We all enjoy social collaboration and creativity in the workplace thrives on it, however it will look a little different for the foreseeable future. It’s up to us, as architects, interior designers and industry leaders, to lead the way sourcing modular and flexible furniture that suits our ever-changing needs in the office as they ebb and flow – sometimes predictably, and often time not.
Stylecraft recognises the need to facilitate our new normal through flexible and adaptable products. And in doing so, they’ve identified four fundamental considerations: Modularity + Adaptability; Designated spaces for independent working; Standalone screens and space separators; and Traditional workstations in new configurations.
Modularity + Adaptability
Modular collections designed for offices, breakout rooms, lobbies and waiting rooms are traditionally advantageous for separating or demarcating spaces, creating audio and/or visual barriers, and maximising a floor plan. While the latter point might be less relevant for now, achieving the first two are more pressing than ever.
The Avion Collection by Keith Melbourne for Stylecraft is a modular system that includes work and meeting pods, freestanding and high back lounging together with a screen system and accessories such as integrated lighting and coat hooks. As places for work and to meet, tall dividers separate the desks while diagonal and curved configurations inclusive of upholstered screens, ensure physical distance. For placement in a lobby or waiting area, the Shell Lounge with the high rear screen option can be configured numerous ways to ensure people waiting together, are separated.
Likewise, Place by Ross Gardam, Kiik by Arper and Softsape by LEN are three modular lounging systems with coffee table modules. You can clearly separate the seats while maintaining traditional geometric configurations. These ranges all offer curved modules (both seating and surfaces) for more sinuous layouts.
Place by Ross Gardam
Kiik by Arper
Designated spaces for independent working
Now more than ever do we need breakout spaces for the individual. Not just for office guests but also for employees who need a change of scenery. Screen-based systems that use upholstered wall panels or PET are able to sufficiently separate and protect individuals in independent working setups.
Both the Adapt by Ross Gardam and Bloom by Keith Melbourne lounge collections at Stylecraft can be specified in single-seat modules – complete with high backs and upholstered screens. Furthermore, as independent seating modules they can be shifted around the office if and when needed.
Standalone screens and space separators
The capacity of office and commercial spaces has drastically reduced – and it literally happened overnight. While we can’t host as many people in the office as we once could, there are certainly ways to avoid barren landscapes. Standalone screens – such as the Nebula Screens by Tacchini – and space separators work on a number of levels: they subtly encourage appropriate social distancing; demarcate different work zones in an open-plan layout; and add visual interest and depth to an office. And in the case of the Botanical Planters by LEN, they can even add biophilia.
Traditional workstations in new configurations
Lastly, and perhaps surprisingly to some, we find ourselves back designing designated workstations. Ensuring there is sufficient space between fixed workstations can be done through more elaborate configurations (the need to conserve space off the cards for now) and incorporating adds on to workstations, such as screens. In the past they may not have been needed acoustically or visually, but now are now valuable for hygiene reasons.
The ThinkingQuietly back-to-back workstations from ThinkingWorks have a range of accessories in the collection that serves these exact needs. They include a screen separator, an above desk acoustic screen, an infill block with organiser tray and a portable briefcase-style screen. The Blade workstations also from ThinkingWorks come with similar accessories such as upholstered of PET screens.
Among many other personal and professional revelations, the global events of 2020 have reminded us of the importance of constant innovation and the need for business to stay agile, flexible, and reactive. The Stylecraft product collections include countless pieces that can be modified and adapted to suit the requirements of an office – however unique – now and into the future.