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Here is the well-workplace age: wellness, wellbeing and corporate welfare.

“Well” is now definitely used a lot in the context of lifestyle and, most al off, workstyle patterns.
Well-being, mankind’s prime concern, is modeling a new approach to the design of the workplace and the built environment.
There are ethical as well as economic reasons: we should not hide the fact that sustainability (and certifications, too!)and wellness are big business and marketing elements increasing the value of buildings. And employees more productive if they are fine.

It’s not just a trend, it’s a new widespread sensibility, that entails a different relation with the environment you live in.
A shared awareness is often synonymous with sustainability, yet “Sustainability is a means, man’s wellbeing is the objectiveGiovanni Fabris, founder of Welldome, quoted during the WellFerence conference.
The vision of wellbeing at work, mistaken for ergonomics for a long time, is now mostly oriented to health and prevention of diseases, but even physical, mental and social wellbeing is also taken into consideration.
This holistic view makes use of a measuring instrument thanks to the Well certification protocol.
Quality of life also refers to Corporate Welfare, not so long ago an approach made of a mix of sporadic projects targeted to the staff’s wellbeing. A concept that has recently developed into an actual organic and balanced system of staff management, adopted by big corporations but also small concerns.
WOW has often dealt with this subject and followed its evolution in the past five years.
IFMA, too, has discussed about wellbeing research, the way demand for welfare has changed and how it has affected the supply of services related to the staff’s wellbeing. ”Wellbeing means Culture, and that should not be disregarded, as it is strictly connected with communication and how the company is perceived”.
To produce wellbeing is a “work in progress”, don’t delude yourselves, there are no effective remedies, as shown by the Maslow Pyramid, still relevant after over sixty years, once realized our basic needs, new necessities arise, for the concept of wellbeing is ever-evolving, at work, too.
Editorial by Renata Sias, editor WOW!

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Eco-sustainability and design for resilient flooring.

After creating countless styles of modular carpet, distinguished by high performances and sustainability, Interface launches a luxury modular vinyl flooring featured by the same green vision and based on biophilic design approach.

Level Set is the first Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) collection by Interface. It is environmental friendly and is inspired by natural elements like wood and stone, according to biophilic design approach.
It offers options that evoke distressed, reclaimed and exposed natural materials. The textures, colours and patterns available provide more light reflection to maximising the benefits of daylight.
Available in 28 variations of Natural and Textured Woodgrains & Stones, it comes in Interface’s standard (25 cm x 1 m and 50 x 50 cm squares) and is complementary to carpet tile collections.
Since it is fully compatible in size and height, you can combine existing carpet and new LVT for a unique space of varied textures and designs.

 

We’re seeing an increased focus on cohesive design throughout the built environment, as well as a rise in demand for soft and hard flooring that blends well and functions as part of a modular design system– said Mandy Leeming, Design and Development Manager for Interface EMEALevel Set embraces our customers’ interest in flooring that has the look of natural materials with the functionality, durability and affordability of LVT, while ensuring they can select a mix of hard and soft flooring from a single partner to create a unified look and feel.”

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An eco-sustainable design aimed at environmental comfort.
To install Level Set is simple and clean thanks to glue-free TacTiles. It emits virtually zero VOCs and allows for an environmental footprint over 90% lower than installation with traditional glue adhesives.
Engineered to compatible height (4.5mm total thickness) with Interface’s carpet tiles, providing the ability to effortlessly move from hard to soft flooring without transition strips, eliminating an unnecessary trip hazard and reducing the number of materials for specification and purchase.
To improve acoustic comfort the sound absorbing “Sound Choice” is available for LVT collections.

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Giuliano Dall’Ò is the new President of GBC Italia.

Green Building Council Italia votes its new president: Giuliano Dall’Ò, a member of GBC Italia’s Scientific Technical Committee since 2010. The vice-president is Marco Mari.

Giuliano Dall’Ò teaches Environmental Technical Physics at the Polytechnic University in Milan. He is one of the leading Italian and European experts in energy and environmental sustainability and certification.
He is also the author of Leadership in Green Building, that presents the main  LEED and Green Building in Italy.

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The new Executive Committee:
Giuliano Dall’Ò, President
Marco Mari ,Vice President
Roberto Cereda
Thomas Messervey
Manuela Ojan
Eleonora Sablone
Mario Zambrini

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From Wild to Glam: sustainable and trendy finishings.

Glam City, Time Out, Treasured Light and Wild Nature are the new evocative themes for Collection Futura 2018-2021 by AkzoNobel’s Interpon powder coatings brand. Architects, designers and developers have an exciting new source of inspiration for cool interiors and expressive green buildings.
Full of the latest material and design global trends, the collection features an extensive range of highly durable and sustainable colors and finishes developed by AkzoNobel together with trend experts PeclersParis.

Each theme in the Collection Futura – which is updated every four years – includes a unique range of colors, textures and effects that reflect the design and societal trends seen throughout the world. Innovation is also highly visible through two completely new finishes: silky texture and cotton.

“Our color expertise and continued development of durable and sustainable solutions drives the creation of our Collection Futura. It includes a range of special finishes for use on exterior architectural metal components; products which are innovative, sustainable and always on trend.” explains Jean-Paul Moonen, AkzoNobel’s Powder Coatings Global Segment for Architecture. 

It’s now 20 years since AkzoNobel launched the first special finishes collection for the powder coatings market worldwide. This is also the 15th year that the company has worked with Peclers to create a new trend collection for architects and designers as the global leader in powder coatings. In addition, AkzoNobel was the first powder coatings producer to launch the fine texture Sablé finishes, which have since become a major success in the powder coatings industry.

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Sustainability and green building development.

“The new range of finishes will enable customers to achieve just the right effect in any environment while helping them contribute to the future of green building and sustainable development.” Continues Moonen and adds “The company’s Interpon powder coatings have achieved a third party Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) certification, which includes a lifecycle analysis of the raw materials used in the product itself, the manufacture of the product, its shipment and application”. 

The new themes of Collection Futura 2018-2021.

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Glam City
includes modernist influences and baroque trends with intense, dark tones centered on reds, blues and greens.

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Time Out
provides inspiration for soothing living spaces, with light tones based on colored whites and soft neutrals.

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Treasured Light
offers sensual and more refined versions of metallic brilliance including brass, pink gold, pale copper and silver.

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Wild Nature
explores more primitive, wild expressions of nature and features earthy browns, peaty khakis, anthracite greys and charcoal blacks.

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Well: the real estate developing focused on wellbeing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Better Effect Index: make sustainability simple.

Raw materials and resources, climate, pure materials, social responsibility, reuse and ergonomics: these are the parameters that make a product sustainable, according to the Kinnarps’s protocol Better Index Effect. The eco-label, designed following the designer, architects and consumers’ needs and the UN sustainability goals, is open source and can be freely downloaded

“More and more people want to make sustainable choices, so we have to make it easier to choose”, says Johanna Ljunggren, Kinnarps’ corporate sustainability manager. That’s why Kinnarps, despite the different eco-label out there, as Svanen, Möbelfakta, Blauer Engel, NF Environment and FSC, has chose to create a new one focused on important, but too often neglected, factors, like social responsibility or ergonomics, aiming to guide and change the production process and redefine the concept of sustainable object.

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Every object is indexed in 6 different areas, on which the Better Index Effect is based:

1, Raw materials and resources
2, climate
3, pure materials
4, social responsability
5, reuse
6, ergonomics.

“Every product is ranked in the various area, and you can see exactly which criteria they have, or haven’t, fulfilled. This is important. We report not only our good products but also our shortcomings”, Johanna Ljunggren continues.

The first parameter examines where the raw material come from, the condition of the process production and the resources optimization. To increase the evaluation companies have to choose FSC certified products and tissue.
The second one is about the environmental and climate impact and is based on the carbon dioxide emissions, the reduction of packaging and the use of renewable energies.
Thirdly the use of pure materials means also to avoid dangerous chemicals: phthalates, use as softeners in plastic and rubber, flame retardants, bisphenol A, used in plastic, lacquer and glue, formaldehyde, allergenic in contact with skin and carcinogenic, and VOCs, volatile organic solvents. Eco-labelled products and fabrics, water-based lacquer and laminated top are, instead, indicated for increase the air and environmental quality.

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Social responsibility concerns the company’s code of conduct and the control on the suppliers and over particular attentive situations, as the method of working in the BSCI’s list of risk countries.
The reuse, instead, follows the motto “Re:use, Re:fresh, Re:cycle”, so the possibility to redesign, repaired, and reused the object or the percentage of recycled materials in it. Reuse is the core of a sustainable object life circle: the 80% of the environmental impact of furniture is dued to materials, and therefore is crucial to make a difference to create a virtuous production process without any addition of energy and materials.
Finally, Kinnarps believes that sustainability is not just about the environment itself but also about the ergonomics and the well-being an object is capable of guarantee: furniture must encourage movements, control the acoustic impact, be easy to use and give the right light in the right place.

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These parameters are not just an instrument of analysis, but a guideline for the company transformation: Kinnarps, for example, has decided to cut off the 10% of the energetic consumption and to use only wood coming from FSC certified forests. Furthermore, Kinnarps has decided to open source the Better Effect Index in order to give to architects and consumers the change to make valuable choices and to cooperate in order to design a more sustainable production cycle.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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#addmorecolour: a range of 302!

“Colors are food for thought!” says Christina Wiklund, and Kinnarps Color Studio is the tool for easy access to a wide range of colors and sustainable, creative and cool materials: over 300 colors and sustainable materials to create environments with different color personalities.

The intuition that colors influence our perception, our behavior and wellbeing is rooted in the culture of Kinnarps, this is why every three years the company updates the colors and finishes of its collection to anticipate trends and fashion. The 2017 update for the first time was created in teams involving 15 architecture and interior design studios (Tengbom, Wingårdhs, Krok & Tjäder, Semrén & Månsson, Spectrum, Note and White offices together with the designers Howl Designstudio, Idesign, Propeller e Brodbeck Design and the interior designer and blogger Hildur Blad) and has led to the insertion of 9 new fabrics into the already rich portfolio.

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“Our inspiring Kinnarps Colour Studio range gives you everything you could wish for in the way of creative and attractive materials (fabric, leather, laminate, veneer, metal, acrylics, plastic and glass). This sustainable collection with a wide choice of colours and patterns combines classic elegance with the latest trends. Everything you need to find the look that suits your environment”, explains Christina Wiklund, CMF Manager-Colour Material Finish in Kinnarps.
240 soft material variants, 54 hard material variants, 8 accent colors: over 300 finishes are available to “dress” the products by Kinnarps.

 

The website page “tools and resources” makes available to architects and designers this color universe and is also possible to download the dwg of all Kinnarps products.
The starting point is the insight that colours affect our behaviour and our feelings, along with the requirement for the sustainability, quality and safety of the materials. The Kinnarps collection is updated every three years, and it was time to do this again for 2017.
The colours make a major impact on how we experience interior design. Now, as many are daring to leave white behind, it is, of course, even more important to have both a planned strategy and an updated range in order to be able to design with colour. This new way of collaborating with architects and designers strengthens Kinnarps’ position even more. Our meetings have been both creative and fun and everyone really gave some of themselves.” said Hildur Blad, Interior designer, colour expert and blogger.

 

“It’s always the totality that determines which fabrics we decide to launch in Kinnarps Colour Studio. They should of course have the right colours and patterns, but also fulfil our requirements for sustainability, quality and safety. I always say that we should think of things our customers perhaps don’t always think of, so that they can feel sure that our textiles are always a safe choice – in terms of both aesthetics, function , environment and social responsibility.” explains Christina Calisir, Technical Manager Cover Materials, Kinnarps.

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Nine new trendy and sustainable fabrics.

Among 200 different seat cover textiles, the designers involved in the workshop selected the 9 new fabrics:
Step Melange, multicolored for a modern retro;
Rustico, durable, washable and multicolored;
Fenice, produced with recycled wool and eco-sustainable production processes;
Liv, reminiscent classic linen, but very functional washable fabric in Trevira CS;
Capture, vintage classic washable and fire resistant;
Fox, a very fashionable pattern inspired by art deco;
Bardal, antistatic and fire resistant wool in sober colors;
Synergy, wool in many colors for an ecological design;
Steelcut Trio, natural wool, a clear favorite of the architects.

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Global Change: nature-inspired, biophilic flooring.

Global Change is Interface’s most versatile collection to-date, launched during last NeoCon. It was designed by Kari Pei, the company’s Lead Product Designer, and pairing nature-inspired biophilic design with Interface’s modular flooring system expertise. The collection offers architects and designers the ability to bring biophilic flooring into their spaces, leading to more positive experiences and improved wellbeing for the people who use them.

Biophilia is a growing trend in interior design and architecture, but we can not say that the “innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life” is a novelty indeed. This scientific hypothesis was introduced by Edward O. Wilson in 1984.
Interface has been among the first companies to intercept this philosophy and has been applying biophilic design approach for several years in its textile flooring systems.
Global Change is the last collection by Interface, launched at NeoCon 2017 and offers an integrated range of design options that can be composed to solve a variety of unique business challenges.
The collection evokes foliage through artistic interpretation of tree and leaf shading patterns. Biophilic elements and references are also reflected in random patterns and fluid transitions inspired by natural textures.


Global Change is comprised of seven face styles available in six organic color palettes. Progression 1, 2,3, the collection’s foundational tiles, offer three gradated base textures at three different price points and pile heights.
Glazing and Shading take inspiration from the tree canopy with foliage appearing as positive shapes against striations of texture.
Ground and Raku resemble the cracked appearance of dried earth and can be installed as non-directional squares.
The styles are available in a mixture of 50cm x 50 cm squares and 25cm x 100cm Skinny PlanksTM, ranging from flat to plush. To complement the seven face tiles, the Interface design team developed six earthy, mineral-based colors for the collection, inspired by global trends:
Eclipse, Evening Dusk, Desert Shadow, Fawn, Daylight and Morning Mist.
Global Change has one of the lowest carbon footprints of any of Interface’s global collections to-date. and is in line with Interface’s sustainability commitments.
Global Change takes the end-user on a journey from the forest to the coast, offering beautiful aesthetics that also deliver modular versatility and functionality – Kari Pei quoted – Each product within the collection was designed to harmoniously blend into the next, and the collection has the unique ability to adapt as design and tastes evolve.”

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Working in a cloud: Lavazza HQ by Cino Zucchi.

Nuvola, the HQ Lavazza designed by Cino Zucchi, is a project that aims to regenerate an abandoned multifunctional area, opening it towards the city of Turin, while creating and transmitting the brand identity of the company. Conceived to facilitate smart and activity-based ways of working, the environment of the “Cloud” highlights some contemporary office trends as connectivity, interaction and the rediscovery of the importance of conviviality.

Nuvola, the Lavazza HQ by the arch. Cino Zucchi is based on the renovation of an 18.500 sqm. industrial complex in Turin, with a particular attention to the energetical and environmental sustainability (the project is running for the LEED Gold certification) and to create a space open towards the city. The office spaces, that will host about 600 employees, is conceived as the centre of the “Nuvola System”, that will include a public parking, a green square and an archaeological area dedicated to an early Christians basilica, discovered during the excavations.

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In addition, by 2018 the Lavazza Museum, De la centrale, will be inaugurated: an event space with a 1000 people capacity, including also the gourmet restaurant Condividere by Lavazza, designed along with Ferran Adrià and Dante Ferretti.
Also the relocation from the old offices has followed a sustainable process, recycling part of the furniture and donating over 3.000 pieces to schools, hospitals, and charities.
“The Hq represents how we conceive a contemporary company. It is not just about moving desks, it is moving forward towards a more integrated, stimulating and human-centred dimension. A comfortable and, at the same time, technologically advanced headquarters to connect the 90 countries where we operate”,  Giuseppe Lavazza, Vice Presidente Lavazza, says.

“We have based the space planning on the concept of an activity-based office, stressing the role of technology and environments in creating connectivity”Michele Aruanno by GTP comments.

“This advanced open space is not composed of separated environments and repeated lines of desks, but it is designed with adjustable and, at the same time, functionally defined environment, all furnished with acoustic partitions and recharge areas for devices, along with space for quick and informal meetings, as well as separated meeting rooms that allow to easily connect with the outside”.

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The value of “conviviality” and the importance of the ”coffee break” are two of the main feature of the project, literally translating the company’s activity into the ways of working: interaction and socialization are also expressed in different environments as the gym, the relax area and Bistrot, an innovative restaurant, designed by Cino Zucchi Architetti with RGA, in collaboration with Slow Food.

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Also, the new furniture is chosen to improve a smart working approach, encouraging wellbeing, comfort and sharing. Estel, as a contractor, has supplied tailor-made solutions, while also Arper, Sedus, Vitra, Artemide furniture has been used. Tecno has designed the mobile partitions, Underline the graphic communication, while the IoT and technological solution have been furnished by Samsung, Cisco and Acuson.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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10 trends for the future workplace.

A useful tool for employers for navigating in a landscape that is constantly evolving: Global Workplace Trends Report 2017 by Sodexo traces 10 main fields of innovation for the workplace, a roadmap to increase productivity, wellbeing, and quality of life comparing the current situation with future scenarios.

Clear and fast changes are happening in the conception of the working environment, although it is not easy to always understand which are the best trends for a company or how to apply them fruitfully. Sodexo, along with several experts of Columbia University, University of Granada, Harvard Center for Work e United Nations Foundation, has run a survey to help employers to make the best decisions, enlightening 10 main trends evolving different topics such as migrants, millennials, robots, environment, new technologies and social transformations:

1. Putting design thinking principles to work.
Design thinking has become a critical strategic imperative for organizations looking to put the employee experience first, rethinking all elements of the workplace.  Every aspect has to be designed considering the employee’s experience at first. Health and well-being become the foundation for designing workplaces that contribute to worker’s happiness and wellness.

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2. Unlocking the potential of millennial talent
By 2025 millennials will comprise 75% of the global workforce, therefore companies are engaged in creating a culture where millennials employers are benefiting from the collaboration, creativity, and authenticity. Start-ups are representing a model for bigger enterprises that offer more freedom, flexibility, and mobility, encouraging millennial employees from taking the initiative on a new project, or even from having side jobs. That makes them more entrepreneurial (and provides a sense of freedom.

3. The agile organization.
In a recent study, Accenture has pointed out the companies with higher levels of both stabilizing structural backbone and velocity were 436 percent likelier to be seen as outstanding financial performers in their industries than those that lacked both. Agility is going to be the mode of operating of the future companies.

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4. The rise of cross-workplaces
Interaction is one of the main mantras of nowadays offices. Cross-working is encouraging employees to interact with a wide range of people across an organization to spark innovation and therefore new products, new processes, new services, new ways of organizing and new ways of thinking.

5. Employees without borders.
Corporations can play an important role in promoting a sense of belonging and a culture of inclusion among their workforces. Organizations are more frequently welcoming migrants into the workforce and leveraging their talents with an understanding of their immense value proposition. In the years ahead, those companies that already have corporate cultures with deep foundations in diversity and inclusion will be best suited to rise up to help their communities and to create innovative cross-cultural ways of thinking.

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6. The new generation of robotics.
Is the robotic a threat for employees? As the workplace becomes increasingly automated in the endless drive for greater efficiency and productivity, an anxious workforce worries that the machines mean human workers will be out of work. The future can be different: instead of wholesale personnel downsizing, employers will train and develop their people to empower workers to take on new and different roles.

7. Intergenerational learning.
The norms of work-related learning challenge the wisdom that older people teach while younger people learn: now workers of all ages contribute to one another, establishing longer and more dynamic careers that defy generational stereotypes. Intergenerational agility is a critical issue: by 2030, the percentage of the population aged 60 and over is expected to leap, from 12.3 percent in 2015 to 16.5 percent, and companies will be called to focus on successfully developing and managing a multigenerational workforce.

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8. Personal branding goes to work.
Personal and corporate brands are now overlapping, as organizations realize the value of the influencers in their workforce. It has been shown that brand messages are reshared 24 times more frequently when distributed by employees. In the future will see a rise of companies with social employee advocacy programs, social listening programs and professional development plans that include instructions and governance models on how employees can enhance their personal brands while supporting company goals.

9. The 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
Companies are called to an important social role: sustainable development is increasingly recognized as the legitimate responsibility of businesses. Organizations are becoming more creative, committed and consistently visible when it comes to sustainable development, alongside innovation and technology.

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10 Wellness 3.0.
As the boundaries between work and life continue to blur, today’s workers are seeking out a new and improved employee value proposition that includes a focus on all aspects of health and well-being.  And so employers are taking holistic approaches to workplace wellness, developing customized wellness programs that look at worker wellness as a true advantage.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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UnipolSai’s HQ in Milan: a building for a sustainable city.

Technical and engineering innovation are the concepts that lead  Progetto CMR to turn the building in Via De Castilia in Milan into a vivid example of green architecture: innovative materials were used like the titanium dioxide capable to “melt” the polluting agents in the air, creating, with the green areas of the project, a healthier city spot. The future operative HQ of the Italian insurance group UnipolSai was presented at the Italian Pavilion at Mipim in Cannes.

“A sustainable approach is essential for the future of our cities” . With this words  Massimo Roj, Architect and CEO of Progetto CMR, presented the requalification of the two buildings, 53m and 15m high, placed to form a 45°angle, of the new UnipolSai’s HQ in Milan.
The aim of the Milan integrated design firm was not only to change completely the appearance of the building, but also and foremost to improve its functionality, its energy performance and overall management efficiency. 

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An idea clearly visible from the outside where dynamic façade, created by the interplay between the “void” spaces of the glass and the “solid” vertical connections, combines both aesthetical and functional aspects: while giving a new architectural identity to the complex, the new façade contributes to energy production, thanks to an innovative high-performance silicon film placed on the top glass layer. On the south façade a sequence of rhombus made of tempered glass panels, each with different inclination, and framed by extra light aluminum elements, reflects sunlight in a constantly different way during the day.

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While the advanced building plant uses renewable energy resources as sun, air, wind and water, reducing the environmental impact of the complex and improving the livability of the context, the most interesting feature is the titanium dioxide that covers the the external surfaces of the building, a material capable, through a photocatalytic process,of melting the polluting agents in the air. According to a research by the University of Milan,  together with the green areas in the project, this will contribute to halve local pollution.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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

The sound of Smart Working.

Acoustics, technology and design: after the opening of their italian headquarters, in the offices in Hoofddorp (Netherlands) Plantronics experiments the efficacy of their own product in creating a smart working environment.  An opportunity for the company  “to bring to life our vision for the modern workplace”, as the president Joe Burton says.

Situated in the innovative Park 20|20 in Hoofddorp, the architecture firms William McDonough + Partners, N30 and Gensler, conceived the Dutch offices of Plantronics as an acoustic showcase that accommodates various employee work styles, in a symphony of sound layers that make possible for diverse activities to take place simultaneously with minimal disruption, including hallway meetings, pop-up brainstorms, quiet concentration, video conferences, even product testing.

Hoofddorp, 21th of March 2017 – Plantronics office. Photo: Mats van Soolingen

The noise management is based on the copany’s technology and research, from active acoustic management to headsets that help employees easily and comfortably work anywhere, and on the natural sound of the water:  three waterfalls act as a complementary visual aid to the audio overlay of a babbling brook that can be heard from the speakers. This allow to reduce the intelligibility of background noise, following a biophilic way of designing.


The building, as the entire park 20|20, is build following a “Cradle-to Cradle” design approach that allow to easily disassemble the building in case of need, and it is made entirely with recyclable materials. The attention to the environmental and energetical sustainability worth the  BREEAM certificate at Excellent level: from solar panels, designed to harvest at least a quarter of the building’s required energy, water systems that include greywater harvesting, filtration, cleansing, and reuse, and also carpets fabricated from recycled fishing nets.

Hoofddorp, 19th of March 2017 – Plantronics office. Photo: Mats van Soolingen
Gensler has also created an exhibition space where the company’s innovation can be tested and shown in action with an interactive sound table that shows the impact sound has on people’s daily lives, and a sound chamber where visitors can learn how Plantronics analyzes the impact of sound levels to help create its headsets.
“In designing the Expo space, our aim was to integrate the Plantronics story with their technology innovations, to create a narrative and provide an informative journey through the space,” said Milena Jovovic, design director at Gensler. “A holistic and immersive experience, consistent with the overall design of the building.”
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Pictures by Mats van Soolingen.

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

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Home Sweet Office Home: Plantronics’ offices in Italy.

Plantronics will open on April 6th its new offices in Italy at the LEED Platinum Energy Park building -by Garretti Associati– in Vimercate, close to Milan: a 400 sqm space to experience smart-working now and into the future, where the concepts of “work elsewhere” and “work-life balance” lend greater comfort and harmonized mind-body ergonomics to the environment.

Plantronics, pioneer in Wearable technology, was one of the first firms to theorize and implement smart-working, but our work and life styles have changed a lot in the last few years.
I need an office, but I don’t want an office” Daniele Andriolo, Global Manager of Facilities and Workplace Services di Plantronics, asked to architect Daniela Carta, founder of MQA Metro Quadro Architetti and her team -Irene Pacioni and Marianna De Vivo architects. They accepted the challenge.

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The concepts in the lead just a few years ago are no longer relevant and the key words pinpoint the current trends of the creative jobs: Liquid Worklife, Café Co-Working, Pop-Up Workplace, Hacker Culture, Meetings Without Borders, fino a Fighting the Tech Fatigue and Wellness is the New Green.
The result is a non-office-office, designed as a welcoming and comfortable Great Place to Stay.


“We were fascinated with the idea of opening fluid spaces so that everyone feels right at home, welcome, thanks to a comfortable and flexible environment –quoted Ilaria Santambrogio, Country Manager Plantronics Italia– the Italian headquarter is today an open office, designed to host customers, partners, resellers, so that everyone feels at home, thanks to the comfort and flexibility of the spaces”.

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No more rooms specifically meant for concentration, communication, contemplation and collaboration, so the whole environment is suited to be lived in a free, at all times and in whatever manner.
The 80% of the office does not represent the standard office. There are spaces that can be experienced and exploited, in different way, with no fixed positions for the employees.
To encourage the conviviality and the welcoming atmosphere, the office includes several areas: an area with sit-stand desks, a kitchen area, a relaxation area with elegant couches of design and polished wood tables. A unique and innovative concept in the European and global context and not only, which allows to the Italian headquarter to improve the wellbeing of the team, encouraging greater productivity and pursuing its growth goals in the world of the headsets in more targeted manner.


Into the new offices there is not a strict division of the areas, so that employees, guests, partners, customers can experience the Smart Working space in a free way, choosing to work on the table of the kitchen, in the relaxation areas, on one of the tables , scattered in different areas, or in one of the meeting rooms.
During the planning phase, Plantronics highlighted primarily the need of ergonomics and acoustic comfort: each element is an expression of a different way, smart to work. The heigh-adjustable desks (by Sedus) can be changed from time to time.
This reflects the freedom to decide the workstation, depending on the type of activities: focusing, brainstorming, connecting to a conference call.
The whole office presents itself as an open space everywhere, with monitors in each room or blackboards glass on which to take notes during an informal meeting or during a coffee. At level of lighting design, maximum attention also to the use of natural light and use of LED 100% .


The architectural studio has used wood everywhere: in addition the use of sound-absorbing materials makes the environment already soundproofed.
In line with a sustainability choice, Plantronics has selected the Interface modular carpets, made with 100% recycled materials , it reclaims the typical pavement of the European roads.
The kitchen corner includes an authentic italian kitchen, which is also a meeting place, and point of connection thanks to the Watercooler videoconference system, an open window with the other Smart Working offices, with the purpose to favor the collaboration with the colleagues from various European Plantronics offices.
The use of natural materials and warm colors, the high acoustic comfort, the variety of furnishings of valuable finishes and the curved surfaces make the room pleasant and comfortable.
The criteria of environmental sustainability taken into consideration in the planning are most appreciated by employees and guests, whom are received in the central kitchen, where “But first… coffee!” is written in big letters.

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The LEED certified Green Buildings in Italy.

A book presenting sustainability in architecture from theory to practice, edited by Giuliano Dall’O “We are experiencing a quality change both in new construction sector and in deep renovation of buildings based on city regeneration” quoted the author. The book is published by Edizioni Ambiente.

Matching beauty and Sustainability, anticipating the change in the construction sector: this is the message of examples contained in the book.
Among the projects presented in the book: the Porta Nuova housing estate and the renovation of Palazzo Ricordi in Milan, the i.lab – Italcementi Research and Innovation Center in Bergamo, the new headquarters of Intesa San Paolo Bank in Turin, and the Science Museum MUSE in Trento (both designed by Renzo Piano).
Promoted in Italy since 2008, when the Green Building Council Italia – member of the World GBC Network – was founded, the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) environmental certification protocol achieved in a few years a relevant role in the building sector.
Leadership in Green Building, shows a selection of the most significant LEED certified buildings in Italy. Not a simple collection of buildings, but rather a journey in the Italian Architecture of the last decade, an Architecture that has brought sustainability from theory to practice in the built environment.
Even though many of the buildings hereby described are well-known, their environmental features are often underestimated. at issues are at the core of the LEED certification protocols proposed in Italy and worldwide. In this volume, those values represent the fundamental parameters to describe the quality of that architecture.

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Giuliano Dall’O is Associate Professor in Buildings Physics at the ABC Department (Department of Architecture, Built Environment and Construction Engineering) of Milan Politecnico University.
He conducts research in energy conservation, energy efficiency, use of renewable energy sources. He is the author and co-author of over thirty technical books and around 200 technical articles, some of which deal with LEED certification and are relevant globally.

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The recipe of quality in the office: Cameo’s Campus.

“Quality is the best recipe”:  Cameo’s Campus, by Ackermann+Raff , is inspired by company’s payoff. The project is based on energetic sustainability (LEED certification) and a people-centered organization of the space, focused on the wellbeing and on a continuous interaction.

The working environment of Cameo’s Campus in Desenzano del Garda (Brescia, Italy) reflects the company’s view and products throughout all the space. The 200 fixed workstations, 30 team working environments, the project areas and the 10 phone boots, are organized over three floors inspired by the most famous products of the company: the “Pizza walls” at first floor contains the business, marketing and management’s offices; the second floor, with sales services and logistics points, recalls Cameo’s cake; while the third floor – Dessert – hosts the HR service and the general management.

The core of the project is represented by the ground floor, open to visitors, where all the common areas are placed, with the restaurant, cafeteria, auditorium, and three meeting rooms also dedicated to three other main products of the company.
The sustainable and people-centered campus is designed with the “essential features to ensure our future growth” as Alberto de Stasio and Peter Irle, Cameo’s general managers, say.
The sustainable architecture, based on photovoltaic and geothermal energy and an efficient lighting and air-conditioning system controlled by a Building Management System, was rewarded with the LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

The people-centered concept is based on the green areas, such as the garden at the first floor, the informal social hubs, the meeting point to relax, as well as the wellness balls used as comfortable seats in order to improve the posture during the working hours.
The replacement of landlines with Voice Over IP, an internal integrated communication system, and a free WiFi all over the campus also contribute to an overall mobility and interaction.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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Biophilia and industrial archeology: Mutti’s Offices.

Connecting tradition and sustainability through the light: the Mutti’s offices by the architect Paolo Bedogni renovate and expand an 18th century industrial building, unifying the 1.000 sqm. of the old and the new environments with a long solar promenade and branding chromatic choices.

Light is fundamental for agricolture, and it so also for productivity and wellness in the office. That’s the idea that links the Mutti’s offices in Montechiarugolo (Parma, Italy) and the company’s activity based on tomatoes.

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Though all the environment, connecting the renovated edifice and the new spaces, a solar promenade links the offices over the two floors: an indoor street, with trees, enlighten with skylights, as the work environments, exposed to south to maximize the natural light.

Every workstation has also a lighting system based on a dimmable LED system, regulated by sensors. Workers can adjust the lighting through the smartphone or the computer.
Lights is also the key of the energy efficiency of the building, with a 18kW photovoltaic and a solar thermal system, and the air recycle that uses the solar irradiation.

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A second feature of the project is the “tomatoes inspiration”: the hall at the entrance recalls the shape of the vegetable with a circular and regular shape, while the color over the space is based on red, that along with the gold, recalls all over the Mutti’s brand.

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The flexible working environment, that includes also two meeting rooms at the first floor, is characterized by the ergonomic seats by Bross and the technical channels designed on the grès floor that allow to easily reconfigure the partition and the organization of the space.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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The Vodafone headquarters in Padova (Dante Benini&Partners).

After the Smart Vodafone Village in Milan, Dante O. Benini & Partners Architects designed the Vodafone’s offices in Padova: multifunctional, eco-friendly, open space workplace where materials, colors and lighting create a dynamic and harmonious rhythm, reflecting the ways of working of the company.

The Vodafone’s offices in Padova are a polyphonic environment designed to support the wellbeing of the workers, through the interaction between cutting-edge technologies where different kind of environments and furniture by several companies, such as Sedus, Caimi Brevetti, Arper and Segis. The whole creates a peculiar rhythm throughout the space, dividing, but at the same time unifying, formal and informal, privacy and meeting workspaces.

The project follows the features of the Vodafone Village in Milan, also designed by the same firm Dante O. Benini & Partners Architects: a fully connected, multifunctional and shared open space, with a particular attention to energetic sustainability which candidates the Cittadella to the LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).
The key of the project is to enhance through the space the smart, flexible and dynamic ways of working of the company, using visible and tangible elements as materials, colors, acoustic elements, and lighting. While the different colors reflect the switch between two different environments, the lighting system and the space are expanded by the using of honeycomb aluminium papers on the surfaces and on the custom furniture.

The interior design plays with its own elements: the working islands defined by free-standing and self illuminated workstation in a big letter shape are a perfect example as well as the relax area where rocking chairs and furniture are inspired by organic and embracing shapes.
The graphic project by Gr Interior, the repetition throughout the space of models, materials and geometrical elements creates connected environments which differ in purpose and configuration, in a single harmonious and at the same time flexible working setting.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Pictures by Beppe Raso.

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Interface appointed Nigel Stansfield as president of EMEA.

Nigel Stansfield is the new president of EMEA appointed by Interface, the worldwide leader in the design and production of modular flooring products, committed to sustainability and minimising its impact on the environment while enhancing shareholder value. Innovation an sustainability are the key points included in the Stansfield ’s ambitious business objectives.

We have ambitious business objectives to drive global growth. Achieving these targets depends on innovation across our business and through the supply chain to provide new product offerings and grow the core carpet tile business. It’s a privilege to have been part of Interface for over 30 years and a pleasure to have the opportunity to lead the business forward and continue our journey in achieving these goals.” Stansfield quoted.
Stansfield has over 30 years’ experience in the industry at Interface and previously held a variety of roles in both manufacturing and innovations. He has had global responsibility for developing and implementing Interface’s strategies in innovations, sustainability, product and design, and most recently held the position of Chief Supply Chain Officer.


His extensive technological background and expertise will complement the company’s growth strategy throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Stansfield’s responsibility will be to drive growth in the core carpet tile business, while bringing new offerings to market and delivering supply chain efficiencies. He will also spearhead efforts to deliver Interface’s Mission Zero® commitments in the region, and pursue the company’s new Climate Take Back mission focused on addressing climate change.
In 2014 Interface commissioned The Human Spaces Report, a global research into biophilic design. The survey demonstrates the relationship between individuals and their environment can be a crucial determinant of how they feel, perform and interact with others. This research inspired The innovative Human Nature floor carpet collections.

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Golden party.

Design addicts particularly love all KnIndustrie’s products. They are useful and elegant Christmas gifts, high-quality tools that combine technology and tradition, sustainability and materials research. The best for the Christmas party are the wok and cutlery offered in champagne gold and bronze color version.

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#knpot#eat#healthy, wok/saucepan
Available in brushed gold bronze finishing, it is the ideal pan for healthy cooking, thanks to the antioxidant hard anodization with silver ions that excludes any transfer of substances during the preparation. Excellent heat conductivity and a uniform temperature distribution on all surfaces of the wok ensure perfect results. Thanks to its functional removable handle, it may be used to present the food directly on the table or to contain fruits.
Ø cm 32. Price 118 euros.

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Zest and Foo’d cutlery, design by Rodolfo Dordoni.
An innovative PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) finishings in “champagne color”, fruit of the outcome of the on-going research into new manufacturing techniques.The main characteristics of PVD consist in resistance to corrosion and chemical agents and a greater surface hardness. Moreover, the manufacturing cycle has a zero environmental footprint. Price 50 euros for 4 pieces (spoon, knife, fork, coffee spoon).

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10 trends from Orgatec 2016.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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