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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ADI Design Index to Visual Guidelines by BTicino.

BTicino, leader of Gruppo Legrand  was many times awarded by ADI (Italian Association for Industrial Design) for its products. Recently  BTicino was included in the ADI Index 2017 and will participate to the next Compasso d’Oro in the new “Design for Communication” category thanks to its “ Visual guidelines for end user Apps”, conceived to develop a recognizable and coherent communication language for all the applications devoted to end users and designed to manage the products by BTicino and Legrand.

The “Visual Guidelines for End User Apps” for the visual identity of BTicino and Legrand solutions was developed by BTicino Design, in collaboration with MMG Interactive Concept + Design, The Permanent Advisory Committee of ADI underlined that “The technological and cultural evolution of the reference market has led to a similar change in the supply of products, but also a change in the experience of fruition: many of the products proposed by BTicino and Legrand can incorporate digital technologies that provide more value added services”. Some products offer Apps like additional function, others –oriented to IoT , such as the Eliot product line- were designed to be managed through Apps. The Visual guidelines was created to ensure continuity and coherence in communication and the right balance between digital experience and consistency with the brand.

The BTicino’s Apps are featured by an innovative approach both in operational management and in interface design. The manual replicates these vision, enabling users to easily navigate thanks to a user-friendly language: clear, in-depth and exhaustive, and able to consistently focus on the main features.
An eye-catching graphics was elegantly designed with the same attention to style and ergonomics that BTicino’s products.

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Will technology create happy workplaces?

Augmented reality, cloud services, wearable devices, IoT: these are the four technologies that are changing our ways of working and living, and these are the tools we can use to start to build a happy office: they increase our ability to manage our time, our relationships, the environment we live in, our professional growth. These are the main findings of the research i-Enjoy by Sedus, presented with the app se:connects for agile and smart working spaces.

Technology can give a crucial support in the office, either it is “passive”, meaning as a tool for a better environmental comfort, either “active”, for an implementation of the working activities. Technology really has several advantages like a better organization of the working time and space and a better “ergonomics” of the intellectual work, leaving all the repetitive stuff to the machines and leaving to the humans the creative part”, Daniele Andriolo of Plantronics says in the main interview of the Sedus’ s study i-Enjoy. “But we have to be careful that the massive data we continuously collect, won’t let us lose the sight of what really counts”, he concludes.

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The fast development of technology in the working spaces is rapidly changing our working culture, making employees a more active part in the organizations that, on the other hand, has increasingly focused on the individual wellbeing.
If talking about happiness at work means also talking about engagement, fulfilment and empowerment, therefore technology can have a key role to turn the office in a place where a big part of our happiness can be pursued.
Already nowadays we can see augmented reality tools or cloud servers creating a faster and more transparent communication, while dedicated apps and software as Happify Health or Awesome Boss take care of the people, giving to employees tools to motivate themselves or to effectively manage the teamwork.

Space and time are very much affected by the technology and most of all architecture and design. New concepts like “environmental happiness” leads to build spaces that are easy to control in every aspect: heating, lighting, planning, scheduling,… On the other hand, IoT and wearable devices are perfect to collect useful data, intercepting and elaborating people’s preferences, and helping to design offices that are capable of satisfying employees’ needs.

A good example is the Sedus’s app se:connects, especially designed for helping to solve some of the main problems of the changing towards agile and smart ways of working: using their smartphone, employees can easily find a free workstation, register their position and be able to find their colleagues. These data are collected in a complete and updated report that gives all the information to optimize the usage of the space, making the company and the workers both happier.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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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”.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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Sit-stand and user-friendly workstation.

A user-friendly multimedia workstation with a light design, and without any cable thanks to the use of Linak‘s bluetooth technology: these are the features of Tecnus Evo -evolution of the height-adjustable table Tecnus- designed and produced by Emme Italia, a company that since 1995 marries innovative technologies with Italian handicrafts to offer customized and constantly in progress solutions.

The growth of Emme Italia continues with the usual passion: from the traditional drafting tables to the electrified sit-stand version using linear actuators by Linak and, recently, the most advanced step Tecnus Evo.
Tecnus Evo is a new result of the collaboration between Emme Italia and Linak: a multimedia workstation inspired by a common vision of dynamic ergonomics, well-being and IoT in the workplace.
It is featured by clean design and high performances:
the integration of Linak’s new bluetooth technologies allows the elimination of wiring and a user friendly approach;
the rechargeable Battery Pack makes the table independent by power supply;
height adjustment can be controlled either by the traditional push-button panel housed into the column or by a smartphone (for iOS or Android App).

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The App Desk Control allows the adjustment of the table with a touch and also to save custom settings and set personal goals for wellness.
Standard height adjustment from 72 to 112 cm is perfect for workstations and informal meetings, other adjustments are available on request.

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Height-adjustable table, structure in painted steel column (black, white or RAL tailored colors), desk top in melamine.
Dimensions cm 100 x 200; height cm from 72 to 112.

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Body, Mind and Environment: a 3D wellness in the office.

If anyone has to pick up a concept to sum up the nowadays evolution of the workplace, he would choose “feeling good”. As the biopsychosocial model has become used to defined wellness and health, the environment has been understood to have a fundamental role in shaping the different dimensions of employees’ well-being: physical, psychological and social.

Do you want to improve the level of well-being of the employees working in your company? Start from the environment they live in. The environment, infact, as also the OMS has recognized, highly affects the physical, mental and social state of humans. In the office design, as well, this concept has become essential to build the scaffold of a healthy and productive working ecosystem.

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Bio
Today’s office design is taking a step forward, in order to keep the workers healthy and therefore more productive. Problems and diseases of the musculoskeletal system due to wrong, long-lasting sitting positions, for example, are prevented by dynamic ways of working, agile workstations, sit-stand working desks, or unusual seats like the Technogym’s wellness ball or the ones that Kinnarps has presented at the last Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair.

Also, the arrival of the IoT has played a fundamental role, helping to improve the quality of the air, the lighting and heating system, allowing also to personalize them through personal smartphones.
Moreover, other services in the office are thought to encourage the employee to take care of themselves: company restaurants with healthy menus and fully equipped gyms come along with wellness rooms and dedicated doctor’s appointment.

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Psychic
If you’ve never heard about happiness at work at work, probably you have been in another planet for the last years. The working environment and HR management get inspiration from the marketing and advertising industries as “creator of experiences”, while it resembles more and more to a theme park, where anyone can try fun and different things. The keyword is “human experience”, a mix of engagement, fulfillment, and empowerment, capable of successfully leading the company through the future challenges.

A new interesting trend comes from the new findings from neuroscience that have brought in the office a new concept of equipped relax areas, music, and spaces capable of reducing stress and facilitate concentration, even in noisy and dynamic open spaces.

Hoofddorp, 19th of March 2017 – Plantronics office. Photo: Mats van Soolingen

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Casual meeting as the occasion of new and original ideas. The office design aims to increase the chance of encounter among employees (in-between, break and informal meeting areas) and between the inside and the outside of the company (co-working spaces attracts external professionals while more frequently curious customers visit the exhibition spaces, attend classes or use the services offered by the company’s environment).

The symbol of the social experience of the workplace is the ever-present foosball table and the Dutch Plantronics office’s rehearsal room, while couches, armchairs and kitchen spaces enhance the home-feeling that a working space nowadays has to give. A good work-life balance, at last, helps to live more easily the working environment experience: company’s kindergartens, pets in the office, agile and smart working strategies are just some examples of the more and more blurred boundaries between office and private life.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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A storage system that integrates “smart plants”.

The Dieffebis stand at Salone Ufficio, designed by 967, was like an amazing greenhouse; the plants evoke the green culture and the wellness-oriented vision of the company. This vision inspired a new biophilic version of Dotbox, a masterpiece of modular storage systems, that now can integrate planters equipped with air purification system.

Plants make more pleasant the workspace and make a better air quality, too. This is why DotBox integrates a “smart pot” with Itair® technology, an innovative natural air purification system for indoor environments.
Thanks to IoT (Internet of Things) the plant are connected to a computer and becomes a real filter able to metabolize harmful agents present in the air provides for a forced mechanical ventilation.

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DotBox is a multifunctional, modular and flexible storage system able to configure workspaces, made of sheet steel laser-cut, fully recyclable. It can also be customized with pillows and panels in different shapes, colors and fabrics, including fireproof and sound absorbing. It allows to efficiently organize the space with a unique personality.

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From Smart Working to Smart Living.

BTicino, a brand of Legrand Group, commissioned a survey to Ipsos and Osservatorio Internet of Things of Politecnico di Milano. The study investigates the Italians’ perception about IoT devices at home: safety, energy efficiency and comfort are their main requirements.

AfterSmart Working is successfully growing in the workplace and technologies have become more and more user friendly, the desire for “smart” objects grows at home, too: from Smart Working to Smart Living.
The study shows that 76% of interviewees know the meaning of Smart Home and 66% has at least a connected device at home, and it is interesting to note that 39% intends to buy another one in the next 12 months. System reliability and easy installation underlie the processes of purchase, while safety and energy efficiency and comfort are the needs the connected devices can meet specifically.
33,6% considers as absolute priority the control of what is happening in the house, especially when nobody is at home, also through the use of smartphones. But with an aging population, smart home technologies are even a system that can help “frail” people according to 15% of interviewees.
The connected thermostat is a decisive factor of the Smart Home: 44% of interviewees is interested in a connected thermostat to adjust the temperature remotely. Energy saving and lower consumption are the main levers.

BTicino/Legrand respond to the desire for a Smart Home with a new product of the ElioT program:

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Smarther, a user-friendly Wi-Fi connected thermostat. 

The future of IoT is already here with the prototypes Entrée and O-tune:

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new archetypes of products meant to enhance the users’ experience.

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Sit-stand office desks to shape behavior.

Smart office means to adopt concepts of dynamic ergonomics, too; for higher comfort and greater efficiency, sometimes devices integrate digital technologies to support our Internet-oriented lifestyles. Following this IoT (Internet of Things) philosophy Linak launched DPG, a new family of very intuitive panels for the height adjustment of sit-stand desks, well-synthesized in the claim “Designed to shape behavior”.

During a normal workday, we all sit down too much and move too little. This is a common challenge, but how do we change it and turn it into a habit to use the height adjustable desk every day? This is a global challenge that we at Linak have chosen do our utmost to solve and develop a solution that will make desk users use their height adjustable desk more and in a new way.
Based on researches on behavioural design, Linak developed an innovative solution that will make desk users use their height adjustable desks more and in a new way.
The desks panel for height adjustable office desk is essential and needs to be:
Intuitive,
Motivational (give reminders to the user),
Digital.

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The DPG family consists of four desk panels ranging from a simple up/down panel to advanced versions with sophisticated features. All four DPG desk panels are intuitive as they are operated via tilt instead of buttons meaning you do not need to look while adjusting the desk. It does not get more intuitive.
Research proves that being reminded to stand up during a workday, results in an increased usage of the desk. So, reminders are integrated into three of the four DPG desk panels either via light and/or via notifications in the app.
Finally, digital means that an app is available for several platforms. Bluetooth® technology is integrated into three of the four DPG desk panels. Connect to the Desk Control™ app and it opens a wealth of options.

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The app that completes the DPG
The Desk Control™ app is available for phones and computers, and contains a lot features such as the possibility for individual settings, statistics and getting reminders to stand up. Optionally, the app can also be used to drive the desk up and down.
The app is downloadable free of charge from the different app stores
Truly unique and innovative, all data is of course synchronised between the different platforms. This means that if you change your settings e.g. in the app on the phone, it is automatically updated on the computer and in the desk panel itself.
The DPG is much more than just a new desk panel: it is a platform of endless functionality possibilities, yet designed with an impressive suite of standard features. It will change the way to adjust and use the height adjustable office desk.

The role of light in IoT era.

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

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

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

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

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

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Can the office make us happy?

Happiness has become a big issue in nowadays working environments. From the new ways of working to the design of the spaces and the furniture, physical and mental wellbeing, creativity, interaction, stress reduction, corporate identity are some of the features creating a happier office and therefore a more productive one. A multidisciplinary approach has been used to combine different disciplines as neuroscience, botany, IoT, ergonomics and energy engineering. Is it that enough for a space to create happiness?

Defining happiness can be a tricky task and a lot of definitions have been given so far. Concerning the working environment, as Alexander Kjerulf said, happiness can be determined by two parameters: feeling the best in what we are doing and building a good relationship in a team. On the other hand, someone else considers it a summon of intense and brief positive emotions that we experiment during the day. Both these definitions feat perfectly with the trends that are transforming the office, changing it from a stressing environment to a space that wants to take care of its workers.

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There are several factors that push this changing: the working environment models from the new technology and e-companies, the different needs of the new generations, the new scientific and technological findings that keep on changing the all society and also the need to create a more appealing environment, capable to face the challenge of different workplaces where everyone can actually do his job, outside the office, such as coworking spaces or home.
As long as the office, also our life has changed and, along with it, our time has become more fluid, mixing working time and spare time, creating a new need to better define boundaries: smartworking has brought office in our home, but it has also brought the concept of home-feeling in the office: couches, table football, good restaurant, medical examinations, relaxing methods, playgrounds, and has also brought in all the world in general, opening the building to the city, capturing different instance from science, art, and different cultures. And also the concept of co-working seems now old now: we are, maybe, moving towards co-living.
Since we are talking about a working environment, these features have the goal to increase productivity and creativity: the new paradigm happiness = productivity has focused all the attention on the wellbeing of the human resource, considering design the key to this new happy productivity. Seats, desks, plants, flexible and dynamic furniture, a well-lighted, healthy environment, with informal spaces that always allow to meet someone and feel comfortable. It is a new kind of design, though. It is a hybrid design that has to give a shape to the scientifically and technological always new instance, creating a responsive and interactive space though the IoT.

people-meeting-plantronics-wow-webmagazineSo is it that enough to consider the wellbeing we are creating in the office a way to our happiness?
I think, even though it is undeniable that nowadays office is far better than the gray and has ones someone may remember, there is a risk that I want to point out.
Focusing too much on the physical and mental wellbeing of the individual, we might forget that happiness is a social deal, it is socially defined by every culture and every society has its own way to pursue it. So there are not standard or fixed solutions we can uncritically apply to every working situation.
The office space (allow me this, even if it sounds exaggerate) might become a beautiful golden cage where we get used to having everything we need, so attractive with all his feature that give us continuously rushes of dopamine: can we end up totally absorbed by the office?
Happiness is a matter of work-life balance and linking happiness to work it’s a risky business.
Although the innovations that will be present at the Salone Ufficio 2017, where the happiness topic will be present in the installation Work 3.0 – A Joyful Sense at Work, are a real breakthrough in the office design, a question is now aroused: an human-centre office will cause an office center kind of human?
Editorial by Gabriele Masi, anthropologist and journalist.

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Ways of Designing and listening: Marcello Ziliani.

Marcello Ziliani was graduated in architecture at Politecnico di Milano with the Master Achille Castiglioni as a speaker. After working three years abroad, he came back in Italy to work as industrial designer for many important companies and as graphic designer, art director and theatrical scenographer, too.
He loves to listen and to be in tune with things, without any absolutism or indestructible certainties, because in our fluid world very different fields move towards a holistic design dimension.

Which is your design approach? Is it the same with all kinds of companies or does the approach change to the different situations?
I feel like a chameleon; it’s great fun to adjust to situations, to look at things always a little differently, empathize with people and things and listen to them. I don’t like the absolutism and the indestructible certainties, I love to look at things with always different eyes to be in tune with them. That’s my design approach. Then the company takes over the project across the world and I believe that any project is, after all, a desire, a hope of flight.

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You operates on quite different markets and fields. Do your analyses show new users life styles and requirements?
I think the most significant change is that now people are aware they are not passive consumers anymore. We users -of commodities, objects, services- are now prosumers. Design thinking and human centered design are honest approaches to the complexity we have to face and a serious manner to give answers.

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Are there any conceptual “contaminations” and common elements among the many design areas you deals with?
It’s rather the annulment of borders, than contaminations. Everything gets fluid and unsettled, the areas we used to work with are becoming incoherent, to give a more and more holistic nature to the project. The kitchen comes in the living room, the bathroom in the bedroom, the living room in the office and the workplace in the house.
The IOT, Internet of Things is pervading everything and changing our behaviours. It triggers contamination and new ways of use of objects.
Lighting and control systems, music and acoustic comfort, heating and insulation, automation and electronics, everything blends and combines in unique configurations by breaking down barriers and opening new scenarios and fascinating perspectives.

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How has the workspace vision changed in the past few years and have these changes an impact on the new interior design and furniture products?
I think that the office is going through a basically cultural change. For many years there have been mostly technical-mechanical changes; performances, comfort and ergonomics were mainly the design goals, but now we are seeing a drastic change in our ways of working. We work standing up at adjustable tables, we shut ourself off deep in meditation with our fetish-tablet, we lie back on sofas drinking teas to hold our meetings, we share temporary coworking spaces that casually connect people, we play, jump, run or cycle while working… all that is very inspiring to the development of projects that respond to such changes.

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Captions
1, Snooze Pedrali, sound absorbing panel.
2,Twist&Light Natevo, lighting bookcase .
3, Flo Magis, folding staircase.
4,Tilee lamp, Flos.
5, Cookie Infiniti chair for light office.
6,Mammamia chair Opinion Ciatti.
7, Acacia table Calligaris.
8, Mini chair, Parri.

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The drafting machine becomes multimedia and touch screen.

Thanks to IOT (Internet Of Things) everyday objects take on new features. One example is the height-adjustable table developed by Emme Italia in collaboration with Logica Uno. The apparently obsolete drafting table, loved by architects, turns into a multimedia machine designed for teaching and training rooms.

The Emmesystem range of height adjustable desks produced by Emme Italia launches some new products “ The adjustable desk is the contemporary evolution of the drawing table, historical product that sees Emme Italia as leader in Europe”, explains Alessandro Barison, design manager of the company.
The CSEI family was equipped with heigh-adjustable desk top thanks to the application of linear actuator system by Linak and  today the evolution trend continues in partnership with Teatos (Logica Uno).

The adjustable desks Conform CSEI are designed for multimedia rooms; they integrates a personal computer with Intel processor and Window 8.1 operating system suitable for touch screen technology and graphics software.
The “cell imaging” technology makes the movement more fluid and is perfect for sketch. It can be equipped with wheels.

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The IoT needs a critical approach to design.

The Internet of Things is changing the product design, disclosing the need of a critical, open-minded, ahead of its time approach to the object. The workshop Critical design: changing the innovative thinking organized by Arper was an example of a multidisciplinary way of thinking, typical in the history of the italian design, essential to foresee and anticipate the future.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Quoting Henry Ford, Antonio Boso, Samsung Italia’s Head of Product Innovation, opened his speech at the workshop Critical design: changing the innovative thinking, analyzing the fact that even if we are leaving in a world where the consumer is considered the centre of the economical process, it is still up to the companies to guide and project the future.

However, every company, even a big one, by itself is not enough for this task, because “to foresee the future you need different ways of thinking and points of view”.
Every project needs nowadays an open dialogue, as the arch. Marco Piva underlined, and a fruitful interlocutor can really be the academic world. “Design is going toward a model of business”, professor Francesco Zurlo, coordinator of the Politecnico’s Product Design course, said. “The academic circles are becoming trustworthy observatory of the new trends and of the way of doing business. Today you need a multidisciplinary and “cross-thinking” approach: you can’t just do a lamp, for example: it has to be also soundproof, technological, connected,… We need to change our reality based on categories and compartments”.
Claudio Feltrin, Arper’s president, agreed with the analysis and added: “the italian critical approach to design can really become an asset. It is intuitive, artisanal, entrepreneurial, emotional and polyglot. The critical way of approaching design in fundamental to foresee and anticipate the future, receiving and translating the weak signal coming from the nowadays society”.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Pictures by Luca Laversa.

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Domestic and office space in the IoT era.

Which impact does the advent of the Internet of Things have on the connection between the domestic and the office spaceThe presentation of Classe 300X13E, the first product of Eliot, the line by BTicino dedicated to the IoT in the domestic space, it’s the chance to reflect on how the changes in different environment are nowadays intertwined.

We have already talk about Classe 300X13E, the video entrypohone connected and controlled via wi-fi by smartphone, though a simple and intuitive app that allow you to open the door or the gate, to activate safety cameras or to turn on the light of the garden.However, during the official presentation in Milan, the words of Franco Villani, managing director of BTicino, has raised some questions: are we already in the IoT era? What does this imply? Which new connection are made between the office and the domestic space, already linked by the new ways of working?
The potential of the internet of things are evident. Even if Eliot is dedicated to a residential context, we see that everywhere the connected objects are taking hold, for example in the 4.0 factory or in the school. Someone said that technological revolution can be divided in three phases: when the inventions are considered ridiculous, when they are considered dangerous, and when they are obvious. Well, nobody here see Classe 300X13E as a ridiculous or dangerous object”.

Smart working has led us to think about the domestic and the working environment as more and more intertwined, and the internet of Things clearly helps this process.
The remote control of the house, for example, will have a positive impact over the workers’ mobility ( a smart working’s keyword).
On the other hand devices that are developed for the house can we transferred to the office or they can give the hint for similar object. For example Nuvo, the Eliot’s Hi-Fi sound system controlled by another app, can be also used in the office to manage and to promote the listening of the music in the office.
IoT and smart working are the two leading forces of the “domesticfication” of the office and of the “workingfication” of the home space: that’s why a new trend in one field can lead at the same time to an innovation for the other.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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Working in a thermal bubble (Carlo Ratti Associati).

A personalised heating, cooling and lighting system which follows each worker as he moves around the office: Carlo Ratti Associati turns the environment of the Agnelli Foundation’s headquarters in Turin in a “tailor-made” workspace, capable to synchronised to its users’ need and limit energy waste.

Carlo Ratti Associati has made the research in the Internet-of-Things (IoT) the core of their design: from the Local Warming at the Biennale di Venezia 2014 and the at the Dubai’s Museum of Future Government Services in 2015, to the Future Food District at the EXPO 2015.
The thermal and lighting bubble projected for the Agnelli Foundation’s headquarters in Turin (Italy), brings the IoT further into a more sustainable architecture and taking one of the key concept of the contemporary office interior design, flexibility, also into not tangible, but important environmental feature, such as humidity or light.
“Today, a lot of energy is wasted heating or cooling empty buildings”, says professor Carlo Ratti. “By synchronizing energy usage and human occupancy within buildings we can create a more sustainable and responsive architecture, theoretically slashing energy consumption by up to 40%.”

The system uses sensors to collect datas from the environment, such as CO2 concentration, temperature or the number of occupants in the room. Than it processes these datas in a BMS system that respond adjusting the lighting, the heating, the level of the cooling system and also managing the usage of the different rooms.
The personalisation of the systems allows every worker to set his own preferred temperature through a smartphone app. So when anyone enters the room a thermal bubble follows him activating fan coil units, situated in the false ceilings, and recreating his chosen environmental conditions. When an occupant leaves, the room returns naturally to standby.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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Design for the Workplace: Design Thinking, Innovation, Technology.

The first workshop Assufficio of the series “Design per il Workplace (Design for the Workplace)” took place at Fondazione Riccardo Catella in Milan, not only the capital of Design but also of the Planning Thought. Actually Design Thinking was discussed as a mental approach that doesn’t apply to physical objects only and can take a strategic value to cope with today’s complexity, for, along with the product, the way to make it work on the market should also be planned.

Marco Predari, president of Assufficio, evokes a few iconic products from the golden year of Design. What happend after the ‘90s? The manufacturers of office furniture don’t seem to be able to grasp the big changes under way at the workplace. Perhaps, because there are no Visions and products are the outcome of marketing directions instead of predictions on future needs. Critically speaking of this aspect, Marco Bonetto states that  “marketing has failed completely, marketing is dead”.
Cesar Mendoza points out that the real innovations in all fields of design aim at improving the quality of life at an affordable prize and technology is a cross-element and intelligent objects are a must.
Paolo Ravazzani offers the point of view of bioengineering on the IoT theme, with a focus on the wellbeing of people working and electromagnetic computational methods in places where more and more objects are going to be connected wireless.
Finally, Luciano Galimberti, president of ADI stated that the cast of mind and unique elements of the Made-in-Italy products – including lateral thinking, the capability of placing man at the centre, design thinking, storytelling – will still be the levers for innovation, even in the office industry.
Download the pdf presentations of the speakers.
Watch the video interviews with the speakers and the office furniture furniture.

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IoT, a revolution in the relationship between people and objects is in progress.

It’s impossible not to talk about IoT. In 2020 26 Billion objects will be connected all the world over! The media interest is recent, but Internet of Things is a phenomenon, which the experts have been investigating for many years and is quickly evolving. A phenomenon that doesn’t concern just a few sectors but even every scope of our life and our ways of working. Hence, the Smart concept can be applied to each object already commonly used and extol its performance.

A technology connecting human beings with objects, and one object with the other and the objects with the life the user is fascinated by, stimulates new strategies and requires a new design thinking.
It’s a stimulus for the marketing and a new frontier for the manufacturers in nearly all sectors.
Among the McKinsey’s studies devoted to IoT, two are expecially educational and inspiring An executive’s guide to the Internet of Things and The Internet of Things: Five critical questions”, the interviews to some of the most automative experts in this field: MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito to Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group deputy director Dan Kaufman to Cloudera cofounder and chief strategy officer Mike Olson to O’Reilly Media founder and chief executive officer Tim O’Reilly.
Their answers express a vision of the the next progression of IoT and what are the possible risks.
The social benefits of IoT especially regard healthcare and medicine projects (delivering better care in the intensive-care unit, designing better drugs, understanding the progress of disease). Sustainable benefits, for example, come from the possibility to connect the lights in a building to motion sensors, and they’re harvesting data about building occupancy and this kind of technology can save companies a lot of money. In the workplaces “there are three things that never work: printers, videoconferencing, and overhead projectors. I think that if we could use standards and interconnectivity to make all of those things work, or even one of them, I’d be a very happy man”.
The bigger risks are privacy, security and any possible kind of a cyberattack.
there are also advices for business leaders interested in the Internet of Things; they are not so different from any other innovation strategy: “What are you doing? What is your plan? How are you different? What’s your vision? How do you plug into the ecosystem?
Be suspicious about “people jumping to technology to solve a problem without thinking about the problem first. Analyze “what the fundamental problem in your business is and how you would go about solving it. It is quite possible the Internet of Things will be a solution. But I think it’s a mistake to do it the other way around.
IoT is an enormous opportunity, but does not make miracles.
Editorial by Renata Sias, editor WOW!

In the video the Tecno’s vision of IoT for the workplace (IoT: Intelligence of Tecno)

Eliot: connected IoT objects in our daily life.

BTicino, leader of Gruppo Legrand in Italy, features a technological DNA and has always been innovation-oriented. The first to bring design to technical power products and introduce the concept of home automation and connected building, in a consistent path of innovation, the company moves on to Smart Building -namely the building integrated systems- to the creation of a new value through the development of IoT objects: here is the Programme ELIOT, the acronym of Electricity and IoT.

Friendly and easy as its name suggests, today ELIOT enters our homes and offices officially, although B Ticino has actually supported the revolution of the Internet of Things for a long time, as proved by the turnover of 200 million euros with connected objects in 2014 realized by BTicino and Legrand.
The Internet of Things is conquering practically all aspects of human life: from health, to transport, business, leisure and above all the home and buildings for which it is opening a new era. For BTicino, the Internet of Things represents an opportunity to offer greater value to its users, both private and professional. The capacity to communicate must increase the user value, guaranteeing a real plus in the long term”, commented Franco Villani, BTicino Managing Director.
Convinced that the Internet of Things will become the standard, BTicino is now aiming at accelerating the development of its connected products by launching the ELIOT programme, aimed at the evolution of BTicino products, inserting IOT solutions where they would lead to an increase in user value. The ELIOT brand will thus indicate all the BTicino products which form part of the family of objects which are or can be connected.
The solutions based on the Internet of Things must be able to communicate with each other. It is therefore important that they speak a common language. BTicino and the Legrand Group are active in international alliances such as AllSeen Alliance (which defines communication standards and interoperability) and ZigBee Alliance, building wireless communication standards. In the ambit of ELIOT the Group is intensifying its partnerships with innovation start-ups with the objective of enriching applications such as energy and heating management or assistance to autonomy.
“The connected objects supply added user value, proposing complementary services, automating processes, reducing response times, detecting a status and regulating any decisions. -commented Davide Colombo, BTicino Home-Automation Marketing Manager-The connected products simplify life, for example by means of preventive maintenance, remote controls and protection systems for buildingsThe connected objects will only be used if they guarantee an enduring advantage, fundamental and reliable for the user”.
IoT is also an advantage for Facility Management in commercial and b2b sectors.
BTicino ELIOT products include, for example:

Camera with sensor which can remotely signal and display the presence of an intruder, allowing the user to discriminate between a real alarm and a false one.
Salvavita Stop & Go which remotely informs the user of any unexpected Salvavita(Residual current device) trips, so that he can check that the device has been correctly reset and telling him whether in fact he needs a qualified electrician.

Connected timer thermostat which allows management of the heating system via app, simplifying the programming of switching ON and OFF.
Display of energy consumptions, made up of a set of sensors and intelligent sockets, which can measure the energy consumption, follow it over time and devise scenarios for energy saving, locally or remotely.
Management of lighting, rolling shutters, curtains and blinds by means of the BTicino wireless system gateway which makes even existing homes “intelligent” and which is thus ideal for restructuring without building work.
Classe 300 Video door entry system with which you can interact, also via smartphone and tablet, with the person ringing at the door, discovering in real time who was looking for you.
NuVo hi-fi audio components multi-room system, manages music inside the home using an app, taking the music both from libraries saved on mobile or fixed devices and from streaming services such as Spotify or Deezer.
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The Future Food District: IoT and user experience.

A new way of interaction in the space through technology: the EXPO’s Pavilion Future Food District by COOP, and designed by Carlo Ratti Associati, can show us the new possibilities of the internet of things and of the new technologies, giving a hint of how they will improve our user experience, changing our life till its simplest aspects.

 6.500 sqm and 1.500 products capable to give the customer all the information he needs with the new technology of the “smart labels”The Future District is a good example of the changes that the IoT is bringing into the way we perceive reality or we get information about it, even in the smallest and most common things.
The
Mit Senseable City Lab’s design and technology create a constant dialogue among the space, the products and the consumers, managing all the information, the IT infrastructure, the analysis and the development of the supermarket’s touch points.
An example is the way the products are displayed, all along with digital labels where the customer can find several details impossible to be contained on a traditional label. Through these “augmented labels” the product is capable of telling its story and its journey, in three levels of interaction:  the first level allows obtaining information on the product’s primary characteristics, the second one provides information on the origin of the main raw materials making up the product and any presence of allergens, the nutritional value per serving and the carbon footprint; lastly, the third level provides detailed information on the product’s history and characteristics.

“We have designed a supermarket like the old-time ones, putting the customer and his opinions in the center ”, Marco Pedroni, COOP Italia’s president, says. “In our pavilion, technology doesn’t have an end in itself, but it was thought to make the consumer completely aware of all the information about the products, through an open and transparent way of communication”.
Technology is a powerful drive capable to permeate the environment with a compelling need of communication and openness. That often brings, like in Future Food District, to a change of the space layout, eliminating the vertical barriers in the space and a hierarchical organisation, while creating a horizontal scenario that promotes contact, interaction and a free and open exchange of ideas.
This way, the Future Food District is a perfect example of a new “dialogue trend”, capable to gather and spread information and encouraging the creation of a more sustainable and conscious world.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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