Walking through the aisles of this 10th edition of Workspace, the observation is clear: after modularity and flexibility, well-being at work is becoming the central issue in office design. A theme that most of the exhibitors have taken up, by promoting solutions on the fringe of current social and environmental issues.
Last generation acoustic booths, recycled furniture, modular and instinctive systems, the exhibitors of this anniversary edition have clearly bet on comfort and well-being while maintaining a development of processes in respect of the environment.
Committed and responsible brands
A committed brand launched by Moore Design, Less is Moore develops solutions that rethink the office by taking into account the current expectations of its customers. All the furniture manufactured by the brand is designed from material derived from recycled material; the company smiles on innovations to help their partners move to industrial scale production. Thus, on the Moore stand, we found table tops made from mussel or oyster shells, chair backs made from denim scraps or jute fabrics. There were also table tops and lockers made with Le Pavé, which manufactures them from recycled plastics. Moore Design, also a distributor, also exhibited stools from Komut, eco-designed from recycled or bio-sourced materials and manufactured in 3D printing. Various products from Moore were also on display in the trendy area of the show, designed by Karl Petit, which offered visitors in a hurry a summary of the show’s innovations.
Less is Moore's tables and chairs are made from mussel shells, oyster shells and recycled denim or burlap.
Komut's stools are made in 3D printing with bio-sourced materials
Ever more instinctive and practical solutions
From adjustable height tables to a set of high tables and chairs, the stands emphasized the need to easily change sitting or standing positions during the working day. Among the different systems of adjustments always finer, and easily adjustable, Mara presented its best-sellers always bluffing in their patented principles: a simple system of verrin developed internally by the teams of research and development which puts a fast and intuitive adjustment of height, without calling upon a system electrified or gas. A principle of innovation that continues to be the signature of the Italian house, with ultra ergonomic storage systems.
Mara's Setting Colors booth presented its best-sellers with intuitive and easily adjustable systems
In this optimization of the sure values, on the stand next door, Vitra presented for the first time to the public Joyn 2 and Abalon, designed by the Bouroullec brothers. A table system that is more than ever multifunctional to meet the need for connection, while minimizing the visibility of cables. A 6-meter table subtly resting on two legs, and experienced as an instinctively shared space, thus facilitating exchanges by offering face-to-face contact between collaborators or by choosing concentration with the integration of space dividers. We will also note the Abalon sofa, covered with a Kvadrat fabric of an interesting elasticity, working in its form and its material for the comfort of the rest of the head; and offering an interesting acoustic protection, as we have been able to test it live in the hubbub of the show.
The Abalon collection, composed of the Abalon Plateform stool, the Abalon Table coffee table and the Abalon Sofa, design: Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec © Vitra
Acoustic booths on the rise
It is also difficult, while browsing the stands, not to become aware of the reality of new space layouts with proposals for structures to form acoustic islands, or even the proliferation on this show, of proposals for acoustic booths: between rearrangements of open spaces for more privacy of calls and the inevitable development of coworking spaces, these closed spaces are as much call booths for private meetings as spaces for hosting shared video conferences. Note the interesting proposal of the French company Work with Islands, launched in 2018, which offers solutions of acoustic insulating booths, ranging from one to four people. “Islands of serenity”, manufactured and assembled in France, using a maximum of recycled materials, including denim.
Work with islands offers acoustic cabins for one to four people
The English brand Spacestor has developed Arcadia, acoustic modules that allow the creation of intimate spaces according to your desires
On its stand, Silvera was showcasing Arcadia structures from the English company Spacestor: a modular system developed in collaboration with the architectural firm Gensler over a period of almost two years, whose modules can be assembled according to the desired configuration. An “igloo” space, with soft acoustics to create a soothing meeting space on a plateau thanks to systems in the form of arches, which allow duet exchanges or protected conversations in an alternative to the closed cabin. These insulating solutions are fixed with a few screws and are available in several colors, in five different modules and can be customized according to your needs. Other brands – notably Scandinavian – also presented modular acoustic wall panel systems for the sound quality of spaces.
Space dividers between storage and plant decoration
Numerous editors have also proposed modular and multifunctional storage solutions, alternating bookcase shelves, closed compartments or added spaces for plants. Or even totally dedicated to plants, like the Hévéa system by Pedrali unveiled in Milan last year. We could also notice here and there, the multiplication of accessories related to the reception of plants (vases, movable pots). And if there was still a doubt about the place reserved for plants in the office, the presence of green walls or dedicated service companies such as Akagreen were convincing on the obvious integration of plants in a working environment.
Move the workspace outside
Generally associated with a break, the outdoor space had been invested by many at the time of the health crisis. Based on this observation, the founders of the French Cabine – usually more in the pergola sector – have imagined “bubbles”, adapted for outdoor work. These wooden structures form optimized micro-cabins that can be moved on wheels, and that take into account the necessary needs for outdoor work: the open roof ensures a shaded space to work on a screen, and even contains suspensions for lighting during night sessions, a comfortable bench and a system of plugs to charge the computer. A desire to prove that it is possible to work in the open air, and that the terraces are not reserved only for break times.
The French Cabin was designed to be suitable for outdoor work with a shaded roof, comfortable seating and electrical outlets © La French Cabine
This new edition of Workspace Expo, rich in proposals, reconfirms once again a leading position in terms of presentation for the design of work spaces, while emphasizing this year the efforts made by the sector to be part of environmentally friendly approaches.