The modern workspace is ever adapting. And each new design feature leads to the need for new furniture and alternative décor.
Open Plan, Healthy Workspaces
Thanks to the developing attraction of open plan workspaces as well as the rising consideration of health in the workplace, many new products are appearing on the market. Workspace design has shifted its focus towards adaptable, modular furniture and seating that keeps you active – a conflicting idea I know.
Despite there being many perks to the open plan workspace – the ability to collaborate, to utilise space more effectively and of course, to please our social nature, there are also some inevitable draw backs.
Privacy and Noise Levels
Increasing noise levels are becoming a major issue in open-plan and shared workspaces. And with the office having more of the comforts of home, being active and finding privacy within these spaces isn’t easy.
However, thanks to designers including Dutch brand De Vorm, London studio PearsonLloyd and manufacturer Into the Nordic Silence, this is about to change. Everything from simple desk partitions to portable phone booths are finding their way into our modern workspaces.
De Vorm’s Lamp and Desk Partition
De Vorm’s combined lamp and desk partition for example, presents a simple design aimed at bringing privacy to open plan offices.
Hanging from the ceiling on thin cords, this rectangular screen divides up a large desk to create two separate workstations. While an LED light on either side of the screen then offers plentiful light to workers at either desk.
What’s more, the partition features an internal acoustic foam that acts as a buffer for travelling noise. It helps to minimise sound vibrations, creating a quieter space to work. And for those conscious about the impact their workspace has on the environment, the partitions are made of recycled bottles while being fully recyclable themselves.
PearsonLloyd Creates Zones
Taking this further, PearsonLloyd has created a range of furniture titled Zones. The shape and materials of the collection focus on creating space for privacy, collaboration and relaxation while still remaining flexible.
A piece entitled ‘Lounge’ is a partly enclosed pod that does exactly what it says on the tin. The two couches wrapped in a screen provide employees with a quiet space to read, think and write.
Keeping up with the health conscious attitude of modern society, PearsonLloyd have also created a Canteen Table, ideal for stand up meetings. And, materials are also in line with the desire for Biophilic workspaces. The products incorporate wood, aluminium and textiles in olive green, moss and slate grey colourings.
When talking to Dezeen, PearsonLloyd’s co-director Tom Lloyd said, “Warmth, humanity and simplicity within Zones provides a platform for focus and relaxation and can facilitate activity and collaboration when necessary.“
Pod Phone and Modular Furniture
As well as having particular zones for specific styles of working, the use of modular furniture, especially phone booths is becoming increasingly popular in open workspaces. Johanna Kettunen, COO of Manufacturer Into the Nordic Silence spoke to Dezeen about the success of their Pod Phones and similar products.
“The trend for pod rooms is accelerating all the time. The reason is that so many companies have open-plan offices and there are not enough support spaces in those offices so people are not able to concentrate on their work tasks. They need places to collaborate.“
The brand’s other pieces include acoustically friendly modular furniture featuring high, padded walls and soft upholstery that blocks surrounding sound, ideal for either groups or solo workers.
Going back to the slightly confusing idea of active seating, another popular new addition to modern workspaces is the backless stool. Specifically designed in the unstable shape of a saddle, users have to engage their core muscles as they sit in order to keep their balance.
As concerns grows over an average office worker’s sedentary lifestyle, these active seats are really beginning to take off. Balance boards – a platform that rocks from side to side, or around an axis are another variation. Those with seats installed are ideal for workspace environments, ensuring users are engaging their muscles while they work.
All in all, between moveable pods, modular furniture and active seating, it is clear that the face of the workspace is set to change in a big way over the coming years.