Sign up for an Award
Participate with your entry in one of our professional or student awards.Sign up for an award
You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.
iF and Orgatec look back onto a long history of office designs that challenge traditional perceptions. Be that interior designs to increase inspiration and well-being or IT devices that help keep up the flexibility in everyday life. We took a first look at the most spectacular innovations and trends at the Orgatec 2018 and asked designers about their visions for offices of the future.
Researchers found out that spaces with elements of nature increase energy, concentration, well-being and productivity. This is where the concept of “Biophilic Design” comes to life. It describes what interior design has to offer to connect people with nature in their everyday lives. Places, designed in this concept reduce stress, increase cognition and creativity and have a positive outcome on health. The Sony Music HQ high up in Amsterdam´s A'DAM Toren is in half designed as a communal, communication- and relaxation zone with installations and furniture in rich green as well as exotic potted plants in all kinds of forms, colors and sizes. (Designed by Space Encounters, NL)
iF DESIGN AWARD winner Interface is the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial carpet tiles and puts some focus on biophilic design. Interface's changing floor qualities, soft and hard, or a textile floor with diverse pile heights demand increased concentration – just like a walk in the woods with its uneven ground. But there are also other companies that focus on nature: The Danish company Four Design incorporates plants in their office designs (see picture).
Biodynamic workspaces are the next big topic in office designs. Office Systems and especially lighting that adapts to the individual needs of the employees can improve the overall health and atmosphere in workplaces and can even save energy. This could best be seen at companies like Kesseböhmer Ergonomics, who showcased YOYO Smart Ergonomics – their intelligent and flexible system for workplace organization that optimizes the office space utilization through intelligent desk sharing. Further, YOYO provides apps that help employees maintain a healthy posture in the office or to move more often – similar to Fitness-Trackers.
Talking about smart office solutions, that increase the well-being, office lighting plays a crucial role. "Human Centric Lighting (HLC)” is the keyword in the lighting industry: The next generation of office lighting adapts to your individual needs. Are you tired? Is your concentration low? Are you an early bird or a late riser? Everyone has a different need for light. Such intelligent Lighting can be regulated via Apps and Software. How this works, could best be seen at Waldmann with their LUM CONNECT VTL System or at Humanscale. The German company Durable also concentrates on intelligent lighting and presents its newest hit – LED lamps that adapt to the employees personal need for light. They presented their portable series with the name of „LUCTRA Flex“, which street-artist Keith Hopewell painted by hand in a live art-show at the Orgatec (see picture).
New materials play a crucial part at the Orgatec 2018 with the special area “Culture Materials”. For example, the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm constantly develops groundbreaking materials for high-tech industries and sustainable materials, such as a foamed material, that decomposes itself after usage, are the materials of future designs.
The Swedish company Cellutech AB from Stockholm showcases its most innovative materials. Among them a real highlight at the Orgatec: So-called transparent wood (see picture on the left). This leight-weight wood-polymer composite creates a load bearing material with high optical transmittance, low thermal conductivity and tunable haze. Transparent wood provides an attractive alternative for light-transmitting and heat-shielding construction materials and solar panels.
Flexibility is a central aspect of modern work culture, where the number of co-working spaces, home offices or other rather unusual work environments is increasing. The flexible meeting table mAx by the German company Wilkhahn has movable pedestals and is honored with the iF DESIGN AWARD 2018. Next to their brand new “Free-2-Move” office chair AT or their beautiful upholstered bench with backrest “Insit”, one highlight is their new office stool “Sitzbock”. Its shape reminds of a horse and therefore “evokes positive memories of childhood past”, as Wilkhahns press officer Burkhard Remmers puts it. On the left the wall relief "Landing" (both designed by Rudolph Schelling Webermann) absorbs sound and creates space for storing a drink or smartphone.
iF DESIGN AWARD winner Ergotron from the Netherlands focuses on adjustable tables as well. Their patented technology “Constant Force” allows to change the height of their tables JŪV, without any use of electricity. Since the company has been honored by iF, Giljam Nijsse and Michel Spruijt from Ergotron (photo left) are happy to share their experience with us: “The iF Award is a great tool for our Marketing, a sign of quality and a unique feature!”
Red acts as appetizing, yellow is motivating and blue calms down. Everybody knows and experiences how colors can influence our well-being, mood and creativity. How come so many offices are still held in white and grey? No wonder, many designers and manufacturers work progressively with color in offices. Outstanding among them is the Italian company DVO, whose office furniture collection “Milo” bluntly pairs such colors as yellow, green and ocean blue with well-thought out practicality, clear shapes and light.
Since social encounters, teamworking and individual spaces for rest are a crucial aspect of a good work culture, the polish furniture company Nowy Styl Group showcases their movable seating isles “Tapa” by designer Mac Stopa. Held in light blue shades, Tapa is movable, can be arranged for any occasion with its four different modules and evokes childhood memories – just like a huge office puzzle.
A conference table is a conference table. People sit there and hold meetings. That's it. But is it really? What if the presentation of the CEO can be projected on the table for everybody to partake, change information and so on – via touchscreen? The Turkish company Koleksiyon as well as the German company König + Neurath present glass tables with a surface for projections and screenings. In offices, it could replace all kinds of screens, and encourage more interactions between the team.
Speaking of Screens: The German company Durable shows their iF-awarded “Duraframe” at Orgatec: A magnetic foil frame for textile surfaces such as textile boards, partition walls, acoustic panels and bulletin boards.
For the Swiss company Vitra, office spaces have to be "superflexible", as designer Konstantin Grcic called his showcased scenario for Vitra. It is a concept, where the team can arrange its offices for any given situation with little movement and transfom it into a conference room, a communal space or even a Coffee Shop! Ideal in this case are the new designs by Vitra: The "Dancing Wall" by Stephan Hürlemann or "Rookie" - a small, agile office chair by Konstantin Grcic.
Europes greatest office design company Kinnarps is a specialist in open space working spheres. Spaces for regeneration at work play a crucial role for Kinnarps and personal storage space is secondary. At the ORGATEC Kinnarps presents their visions of so-called “Creative Hubs”. Typical for Scandinavia, where hierarchy is secondary.
Space is also a crucial part of Palmberg's innovations. The company is known for its colorful but classic room dividers. Their highlight is “Disk”, that takes room dividing on a whole new level. The movable object can be placed in any space and bring some privacy and concentration for the team. Since you can spin it like a wheel, there is also a playful component to it. Plus, it can be used as an acoustics-module.
The US-American office furniture company Steelcase focuses on their main topic „Future of Work“. In their concepts and designs, Steelcase wants to create spaces, where office furniture and home furniture melt. As personal and professional life are blending more and more, Steelcase wants to increase the well-being in the office with their designs. The integration of home furniture, warm colors and materials is set to increase the overall well-being.
What is an office without a great team kitchen? Where everybody can relax, talk and enjoy a great lunch. Plus, many studies have shown, that lunch breaks are important for the office atmosphere and creativity. The German company Bulthaup designed kitchens, and especially tables, which are a sharp contrast to the mostly grey and white office kitchens and that use a lot of warm colors and wood as material. Highlight is a table, where the seats can be arranged in any direction - so if a certain colleague enters, colleagues can turn and start a talk. Further: The tables include a heating plate in the middle - to engage the team members even more.