The office just got super comfortable. Words by Stephen Lacey.
October 22nd, 2014
In 1932 philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote an essay entitled In Praise of Idleness where he predicted technology would free our lives, enabling us to work just four hours a day while spending the rest of our time pursuing arts and leisure. It didn’t exactly turn out that way.
Instead, technology has meant we are all working longer hours than ever. This means, the office has become a veritable home away from home. Indeed, most of the staff here at the headquarters of IndesignLive, spends more time at work than they do at home. Some have even been known to sleep on the sofa in the meeting room, just to make a deadline the next morning (and because they’ve gone a little too hard on the après-work champagne). So we really know the importance of making an office space a place you want to be. And that means, super-stylish and above all; super-comfortable.
Not only is a comfortable office better for staff morale, it also results in a much more productive workforce. Plus there’s the added health benefits associated with furniture designed with ergonomics in mind.
To help you achieve the office you deserve, we’ve assembled a few projects and products. These are by no means prescriptive, but we hope they’ll inspire you to linger longer at work; not because you have to, but because you want to.
Home and away
Nobody likes staying back at the office to work late, but if you had to do it, the Woods Bagot Sydney headquarters would be an enviable choice. This next-generation design studio has been created more like a warm and appealing apartment, than a conventional work space. In keeping with the home-away-from-home typology, there is no obvious company branding at the front door, and the receptionist sits at a solid timber ‘dining setting’, with large-scale indoor plants immediately obvious. An adjacent kitchen becomes a bar for Friday night drinks. Visitors step into a ‘forum’ – a multi-use meeting place – that flows into an exhibition zone and a lounge area for social gatherings.
When it comes to office design, one of the elements often overlooked is the need for good acoustics. This is despite the fact that acoustics play a huge part in the overall comfort of staff. Anyone who has ever lived through the ‘polished-concrete-floor-era’ of the early 2000’s will know just how annoyingly echoey the wrong acoustics can be.
This is why Synthesis Byline and Color Tone EcoSoft carpet tiles (by Inter Carpet) were specified by Room Office Design during the revamp of commercial real estate agents’ Dawkins Occhuito’s Melbourne HQ. The Ecosoft range provides improved acoustics in open plan spaces.
The ‘jaffa’ colour scheme was achieved to tie in with Dawkins Occhuito’s corporate logo and to complement the exposed brick feature wall. Synthesis Byline was the go-to product because it provides a sophisticated aesthetic, and adds a subtle hint of orange. This was punctuated with solid blocks of orange and black from the Color Tone Collection.
As the office becomes a place that is welcoming and comfortable at all hours of the day, the sofa has made its way out of the living room and into the boardroom. King Furniture’s Uno is perfect for the corporate environment (as well as chic urban apartment living). It’s a compact sofa with clean lines and a classic mid-century modern aesthetic, making it a piece of furniture even Don Draper would be pleased to relax on with a stiff martini.
Vertical and recline positions allow the Uno change into a number of seating preferences. The arms and backs can be lowered to form sofa extensions, turning the Uno into a comfortable bed, for those nights when going home is simply not an option.
The strength of the engineered steel frame and Postureflex® Seating System means the Uno is a durable commercial choice, with a 15-year guarantee. Covers can also be easily removed for cleaning or replacement to create a whole new look.
Ergonomics is derived from the Greek ergon (work) and nomos (laws) to denote the science of work. It is a discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system. Often forgotten when it comes to office design, ergonomics should be first and foremost for optimal health and performance of staff.
This is why we love the Binaria Stool by bd Barcelona. The happy meeting of a designer and a doctor has resulted in a beautiful study in ergonomics that embraces aesthetics. Doctor Jordi Badía and industrial designer Otto Canalda have collaborated on not simply a stool, but a seat with a veritable medical prescription.
It is specially recommended for all those activities which are undertaken in a seated position but frequent require mobility. From dentist to hairdressers to open-plan offices, the shapes of the seat, which are patented, guarantee the most beneficial position for the back with respect to the legs; exactly 135º. Available in three classic finishes: black, white and red. There’s also a new version in leather.
Ever noticed how certain colours can make you feel happy or sad, upbeat or relaxed? This is the theory behind Instyle Health, a comprehensive collection of textiles and vinyl designed to support the philosophy of creating healing environments. The high performance wall coverings collection are durable, cleanable and suitable for high traffic areas such as healthcare, hospitality, education, corporate as well as private residential.
But what we love is the way that the collection cleverly incorporates design themes of the natural elements (air, water and earth) arranged into five key colour groups to create versatile, coordinating schemes ranging from calming serenity to uplifting rejuvenation.
So for example, orange radiates warmth and happiness and is considered an optimistic colour that rejuvenates the spirit and stimulates social communication; making it perfect for a workspace that specialises in media, such as our office here at Indesign. On the other hand, green is associated with new life, nurture and healing, making it an obvious choice for medical centres, or health spas. And grey conjures up security and reliability, which is why it is often chosen by financial institutions.
With over 400 designs and colours, the Instyle Health Collection is ideal for a wide range of applications.
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