wellness at work: Italy is increasingly sit-stand!

Smart working by now is an expanding working mode. In Italy as well – at last-  it has been regularly inserted into a regulatory framework thanks to law 81/2017 that deals with key subjects, such as job duration, terms of notice, control methods and so on. And furnishing as well is adapting to this trend; for example with “agile” sit-stand workstations as Linak demonstrates.

“Sons” of smart working are widespread working and coworking. Since work is increasingly itinerant, fast, smart and agile. Meetings are more and more stand-up meetings, but they are also held in lounge areas and in common spaces. Just to make an example, in Milan, the Porta Nuova district is a bulwark of widespread work and coworking. There are many areas that rent workstations in exchange for affordable fees. Getting connected in every place and at any time of the day has become a life habit and new technologies enable us to fully live this change.


Furnishing as well is adapting to this trend.

Pieces of furniture are designed to make our work simple and healthy wherever we are. From insulating panels to ensure a certain privacy though among people, to “variable” workstations, changing according to Activity Based Office to answer to different activities (for instance the focus room or the phone booth).
Up to sit-stand tables that are so popular  in North European offices and that are gaining ground in Italy as well, in prestigious head offices and in coworking areas. And the sit-stand trend perfectly integrates in the smart-working context.
Media have already highlighted, in different articles, the importance to keep a proper posture at work and to alternate sat down work to standing moments. This behavior enables to prevent disorders such as cervical, backache, dysfunction of the spine, thus reducing discomfort and absenteeism from work. Sit-stand desks, driven by Linak lifting columns, are gaining popularity in many offices and working places in Italy.
Plenty of Italian design companies are following this furnishing trend for office furniture to keep up with remote working, coworking, home office and everything makes a job highly smart. Italy is increasingly sit-stand!


Photo gallery:
1 Sit-stand desk by
Manerba  equipped with linear actuators Linak.
2 Sit stand table with central column by 
Emmeitalia equipped with linear actuators Linak.
3 Sit-stand desk  Estel equipped with linear actuators Linak.
4 It is designed by Tine Mouritsen and presented at Danish LIVINGroom the first sit-stand desk that integrates a power napping pillow. It is equipped with linear actuators Linak.





The AB Medica’s speadboat: speed and comfort, productivity and leisure.

Giuseppe Tortato designed an iconic headquarters inspired by fast boat hulls to reflect dynamism and innovation of the Italian pharmaceutical company AB Medica; space planning and interior design by DEGW aim to wellbeing, too and interact with the architecture and outdoor.

The project for the headquarters of AB Medica, designed by Giuseppe Tortato, incorporates all the functional/symbolic features the client specifically requested in a landmark building designed to develop and enhance a suburban location right alongside the Milan-Varese motorway.


Inspired by the hull designs of super-fast speed boats, the architectural design embodies the dynamism and innovation of a group at the very cutting edge in the realm of research, combined with a real focus on energy-saving and the psychophysical well-being of the company workers.

My activity has always been aimed to break with conventions, proposing projects that focuses on sensory experience in a larger whole that is the urban territory. Create a place in which to work and live, but also refuge, an oasis, a refuge regenerator, showing where possible the presence of nature. A project in which the viewer never loses the dialogue with his sensory side, as opposed to what happens in many artificial casings which tend to cancel the man in established patterns. My projects at the center put a conscious man, who feeds on true experiences as opposted to what happens in many artificial casings, which tend to cancel individuality with established patterns”explains Giuseppe Tortato.
2000 m² of offices over an overall area of 9000 m² serving about 130 people.
The distinctive shape of the building lot and all the motorway restrictions/constraints dictated the design of a triangular-shaped form reminiscent of a ship’s hull gliding between man-made hills designed to provide heat and sound insulation for the entire construction.

The cutting-edge plant-engineering, which even exploits geothermal power as a renewable energy source through a hybrid system of heat pumps: a multipurpose water-water heat pump using groundwater and a multipurpose air-water heat pump exploiting heat in the air. Using groundwater for air-conditioning the premises by means of high-performance heat pumps is optimised by a supply of water for fire-extinguishing purposes. The groundwater also supplies the irrigation system for the extensive area of greenery.
The greenery blends indissolubly into the architectural object to become part of the building material itself, contributing to its insulation and the quality of life of its users.
The structure, which is sculpted at the base by the large sloping stanchions of the ventilated curtain facades, opens up at the top floor into an airier and more brightly-lit section composed of a column set on the prefabricated construction below but structurally freestanding.


This free and totally-glazed floor accommodates the open space offices, where all the structural features are set around triangular patios and the irregular perimeter of the building.
The roof, which, in turn, is rotated in the direction of sunlight compared to the ground floor’s fixed position, has major overhangs acting as sunscreens and featured by the triangular perforations of the patios, which provide comfortable natural lighting throughout the entire operating level.
Natural lighting for the office floors is guaranteed by positioning the facades appropriately and the carefully-gauged use of overhangs in relation to almost fully-glazed walls.

Space Planning and Interior Design.
DEGW worked with Giuseppe Tortato on certain design features: the space planning of the offices, concept for the corporate canteen, the reception desk and general mood of the colour scheme and materials.
The Space Planning for the offices area was aimed at making the most of all the surface areas and different depths of each floor, setting out the enclosed and open space workstations around the perimeter, which, in turn, is focused around an elaborate central support hub: a diffused Hub consisting of a photocopying area, break area, lockers, niche informal areas and meeting rooms, which wind around a long and sinuous customised bench designed for touchdown stations and create a mixed-use environment where formal work comes together with more spontaneous and informal operations.


The Interior Design was focused on new finishes, the concept for the canteen, the reception desk and the general mood of the colour schemes and materials, based on a palette of two main colour: fluid watery blue and cool technological shades, enhanced by qualities like transparency, care, reliability and comfort coming from the materials used.
Special features were studied for the executive offices, the reception, and the ground-floor canteen area (featuring a combination of a “set” of niche chairs and more conventional tables) and an area accommodating meeting rooms, open-space stations and informal areas to provide multiple potential uses between productivity and leisure, work and rest.

Photo by Dario Tettamanzi and Daniele Domenicali.



The most innovative privacy elements.

After the collapse of the “office walls”, the noise and lack of privacy are the main enemies in the workplace. Several solutions of noise protection and privacy elements to survive in open plan were launched at Orgatec 2016. They can define private areas with different levels of acoustic and visual privacy to offer personalized answers to different needs: free standing screens with high acoustic performance, articulated “nest” systems that integrate chairs and workstations, or partition walls. The most advanced technology ones are designed as a kit and easy to install thanks to innovative interlocking systems.

Mascagni, TrèS Sound, by Ergon Design.
An innovative sound absorption panel system based upon the principle of the Helmholtz multiple resonator, in combination with the acoustic absorption achieved by means of porous materials, since the panels contain polyester fibers. Both sides of the panel are covered in micro-perforated wood laminate. The linear panels can be also hung at wall or ceiling.


Universal Selecta, Chakra, design by Universal Selecta R& D .
Chakra is a patented modular system of solid and glazed panels, straight or curved, able to create reserved areas ranging from the simple phone boot up to a more performing and dimensionally extended meeting areas.


Sedus, se-wall.
A combination of acoustics, design and functionality with an attractive price-performance ratio. It provides privacy, zoning and an acoustic screen while ensuring maximum functionality and flexibility with a wide range of products and numerous customized configurations.


Teknion, Zones, design by PearsonLloyd.
The collection included semi-private enclosures which can be used as either intimate collaborative settings or a place of retreat for privacy. In addition seating, tables, screens, easels and lighting are available.


Okamura, Muffle.
Modular acoustic screen system for linear and curved settings, it can house sofas, meeting tables and desks.


Nowy Styl, Tepee-Work.
Panel system to set temporary workplaces, to connect or divide working people; it is equipped with sit-stand desks and sofas; it is a modular solution that complements office interiors characterised by a division into functional zones.


Free standing or desk panels characterized by a fresh and informal look between cushions and screen.


Offect, Soundwave Wall, design by Christophe Pillet.
An acoustic wall stretches from floor to ceiling and thus becomes a part of the architecture in a building, like a prefabricated partition wall. It is designed to absorb in the upper frequency of 250 Hz and above.


Citterio Wood_Wall.
The craftmanship is just an inspiration, which handed down attention to the materials and their specificity.


Vetroin, In-Wall.
The first wall which doesn’t use glue but only patented interlocking system. In aesthetic terms the external flush mounting, without profiles that contain the glass overlapping it, makes it possible to keep the glass surface completely in view. It is also at the forefront in terms of security and earthquake prevention.



“Sparkling” smart working: HQ Coca Cola Italia.

The design of the new Coca Cola HBC Italia Headquarters close to Milan started three years ago. The expiry of the lease allows to analyze the ways people work and to take up smart working. This case study was presented on the occasion of the seminar at Isola WOW! Lavoro Agile 2016 by Pietro Fiorani, National General Services Manager of Coca Cola HBC, together with architect Alessandro Adamo, director of DEGW.

The chief factors of the success were the definition of a clear and shared route with the employees, that has involved the planners (DEGW) from the very beginning, in order to understand their new needs and find a solution in the physical space.
Three years ago, Coca Cola has started an integrated and well-organized project -named PrISm (acronym of Productive, Innovative, Smart)– on the basis of the targets, namely to improve as much as possible by moving to a new venue.
The cost of the lease and productivity,
the quality of space and innovation,
the use and adoption of smart-working procedures.

Then the basic issues related to the layout are pinpointed, aware that the workplace accounts for the 25% of people’s wellbeing and 5% of their performance.
But how to apply smart working, that was the question? How should our way of working be changed? What kind of building can be the most suitable one?
The space quality chiefly aimed at open space, daylight and lively yet not invasive colors and great importance was also attached to the corporate image and choice of furniture (Sedus). All factors not affecting the employee’s engagement crucially.
A better use of space was also obtained through technology, space availability and easy access to public transport.

Space dimensioning.
Environmental quality was improved through a drastic reduction of single offices and the introduction of meeting rooms in several sizes, touch-down desks, phone booths, showers, and “space for us”, not meant for business: terraces, restaurant, areas for informal meetings, library, leisure area.
The workstations are arranged along the outer edge, while the ancillary areas are in the main body.

Numbers of a successful case history
Number of employees: from 300 to 340.
Square meters: from 3700 to 3300.
Square meters per person: from 12 to 11.
Close individual offices: from 596 sqm to 19 sqm.
Desks in open spaces: from 1596 sq. to 1409 sqm.
Meeting and common areas: from 1550 sqm to 1850 sqm.



Siemens: office of the smart working era.

The Siemens Office project was introduced in Italy in 2011, at the beginning only at the company’s headquarter in Milan, and it is now envolving about 1700 collaborators all over the territory. A radical cultural change for Siemens’s workers that, since then, have had the chance to work everywhere, without any duty of clocking in or out. A concept in 6 points: agile and flexible working, new office lay-out, goal-oriented work, improvement of work life balance, not personalized workstations and sustainibility.

Alberto Cannistrà, Siemens Real Estate manager, exposed the project in the first round table Agility and Wellness of the WOW! Island Agile Working’s week at Cozzi swimmingpool of Milan, the last 23rd March.
“The key role in a company when it is about smartworking is the Facility Manager, a figure that has to manage togheter the spaces, the services and the people of an organization, trying to find the most comfortable environment to put his collegues in the best situation where they can express themselves.
In Siemens the facility manager had to work hard on the personnel to let the workers understand the philosophy behind the project.
We allowed all the employees to freely choose if they want to adhere, offering to whom decided to work from home a cell phone, a computer and the 80% of the connection costs, taking away the obligation of signing in”.
The creation of comfortable working environments helps the phisical and mental wellness of the collaborators: all the employees use the flexibility of the performance to schedule their work to meet the targets.
The project has also changed the office”, Cannistrà continues. “Workers have no fixed workstation anymore, but they can choose among different environments depending on what they have to do. It is like a house with different space for different needings. Since the personal work can be done in other places, the office is becoming a place where to socialize, meet the colleagues and a reference point for the team working. That’s why we created more spaces for informal meetings, as coffee bars and cafeterias”.
Agile working, as shown by Siemens, has a lot of advantages for workers, employers and even fot the cities and the environment: it allows to better organise the mobility of the workers; the less need of space permits to cut the costs of building and energy, and both these aspects togheter reduce enviromental pollution.
Siemens Office is a challenge we have won, concludes proudly Alberto Cannistrà. “I think that the most important part of the project was the effort we put in meeting the people, explained them what it was about and leave them free to decide what to do.
If someone cant cope with this way of working, is not a problem: he comes in the office all days without negative consequences from any point of view”.
Text by Gabriele Masi.



Here is an example of agile work at the Swimming Pool. Definitely, a WOW! Workplace.

The success of the WOW! Island (Isola WOW! Lavoro Agile) exceeded all expectations. Curiosity and  interest have attracted many people to the temporary workplaces set up at Cozzi swimming pool in Milan, who seized the opportunities offered by Giornata Lavoro Agile 2015 (Agile Working Day organized by Comune di Milano) to enjoy new Places and Ways Of Working.

The media coverage was also very high, newspapers to television, portals to online magazines. The idea to arrange agile offices in a place used to get an agile body proved to be innovatory, challenging and fun. The work environment needs project to make people cry out WOW!
Agile Work requires a cultural change more than anything else:
an agile mind rather then agile work and rooms promoting creativity: each WOW! Island si therefore a joyful and lively space, a “workplace” to generate wellbeing, where you can but cry WOW!

Event organized by WOW! Webmagazine in collaboration with Milanosport.
Patronage by ADI, Assufficio, Great Place to Work Italia, IFMA Italia, Osservatorio Smart Working Politecnico di Milano.
Thanks to:
AkzoNobel, BTicino, Caimi Brevetti, Dieffebi, Diwar, Emme Italia, HW Style, Linak, Interface, Kinnarps, Kundalini, Plantronics, Sedus, USM  for supplying furniture, chairs, lighting, floor covering, plants and accessories.5-bis-isola-WOW-lavoro-agile-cozzi-wow-webmagazine


Working poolside?  At the WOW! Island “agile working” comes true!

Can a swimming pool -traditionally used to obtain an agile body- change into an unusual, pleasant and informal “office” for “agile working”, where work and wellbeing are both possible? Yes, that’s possible in Milan on the occasion of  “Agile Working Day 2015” (Giornata del Lavoro Agile 2015) promoted by Comune di Milano. Actually WOW! Webmagazine is going to organize Isola WOW! Lavoro Agile (WOW! Island Agile Working), from March 23rd to 27th, a few workstations at Cozzi swimming pool in Milan, marked by a top-level design and equipped with wi-fi connection.

WOW! Island is free for people who go regularly to the swimming pool and anyone wishing to try new work ways and places. Some lounge areas are planned for relax and informal meetings; other workplaces are designed to allow more privacy and concentration.
Agile Work requires a cultural change more than anything else: an agile mind rather then agile work and rooms promoting creativity: each WOW! Island si therefore a joyful and lively space, a “workplace” to generate wellbeing, where you can but cry WOW!
Meetings and Jelly Sessions to share experiences and ideas on the Agile Work theme are also planned.
March 23 ( 6pm) opening round table “Agility and Wellness”
panel: Chiara Bisconti (Milan Council Member), Mariano Corso, Francesco Zurlo, Marco Predari, Antonino Borgese, Alberto Cannistrà; chairman Renata Sias, editor WOW! Webmagazine.
Every day al 5pm Jelly Sessions about Smart Working and presentation of  “Agile Cases History”.

Event organized by WOW! Webmagazine in collaboration with Milanosport.
Patronage by ADI, Assufficio, Great Place to Work Italia, IFMA Italia, Osservatorio Smart Working Politecnico di Milano.
Thanks to: Milanosport  and
AkzoNobel, BTicino, Caimi Brevetti, Dieffebi, Diwar, Emme Italia, HW Style, Linak, Interface, Kinnarps, Kundalini, Plantronics, Sedus, USM  for supplying furniture, chairs, lighting, floor covering, plants and accessories.

Piscina Cozzi, Viale Tunisia 35 , Tribuna 2° piano.
When: 23 marzo ore 17/20; dal 24 al 26 marzo ore 10/18; 27 marzo ore 10/14.
opening: 23 marzo ore 18
Graphic design by Sara Marani.

Yogitech: a forest of vertical workstations.

The design by Gumdesign for snow-white offices carried out by Yogitech is the first application of “Office”, a new and flexible type of furniture, with a vertical development and a wired-up metal structure, produced by De Castelli.

Gumdesign has recently designed the premises of Yogitech, a Pisa based leading International company designing software for the control of microchips.
A bright “black and white” space of about 600 m2 on two floors, fragmented by a  “forest” of flexible metal structures defined by designers as “vertical circuits”.
The workstations, with metal structures in evidence, are perfectly wired-up, customized with closed storage units and shelves, and supplied with glass partitions to define a personal micro space,  yet in an open and transparent room with a consistent  interior design.

Photo by Vito Corvasce.


UniCredit: smart banking, Milan (Matteo Thun).

To celebrate its first 15 years of activities, Unicredit inuaugurated a new branch-format designed to revolutionize the customer experience. The new branch, the first step in an investment by the bank to modernize approximately 1,000 of its Italian retail banking outlets over the next three years, combines technological innovation, cuttingedge design (by Matteo Thun) and experiential marketing to make the customer experience more efficient, enjoyabl and interactive.

The Branch of the Future concept pays particular attention to the evolving preferences of customers, who increasingly expect services without scheduling constraints, seek financial solutions through a number of different channels and visit UniCredit branches both for advice and to carry out more complex transactions.The Piazza Gae Aulenti branch reinvents the use of space in the traditional neighborhood bank environment, recasting how customers and personnel interact and offering a generous array of integrated technologies.

The windows in the new UniCredit branch, transparent during the day, use kinect (smart-glass) technology to become interactive screens at night, enabling more personalized and dynamic communications than traditional printed posters.
Upon entering the branch, visitors are welcomed by a customer manager at a workstation that is equipped to manage queues and appointments with advisors, as well as to provide immediate solutions for basic needs. Customers can also access the bank via the internet from the branch’s multimedia workstations, entertain themselves with available tablet computers, or surf the internet on their own mobile devices by connecting to the branch’s Wi-Fi network.
An interactive video wall in the waiting area shows customers information on UniCredit products and services. Tellers and advisors use workstations identical to the customer manager’s, resulting in a flexible, personalized and highly multifunctional work environment. Each desk, laid out in a comfortable and spacious manner, is equipped with an electronic signature pad. Customers are comfortably seated beside the teller or advisor for all their interactions.
Workstations for personal-banking, small-business and private-banking account managers are located on the second level. They are also equipped with electronic pads and monitors that allow for more interactive customer consultations. A meeting room equipped 
with video-conferencing equipment enables customers and account managers to obtain advice remotely from specialists working in other locations.
The branch self-service area, which is accessible 24 hours a day, contains easy-to-use ATMs that feature new touch screens and intuitive graphics.
Outside of branch hours, customers can access a video room that will connect them remotely to a consultant. This makes it possible for them to carry out up to 70 more complex transactions and contracts.
“This new branch is the result of more than 20 recent research and innovation projects that sought to understand what value our bank should create for customers and to emphasize their importance,” said UniCredit’s country chairman for Italy, Gabriele Piccini. “We began by observing customer behavior as we worked to design a more welcoming, user-friendly service model that enhances their experience from the moment they enter a branch to the moment they leave it.”