The new versatility

What office furniture must offer today

The demands on office furniture are changing just as rapidly as the world of work. Current examples show how versatile today's office furniture is.

Jun 22 2022

The demands on equipment are changing just as rapidly as the world of work. Collaborative and agile forms of work require new solutions, as does hybrid working and the switch between office and home office. The furnishing of the office environment is now similar to its structural shell: more and more properties are being planned without the future user being known.

New buildings must therefore reflect the widest possible range of conceivable uses. Today, such flexibility is also demanded of office furniture. It should be as functionally variable as possible, suitable for teamwork as well as for individual work, be ergonomically and acoustically optimised and work just as well in the office as in one's own four walls. 

Complex requirements for new furniture 

Flexibility and multifunctionality are nothing new for manufacturers of office furniture. The days of cubicle work with desk, chair and lamp are long gone. At the latest with the advent of open-plan offices, needs have changed. What is new, however, is the complexity of today's requirements.

The functions required for New Work are now joined by demands for climate compatibility or the emotional feel-good quality of office furniture. In addition, it should be able to react quickly to changes in organisation or working methods.

The Evergreen Concept © smartvillage  

Update of a classic 

Some current examples show what office furniture must be able to do today. Manufacturers have very different strategies for dealing with the new challenges. Office specialist Wilkhahn adapts its classics to today's needs. For example, the Yonda shell chair from the 1950s has just been revised to meet new requirements.

The seating furniture originally designed by Georg Leowald is considered the archetype of a spacious shell chair. Now the Neunzig°design office has equipped the former bestseller with a shell made of BioComposite and consistently further developed it for the circular economy. In addition to six colour and four upholstery options for the seat shell, four frame variants ensure an extended range of uses. 

Sustainable further development 

WINI Büromöbel is also reacting to changing demands on the working environment with a current product update. As a tried and tested entry-level model, the Winea Startup sit-stand table has been further developed both technically and in terms of design. An almost twice as fast adjustability of the table height and a reduced noise level of the electric drive optimise the function.

Whether decors, tabletop dimensions, frame colours or other elements - everything can be put together individually. There is also a new cable duct made of felt for use in the home office. The tool-free quick assembly allows the modular tables to be assembled in no time at all. In addition, the table is now 97 percent recyclable.

Teambox by Strähle © Strähle/Huber Fotodesign

Space for concentration 

How can space for concentrated work or video conferences be integrated into an open and agile working environment? The manufacturer Strähle has thought about this and launched a ready-to-use product on the market with the Teambox.

The room-in-room system is available in a short time and can be set up quickly thanks to pre-configuration. It can therefore be easily integrated into existing office spaces. Two versions are available for focused work and for meetings with up to four people. Quiet ventilation and warm white lighting contribute to the comfort. The interior panelling is made of recycled PET felt. 

Joint pilot project 

In order to meet today's criteria for functionality and sustainability of office furnishings, there are also new cooperations within the industry. For example, the manufacturers Haworth, Object Carpet, Organoid, StyleGreen and Vank have jointly developed an innovative design and furnishing concept. Together with the operator of event and workshop spaces smartvillage, "The Evergreen Concept" was implemented.

The focus is on circularity and sustainability in the design of working environments. In an increasingly digital and fast-paced working world, the concept brings nature back into office spaces. All furnishings are either made of 100 per cent recycled or completely natural materials, have been upgraded through upcycling or are sustainably produced and unpublished prototypes or old stock that has been saved from being thrown away.

Thus, the newly designed space features sustainably produced and discarded showroom furniture, carpeting made from marine plastics, natural surfaces and sustainable acoustic solutions. An exemplary approach to the circular economy and at the same time an example of the diversity of today's office furnishings. 

Author: Broekmann+Partner

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