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Always One Step Ahead: Schiavello’s Workplace Design Story

Back when activity-based working was still a novelty in Australia, Schiavello launched a new agile desking system that suggested a whole new way of working.

Alice Blackwood


August 19th, 2016

Today agile working is a mainstream concept. But in 2010, when Schiavello first introduced its revolutionary Climate system, the thinking around flexible working formats was still relatively new and cutting edge. A step-and-a-half ahead of the zeitgeist, Climate was designed to solve issues of evolving working styles, allowing workers to adapt between individual and team tasks quickly and easily.

Schiavello’s team of global workplace experts – among whom is the world-renowned environmental psychologist Dr Jacqueline Vischer and organisational psychologist Keti Malkoski – saw that Climate’s genesis was rooted in forward thinking. Vischer and Malkoski, who conceptualised the workplace as the tool for work, began to identify how clients can utilise the workplace as the number one resource to improve effectiveness. Climate’s holistic approach to the polymorphic work scene shaped a corporate environment based on empowerment through collaboration and diversity.

But that achievement is only a fraction of Schiavello’s 50-year legacy that has seen the company grow from humble beginnings in 1966 to present-day powerhouse. From generation to generation of users, the Schiavello success story is one based on celebrating diverse experience, expert knowledge and an unbridled, unflagging commitment to developing intelligent, inspiring, ecological and resilient solutions for the distinct personality and latent futures of any space.

And while their 2010 Climate system exemplifies this spirit of moulding, fostering and challenging the shape of tomorrow, Schiavello’s lasting mark rests on a philosophy that values design which grows organically alongside its users.

Being future-friendly has meant that the Climate program is still beloved by employees the world over. But for a company that brims with youth, vivacity and excitement for tomorrow’s designers meeting tomorrow’s workers, there is always space to evolve and grow. Most recently this has come in the form of the Krossi collection, a height adjustable desking system.

Where Climate truly revolutionised the emotional aspects of working culture, Krossi squares up against its ergonomic elements. Anticipating that health and wellbeing were to become the watch-words of today’s working world, Krossi is a sit-stand system that promotes movement in the workplace to increase circulation, and relieve spinal compression and muscular strain.

Krossi bears the trademark Schiavello consideration for design that is both ultra-functional and ultra-aesthetic. Featuring height adjustability, supporting connectivity between people and encouraging flexibility in the workplace, the Krossi Collection was developed by Schiavello’s in-house Design Studio to stand for ergonomic design that celebrates comfort, health and wellbeing.

As a hybrid table system with minimum under-structure but maximum capabilities, Krossi’s discretely integrated ergonomics afford every user – and every size and shape of said user – to vary desk height independently along a single plane.

As we look back over the 50-year Schiavello story, perhaps the lasting impression is more groundbreaking than we ever expected. Schiavello means a promise: a promise to fit the working tools to the body – not the body to the tools. This human-centred design philosophy is the result of a rigorous process of client workshops and customised prototyping, where live pilots involving the prototype are trialed and workshopped across the entire period of the development.

Schiavello’s strong client relationships, and the manufacturing capabilities and resources of their 70,000sqm manufacturing plant in Melbourne, allows the design team to turn around prototypes, collect feedback in workshops and update the prototypes for sign-off faster than the market average.

Follow the Schiavello story as they celebrate 50 years in 2016. Climate is just one of their major milestones, with many others to be explored – click here.

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