THE CONTEMPORARY WORKSPACE - Undecided - left - at Manerba booth at Salone del Mobile.Milano 2019 - Photo by Manerba
THE CONTEMPORARY WORKSPACE – Undecided – left – at Manerba booth at Salone del Mobile.Milano 2019 – Photo by Manerba.

Milan 2019 – “Simply we do not work as we did 50 years ago, but not even as last year. The office is not dead, it has reinvented itself. It is more and more transversal, as devices have moved them elsewhere: in museums, airports, hotel lobbies, cafés, co-working” say at Italian office furniture company Manerba which has appointed 30 year-old designer, millennial and globe trotter, Federica Biasi as the company’s new creative director. We recapped the 5 trending concepts shaping the contemporary workspace, starting from two main exhibitions.

THE CONTEMPORARY WORKSPACE - Caimi Brevetti showcases soundproof textile collections at WORKSPACE 3.0 - Photo by Andrea Mariani, courtesy of Salone del Mobile.Milano.
THE CONTEMPORARY WORKSPACE – Caimi Brevetti showcases soundproof textile collections at WORKSPACE 3.0 – Photo by Andrea Mariani, courtesy of Salone del Mobile.Milano.

Every two years, Salone del Mobile.Milano dedicates a pavilion to office furniture design. But this year the leading companies of the sector showcased their new collections across all the furniture design pavilions creating a diffused exhibition – titled Workspace 3.0 – which reflected the rapidly evolving working environment, from multitasking offices to wellness areas and co-working.

THE HUB room @ ELLE DECOR AT WORK - THE EVOLIUTION OF WORKSPACE - Photo by Stefano Pavesi.
THE HUB room @ ELLE DECOR AT WORK – THE EVOLIUTION OF WORKSPACE – Photo by Stefano Pavesi.

At Palazzo Bovara, Elle Decor Italia uncovered the changes altering the professional panorama with the exhibition ELLE DECOR AT WORK: THE EVOLUTION OF WORKSPACE, developed in collaboration with Milan-based DWA Design Studio, AKQA innovation company and landscape designer Marco Bay.

#1 – The ‘third space’ between Home and Work 

THE CONTEMPORARY WORKSPACE - MAKING PLACES exhibition by UNStudio for USM at Salone del Mobile.Milano 2019 - Photo by UNStudio.
THE CONTEMPORARY WORKSPACE – MAKING PLACES exhibition by UNStudio for USM at Salone del Mobile.Milano 2019 – Photo by UNStudio.

USM is known for its modular Haller structures that can be composed in a scalable and flexible way like building blocks to fit in any space, from the home to the office. In Milan, the Swiss furniture company teamed up with Dutch architecture office UNStudio to present Making Places, a playful installation that investigates ‘a third space’ between home and work. “Cafes hotel lobbies and parks, new informal spaces are increasingly becoming places of work. A third space is emerges,” explain at USM.

THE CONTEMPORARY WORKSPACE - MAKING PLACES exhibition by UNStudio for USM at Salone del Mobile.Milano 2019 - Photo by UNStudio.
Photo by UNStudio.

We explored this third space that provides the conditions for humans to thrive between Home and Work,” explain at UNStudio “But what exactly are these conditions? We’ve identified four: growing, learning, reflecting and meeting.” UN Studio used USM’s signature Haller furniture system to created 4 color-themed areas, each matching one the 4 conditions. 

#2 – Forget austere environments – the contemprary workspace is playful and informal

THE CONTEMPORARY WORKSPACE - LAN Chair by Iratzoki Lizaso for Alki - Photo via IG by Mito.Eus, follow @mito.eus and @iratzokilizaso.
LAN Chair by Iratzoki Lizaso for Alki – Photo by Alki.

Remote-working has transformed homes into offices and viceversa. Soft formality, or a professional informality are the key. French Basque company Alki has launched Lan, the office chair for people who don’t like office chairs by Iratzoki Lizaso. Self-adjusting mechanisms meet soft rounded shapes and warm aesthetics combining ergonomics with the informal mood of the living room.

THE CONTEMPORARY WORKSPACE - ALPI Pointillisme Col. by Atelier Mendini with Alex Mocika has been chosen to cover the THE NAP BAR area @ Elle Decor at Work exhibition - Photo via IG, follow @alpi_wood.
ALPI’s Pointillisme Col. by Atelier Mendini with Alex Mocika has been chosen to cover the THE NAP BAR area @ Elle Decor at Work exhibition – Photo via IG, follow @alpi_wood.

At the same time, Offices are becoming more homey as well. Communal areas become informal areas for team bonding. More and more co-working spaces feature relaxing lounge room, bars, play rooms and even nap rooms. In The Nap Barat Elle Decor At Work, the importance of the psychological and physical balance is fully revealed, where micro-spaces are carved out of curved walls to find private refuges enveloped in soft fabrics and relaxing lights.

#3 The contemporary workspace cocoons professionals with privacy and silence

THE CONTEMPORARY WORKSPACE - IOC at WORKSCPACE 3.0 - Photo by Andrea Mariani, courtesy of Salone del Mobile.Milano
IOC at WORKSPACE 3.0 – Photo by Andrea Mariani, courtesy of Salone del Mobile.Milano

As technology has often become intrusive, the value of privacy has never been so important. Office furniture protects, acoustically isolates and cocoons, while providing all the necessary features – from proper lighting to usb socket – to allow to work. Take Rossella Mangiarotti’s Ghisolfa, a series of enveloping and soundproof upholstered seats for IOC/International Office Company.

Bob job by Bla Station - Photo by Bla Station
Bob job by Bla Station – Photo by Bla Station.

Blå Station has expanded their Bob collection into a furniture  system comprising lamps, upholstered separators and seats that can be assembled together to create casual and creative workspaces. Acoustic panels are becoming more and more important as well.

TRYPTA by Stephen Burks for Luceplan - Photo by Luceplan.
TRYPTA by Stephen Burks for Luceplan – Photo by Luceplan.

Raffaella Mangiarotti teamed up with Ilkka Suppanen to design UNDECIDED, an acoustic, connected, colorful, monitor stand creating an upholstered private island for Manerba. Caimi Brevetti has launched a new collection of sound absorbing textiles. Luceplan has launched Trypta, a pendant lighting design by Stephen Burks which is partially covered in acoustic fabrics. 

#4 Less intrusive technology is the key

THE CONTEMPORARY WORKSPACE - Tecno booth designed by Calvi Brambilla at Salone del Mobile.Milano 2019 - Photo by Davide Zanardi, courtesy of Tecno.
Tecno booth designed by Calvi Brambilla at Salone del Mobile.Milano 2019 – Photo by Davide Zanardi, courtesy of Tecno.

Technology is a key factor. As long as it doesn’t gets pushy and distracting. Finally the internet of things permeate the working environment in a more healthy way. Tecno new collections are powered by the io.T the intelligence of Tecno system which transform any office into your office. The furniture designs are connected and easy to manage using software and Apps.

#5 The Biophilic office

THE CONTEMPORARY WORKSPACE - MAKING PLACES exhibition by UNStudio for USM at Salone del Mobile.Milano 2019 - Photo by UNStudio.
MAKING PLACES exhibition by UNStudio for USM at Salone del Mobile.Milano 2019 – Photo by UNStudio.

In offices plants look often miserable. What if Nature took over instead? At the USM booth at the fair UNStudio has used the company’s modular grids to create verdant walls. “Biophilic design strategies are important when designing places that people will want to live and work in, as well as the places in between. A healthier environment that improves our wellbeing keeps our minds and bodies energized, which in turn makes us more productive.” Explain at UNStudio.

THE CONTEMPORARY WORKSPACE - THE ORCHARD by Marco Bay @ Elle Decor at Work exhibition - Photo by Stefano Pavesi.
THE ORCHARD by Marco Bay @ Elle Decor at Work exhibition – Photo by Stefano Pavesi.

Within the courtyard of Palazzo Bovara, landscape architect Marco Bay has created The Orchard, an array of open rooms surrounded by rich greenery where guests can recharge their body and spirit.

THE CONTEMPORARY WORKSPACE - Manerba booth at WORKSPACE 3.0, Salone del Mobile.Milano 2019 - Photo by Manerba.
THE CONTEMPORARY WORKSPACE – Manerba booth at WORKSPACE 3.0, Salone del Mobile.Milano 2019 – Photo by Manerba.