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The Workplace Just Became A Whole Lot More Flexible

CAON’s new Bloc system of modular furniture is the ultimate answer to today’s workplace where agility and versatility are fundamental

David Caon and his eponymous design studio CAON are testimony to the fact that cross-disciplinary practices promote innovation and creativity. With the studio’s projects ranging from aircraft interiors to tableware and architecture to furnishings, the small team of talented designers are constantly being subjected to different challenges and fresh perspectives, which can be transferred across sectors. This enables them to bring a different approach to each and every project and continually explore new frontiers.

CAON’s new Bloc System of modular furniture demonstrates this beautifully. Drawing on his experience of designing interiors for Qantas’s flagship Airbus A380, Caon has created a furniture system for the workplace that can be configured and reconfigured to create mini environments – perfect for today’s agile workplace. Caon elaborates, “just as aeroplane premium seating must do double time as support for long haul leisure and work activities, so too does the Bloc system facilitate long days spent in today’s deconstructed office environments”.

This new range, which recently won a Good Design Award for Product Design in the Furniture and Lighting category, was informed by insights from Living Edge – who distributes the product in Australia – as well as market research undertaken with local architects and interior designers. The Australian Good Design Awards program recognises and rewards excellence in design, innovation and creativity at a national and international level and lauded Bloc for its modularity, custom capabilities, ergonomics, local manufacture and sustainability features.

Bloc comprises a large range of beautifully upholstered, solid foam modules including 900x900mm square base units and an extensive selection of oblique back and arm supports, which can be easily configured according to need; then reconfigured as those needs change.

The sheer variety of components allows for an infinite number of settings to be created including single seating, private lounge pods, desk systems, meeting pods and breakout seating structures. And, in a world where coworking, agile working and activity based working are becoming the norm, the ability to create different environments in this way is invaluable. Gone are the days of one meeting room to facilitate all types of collaboration; Bloc allows you to create a space that specifically suits and enhances your activity – whether that’s privacy to make a phone call or a large, group, brainstorming session.

All components are ergonomically fine-tuned to ensure maximum comfort and there is also the option to select arm units with built-in bins for storing accessories and charging devices. Alternatively, if you’re after a larger desk for group use, timber or laminate models can be locked firmly in place within the pods.

There is no doubt that this is a very carefully considered, highly functional product but that doesn’t mean the aesthetic appeal has been compromised. On the contrary, CAON has teamed up with Kvadrat Maharam to offer a stunning range of colour and fabric options that will bring style and sophistication to any office. And with a choice of 20 colour palettes at a variety of price points, Bloc caters for all budgets. What’s more, the luxurious fabric has naturally high rub rates and durability, ensuring it performs well under the rigour of daily commercial use.

Finally, for those in noisy open-plan environments, there is also a range of complementary acoustic panels available. Secured by an interlocking keyhole system, their weight anchors them around the Blocs to effectively encase the seating components. The entire system is made and upholstered in Australia, which not only supports local industry but ensures the shortest possible lead times. Depending on the project size and scope it also offers the chance for customisation.

Bloc is an inspired solution to today’s ever-changing office landscape. It’s incredibly versatile and easy to use and brings a luxury previously only enjoyed by the residential and hospitality sectors, into the commercial realm. Thus, employees feel more comfortable and ‘at home’ whilst working and can enjoy using furniture that actually adapts to their activities, rather than the ‘one size fits all’ approach that dominated the offices of yesterday.

Caon established his studio in Sydney in 2009 after honing his design skills in Paris where he worked alongside compatriot Marc Newson for clients including Dom Perignon, Samsonite and Qantas. Prior to that he worked in Milan with George Sowden (an English champion of the exuberant Memphis movement) and Jerszy Seymour (the post-punk industrial iconoclast). These experiences instilled in David an intuitive sense of complex client requirements and today his studio is on a permanent quest to interrogate reason and challenge purpose. He says that ‘innovation is a maxim and excellence the benchmark’ and Bloc certainly lives up to this!

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