of “The Walk” by Michele De Lucchi at the “Involucri” exhibition designed by Studio De Ponte at Lambrate. Then we will have fun at the Bocce Design Trophy, now in its 3rd edition.

Titolo evento: Bocce Design Trophy.
Dove: Boccino di via Tortona 21.
Quando: 15 aprile dalle 18.00.

Futurecraft. Tomorrow by design #1 (Carlo Ratti).

At Spazio FGM an exhibition by Carlo Ratti  Associates to show how can design accelerate the transformation of the present.
Title event: Futurecraft. Tomorrow by design #1
Where: Spazio FGM, via Bergognone 27
When 15/19 aprile (opening 13 aprile ore 19,30)

Free Pixel by Carlo Ratti.

Title event: Free Pixel” by Carlo Ratti
Where: Artemide Showroom, Via Manzoni 12
When: 14 aprile. Opening 15 aprile,  ore 20.00

Future Ways of Living: Daan Roosegarde ( Meet the Media Guru).

Daan Roosegaarde “techno poet” and innovator of interactive design will be speaker at the conference organized by Meet the Media Guru.

Title event: Future Ways of Living: Daan Roosegarde.
Where: Museo Nazionale Scienza e Tecnologia, via San Vittore 21
When: 16 aprile
ore 19.30

The words are bridges (Lombardini 22).

A shared moment, a way to a more conscious and environmentally sustainable lifestyle.
Title event: Le Parole sono Ponti
Where: Via Lombardini 22
When: 16 aprile dalle 19 alle 24.

Blue Design Factory (Fantoni e Studio Ragni).

Opening of Blue Design Factory, a Fantoni and Studio Ragni shared space, an experimental place for new ways of working.
Title event: Blue Design Factory
Where: Via Santa Sofia 27
When: 16 aprile ore 22

Knoll: Celebrate Harry Bertoia (P.zza Bertarelli 2).

Knoll celebrates the centenary of the birth of Harry Bertoia showing the figure of the eclectic designer through all forms of art. From the legendary Diamond Chair to “sound sculptures” , the exhibition is designed by Studio OMA.
Title event: Celebrate Harry Bertoia.
Where: Showroom Knoll, Piazza Bertarelli 2, Milano.
When: 14/19 Aprile (h 10/20) 

Sacea: Recharging Zone (Ordine Architetti Milano).

For the third year Sacea sets up in the courtyard of the Ordine Architetti di Milano, in the Brera Design District, a landmark for travelers of design.
An oasis of tranquility where to stop, sit down and relax, recharge yourself and your cell phone, drink a glass of water and socialize.
Title event: Sacea: Recharging Zone.
Where: Ordine Architetti Milano, via Solferino 17.
When: 14/19 aprile (h10/20).

Trends for contract and office seating.

Trends coming from Orgatec attract notice. How long it twill take for them to be appreciated by the market, only time can tell: more Soft seating, more acoustics, more vintage, more friendly. Anyway, what’s new in office chairs?

The mesh-chair seems to be outdated for the padded models are back,  as well as slim shapes, essential and squared, although not too much.
Appearance claims its priority over performance with more unconventional and free models as regards regulations.
The setting devices of chair and armrests are less complex and bulky, lighter and compact. The chair has no longer the characteristics of a “seating machine” and for the  user it’s easier to find their ideal posture. In general, the number of components is lower. (Sedus Turn Around, Tecno Vela, Arper Kinesit Chair, Flexform My Chair).
All materials find room and expression, but  wood is still being matched with other elements and the results are very interesting.
More and more products are designed to be flexible families to fit into different contexts and surroundings.
And in case of common areas, the lounge chair is also used to help to the acoustic comfort through high padded backs or well-organized configurations.
Text by Silvia Fattore

1, Arper, Kinesit Chair, design Lievore Altherr Molina.
2, Sedus Turn Around, design Judith Daur.
3, Tecno, Vela, design Lievore Altherr Molina.
4, Flexform, My Chair, design Baldanzi & Novelli.

5,Casala, Lynx, design Ewalt Kommer and Jeroen Kors.
6, Brunner, A-Chair, design jehs+laub.
7, Estel, Kite Chair.
8, Haworth, Openest System, design Patricia Urquiola.


Orgatec 2014: Out of Office.

Orgatec previews indicate that -hopefully- the workplace predicted for some time by the researchers and that we are promoting in WOW! with conviction, is going to be realized, at last. mobile ways of working where knowledge workers implement flexible working practices and networked information technology; fluid and ubiquitous environments house-like or entertainment-like (a trend called gamification).

Orgatec, from October 21st to 25th wit its 400 exhibiting companies, will confirm that starting from the title, a celebration of the work-life  balance!  “Out of Office” “Going Home”, “Taking a Walk” and “Being Home” are the topics conceived by the designer Dick Spierenburg to identify the areas of Boulevard, the central link devoted this year to Home Office “the driverless mobile office”, “Socialising” and “Movement” with a focus on relaxation.
Some apparently contradictory terms, smartly combined and developed, may create,creative, human centered,comfortable and pleasant workplaces.
The exhibition’s event programme showcases the current trends and some interesting new products inspired by the new needs of Smart Working, mobile and collaborative, multigenerational and sustainable office.
Orgatec 2014 will show some complete arrangements for the working environment for the 2.0 generation: furniture, smart materials (lighting, acoustic solutions, flooring) communiation and multimedia technologies, concepts. Wide-ranging visions modifying even the usual meaning of the concept of ergonomics.
Here and in the article posted on WOW! are some advance solutions.
Arper, Caimi, Luxy, Tecno, Ares Line, Assufficio, Fantoni, Bene.

Orgatec Boulevard.
Buzzi Space: BuzziVille office collection.
Palau: Vora Table, design Ben Van Berkel.
Mascagni, Tres System.


Italy is a “Fundamental” Country, at Neocon 2014, too (Chicago).

Rem Koolhaas curator of 14a Biennale di Architettura in Venice “Fundamentals” with “Monditalia” asserts the important role of Italy and the last edition of Neocon 2014, the most important annual exhibition on office and contract furniture (Chicago June 9th/11st) confirms the ever-growing cultural and trade weight of the “Made in Italy” in all its aspects. 

Just to quote a few examples, Calligaris, that entered the contract world with its customized stools for Estèe Lauder and McDonald, opens now its permanent showroom at Merchandise Mart.
Among the new exhibitors of Neocon we noticed the temporary showroom Natuzzi Italia and B&B Italia in partnership with Teknion. And some American companies have chosen an Italian name, for example Sedia Systems and Borgo (dealer of Ares Line).
The name of  the Steelcase’s partition system is V.I.A., not accidentally; it is designed in collaboration with Claudio Bellini and it is inspired by the urban organization.

However, the larger Italian presence is “invisible” to the outsider, it’s well-know through the data on foreign trade: millions of Italian components and semi-finished products can be found in American products.
Our hunch is confirmed by Franco Bianchi, CEO Haworth (also an Italian!), “Italy is present with its products but most of all with the spirit and inspiration of design”. A sort of  aura? Not only that. A concrete, recognized element and awarded with Best of Neocon Award 2014 for the Openest Collection Haworth designed by Patricia Urquiola, Spanish, but Italian for adoption and for the spirit that make our Country, unique, Fundamental.
Text by Silvia Fattore, reporter WOW! Webmagazine.

1,2, Haworth, Openest Collection by Patricia Urquiola
is an ensemble of products for collaborative spaces where people work or relax.  The collection includes sofas, pouf seating, tables and space-dividing screens that offer design flexibility.  It was awarded Best of NeoCon Gold in the Collaborative Collection category and Best of Show.
3, Herman Miller, Living Office, an enlightened and more human-centered framework to approach contemporary office design. It seeks to inspire and enable a more natural and desirable workplace, fostering greater connection, creativity, productivity for all.
4, Coalesse, Massaud Conference Seating Collection designed by Jean Marie-Massaud. It was inspired by luxury outside the office and beautifully crafted for comfort in the workplace. The collection expresses a modern form accentuated by refined upholstery details and tailored for progressive organizations.

5, KI, MyWay. It responds to the needs of each user with a wide variety of seating styles, allowing users to interact with the chair in varied unconventional seating styles—all while providing unparalleled ergonomic support.
6, Groupe Lacasse, IO Chair, design by Francesco Favaretto; polymer chairs feature wood, aluminum or steel frames; four-legged, sliding, star and beam bases; optional armrests and upholstery.
7, Steelcase, Elective Elements; a freestanding office system designed to address the changing workspace requirements in today’s private and open-plan environments. It supports the needs of the individual, without sacrificing performance and with a ‘50s style aesthetics.
8, Steelcase V.I.A. (Vertical Intelligent Architecture);design by the Steelcase Design Studio with Claudio Bellini. The newest technological device may be the wall, one of the oldest architectural elements. It creates spaces that help fuel the innovation process, hosts the latest large-scale video and display technologies, offers unprecedented acoustic privacy, and easily reconfigures to support rapid change.
9,10,11,12, Caimi Brevetti Snowsound Acoustic Panels. Even the Best of Neocon 2014 Silver Award -Architectural Products category- awarded an Italian Company: Caimi Brevetti. The jury awarded the whole Snowsound Collection that includes products designed by Michele De Lucchi, Lorenzo Palmeri, Alberto and Francesco Meda.



Fundamentals, the Biennale without archistars by Rem Koolhaas.

Great expectation for this Biennal of “Architecture and not of Architects” for this Research Biennal” directed by Rem Koolhaas that opens on June 7th, (lasting six months instead of the usual three) engaging 65 Countries.

The 14th International Architecture Exhibition entitled Fundamentals is the outcome of nearly two years of an “in-depth study”, a Biennial of “Architecture and not of Architects” and Concrete, defining again the clear-cut separation from Art, aiming at the analysis andrecovery of the history of the modernity of the past one hundred years. “An exhibition open to a wide public” explained Paolo Baratta chairman of Biennale. “With Rem Koolhaas, our aim is to create an exceptional, research-centred Architecture Biennale, Paolo Baratta states.
“And here Koolhaas goes straight to the point. With great courage and ambition, after having traced the history of modernity over the past 100 years to the present, he identifies and presents the elements that should act as references for a generated relationship between us and architecture (Elements of Architecture).
“The specific goal for the
Monditalia section of the Exhibition, at the Corderie, is to gather and illustrate significant dimensions of Italy by means of ad-hoc studies. The result aims to remind us of the complex Italian reality, which is paradigm of not just local but global complexities that must not be denied or concealed. By revealing these realities we are able to access references that are also able to inspire new architecture.
This year the
Italian Pavilion is based in the Arsenale and organized by the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities with PaBAAC (General Direction for landscape, fine arts, architecture and contemporary art). It is curated by Cino Zucchi.
Fundamentals consists of three interlocking exhibitions – Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014, Elements of Architecture and Monditalia – that together illuminate the past, present and future of our discipline. After several architecture Biennales dedicated to the celebration of the contemporary, Fundamentals will look at histories, attempt to reconstruct how architecture finds itself in its current situation, and speculate on its future” Rem Koolhaas states.


14th International Architecture Exhibition, Biennale di Venezia.
Where: Venice, Giardini, Arsenale.
When: from June 7th to Novembre 23rd, 2014.