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Is this the Future of Office Furniture?

Sometimes within the furniture industry it can be hard to come up with new ways to keep designs fresh and exciting and although manufacturers do it so well, it is also interesting to see what the younger generation of future designers envision as the next era of furniture.

During our trip to Salone del Mobile we came across ‘In Our Office’ an exhibition by first year MA students from Lund University, School of Industrial Design. The twelve-piece installation highlighted how small-scale offices go unnoticed in terms of furniture design, however it shouldn’t as it is such an interesting habitat where work and fun can be combined and furniture design can help to do this. As a result, the students had developed prototypes all of which had a unique spin on their design.

The Bunk Desk takes design inspiration from bunk beds, creating a desk with two levels that changes the dynamics of an office by providing a distraction-free zone. The unique desk also provides a workspace that encourages teamwork and collaboration.

We have noticed a massive increase in the use of plants in offices over the last few years as they help to improve air quality and uplift the mood. The only problem is that sometimes they get neglected in a busy office, as watering the plants is not the first thing on our to-do lists. Babylon is a solution to this problem and provides an ingenious way to care for plants easily; by pouring water into the funnel at the top, you irrigate all the plants in one go, as the water goes into an inner chamber that gradually transfers out into the soil in the outer pot.

 

Making a coffee is a great way to get colleagues talking no matter how big or small the office. Coffee Corner provides a place to take a break and enjoy a cup of coffee. It also provides an impromptu meeting place, so could even help productivity when your colleagues are feeling a little demotivated.

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Zoku’s Home/Office Hybrid

The world is constantly evolving – politically, economically, socially, technologically and demographically – and the landscape of today’s public spaces must adapt and transform to support these trends. Hotels offer a service to people the world over, but how often do you actually interact with other guests within the hotel during your stay? I can guess probably almost never.

Over the last few years we have seen a change of direction in the hotel and hospitality industry, with an increase in the offering of boutique hotels, serviced apartments and extended stay hotels. Another change we’ve seen develop is the interior landscape of hotel lobbies, offering communal spaces which are a hive of activity, not only for guests but the passing public and members of the local community too. Such shared social spaces are being utilised as offices, meeting places or break-away environments, so when you walk into the hotel it’s perceived as a liveable space, full of buzz. Thanks to these trends, a new hotel concept has been born – a hybrid between the balance of a home and an office.

 

Zoku, which is Japanese for family, clan or tribe, is the brainchild of initial creator of the CitizenM concept Hans Meyer and Marc Jongerius. The idea behind Zoku is to create a flexible home and office that can help the global nomads of todays society to broaden their networks, social circles and horizons; but above all else they want to provide guests with that ‘homely’ feeling they miss when they’re away from their families. Zoku believes that ‘amazing things happen when people come together’ and this is something they are aiming to achieve with the new hybrid hotel concept.

The concept of Zoku was developed alongside it’s target audience, who from the beginning where asked to trial and give their opinions on what a true travelling business person may need, during their time away from family, friends and home. As a result, their service and facilities offering has been essentially tailored to business travellers and will offer everything they need, including professional services and social events.

Zoku (launching 2016) will also focus on building a community by providing social spaces and by making it a lot easier for guests to meet like-minded people to create a social life, whilst they are away on business. Guests can stay in Zoku for any amount of time from five days to three months. Rather than employing staff, Zoku has ‘Sidekicks’, who are on hand to tell you all you need to know about the local area, help you get to grips with the Zoku concept and just basically be there in case you need them – think of them as a fellow colleagues in your temporary office space.

 

 

The co-working space within Zoku is a large, open-plan room, full of lots of furniture that creates different mixed-use settings. There are corners that you can hide in to get some peace and quiet or long communal tables where you can sit alongside people and work individually. Here you can work across time zones with a desk and office tools. The space takes a biophillic approach, full of green plants and has an airy feel to it. To complement the biophillic design, there are a number of terraces, as well as a rooftop garden and greenhouse, that actually produces some of the vegetables and herbs that are served in the kitchen. You can also do a spot of gardening in there if that’s your thing. If you need some privacy for a meeting, there are private rooms available that each have their own theme and have all the technology you need, just as though you’re in an actual office.

Within the hotel, there are lots of communal areas that aren’t just for guests but for the local community too. A living room that features comfy couches and fireplaces, and a fully stocked library also occupies the space, along with a games room that is complete with a movie collection, games and a nightly house band. The living kitchen is the place to be for healthy food, with a menu that is changed daily and from time-to-time will feature local kitchen legends. The (almost) everything on-site store is stocked with all the essentials you need during your stay, the perfect pit stop if you’ve forgotten something. Zoku will offer an edited selection of Amsterdam’s finest from the store and will keep it up-to-date with the newest trends! For those with a strict exercise regime, there is a gym and also a treatment room, for guests who maybe in need of some down time.

 

 

Credits:

Hotel: Zoku

Photographer: Ewout Huibers

Designer: Concrete

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Working the Floor

An emerging trend spotted at this year’s Clerkenwell Design Week is the concept of designing spaces that allows individuals to not only choose where they work, but also to facilitate how they work too, whether that be standing, sitting, leaning, hanging or even lying down!

This takes the current workplace trend for “touchdown points” and “third spaces” and offers a fresh approach to these new ways of working. The two pieces designed around this idea that caught our eye at CDW 2015 are Prooff’s #007 ‘OffSize’ and Hitch Mylius’s ‘HM221’.

Designed by Dutch designer Léon de Lange, Prooff’s OffSize offers a comfy alternative away from the desk, a spontaneous meeting area or a place to relax and take a break. Inspired by art from the Italian Renaissance, OffSize has cleverly combined elements that allow you to sit, lean and lie down, creating a modern-day version of the renaissance when occupied. There are three fully upholstered pieces that make up the OffSize range and when it comes to positioning the lightweight elements, they can be easily moved into a formation of choice; clustered together or placed individually. It can elegantly utilise corners creating intimate environments, or opt for a linear cluster of individual pieces along a hallway. The beauty of OffSize is that it’s designed to support the body to stretch into natural positions. Although comfortable, after a while, each shaped unit compels you to twist, turn and move into another posture or perhaps move onto a different element altogether.

Pictured below is the new Prooff #007 Offsize.

Pictured above is the new Prooff #010 BeTween – a piece of furniture designed to act as a landmark in an environment, attracting people to be a part of the space.

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Jon Burgerman X Kirkby Design

When brands collaborate it gives greater scope for unique outcomes; we all know the saying too many cooks spoil the broth but in terms of design collaborations, more cooks results in more unique ideas, greater insight to different industries and different points of view.

At this years Design Junction, we got a chance to stop by the Jon Burgerman x Kirkby Design stand, who have recently joined forces to create a fabric range that uses a unique approach to colour and scale, with designs that will playfully inject art into residential and contract schemes. We got a chance to meet Jon and talk to him about his artwork and the ideas behind his unique designs; he said the two things that inspired his creations where ‘fun and old school computer games’.

Jon Burgerman is referenced as the leading figure in Doodle art style and investigates improvising and play through drawing and spectacle. He is known for his quirky and creative drawing style, using creatures, characters and objects that are inspired by the modern day world, to bring his drawings to life. Colour is also a focal point in Burgerman’s designs, with some designs being every colour of the rainbow, some monochrome and some designs that use pastel colours to create a more calming nature.

 

Their stand at Design Junction was nothing but enjoyable and truly captured Burgerman’s fun, playful nature. The designs where created using an array of artist tools; paints, crayons, ink, marker pens and paper cutouts to create a world of creatures, characters and shapes for unique collaborations. The fabrics where then produced using the latest digital printing techniques to capture every mark, smudge and wash of ink to create a realistic hand-drawn effect.

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Pantone Colour of the Year 2015

Marsala has been hailed as this year’s ‘Colour of the Year’ by Pantone, the global colour institute that combs the world watching out for that one colour dominating in importance through all creative sectors. The honourable colour is a uniting force in future design and colour influences and is a reflection of what people are looking for and what they feel they need that colour can help answer. It’s not necessarily the fashion colour of the moment, but a refection in all areas of design of what is trending in the global zeitgeist.

The new hue for 2015 is not such a jump from last year’s Colour of the Year – Radiant Orchard. The highly varietal shade of Marsala conjures up images of full-bodied wine and Indian spices, its red-brown tones emanating a sophisticated, yet natural earthiness. The consumer’s need for nurturing and the search for something that feeds the body, mind and soul, is prevalent in the satisfying richness of Marsala.

The impactful qualities of Marsala and its characteristics as a ‘layered colour’ highlight it as the perfect shade for adding warmth into interiors, either used on its own or as a strong accent to many other colours. Complementary pairings include neutrals, such as warmer taupes and grays, and because of its burnished undertones, amber, umber and golden yellows, greens in both turquoise and teal, and blues in the more vibrant range all pair well.

Pictured above is the classic Artek Stool 60, whose 3-legged design is both simple and stackable. We’re particularly drawn to the series of special edition stools created by well-known architects and designers – this version is by Mike Meiré and features a contemporary contrast between the wine-red seat, and alternate birch, white and black stained legs. Also featured, is the Ronde Pendant designed by Oliver Schick for Gubi. This hand-turned aluminum lamp shade with an ultra-matt lacquer, almost makes it look as if it was made of ceramic.

 

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