How many microbes live on a handle?

We all daily touch many surfaces without worrying about our health. Is it possible to protect against the proliferation of microbes on everyday objects? Akzo Nobel answers with Interpone AM, the antimicrobial powder coatings with BioCote technology based on silver ions.

Modern day living presents ideal environments for a wide variety of microbes to successfully establish colonies and grow on almost every surface we touch eg furniture, equipment, stationery, clothing and work surfaces can all be affected by microbial growth.
For many centuries silver has been used to preserve and protect.
Silver ions show a toxic effect on bacteria, mould, and some viruses. However, advances in technology allow silver ions to be incorporated into everyday products at the manufacturing stage. These products can then inhibit the growth of microbes, such as bacteria and mould on their surface. One such silver ion antimicrobial protection has been incorporated into AkzoNobel’s coating powders to create the Interpon AM range.


In order to provide to customers with the best possible antimicrobial coating, AkzoNobel have teamed up with BioCote to ensure our Interpon AM product performs to the very highest antimicrobial standards and complies with biocidal legislation around the world.
Legislation related to the use of produces treated with biocidal agents is very complex and allowable marketing claims about product performance vary greatly from county to country – fines for not adhering to local rules and regulations can be very severe.


The antimicrobial powder coatings Interpon AM is based on BioCote technology: silver ion antimicrobial protection is effective against a broad spectrum of microbes. It lasts for the lifetime of the product and microbial growth is continually reduced on its surface, helping prevent odors, stains and product deterioration 24 hours a day. It supports effective cleaning regimes providing an additional level of protection against microbial growth.
The BioCote protection is permanent, it provides built in protection for the expected lifetime of your product. It has been proven to reduce the presence of microbes on a protected product by up to 99.99%.

Interpon AM is a product range which can be adapted for use in a wide range of applications. In addition to the antimicrobial properties it will meet the protective and decorative characteristics expected of a high performance powder coating.
It is designed to be used in areas where there is an obvious need to maintain a low level of microbes eg medical, food & catering. However, it is also effective in areas where there is high human traffic eg locker/changing rooms, offices, public transport, airports, schools.

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Econocom Village: the “phygital” workplace.

A network of spaces, technology and people that redefines the relationship between physical and digital reality, a website to surf bodily. The interior design of the Econocom Village by Il Prisma is thought for dynamic and innovative ways of working, smart collaboration and open innovation, in the renovated space La Forgiatura, projected by Giuseppe Tortato and developed by RealStep.

A challenge that has seen several professionals and companies working on the renovation 6.000 sqm in less than a year, with new green spaces and the link structures between La Forgia and La Tecnica, the main areas of the Econocom Village in Milan.

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“It was not easy to integrate a new building in a magical place as La Forgiatura, an example of urban regeneration known and appreciated worldwide” the architect Giuseppe Tortato said, describing the four bridges with metal trusses that enshrine a wide 8-meters-high internal hall and double-height meeting rooms overlooking the new green areas.
On the glass facade corten steel is used to create rhythmical elements while on the surface areas exposed to the sun, a microperforated metal shielding helps to reduce the consumptions for the air conditioning of the internal spaces.

Following the insights given by neurosciences for the workplace interior design, collected in their book Now We Work, Il Prisma has designed the interiors of the five buildings, creating a stimulating environment, that involves all the five senses, redefining the relationship between physical and digital reality.


The project is based on the Econocom’s concept “Wiring connection”, creating a network of colored lines linking space, where different experiences take place: blue leads to places for relaxing or concentration, yellow to spots that foster happiness and cheerfulness, red to informal meeting environments and magenta to areas thought to stimulate creativity.

At the entrance, a building inspired by a Green House and a tunnel, where a programmable LED lighting system can create different scenarios, welcomes the visitors and create an anticipation of the engaging different areas of the Econocom Village: working open space areas aside, the buildings include a gym, a Lounge Music Club for hosting musical events, band room hosting a web radio, and a restaurant. There are also different spaces dedicated to clients: a Disaster Recovery Area for the technical assistance, tech laboratories for kids and the Academy for adult’s education.

Testo di Gabriele Masi.

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Lunch and coffee break at Sky HQ.

A comfortable and efficient canteen and a welcoming coffee bar are key features for a dynamic workplace. DEGW has completed the Sky Italia’s HQ in Milan with a Coffee Point at the entrance hall and the restaurant “Gourmeet”, mixing a technological and natural mood, greenery and sound absorption, encouraging new ways of cooperating and sharing experiences.

After designing the office space of the third building of the Sky Italia’s HQ in Milan, DEGW has completed the project adding some new environments as the Coffee Point at the entrance hall and the corporate restaurant.


“Gourmeet”, a name chosen by sky staff, has 197 places divided into two separate areas one for self-service, dedicated to who wants to eat in the canteen’s private area or in the break areas located on the various levels of the building, and the other for table service.
An 18-metre-long corridor takes to the restaurant area, an integral part of the project with walls covered with musk, natural greenery, and frames and graphics evoking the topic of food and showing stars from Sky’s programmes.


The natural mood of the furniture in the table-service area (chairs and table designed by Pedrali), goes along with the industrial-style iron structure, while the furniture in the self-service area, separated by a long partition on wheels, is custom designed by DEGW.
Vertical walls of natural greenery are also a key feature of the main space, used for keeping down sound pollution (with the Caimi Brevetti‘s Flap sound-absorbent panels on the ceiling), generating oxygen and setting out the space in the self-service area, where two other, smaller and cosier rooms have also been created: the lounge area and a canteen bar with a large diamond-polished ceramic with a Corian top that creates a striking contrast with the black rear wall.

Moreover, alongside the table-service area, there is a separate and comfortable area with six tables, guaranteeing privacy and intimacy.
The Coffe Point is one of the main features of the nine-metre-high hall designed to welcome the at least 600 entries per day.  Alongside the reception and the sinuous sofas, the coffee point has a very technological feel, thanks to the polycarbonate wall behind the desk dynamically covered by LED lights programmed according to the Sky spectrum.


The choice of materials balances convention and innovation, a natural but high-tech mood, while the warm wood with an oak finish used for the main counter recalls the mood of the canteen, which like the coffee point, bears the hallmark of Pedevilla.

Text by Gabriele Masi.





Welcome to the Jungle Office: XOhub.

A technological, hyperconnected and green “Jungle”: XOffice, dealer of Vitra and Thonet, has designed his multifunctional offices in Rome focusing on the the central role of plants and green in a workplace. XOhub is thought as a contemporary urban jungle that brings greater well-being to their inhabitants, in a constat balance among human, tech and nature.

The desire to promote an increasingly conscious use of greenery in the workplace lies behind XOhub, the first Office Jungle in Rome, in which plants become the real protagonists of the space. The 500 sqm multifunctional office designed by XOffice is completely pervaded by greenery which gives a biophilc sensation, aimed to enhance the well-being of the workers.


Other key features of XOhub are the eco-sustainability and the use of domotics and of an innovative technology that garantees a high level of flexibility and engagement. An example of it are the virual workstations that allows to work everywhere, building an interconnected and agile working enviroment. The contemporary language expressed through the selection of colors and materials create an original narrative throughout a multifunctional, open and modern working environment with a wide collaborative space, a dedicated area for informal meetings, a video conference and training room and a vip lounge.


The “Jungle Office” stages the meanings and the challenges of the contemporary ways of working, expressing the necessity of creating an ecosystem capable of reinterpreting the strategic intertwining between designed and technological space.
Text by Gabriele Masi.



The headphones RIG 800LX Plantronics won the Innovation Award CES 2018.

This is the tenth consecutive year that Plantronics, an audio pioneer and communications technology leader, has been recognized by the Consumer Technology Association for its innovative audio solutions. The wireless headphones RIG 800LX that recently awarded by the CES 2018 Innovation Award in the gaming category, are now available together with the RIG 400LX, RIG 600LX models. All the family of gaming headphones featuring Dolby Atmos innovative technology.
RIG 800LX will be on display in the Innovation Showcase in the Venetian Ballroom at CES Tech West 2018, which runs January 9-12, 2018, in Las Vegas.

Products entered in the prestigious CES 2018 Innovation Award are judged by a preeminent panel of independent industrial designers, independent engineers and members of the trade media to honor outstanding design and engineering in cutting edge consumer electronics products across 28 product categories.
The innovative technology Dolby Atmos of RIG 800LX, that seduced the jury, is also available with the wireless headphones RIG 400LX and RIG 600LX.
This special audio enhancement for Xbox One and Windows 10 lets gamers hear sounds with three-dimensional clarity – from above and below, in front and behind – giving them increased advantage in nearly any gaming scenario.

“I’ve never met a gamer who wasn’t looking for some sort of competitive edge- said Alessandro Laterza, Head of Consumer Sales at Plantronics Italia- Our newest RIG line with Dolby Atmos enables multi-directional, fully immersive audio cues like nothing else in the market today. Combine that with a long-lasting battery life and signature lightweight design, and the choice becomes obvious. If you want a true 360 competitive edge, Plantronics RIG with Dolby Atmos has you covered.”


Plantronics RIG 800LX Wireless Features:
Dolby Atmos for Headphones Activation: Provides gamers with full, 3-D audio by changing the way developers treat sound in-game. Instead of placing audio in a flattened 2D circle, Dolby Atmos technology creates a full sphere of sound that moves around the gamer – above and below, in front and behind.
Performance Audio: Amplified audio with matched 40 mm drivers brings the soundstage to life. Low frequency resonators reinforce bass and limit distortion. When done talking, just flip up the mic to mute it.
Precise Controls: Analog dials help you quickly adjust the balance between game and chat audio, as well as master volume. Choose an EQ setting to isolate pure highs, intensify the mid-range, enjoy seismic bass or enhance vocal focus.
Advanced Battery: Wireless headset with a 24-hour battery life that allows players to focus on gaming without worrying if the headset will lose power. When the headset needs to be charged, the enhanced quick-charging battery provides three hours of gaming per 30 minutes of charge.


Plantronics RIG 400LX and RIG 600LX Features:
RIG 400LX and RIG 600LX also feature Dolby Atmos for Headphone activation. RIG 400LX features 40 mm drivers which deliver explosive game audio that puts you right in the middle of the action. The noise-cancelling boom mic is always ready for chat and ensures your teammates hear you loud and clear. RIG 600LX delivers a balanced soundstage with distortion-free bass that helps you immerse in the experience without masking the subtle audio cues you must hear to stay in the game. Both models include the RIG LX1 pro level amp with three audio EQ modes, dual analog control-wheels for game/chat balance and an aux input for music.


RIG 400LX, RIG 600LX and RIG 800LX are available at plantronics.com and major retailers for $99.99, $129.99 and $149.99 respectively.


Creativity is already there: instructions for use.

Creativity is not a matter of being a genius, it is a matter of living in an environment and constantly adapting to it and at the same time modifying it.
So creativity can be fostered through space, enhancing well-being, flexibility and malleability of the furniture, accountability, communication and new technologies. That’s what WOW! has sustained at the conference “The boundaries of fantasy: is creativity in the office going too further?” at the  IFMA’s Facility Management Day 2017

Talking about creativity in an office environment is sometimes cause of anxiety. Workers feel like they have to do something extraordinary that they feel they can’t do, even if they don’t know exactly what and how. On the other hand, managers are struggling to create more and more innovative workplaces and ways of working, questioning, at the same time, their real effectiveness of them and trying to define where it is possible to draw boundaries.


There’s another way to think about creativity that helps to take the pressure off: creativity is already there, it is a part of our everyday life in every environment.
The American anthropologist Tim Ingold once said that “we don’t build to dwell, we dwell therefore we build”.
Creativity arises in a constant relationship within an environment that is made of space, objects, people and rules.
A set of rules is essential for creativity, which is our own way to move inside and bend their boundaries and to keep on recreating them, like kids playing a “what if” game.
Think about the workstation of a hierarchical old-style workplace: on each desk it’s owner create his own territory, piling up papers, adding photos or other kind of objects, positioning monitors or pens in different ways. This is what I call an “inner focused” creativity, and its aim is “survive the boring routine of each day”. The challenge is nowadays to make this “already-made” creativity visible, enhance it, and use it to improve the company’s productivity.


If we think about the Maslow pyramid of needs, we can turn outwardly this creativity, by creating a space capable of satisfying the well-being, sense of belonging, engagement, fulfilment and safety, basic needs of everyone.
How can we do that nowadays? Here we give five practical suggestions:


 1) A malleable and pliant space.
When it’s a matter of creativity, flexibility is not enough. We need a sensorial environment that people can touch, reassemble, and constantly modify and re-invent. A multifunctional space is essential, but it is not enough: it has to be open designed, thought not just for the today’s needs but capable of adapting to ten years ahead needs.

2) Objects are actions and relationships.
“Two empty chairs, one opposite to the other, are already a conversation”. Objects are both symbols of identity both a suggestion of an action. Through furniture, managers can transmit messages and influence the behaviour of the employees, creating a space suitable for the goal they want to reach, making it easily perceivable.


 3) Accountability and trust
Social facts, like office’s life, has always something that is unpredictable and often the project you have in mind comes out in a totally different result.
We need to accept this unpredictability, creating a working environment where two smart working keywords like accountability and trust are perceived and put into practice constantly.


4) Space as communication and learning.
As Birgit Gebhardt has studied, it is more effective to design space, not thinking about the material side of it, but like a stage where conversations, communications and actions take place. We need to shape communication if we want to foster new perspective and new ways of interaction, which are the foundation of a creative workplace. Moreover, we have to think about the office as a life-long learning environment, where people can exchange competences and knowledge, stimulating their personal growth.


5) The key role of technology.
As a recent Sedus’s research shows, technology is having a strong impact on architecture and design, developing the concept of a “spacial happiness” based on the capability of the individual to dominate the environment, deciding the lighting, heating, humidity, acoustic conditions. Technology is also crucial to control the unpredictability we talked about before: IoT and sensors help to collect a huge amount of data that managers can use to design more effective and more engaging workplace, satisfying the needs of each employee.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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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.


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.



With an 80-year-old history, Italian Smart Office looks ahead.

Interview with Massimo Stella, 42 years old, third generation in Estel Group. Since 2012 he has been Sales Director, but he attaches greater importance to teamwork rather than to his role. So, no conflict with the previous generations and maybe right the dynamic balance and also a daily debate on strategies, communication, people and products are the reasons for the success of this company, now in the top 20 in Europe, that celebrates its 80th anniversary.

Since it was set up, what are in your opinion the key steps that brought Estel into the top 20 companies in Europe? Would you follow the same path now?

The turning-point coincides with the entry of the second generation to the company in the ‘70s, when this craft firm changed into an industry; another key moment was the entry into the office furniture industry at the beginning of the ‘80s.
In the early 2000s the company has further developed through an in-depth analysis of a design-oriented culture and the ability to carry out tailor-made approaches, mainly demanded by the major customers. The forthcoming path will be marked by an even higher travel speed.


What are the company principles, which lead and mark out Estel worldwide?

Estel is steadily in the making, watching and analyzing the actual facts and the evolution of the market on a global scale, in order to find the right answers as regards the product. We are now a leader in the office furniture sector in a quite different context: the static condition of the workplace has been questioned in companies of all sizes; the possibility to work anywhere entails the necessary adjustments of the whole working environment. Technology is the driving force behind this major evolution and that’s why Estel has increased its investment in R&D.
Design is no doubt another crucial aspect: we don’t consider ourselves just “mere” furniture makers, we can also offer comprehensive, space-planning solutions.


First-rate design and research are also Estel’s success factors, how many energies and resources, in per cent, were necessary to achieve the intended purpose? 

The new ways of working dramatically changed the design approach and the office space planning.
Research has always been a strategic factor for Estel. In our planning approach the worker is at the core of the creative process, that’s why our range of furniture is no longed divided “hierarchically” (executive, clerical, etc) but by function.
By the collaboration with architects, interior designers and a professional team, Estel can be a leading company in the Smart Office sector, with high quality level products bond in terms of materials and design.

Estel has also launched the “pleasure of agile working”, through the claim “Italian Smart Office”; how many of your costumers in Italy and abroad follow the Smart Working approach and how many have a more traditional attitude?

Compared to the United States, the pioneers of smart working, our country is definitely limping along, but 2016 was a turning point thanks to the new law. Among UE countries, only England, German and the Scandinavian countries are far “ahead” but just in numerical terms.
It’s a meaningful change of mentality. Workers are becoming flexible and “nomads”, willing to “give up” habits that were once rooted like personalization and dimension of their own territory.


You fit out some of the major Headquarters all over the world, how is your view of Italian Smart Office accepted? Which differences do you find in the culture of work and ways of working in the other countries?

In countries, where there is already a “smart” approach, you deal with stakeholders already fully formed in the subject, while in other countries these theories are still little known and arouse curiosity and interest. So, the commercial approach changes considerably, for instance, in the US the design of products is more emphasized while in the Far East they are rather spreading a more complex concept.
Companies like ours cannot do without flexibility, for it has an impact on our identity: we can offer serial products yet with customized measures and finishes. It is essential in an international context where taste and ways of working may differ a lot.

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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.


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”.


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.


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.


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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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.


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.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.


#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.


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).


Ways of Designing & cross-disciplinarity: Atelier Oï.

It is not easy to precisely define the Swiss group founded by Aurel Aebi, Armand Louis and Patrick Reymond in 1991. Architects, designers, artist, scenographers, Atelier Oï has developed a cross-disciplinary way of designing, breaking down the barriers among different knowledges.

Dancing in the air, whirling round and round, the lamps Le Danseuses designed by Atelier Oï for Artemide have been included by ADI Index in the selection for the next Compasso d’Oro Awards.
The poetic Atelier Oï’s design makes every project identifiable, from the precision of the industrial design to the handcrafted manufacturing of the materials: paper (lamp Fusion designed in collaboration with Ozeki & Co. for Danese), felt (modular containers for USM), fabrics (separator Sinua for Danese) or mainly wood (as in the Allumettes collection for Röthlisberger).

How important is the material in your products?
All our designs are based on how the materials express themselves, how they can be transformed, what are their limits, how you can push it forward and what you can actually make out of them.
Which approach do you need towards the material?
We are convinced that not only handcraft by every know-how is very important. This was also the main topic we had this year in Milan, Casa Gifu, a collaboration between Atelier Oï and the Japanese prefecture Gifu. And all was base on the knowledge and the know-how they have around wood, paper and other materials and the new technologies and ways of transforming materials.

Do we need more connection between manufacture and design?
With the Hida Sangyo’s japanese company we have developed some wooden furniture, tables and chairs and all of them are made by compressed wood they have in Japan, that can’t be used otherwise. So it is all about the know-how they have in wood making, compressing the wood to make it stable enough to be able to make anything out of it.  So this a nice aspect of the link among design, handcraft, the knowledge and the know-how that we put together in the end in the product.
An hybrid approach that requires also different figures…
In general a lot of things we can see in our projects comes from other projects. In Atelier
Oï we include architects, interior designers, graphic designers, so we have different points of views and different scales of work. And this has a lot of impact on the actual final product because something we see in architecture we transpose to furniture or to a product or the other way round. And it is this that gives the certain spirit we have in the way we transform materials.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

1. Le Danseuses, AtelierOï, Artemide.
2. Hive, Atelier Oï, B&B Italia.
3. Sinua, Atelier Oï, Danese.
4. Stairs, Atelier Oï, Lasvit
5. Allumette, Atelier Oï, Röthlisberger Kollektion
6. Decomposé, Atelier Oï, Artemide.
7. Inos Box, Atelier Oï, USM
8. Casa Gifu, Atelier Oï.



Hybrid Office Design against hyper-specialization.

Organized by WOW! together with Dieffebi at the opening ceremony of their new showroom in Milan, the panel discussion “Office Design Ibrido” was an official event of the last #DesigncityMilano that has opened new perspectives on the hybrid design. Nowadays everything is getting hybrid: spaces, objects and furniture, mixing together different functions and features, trying to cope with a more flexible and fluid lifestyle and work style.

Hydridization is one of the keywords of the contemporary design. It is the “grey area” of the project, as it was defined by the designer Giulio Iacchetti. “Grey is not something negative as sometimes we use to think: it is the mix of the three primary colors”. Presenting his new project, the Smart Writing Desk by Moleskine, Giulio Iacchetti has focused on the constant research of the contemporary design, far away from the super-specialized object, keen to join together the traditional objects with the new technological innovations.
This is the kind of research capable of rediscover the potential of these object, like a notebook (Paper Tablet by Giulio Iacchetti), a pen, which a digital company like Microsoft has found to be still extremely useful in a learning and creative process, and a aluminum paper, that the company e-wenco has turned into an autonomous heating and cooking system in their Notecook.
As Claudia Bonatti, manager of Microsoft’s office division, said, the technology is the real driver in these design revolution, changing everyone’s ways of working and living and therefore bringing changes in interaction between the company and the consumers and in the way of thinking, designing and producing the product.

How is it possible to face the challenges of this new trend? The 40 years Dieffebi’s history, told by the president Alberto De Zan, shows how a company can renovate itself, trying ceaselessly to find and add new hybrid solutions for their products, in order to satisfy the always new consumer’s needings. An example of this way of thinking is in the new products as the seat-cabinets CBox, design to allow the user to have always the important files or objects at his fingertips, or the soundproof bookcases Primo 1000 acoustic. Products like these are perfect for the new office spaces, like the ones Cesare Chichi by 967 has shown during his speech, tracing the hybrid scenario of the contemporary office, “from the paper to the digital and comeback”, form the home office to the home “in” office, till the hybridization between the desk and the urban space.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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Snowsound by Caimi allows you to feel the “cosmic silence”.

A new important Caimi Brevetti’s collaboration with the Science and Technology Museum Leonardo Da Vinci in Milan for the exhibition “Extreme. Searching for particles“ where Snowsound sound-absorbing panels have been used to create the “Do not disturb Room”. A further success for this multi -awarded technology (in only 3 years 20 awards, including Compasso d’Oro 2016).
Snowbound technology is also present at the same museum in the exhibition “Design as you never heard it” in the Italian Pavilion of the XXI Triennale.

The permanent exhibition “Extreme. Searching for particles”, realized by National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci in Milan. It is the first exhibition in Italy on this issue and it is aimed at a wider audience, explains how the research of infinitesimal particles is conducted within the research labs of CERN and INFN (National Institute of Nuclear Physics).
Caimi Brevetti, taking advantage of the Snowsound technology of its Flap sound absorbing panels (design by Alberto and Francesco Meda, winners of XXIV Compasso d’Oro).

The company has realized the “Do Not Disturb” room which resembles the disturbance-free environment (mandatory condition for this kind or research), a “Cosmic Silence” metaphorically linked to the noise application of the panels.
Snowsound® Technology, applied in a wide range sound-absorbing panels designed by leading designers, represents a true innovation in the field of acoustic design; it easily allows to obtain different levels of sound absorption using monomateric 100% recyclable panels, Italian Class 1 fire reaction, Euroclass B-s2, d0 and Greenguard Gold certified.

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Design and technology: 3 Red Dot Awards for Plantronics.

“We believe that functional, attractive, high-quality design is fundamental to develope products that integrate seamlessly into today’s modern lifestyles”. Darrin Caddes’s words, company’s vice president and corporate design, were confirmed by the 3 Red Dot Awards assigned to Plantronics’s products Voyager Focus UC, Voyager 5200 and BackBeat GO 3.

“A premium design helps to convey confidence and competence during a call or while listening to music; delivering comfort and ease of use that enhances the user experience”, Darrin Caddes commented on the Red Dot Awards 2016, Design Products category, assigned to Voyager Focus UC, Voyager 5200 and BackBeat GO 3.
5200 products from 57 different countries has joined the 2016’s edition of the Red Dot Awards, one of the world largest competition organized by the german Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Essen.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

1. Plantronics Voyager 5200. All-day comfort and long battery life, up to 7 hours talk time: these are the key concept of Voyager 5200. Designed for stability and comfort on a wide range of ear shapes and sizes, it can fit 90 percent of people.
2. Plantronics BackBeat GO 3. The vivid, high-resolution audio delivered by BackBeat GO 3 lets users go wireless without losing audio fidelity. Six-millimeter drivers in each BackBeat GO 3 earbud result in a wider sound stage and range of frequencies, delivering natural sound and perfectly balanced highs and lows.
4. Plantronics Voyager Focus UC.  Designed for enterprise workers in an open space or other loud environments, Voyager Focus UC allows to eliminate background noise on calls or during focus time, reducing in volume high frequency noises like office sounds and voices.


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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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The potential of live streaming.

Can the evolution of social media have an impact on the strategy of a company? Plantronics has launched an innovative campaign with the writer Rossella Canevari, one of the most popular italian Periscoper, showing the potential of live streaming in reaching new consumers.

“Since few years ago, people used to find the cutting edge technology on the office place. Nowadays the innovation starts from the consumers. The private experience needs to be shared and turn into an instrument for the company”. With these words Ilaria Santambrogio, italian country manager of Plantronics, introduced the live streaming campaign launched by the american company with Rossella Canevari as testimonial.
The italian writer and Periscope influencer has used the latest Plantronics’s technology to promote her new book “Life Refound” in a live streaming tour of significant cultural event.
Which are the most significant benefits of this new technology?
“Live streaming is something different from other form of communication. It gives an idea of authenticity and spontaneity, while it allows an immediate interaction with the public”, Rossella Canevari said. ”The choice of the testimonial needs to be based not only on the number of the followers of his community, but on their responsiveness and engagement.”
“Our products can be an instrument for this new ways of communicating”, Ilaria Santambrogio concluded. “This campaign is a test: using social media technology to advertise our technology”.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Featured image by Franco Covi.