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Designing the Living Office: Memo and Naughtone.

The Herman Miller‘s Living Office approach means to see the workplace as it is lived day by day, focusing on the real needs and problems of the people and trying to solve them with specific, and not standard, solutions. The work system Memo and the Naughtone‘s products are an example of what Neale Vanstone, Vice-president EMEA Herman Miller, considers the mission of the company “creating an inspiring design to help people do great things.”

“We are a problem-solving company, so our approach to design is people-centred. We are a global company, but we think locally”, with these words Neale Vanstone describes the Herman Miller‘s view of the Living Office design approach in a recent interview for WOW!.

Resulting of a holistic approach research, that has envolved different professional figures as managers, anthropologists, sociologists, designers, the Living Office approach is based on the fact that the office is a dynamic environment, that change its needs and create new problems day by day. That brings to the conclusion that a fixed, standard and out-of-context design is to avoid.
“We are a design company: from 1968, when we introduced the Action Office, to 1994 when we introduced the Aeron chair, and more recently with the introduction of the Living Office approach. The design is inherited in what Herman Miller does. Our mission is to create an inspiring design to help people do great things”, Vanstone concludes.

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The working system Memo is an example of how the Living Office approach can be translated into furniture. Memo is designed by Tim Wallace with the purpose of helping companies to be more agile, through the change of the desk structure, using a simple panel as a central spine which replaces the traditional beam.

“Customers don’t value the basic function of a fixed desk in the way that they used to. Typically, offices accommodate groups of workers in clusters of benches or desks, which provide one basic function regardless of what you’re doing.  I saw the opportunity to design a better type of bench, still providing the end-user with a pleasing work experience.” Tim Wallace says.

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As the name itself says,  “Come together” by the partner company Naughtone, is an eclectic and free-standing range of furniture, designed for a dynamic and agile working environment and for being used and composed in different situations and along with various kind of furniture.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

Captions
1-4, Memo, Tim Wallace, Herman Miller.
5, Hatch, Naughtone. Hatch is designed to be plan into one, two or three seat units configuration, with a firm upright sit and compact dimensions, suitable for a modern commercial environment.
6, Knot Table, Naughtone. Knot table is designed to fit in the multi-purpose seating landscapes that are becoming more common in the workplaces. It is lightweight, and uncluttered making it intuitive to mediate between different products.
7, Softbox, Naughtone. Softbox is a fully upholstered storage units, thought to provide a flexible solution for different types of compositions. It can be completely customised and thanks to its sound absorption characteristic can be used also as a divider to create ad-hoc zones in the space.
8, Cloud desk, Naughtone.  The table is part of the Cloud range, “a visual and acoustic heaven”, a place to sit and concentrate.
9, The Symbol, Naughtone.  The Symbol seating range is designed to feel like part of the architecture, with a firm upright sit and compact dimensions, that allows to insert it in a modern and dynamic working environment.

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A skillfully planned acoustics.

Mascagni, manufacturing office furniture since 1930 and also working in the field of home and contract now for many years, has addressed the unavoidable issue of acoustic comfort thoroughly and in a structured manner, like a path that has developed consistently, by tackling the acoustic problem through customizable solutions of interior design, which have no competitors on the market.

The unique features of the products supplied by the Bologna-based company come from the adopted approach and find their roots in the company’s experience and know-how made of testing, synergies with suppliers who work in different industries and technologies never used before in furniture design.
The product presented at the last edition of Workplace 3.0 in Milan perfectly explain how Mascagni creates its products with love and care for the tiniest detail.

TréS is the new versatile, comfortable interior decoration range of modular soundproofing panels, easily and quickly rearranged.
The vertical wired metal partitions of TrèS spine, with their overlapping modules, divide space creatively and efficiently, without preventing communication from going on with its flows, through different levels and plain modules, made up of cabinets, metal, melamine or upholstered panels, and special tops. The last evolution is TrèS Screen: the panels structure are enriched through panels or courtesy, to create a personal space reconfigurable with extraordinary acoustic performance.

By partnering with 3F Filippi, a leader in lighting located near Bologna, was born Lux Sound, the sound-absorbing panel which turns on a feature essential for a comfortable all-round, light.
TréS Sound Sky System is like the beefed-up version of the Sound panel. Using modular and changeable articulated joints, the triangular ribs of the sound absorbing panels, in wood, melamine or textile, come to life and mould the space into peaceful areas that can be turned into extensive workplaces.

ALLinONE Slim is the range of partition walls that hides the secret of its polymorphism and adaptability inside its extruded aluminium sections. The construction can accommodate the panels of single, double or solid glass with an inner steel frame, regardless.
ALLinWOOD is an exploration that brings the natural products, again, in the insulating dividing partitions, a solid wood profile which welcomes in its quarries either single, double glazing or full façade.

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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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World Furniture Outlook Seminar 2015 by CSIL(Salone del Mobile 15/4 h11).

The 14th edition of ‘World Furniture Outlook Seminar‘, international seminar organized by CSIL, will be held on April 15th  (h11) during Salone del Mobile at Fairgrounds Congress Centre; as this edition of iSaloni will host the exhibition Workplace 3.0, CSIL will dedicate to the office furniture segment a special focus introducing an overview of this sector worldwide with a special in-depth analysis concerning Acoustic Solutions.

The furniture sector is becoming more and more globalized and has to tackle common issues in the attempt of increasing competitiveness.
According to CSIL, leading Italian independent research centre headquartered in Milan, the global furniture market is worth around USD 480 billion. Before decreasing as a consequence of the recession, growth started to resume in 2010 and forecasts for 2016 still speak of a sector consumption increase approaching +4% in real terms. The furniture market scenario varies in different regions of the world: it is for stability in the European Union, with MENA area and North America markets in line with the global growth and expecting a continuing fast expansion in Asia.
Free Registration at: seminar@csilmilano.com
Title seminar: World Furniture Outlook  Seminar 2015.
Where: Salone del Mobile, Fiera Milano-Rho, Centro Congressi, Sala Acquarius.
When: April 15th h 11/13 am.

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Level: pan-European Sustainable Certification Programme.

Assufficio, will present Level: the first pan-European Sustainable Certification Programme during the next seminar in Milan titled  “Qualità e Sostenibilità nel Workplace. Approccio olistico e competenza tecnica” on December 2nd, in Milan.

In order to face the proliferation of certifications schemes, labels and voluntary standards covering the environmental and social sustainability of furniture products, the FEMB decided in 2010 to adopt a proactive approach and start a process of harmonization existing material and provide a sustainability certification scheme of its own for Europe.
The “level” certification programme, follows the experience gained by BIFMA in North America and proceeds along a similar path to provide a voluntary certification scheme, specifically designed to cover the environmental and social sustainability of companies products. The ANSI/BIFMA structure has been retained with specific needs of the European context taken into account.
We now have a pan-European certification scheme for the sustainability of office furniture. So far in Europe manufacturers still have to meet different environmental requirements and get different certifications depending on the market of destination of their products. This entails additional costs for producers and difficulties for clients. level will not substitute at once the national certifications but indicates a common European path to be followed and a common methodology to present the environmental characteristics of a product in a clear, easily understood manner with a common language that gives end users the ability to make easy comparisons.
With the new FEMB certification, customers will be able to make informed choices about commercial furniture that exceed single attribute eco-certifications. As in the case of the BIFMA level certification, the new FEMB mark will identify that a product has been checked by an independent third party certifier. A numeric scaling from 1 to 3 will indicate what threshold of certification it has achieved.
Speeches by: Marco Predari (president Assufficio); Marco Fossi (president Commissione Tecnica FEMB e responsabile Ufficio Tecnico Normativo FLA), Michele Falcone (past president FEMB), Stefano Serra (vice coordinatore Commissione Tecnica Assufficio e coordinatore Gruppo Pareti), Remo Lucchi (vice president Assufficio), Silvia Piardi (director Polidesign del Politecnico).
More information is available at www.femb.org  and Assufficio
To participate: assufficio@federlegnoarredo.it
Title seminar:  “Qualità e Sostenibilità nel Workplace. Approccio olistico e competenza tecnica”
Where: US 49Eventi (Universal Selecta) via Ettore Ponti 49, Milano.
When: 2nd Dicember 2014, 5/7,30 pm

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100% Made in Italy: interview with Monica Babini.

The authoritative certification was given to Babini Office (a company manufacturing office furniture at Camerano for fifty years), by Istituto Tutela Produttori Italiani (the activity of madeinitaly.org is focussed on the value of manufactures which are entirely made in Italy), so now the company joins the scene of guaranteed excellence. We ask to Monica Babini, Chief Executive Officer, a few questions:

Why is it so important to emphasize the Made in Italy concept worldwide even in the field of office furniture?

“It’s an important value added recognized all over the world, abroad more than in Italy.  Always synonymous with design and quality, in all fields, now this recognition is requested in the office furniture industry, too. We pay attention to the market and try to meet the requirements of our demanding public”.

What’s the chief value Babini identifies with?

“Value is given by the whole manufacturing chain. The provisioning of materials, suppliers, production, assembly. That’s a guarantee of top quality and enables us to identify with and bear the prestigious brand”.

The law 166 of 2009 has recognised and defined the 100% Made in Italy and its consequent guarantee issued through the certification.

The 100% Made in Italy certification is not just a choice of quality and status symbol for the product but also an essential statement.

The 100% Made in Italy mark applies to all sectors and becomes an integral part of the product. Its prestige makes the product unique and the consumer can appreciate it properly.

Through the certification the manufacturer can effectively communicate the value of the product which has entirely been Made in Italy. 

The 100% Made in Italy certification can only be issued after thorough checks on quality, style, materials and productions phases.