Start-up spotlight

Floating office - free space at the push of a button

Lack of space – that is something routine in big cities. A constantly increasing number of people are crowding into cities and attempting to create a personal oasis of well-being in small apartments. Multifunctional furniture and smart design are a solution and create space for more in small areas. The Darmstadt start-up Floating Office is now turning to vertical furniture installation with Nolex and thus presents an innovation in the interiors industry.

Jan 02 2020

Vertical furniture as a response to a lack of space

The bed is folded out of the wall, the entire wardrobe can be stored in the drawers under the sofa and there is not only room for jackets in the entrance area, but also for the home office. Micro-apartments are the reality in major cities. The most possible living has to fit in the smallest possible space.

In order that the human being doesn't come off badly, furniture must be designed, which, despite functional use, still transports a feeling of home. To date, this has been solved with furnishing items with multiple functions. However, there have been recent first attempts at vertical furniture installation.

With Nolex, robot furniture was presented in November that disappears into the ceiling at the press of a button. The system was developed by three graduates of engineering in the past three years with the support of various sponsors and mentors, including, among others, the European Space Agency, as well as the Initiative Kultur- und Kreativwirtschaft der Bundesregierung (culture and creative economy initiative of the German federal government).

Nolex from Floating Office is catching on: the concept of vertical furniture installation will be expanded to other furnishing objects. © Floating Office

Robot furniture via crowdfunding

The Darmstadt start-up Floating Office has developed a system for robot furniture that enables efficient usage of living and work spaces. The three founders, Philipp Overath, Maciej Walasek and Florian von Heißen, offer "free space at the push of a button".

The highlight is the fact that the furniture is fastened to the ceiling with ropes and, thanks to motorised suspension, can be lifted below the ceiling by smartphone within a few seconds, so that the space beneath it can be used otherwise. Especially in big cities, in which living space is becoming increasingly expensive, this presents a possibility to also recover adequate space in small apartments

The technology of the start-up, a spin-off company of the TU Darmstadt, was integrated for the first time into the Nolex standing-sitting desk. The innovation is found in the stability of the table without legs. "The floating workspace is suspended totally vibration-free in the room with diagonal struttings and a technology for monitoring the rope tension", the founder team explains.

Nolex from Floating Office is catching on: the concept of vertical furniture installation will be expanded to other furnishing objects. © Floating Office

Thus, one also doesn't need to dispense with an ergonomic posture when working in the home office. Through the integration of power sockets into the work surface, the entire cable tangle also disappears beneath the ceiling together with the table. 

Nolex is designed in such away that the table is as easy to install and use as possible, and even takes over a large part of the tasks from the user. Thus, stability is not directly dependent upon the installation, but instead upon the tension of the diagonal struttings. These are retracted and tensed appropriately by the technical system, which has been completely installed in the interior of the table.  

It enables vibration-free and ergonomic work, because the working height can be set steplessly from the seat to the ceiling position. For starters, those interested can preorder the product via the Kickstarter platform in the context of a crowdfunding campaign. The tabletop is made of Baltic birch plywood and is coated with the Arpa Fenix decor. Floating Office is currently offering the decors in the colours black and white.

From left to right: the three founders, Florian von Heißen, Philipp Overath and Maciej Walasek from Floating Office. © Floating Office

Smart furniture at imm cologne

Smart furniture and intelligent applications also play an important role at the international interiors fair imm cologne. In the Smart Village in hall 4.2, visitors can discover smart living environments for families or generation-appropriate living, for urban loft apartments or sustainable micro-living concepts in four individual" homes". And those who would like to experience Nolex live can have the innovation presented at stand D 010 directly by Philipp Overath, Maciej Walasek and Florian von Heißen.

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