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