Monday, June 17, 2013

inspiration...a new kind of work

This past week I had the pleasure of walking Neocon, an interior design conference at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. Merchandise Mart is a fascinating building, when it opened in 1930 it was the largest building in the world due to it's 4 million square feet, and it has it's own zip code and post office! My feet were hurting by the end of my visit and I was only able to see a fraction of the show. All the gorgeous furniture show rooms were open for browsing and there were keynote speakers and credit classes for those in the field. I pulled together some of the office trends I noticed.

"One should not forget that office environments are changing and that
the furniture will outlast many office concepts. This means it has to
take part in the evolution, not stand in its way."

Erwan Bouroullec quote in Vitra space

With a focus on office, many brands are finally catching up and often leading the way in the office designs for today and the future. Water coolers are now hip coffee bars, flat screens are not just for entertainment but sharing ideas, the tablet gets enlarged "Minority report style" and the cubicle gets a softer more comfortable redesign. The focus being on collaboration areas and hi-tec nooks built for overseas conversations. Keynote speaker, Lauren Rottet, observed that the future office will take cues from residential homes and the formal reception area will be obsolete in some new business structures. It is all about casual and comfortable to let that creativity and communication flow!

TREND 1: The Layered Work Space: Still keeping a traditional workspace, this office layout thinks on all planes, adding sleek storage areas as well as casual seating for when you want to chat with co-workers.

Bernhardt / Three-h / Knoll

TREND 2: Rocking and Rolling Chairs: Chairs that move or bounce while you sit/talk. The simple rubber exercise balls are upgraded front and center and the rocking chair is redesigned for conference spaces. Maybe repetitive movement helps with concentration, or we want to work on our core strength while we balance on a ball in a meeting not just behind our desks?

Bernhardt / Martin Brattrud / Steelcase  / Dauphin

TREND 3: Privacy Please! As the office space shifts to a more open floor plan, designers are creating pieces that allow for private moments on your phone/tablet or with one other person—all hushed with soft padded fabric like quilted felt or wool. High walled sofas and cocoon chairs give you a space to work that is muffled and comfortable.

Bernhardt / Buzzispace /Buzzispace / Haworth  / Buzzispace / Haworth / KI

TREND 4: Colorful Prints & Patterns: Looking down to your feet, brands were having fun with lux area rugs of cozy chunky knits or patch panels with leather. Upholstery gets cutouts with stitched overlays, and rugs and pillows are a vibrant mix of colors and graphic prints.

Key trend colors were vintage lime green, bright orange, lipstick red, shades of grey, fuscia, berry and ultra marine blues.

Buzzispace / Coalesse / Coalesse  / Haworth / Herman Miller

I look forward to more of this week's exploration of the new kind of work space!

Enjoy today.

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