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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Biophilia and Mindful Design at Wellness17 (London, 9/5th).

Oliver Heath and Aidan Walker are two of the key speakers for the conference Wellness17 that will address main wellbeing issues in the workplace. From a mental and physiology perspective that pretends to improve our work life balance to a design approach to generate a healthier and more natural work space.
The leading event on wellness in the workplace, will return to London on 5th September 2017 at Credit Suisse.

Oliver Heath talks about Biophilic Design.

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The concept of Biophilia is becoming more present within the workplace as employers and employees alike seek healthier and more balanced working lives. Oliver Heath will discuss “The Science and Style of Biophilic design”. A new research that demonstrates how we can harness the human attraction to nature to reduce stress and aid recuperation by utilising Biophilic design principles. In this way we can make tangible benefits to the workplace including reducing costs such as absenteeism whilst improving productivity, engagement and happiness.

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Oliver Heath is Founder of Heath Design Ltd, an architectural and interior design practice combining three key strands: sustainable design, consumer engagement and communications to inspire the uptake of future thinking in the built environment. He stimulates the adoption of happier, healthier places to live and work. Oliver is currently a Biophilic Design ambassador for Interface flooring.

Photos: courtesy of Interface and HW Style.

Aidan Walker talks about Mindful Design.

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Aidan Walker, Director of Aidan Walker Associates and fellow of the Royal Society of Arts will share his thoughts on “Mindful Design. Principles in practice”. 

Leaders in business, education, hospitality, health and government are paying ever more careful attention to personal wellbeing. It can be about cranking up productivity, generating a new profit centre for guests who mistake luxury for inner solace, or reducing stress.
For workplace professionals and designers, the driving principle is changing from Sustainability to ‘Wellness’. With the ‘Seven C’s of Mindful Design’ Aidan Walker proposes a map of the new professional and personal landscape.

Aidan has practised Hatha Yoga, including a spell teaching, all his adult life, and in his 20s spent six years as a fully dedicated member of the Brahma Kumaris, living and teaching the principles of Raja Yoga. This has led to the publication of the book ‘The Ecology of the Soul’, and he is now working on developing its message to apply specifically to mindfulness in the practice of design.

Wellness17 will also focus on confronting mental health in the workplace, defining best practice, work-life balance, people, place, design and much more. Wellness17 builds on the success of Unwired’s Worktech series of conferences and encompasses all aspects of Wellness including Mind, Body and Spirit, addressing some of the most interesting and challenging subjects such as the stigma of mental health, taming technology, nutrition, design and much more.
Book now at the Wellness17 Early Bird rate and save £100!

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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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Audio-visual integration: Snowsound Lux.​

Caimi Brevetti is continuing the research it began smore than five years ago in the field of acoustic design. Following the development of the patented technologies Snowsound and Snowsound Fiber, a new important step is Snowsound Lux, a new breakthrough both in acoustic design and in multifunctional fixtures. The new products of the collection –Oversize Lux and Giotto Lux– are respectively designed by Marc Sadler e Sezgin Aksu and integrate lighting and acoustic performances.

Focused on the holistic vision of environmental comfort, the Snowsound Lux project aims to develop sound-absorbing panels that not only screen out the unpleasant noise of many public and private spaces, but also embed a lighting source.
Caimi Brevetti’s entire line of production is predicated on a design concept that focuses on the wellness and comfort of its users, and the Snowsound Lux has now added the element of light into the existing element of sound to create an integrated audio-visual fixture.

Oversize Lux design by Marc Sadler 

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Oversize Lux aims to turn sound-absorbing panels made with Snowsound technology from purely functional fixtures into real pieces of furniture, suspended from the ceiling. The panels resolve three design challenges: how to provide ambient lighting, how to lower the ceiling and how to achieve acoustic comfort. A joined-up approach to dealing with these three challenges led to the creation of what are effectively architectural solutions consisting of sound-absorbing panels punctuated with recessed bays containing LED lighting points.
The panels are available in different colours and come in two sizes: 119cm x 119cm, and 119cm x 159cm. Likewise, the LED lighting is available either as an individual square spotlight or as a rectangular lamp. The ceiling suspension cables are adjustable.

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Giotto Lux design by Sezgin Aksu

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Giotto Lux is a sound-absorbing room fixture that uses Snowsound technology. It has a pure geometric form consisting of a circular panel 119 cm in diameter, at the centre of which is a 28W LED light covered by a satin-finished polyethylene diffuser. The result is a sculptural lighting element that fulfils two requirements: illumination and acoustic comfort.
It is available in different colours, and can be coordinated with Giotto Ceiling and Giotto Wall panels, which do not include inbuilt lighting.

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Wellness within the Workplace: conference in London (5th September 17).

WOW is media partner of the second edition of Wellness the conference will return to London on 5th September 2017 at Credit Suisse.
Wellness17 encompasses all aspects of Wellness including Mind, Body and Spirit and addresses some of the most interesting and challenging subjects such as the stigma of mental health, taming technology, nutrition, design, talking about Mindfulness, Ergonomics, Work-Life Balance and much more.
WOW followers can Book now at the Super Early Bird rate and save £100!

Wellness builds on the success of Unwired’s Worktech series of conferences. Following a session at Worktech London with an emphasis on People & Wellness, Unwired really struggled to trim down the raft of extensive research to accommodate just a matter of hours. When post event feedback from that session was so favourably received, they decided that there was merit to having a specialist conference on that very topic alone.

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Wellness in its broadest sense encompasses Mind, Body and Spirit. We will continue to build on the foundations of Worktech to further explore all the facets that affect Wellness within the Workplace, from the impact of technology, job design, best practices.
Core themes for this year’s event include confronting mental health issues, enriching employees through mindfulness activities, defining best practices, adapting to changing work environments, creating healthier workplaces with an emphasis on people, design, body and health.
The conference will explore key influencers of work depression such as stress and workplace bullying, examine key tools for providing a healthy work-life balance and how to ‘switch off’ from stressful jobs as well as facing challenges of gender equality and diversity at work.
With the cost of recruitment ever rising, it is the smart companies that are looking at cost of their Human Capital, and ensuring that by providing not only a destination workplace but by investing in the wellbeing of their staff they will recruit and retain the very brightest talent, increasing profitability, by not only engaging staff, but by reducing costs to the business due to ill-health or recruitment.

Mind
Astoundingly, one in four, 25% of the population, will be affected by Mental Health at some point within their lives.  With the increase of smartphones, the line between work and leisure time is becoming ever more blurred, it makes sense that this is set to increase. Employers need to be smart on their governance of staff, to identify those working long hours, or that are showing signs of an unhealthy work balance. We will identify how companies can utilise simple cost effective strategies to enhance the workplace and encourage both emotionally literate, and emotionally resilient staff.

Body
It will be explored how job design can improve both emotional wellbeing within the workplace, and improve physical health. Ergonomics – with the rise of Bring Your Own Device to work, and smart working, are we laying the foundations for a RSI epidemic? We will address these issues along with how the furniture that you use at work can help you focus and be more productive.

Spirit
Mindfulness, everybody’s talking about it, everyone’s doing it, there’ve even a parliamentary initiative about it!  How do we incorporate the proven benefits within the workplace, and help ground staff and provide this invaluable tool to increase emotional resilience? The effects of having engaged staff can be profound and communication strategies throughout the business can provide the key. There is a wealth of activities that can positively influence wellness of employees, from art to choirs, table tennis and social networks – we will explore these, along with some of the more quirky, and question, what can you do and why should you do it.

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Hosted at Deloitte Auditorium, Wellness made it’s successful debut in 2016 with over 150 senior professionals attending the event. Key Speakers included Andy Gibson, Author and Founder, Mind Apples Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, Author Dr Craig Knight, Director of Haddleton Knight Sally Boyle, International Head of Human Capital Management, Goldman Sachs Carl Honoré, award-winning writer and author of internationally best-selling book, In Praise of Slow and many others.

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The best stands at Salone Ufficio – Workplace 3.0.

As usual the Salone stands out for the excellent quality standard of companies and exhibits and the refined and original installations full of charm.
Each stand is a temporary architecture carefully designed and it’s really hard to sort out the finest ones, that share bright and fascinating atmospheres, the use of plants and rich drapes.

WOW! has selected at Salone Ufficio – Workplace 3.0 edition 2017 those stands expressing the key words of the new ways of working in the best possible way.

Dieffebi: IOT, Wellness and “smart plants”.

 

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The stand designed by 967 is focused on wellness and biophilic design, key concepts of the Workplace 3.0.
On the occasion of the 2017 edition of Workplace 3.0, a new element is added to the minimalist design and clean lines that characterize the DotBox series, an element capable of making the workplace healthier and more pleasant: each storage module can be customized with a built-in flower box, with the dual functionality of purifying the air and giving a touch of style to the environment.

Inside the DotBox there is a ‘smart vase’ that uses Itair® technology, an innovative system of natural air purification for indoor environments. Thanks to this, the plants not only have the function of furnishing the space and making it more visually pleasing, but their natural purification properties are also amplified by a technological core inside the ‘smart vase’. The plant thus becomes an actual filter capable of metabolising the harmful agents in the air, and, thanks to the Itair® technology, which has a forced mechanical ventilation, the system increases the air flow inside the plant and amplifies its effectiveness exponentially.

Estel: 80 years of expertise for Italian Smart Office.

 

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Estel celebrates its 80th anniversary. The claim Italian Smart Office inspired the 400 sqm exhibiting space designed by Progetto CMR characterized by an elegant mood and a perfect lighting. The stand was organized around the main environments of the Smart Office:

“Personal Workstation”; “Comfort & Relax” with lounge and reception and informal meeting areas; coffeeshop and shared workstation entitled COffice; and last but not least executive desks and meeting-teleconference tables for the “Common Area”. Some Collaborative Rooms in different sizes – from phone booth to meeting room- offer solutions for acoustic comfort

Universal Selecta: Inner Sound and privacy oasis.

 

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The design of the stand by AMA – Albera Monti & Associati was inspired by the claim “The Inner Sound” and display the features of Chakra, the innovative prefabricated modular system for interiors that delimits areas of privacy and ideal conditions of acoustic comfort.

At the center of the stand a bed, expressing silence and calm, around it four different Chakras able to offer the same calm and silence in open plan offices and public areas.Outside the stand a smallest Chakra was available as phone booth for visitors.

Caimi Brevetti: acoustic comfort and artworks by Gillo Dorfles.

 

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In view of the 107th anniversary of Gillo Dorfles, Caimi Brevetti pays homage to the Master. The Snowsound panels made precious with some graphic works, designed by Dorfles from 1937 to 2017 are a perfect example of  how to combine art and industrial production can merge.

This evocative “art gallery” was the core of the installation organized in different sets partitioned by Snowsound Fiber curtains were new products for workplace and in-between areas were displayed.
Another amazing set was the sculptural suit designed and made by Moreno Ferrari.

Starpool at Workplace 3.0: neuroscience and wellbeing in the office.

Creating wellness in the working environment through new technologies and neuroscience is gonna be one of the main topics at the Salone Ufficio 2017. Starpool will so present his project “Zero-gravity mindfulness”, focusing on two products that create a new way of the office space to take care of the people working in: the dry floating experience of Zerobody and the meditation tracks of Nu Relax.

As it is shown by their claim Wellness Concept @Work, Starpool has always been a company focused on designing services and environment to support the wellbeing in the office. Lately, neuroscience’s findings have changed the way of approaching to this goal. “Mindfulness and inner balance are more and more required at work”, Riccardo Turri, Ceo Starpool. “Zerobody and Nu Relax are conceived like a bridge between the office environment and the scientific research. Knowing how our brain actually works is going to be important to improve our lifestyle in the next future”.
The project “Zero-gravity Mindfulness” (Mindfulness a gravità zero) at Salone del Mobile 2017 aims to create a connection between the new technologies and the last findings of neuroempowerment.

The table Zerobody, designed by Cristiano Mino and realized in collaboration with Neocogita, brings in the office the dry floating experience, a stress relief method, based on the sensation of feeling light like “being on a cloud”. Enveloping softly the body, the water heated mattress of Zerobody creates an ideal physical condition to concentrate and to improve the mental performances.
“Brain is flexible, it gets better or worst depending on how much and how we use it”, says Nicola de Pisapia, Neocogita’s founder. “The dry floating experience takes the person to a meditative condition that activates and thickens important cerebral areas”.
The Nu Relax’s six audio-guided meditation tracks, instead, are all based on scientific protocols and traditional practices like yoga. Nu Relax has being developed to help to face the different challenges and situations we have to deal with during a normal working day: relax, balance, creativity, calm, clarity of mind and brilliance.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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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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From a father-like to a mother-like company model .

The final Jelly Session of the WOW! Agile Working Island has inspired new questions about the need of an anthropological approach to the new ways of working: while the line between home and working environment is becoming more and more dense and blurred, the smart working model is realised through the design, as an instrument capable to introduce the worker in the new system.

The 2nd edition of the WOW! Agile Working Island has left many insights about the designing of the new working spaces, focused on wellbeing, flexibility and dynamism. Although these key concepts have been widely discussed, it is useful to analyse them through another point of view, an anthropological one, starting from the latest experiences discussed during the event.

1. From a controlling father-like to a mother-like model of the company.
The office space is no longer the stiff and sever place it used to be, image of the inflexible look of a father, but it’s a more like mother’s womb environment, welcoming, home feeling oriented and capable of cuddling his employees. The new spaces, like in between areas, nursery, break areas, and the attention paid to the effects of the noise, stress and a pour environment over the workers, and so on, show how the office is becoming a nice place to live. That’s because the paradigm has changed: beauty is wellbeing and wellbeing is productivity.
The best example of the mother-like company is the “cuddling environment” of Mattel in Milan, a space designed to challenge the classical conception of the working place towards something we can call “ the school of wellbeing”.
The company is a kind of an “adoptive family”, not only focused on the wellbeing of the employees, but also on how to teach them the way to properly take care of themselves: a part from the Green Project, we have already talked about, Mattel implemented a monthly plan with several services thought for his employees such as free osteopathic treatments, the presence of a psychologist or the blood test through the blood donation directly organised in the workplace, in addition to a free at-the-desk breakfast the first day of the month, fresh apples at the reception every day and subsidies for extra office services like medical check-ups or bus tickets.

2. A cultural perspective: peculiar deviations form the standard smart working model.
If “Design and Smart Working are about culture” as Andrè Straja underlined during the Jelly Session, the peculiar situation of Italy, where concepts such as flexibility, ergonomics and work-life balance, are perceived as new ones, has not to be considered totally in a negative way, but like a fertile and fruitful chance to “re-model the model”.
The indian Discovery Centre designed by Giulio Ceppi (TotalTool) is an example of retail shop where the made-in-italy is not just about the object and the product design, but also about a way of thinking based on always considering the context where the idea has to be applied as the main point of the project.
If the design is a cultural expression and we can’t overlook the cultural aspects, we can’t just adopted directly and entirely the models coming from Cupertino.
That was the insight that drove the project of the Digital Entity’s office in Milan, a space with an essential and clean design, as NTTdata wanted it very similar to the essential Japanese concept of working.
And, as Rossella Destefani reported us, this choice was perceived as a plus by their customers since “they don’t buy just the product, but also the Japanese reliability”.
That’s why design is not a neutral and ephemeral element, but the main instrument of the smart working change, a lived expression of the company management and of the new ways of working.

3. From the corporate to the body: how it is possible to create a group identity in the “flexibility era”.
Smart working is about trust and about educating to the trust. But how can a company teach trust and create a group identity at the same time? Through design.
Design is not just about making the office a nice place, but it has a deep influence and an educational power over the workers’ body  and therefore over the worker himself: flexible spaces and adjustable height desks force the work to be more dynamic; in between spaces, graffiti, and kitchenette create a new way of living the space and through a more informal space, blurring the line between the outer space and the office space, between the time in and the time out, enhancing the undefined working continuum given by the new technologies; meanwhile the open space model lets the company to be perceived as more transparent and horizontal in his hierarchy.
Design is also essential to make the workers perceive the brand identity and values, as we have already underlined for example talking about the new Star’s headquarters.
Another example, that was we have analysed in the final Jelly Session of the WOW! Agile Working Island is Technogym Village in Cesena (Italy). Here the leader company’s motto “we promote wellness in everything we do” is reflected throughout a space created to make the employees fitter: free use of gym machines  and of a jogging track before or after the working time, a selected and healthy food served in a “wellness restaurant”, the use of the wellness balls as chairs and writings at the side of the elevators that encourage the use of the stairs.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Captions:
1, 2 Wellness Campus Technogym, Antonio Citterio e Patricia Viel & Partners, Cesena (Italy).
3, Wellness Room, Mattel Italia’s offices, Milan (Italy).
4, UniCredit International Centre, SGS Architetti Associati and Studio Scagliotti, Sofia (Bulgaria).
5, Star’s Headquarters, Il Prisma, Milan. (Italy).
6, Digital Entity’s offices, deamicisarchitetti, Milano.
7, 8 Discovery Centre, TotalTool, Bhartiya (India).

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Adjustable height desks require a new office design.

Adjustable height desks are becoming more and more popular and soon they are gonna be the new standard in the office. The Gensler’s interior designer Amie Keener has defined them a new challenge for the workplace design that has to rethink the space in order to include these agile, dynimc and “well-being oriented” workstations in the best way.

“Sitting-standing” desks, as any other innovation in the beginning, offer indisputable benefits, has we already talked about, but they also need some change to give their best.
The downsides, has we are going to see, are not about the object itself, but problems that can be easily solved with a different office design, capable to give an answer and integrate all the new working environment’s trends like flexibility, smart, activity based, hybrid, sharing.
Amie Keener, on the magazine GenslerOn, has counterposed the ergonomic, physical and psychological benefits of the dynamic posture (that supports a flexible use of the workstations and helps to prevent health problems) with some downsides, she has personally experienced in her everyday’s office life, mostly linked to wires and power sources, noise and eyesight.

First of all, Amie Keener had to deal with length of wires problems and the need of having the power sources in the proximity of the desk. This, of course, has a strong impact on the position of the desk in the space: motorized adjustable desks and mobile devices, as laptop, needs power to work properly. So, as the designer said, it is useful “to consider a neat wire management spine or enclose to hide wires and cords”.
An interesting issue is the relationship between adjustable height desks and acoustic comfort. In fact the acoustic design of the space need to be changed, because an higher position requires different solutions to avoid the voices and the noises of the office to disturb.
Dealing with a new position of the subject in the space, it is necessary to rethink the partitions and the dispositions of the workstation and of the sound absorption elements.
The last problem Amie Keener has pointed out is the terrible eyesight given by a messy high desks, striking more at a glance due to the fact that it is closer to eye level than a standard desk height.
“Even the most elegant workspaces can quickly come resemble barely organised pig sites”, she writes.
That’s why adjustable height desks require an higher level of responsibility from the workers, something, however, that is  already required by the new ways of working, that are based on the concept of space and object’s sharing.
As also Keener has to admit, adjustable height desks are growing more and more popular in the office, and they are becoming the standard that the office design and the management need to consider in order to create spaces where they can be perfectly integrated.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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A mediterranean workplace: the Mosaicoon’s offices by Lago .

A new Lago at Work’s project is born in the Mosaicoon’s headquarters: a sea view open space with a citrus grove, image of the mediterranean culture. The interior design by Squar-e Architettura, Francesco Brigulia and Giuseppe Di Prima, with Francesco Librizzi Studio, in collaboration with Lago, focused on the concepts of relationship and individual and collective well-being in the workplace.

Empathy is the foundation of every kind of innovation. It was from this idea that Daniele Lago, Lago’s Managing Director and Head of Design, with Ugo Parodi Giusino, CEO Mosaicoon (Tech Company leader in the web video production and distribution) join together in the project of a space capable to express the “mediterranean” workstyle.
“…We have to use our great cultural and genetical heritage to define our own identity, based on conviviality and wellness, that will become really appealing for the rest of the world”, Daniele Lago says.
The Mosaicoon’s headquarters in Isola delle Femmine (Palermo, Italy), is located on a triangular space between the land and the sea, 2.000 sqm over 3 floors.

In order to answer to the need of a flexible space in the operative areas, a movable version of the “Et Voilà” walls has been placed, allowing to connect and separate different spaces in different ways. In addition, comfortable couches, swings and table footballs give a playful touch to the environment, while a Community Table Air gives is the ideal place where to share ideas and projects.
Lago has also made the furniture of the common area in the basement: the cafeteria provided with a 36e8 kitchen and a 12m Community Table; the conference room with a 6m Air bookcase and a break area with Slide couches, that can be arranged in different compositions.
The home feeling sensation, that dominate the whole project, is emphasise in the executive offices at the first floor: a kind of apartment-office with divided in an operative and relax area with a big domestic Air couch.
Testo di Gabriele Masi.

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A Wellness office: SPA concepts in an agency.

The specialized architect in SPA design Alberto Apostoli signed the insurance company Allianz-Ragnos agency in Trani, Italy. The project is a contamination between Architecture and Wellness and focused with a particular attention on the psychophysical condition of employees and customers.

The Ragno Family’s decision, to choose a SPA designer for his offices, it is lead by the needing to change the customer perception of the “insurance product” as an “essential product”.
They wanted also to create an innovative space, as Alberto Apostoli underlines presenting his work as “an office where the professionalism and the “working method” meets the world of wellness and hospitality with all that this implies in terms of emotionality, sensory and comfort”.
The office is dominated by the handcrafted operating desk, made of travertine and equipped with 8 workstations. Its vertical development is characterized by a succession of marble slabs and lights, giving it a technical aspect, but at the same time, a strong visual impact.
A glass wall, with a sheet of water flowing on the surface of the glass, connects the executive office with the operations rooms, while a bio-ethanol fireplace was placed in the main office to counterbalance the water element.
All workstations have been created with white travertine and glass, while the libraries and other furnishings of service are in matt lacquered wood.
The project was designed to facilitate communication and to give emotional and sensorial sensations. That’s why typical SPA materials were used: water, fire, light, nature, wood, glass and travertine.
The lighting, as well, was specially designed and sized mixing the role that light has in health spa and workplace. RGB lighting combined with a DALI system, “Digital Addressable Lighting Interface”, can handle different scenarios in accordance with the video wall behind the desk.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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Workplace Wellness by Kinnarps (Brera Design District).

How healthy is your workplace?
This year Kinnarps focuses on the healthy workplaces of the future!
As was the case during the Stockholm Furniture Fair earlier this year, the renowned Studio Nichetto will interpret Kinnarps’ Trend Report and, during Milan Design Week, bring the concepts to life in the 300 square-metre large exhibition hall in Milan. The benefits of a healthier workplace will be highlighted using the “Workplace Wellness” concept.

Together with a revitalising food concept from the food designers at Arabeschi di Latte, Kinnarps and Nichetto Studio will provide visitors with the chance to sit and work, enjoy nice healthy refreshments, while at the same time get an insight into how the workplace of the future will look. Of course all the new products from Kinnarps’ brands (Kinnarps, Drabert, MartinStoll, Materia, Skandiform and NC Nordic Care) will be on display!
“People who are happy at work do a better job! It’s that simple. By designing environments that are packed full of wellness and pleasant feelings, we also create better personnel. For the exhibition, I have mixed together elements from Kinnarps’ Trend report and with the new products tried to create a healthy architectural cocktail,” says the designer Luca Nichetto.
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Title event: “Workplace Wellness”
Where: Largo Treves 5/angolo Via Solferino (Brera Design District)
When: Tues: 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. (private cocktail 7 p.m. to 10.30 p.m.); Wed/Thurs/Sat: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fri: 
10 a.m. to midnight (Brera Design District Night); Sun: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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Let’s trust the Agile Working!

“What’s the meaning of the agile working? Trust. An extreme trust in people and in their ability of self-controlling their way of working and, at the same time, a way of living, a simple path full of benefits. But why is still so difficult to carry it out?” With this question the Milan Council Member Chiara Bisconti opened the first round table “Agility and Wellness” of the WOW! Island Agile Working’s week at Cozzi swimmingpool of Milan, the last 23rd March.


“Smartworking and agile working are based on the self-determination of the space and of the time, overcoming finally a tayloristic concept of work. It’s a new way of working that measure the quality of a job on goals and results, giving to everyone a lot of benefits. In particular it raises the wellness of the employers, allowing them to regain hours of life that can be dedicated to self-care, family, hobbies or social activities. We as women, in particular, are really satisfied when we can ‘put all the things togheter’”, Chiara Bisconti said, “Maybe the cultural change can be encouraged also by the ‘extreme moment’ we are living: when buildings are well conceived, they are already predisposed to answer to different needs”.

In fact as also Luca Ghezzi, Milanosport managing director of external relations and comunication, declared “The view of the water down there and, in the meantime, of a lot of people up here talking about agile working is really something amazing. In nowadays families where both parents work, agile working is necessary”.
So what are the obstacles?
The answer was given by Antonio Borgese of Great Place to Work Italia: “Realizing the agile working in a company is not a logistical or technological problem, but it’s only a matter of trust. On one side the manager has to trust the fact that his collaborator will do his job with the same effort without being strictly controlled, and on the other side the collaborator has to believe that his best working performances and his carrier are not linked to the time he is spending in the office. A way of working based on goals is a process of cultural growth. As a survey made bu the company TNT has shown, people working from home dedicate 5 hours more to the company, and this is not accidental: agile working is especially the expression of the attention and the care a company has to their employers, and that makes workers put more effort for the company’s goal”.
Alberto Cannistrà, member of IFMA Italia and Siemens Real Estate manager, has then pointed another cultural obstacle out: “Why don’t people choose the agile working? Beacuse of the common fear of losing the clear separation between our private life and our working time. We fear we would be on duty 24 hours a day”. But this problems can be easily solved as the Siemens experience shows.
“Our work-life balance is crucial to our lives in the new ways of working”, Fiorella Crespi, supervisor of the Politecnico of Milan’s Smart Working Observatory, confirms, showing some really encouraging datas about the agile working in Italy.
The 8% of the italian companies has choosen this way of working. This made them increase their productivity up to 40%, and their workers are now able to do the same amount of work in less time”.
In a dedicated article Francesco Zurlo and Marco Predari speeches will be summed up as an answer to the question: how is design responding to this progressive change of mentaly towards the agile working?
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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The “Human”side of Nature: sound absorbing and evocative floor coverings.

Human Nature is built on the premise that designing spaces which evoke the senses through light, colour, texture and natural detail generate wellness and spark the human creative spirit. The new collection was designed by David Oakey, longtime Interface collaborator and world leader in sustainable design practices, to create vital and eye catching floor coverings for offices and contract spaces.

Interface’s Human Nature takes its cues from the visual, tactile textures found in the most elemental of floor coverings (forest floors, grassy fields and pebbled garden paths) drawing on the innate connection humans have to the earth.


“Scientists have found that humans crave sensory change and variation, though our work environments are often flat, unnatural places,” Oakey said. “And though there’s no doubt that the design community is drawn to the aesthetics of concrete, stone, and wood, the physical and acoustical benefits of soft surfaces are impossible to ignore. In Human Nature we’ve combined the best of both worlds — the hard surface look of planks with the benefits of soft, textured carpet tile that feels comfortable and natural underfoot.”
Human Nature is inspired by biophilia and respects Nature: it is a sustainable collection, made with 100% recycled content nylon yarn and manufactured respecting the green life cycle of the product from production to disposal.

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UniCredit’s real estate reorganization: smart working, sustainability, wellbeing.

Smart working, wellness of employers and improving of customer relations are the keyworks of the UniCredit real estate reorganization. Nearly a year after the move in the new UniCredit Tower, the Group opens new working and “leisure” spaces and presents two important initiatives: Piani Città project and the consolidation of the new Branch Model in 25 European cities.

In line with the Strategic Plan, the Piani Città (Town Blueprints) project – a vast reorganization of the Headquarters in 25 European cities – continues, and the new Branch Model is being consolidated at international level: an innovative format based on a redesign of spaces, making them more modern and functional, with a more direct contact with the customers, interactive technologies and cutting edge service model.
The two projects foresee a structured saving of €400 million within 2018 (€200 million as of today) and asset divestiture for €5 billion, of which €3,4 billion has already been achieved.
“Thanks to the new Branch Model, over 1.500 are under redesign to increase the possibility to attract clients, to improve the service with last generation devices and more modern, flexible and accessible spaces”, states Federico Ghizzoni, CEO of UniCredit “and within the Piani Città project we will vacate over 700.000 square metres by 2018. Having completed the UniCredit Tower project, we will concentrate the various business districts of Munich and Vienna into new multifunctional areas over the next three years”.

The “Piani Città” project, launched in 2010, include the main European locations of the Group and is a great challenge to implement a sustainable rationalization, based on four main criteria:
consolidation with the release of 150 buildings;
decentralization: over 80% of the remaining locations are in the major areas of the city;
more efficient usage of space: average target of 10/12 square metres per person;
environmental impact: a reduction of approx. 50.000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
One of the key aspects to be introduced within the changes is Smart Working, workspace environments  based on a layout organized according to different activities and needs (for example, concentration, communication, team work) and supported by IT solutions designed for working mobility.
With Smart Mobility, in experimental phase in Milan, it is possible, to work from home, once a week, or from one of the four main hubs located in the urban city districts, “third spaces” made available by the Group.
The Smart Working project started as a pilot three years ago, involving approximately 1.000 people in Italy and Germany, and will be extended to approximately 20.000 international colleagues within the next three years.


“Smart Working – says Paolo Fiorentino, UniCredit Deputy General Manager, allows colleagues to experience more flexible workspaces, making collaboration easier and promoting a greater autonomy in managing activities, based even more on trust and focused on results. We greatly believe in this model which we aim to offer in 2015 to 4.000 colleagues working in UniCredit Tower, the Groups’ Headquarters”.

The new spaces of UniCredit Tower.
The multidisciplinary nature of the environments is the predominant characteristic of the different spaces, designed to create welcoming environments and adaptable to different business needs.
Meeting rooms and open areas that are equipped with reconfigurable furniture, peninsulas and couches allow for individual work and group work. Three terraces overlooking Piazza Gae were created for outdoor informal meetings or relaxing. Some examples of common areas in the UniCredit Tower are: the Tree House, The Garden, the Gymnasium and the new spaces worksetting Smart Working.


Captions
1,2 The Tree House, multifunctional spaces used for individual work, group meetings and informal interiors are located on floors 2 nd / 3 rd of Towers A and B.
3,4, The 16th floor of Tower B is hosting the first  Smart Working space that allows to choose between different environments according to different business needs.
5, “Touch down” workstations.
6, “The hive” meeting room.
7, A “corporate”vegetable garden in one of the  the terraces of the tower A.
8, The Garden Restaurant & Café reserved for UniCredit Tower’s employees.

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#UfficioManifesto: a cultural platform.

How should the ideal, collaborative workplace be? Enjoyable and with a home feeling. That’s what emerged from the shared, cutting-edge platform planned by Monforte agency with Daniele Lago to design their new offices in Milan.

We create together an #UfficioManifesto with ideas and words for a new way of living the office”. That could be an invitation coming from a design school, instead it’s the call for ideas launched by the digital communication agency Monforte.
Six months ago there was a move under way and a new office to fit out. Now there is a new cultural platform with ideas and projects to carry out the ideal collaborative office, taking into consideration some innovative social experiences rather than solutions of interior design. The new offices partecipates to the Fuorisalone with events and presentation about new Ways of Working.
“How should the office of your dreams be?”
The question was asked to the Internet community by the Scientific Committee involving visionari people like Daniele Lago (CEO e Head of Design of Lago Spa), Andrea Frigo (CEO of Monforte srl), Fabio Fornasari, Cristina Rebolo, Angela Violino e b(architects and designers), Ivana Pais (sociologist, Andrea Paoletti (founder of Casa Netural), Valentina Auricchio (journalist).
The tag cloud #UfficioManifesto has already pointed out two key-words: the working environment should be enjoyable and with a home feeling.
Maybe the time has come to a new utopia. The one we have recently talked about also in the WOW! #17 editorial “Work-life balance visions and furniture” and which Daniele Lago is a strong promoter of “We want to transfer to workspaces all of the experience acquired through the design of life at home, building work spaces designed in terms of individual and collective wellness, efficiency of reason and emotional intuition”.
Text by Silvia Fattore.

 

 

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Sodexo: at work with mum and dad.

This year, too, we renew our support to the initiative Kids at work with Mum and Dad to make the children aware of where their mums and dads spend a lot of time away from home and family- explains Nadia Bertaggia, Human Resource and Organization Manager Sodexo Italia SpA.

“We undertake to promote a good family-job compatibility, for we really believe work-life balance is a basic lever for the wellbeing of our people, our company and the community, where we work daily.
Our mission is to improve the quality of life of our co-workers and all those we work for, and people are our most valuable resource and we want to prove it, passing from words to action”.
Our offices in Cinisello Balsamo and Roma Fiumicino open their doors to welcome the children to allow them to know where their parents work and the educators of the équipe Crescendo, specialized segment in childhood services management, coming with them, in a day full of activities and games. The little guests can have lunch at the in-house restaurant and, as a souvenir of this special experience, each participant will receive a photo and a certificate of attendance.