The flexible design facilitates an open, interactive setting or a closed version that intersects the town square from surrounding work environments.
The American workplace is increasingly shifting gears when it comes to employee satisfaction.
Emerging out of the Industrial Era and the traditional five-day, 40-hour work week under a top-to-bottom hierarchy structure, companies are offering flexible work schedules to employees.
“The workplace we are familiar with was designed in the '30s and doesn't come from any strategy for productivity,” says Emma Plum. “It was more about employee protection; people were working way more hours than that.”
Geoff Gosling and his product development team at DIRTT had an idea: How could they turn the company’s demountable walls into foldable, collapsible structures, effectively allowing a DIRTT wall to open up when more space was needed, or be closed to create smaller spaces. And the company’s co-founder and product development president needed to keep the development of the product a secret.
In the simplest terms, “overdrive” is defined as a state of heightened activity. So when Herman Miller announced a few weeks ago it was moving from its “Shift” strategy into “Overdrive,” it wasn't really a change of direction, but more like putting the work the company has already done over the past five years into high gear.
Over the last five years, Herman Miller has established the underpinnings for its future success (through the Shift strategy), says Chief Executive Officer Brian Walker. Overdrive capitalizes on the progress already made through Shift and accelerates Herman Miller's “transformation into a modern lifestyle brand.”
It is amazing the lengths some workers will go to bring a bit of peace and quiet in to the open office. No one needs to point out that personal headphones are everywhere, with the idea that creating your own noise is better than listening to everyone else's. Meetings are often held in stairwells and hallways in often vain attempts just to get away from the din. Some workers simply leave the office altogether — headed to off-site locations hoping to concentrate on their work, just to get away from it all.
Headphones may not disappear from the office environment any time soon. But now, they will remain for perhaps a single reason – to enjoy the music. If Burgeree and Source Workspace has their way, visual and acoustical privacy may make a big comeback, sans the panel system. Our environment will be a winner in the process, and the design of the workspace will also improve.
We just lost an opportunity with a university because the facility manager refused to buy any furniture that wasn’t “100% made in the US”. With that simple sentence, he unknowingly eliminated every major manufacturer of seating in the country, including his current chair standard.
The question is; How do you answer this objection without insulting your client?
The Contract Furniture Industry, often thought of as the Office Furniture Industry, exists principally on the optimism of the general business climate. When corporation profits are under pressure, companies downsize or halt hiring. They cut capital budgets and often realign their priorities. Essential employees remain, nonessential employees are dispatched. None of that results in the purchase of office furniture.
The greatest disrupter of business, short of a recession or depression, is uncertainty. Uncertainty sows doubts, which in turns closes the purse strings of the corporate world. Clarity, with a douse of optimism, is what is drives capital purchases, hiring and corporate expansion. None of those essential elements are present today. They were, however, last month.
Prior to last year, few in the office furniture industry gave much thought to Safco and its parent company, Liberty Diversified International. Safco was LDI's transactional furniture brand, selling mostly through big box stores and Internet retailers like amazon.com. All that changed when the company acquired Focal Upright Furniture, one of the most innovative, new office furniture makers to enter the market in years.
Traditional office furniture makers have carefully watched the rise of products on Amazon, but for the most part have been spared direct competition. Amazon is making a serious dent in transactional sales and accessories — sales to small start-up and mom-and-pop businesses and for accessories like monitor arms and products that turn static desks into sit-stand.
At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Humanscale tapped into five experts — all leading authorities in their respective fields — to share their predictions alongside thoughts of what they hope to see in the years ahead.
Even before the last spilled Old Style was cleaned up at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, the World Champion Chicago Cubs were breaking ground on updates to the historic baseball park. The 1060 Project is a massive overhaul of the baseball stadium that will include structural upgrades, improved player facilities, new fan amenities, outfield signage (including two video boards), new premier clubs, and expanded concessions.
The 100-year-old ballpark badly needed an upgrade, and it included many of the seats in the aging stadium. Since opening a century ago, the Cubs have had only one seating vendor, American Seating. With last week’s announcement that American Seating sold off its stadium seating division to Irwin Seating, the Cubs and many other stadiums will have a new seating vendor for the first time in decades.
Though it is assumed American Seating or Irwin will hit deadlines for opening day (American Seating is only answering general questions about the transition, explaining that “due dilligence” is not complete), ballparks under construction worry about who is going to deliver the seats.
Since Snowsound burst onto the North American office scene in 2014, the company that makes acoustical architecture has won three top awards at NeoCon. That’s an impressive achievement by any standard, but what makes it especially impressive is that Snowsound won in three different categories, testament to the growing breadth of its product line and the versatility of what it creates.
Add to the accolades a market that has grown to embrace acoustical solutions for increasingly loud offices, and you have the recipe for success. Snowsound’s sales grew 100 percent last year. This year, the company is projected to grow an additional 150 percent to 200 percent, says Mike Dardashti, executive vice president of Snowsound in North America. Not bad for a company that has only been shipping products for 27 months or so.
As businesses become more dynamic, traditional real estate setups in the commercial sector aren't practical, or even available, to startups. Small companies typically can't sign big leases because they aren't even sure if they're going to be in business in six months or even two years from now. A ten-year lease in a prime downtown location in any big city across America is completely out of reach.
For several years, Wolf-Gordon built fantastic sculptures above the escalators that link the floors at the Merchandise Mart during NeoCon. They were abstract representations of the company and its wallcovering and textile capabilities.
But in 2016, because of ongoing construction projects at the Mart, Wolf-Gordon had to come up with a different idea to wow show-goers. The company and its design partners came up with Office_Excavate, an 18-foot-long sculptural work grotto using asymmetrical forms to display more than 100 of its textiles and create a sitting area for NeoCon attendees. Recently, Wolf-Gordon brought a slightly smaller version of Office_Excavate to Philadelphia for NeoCon East.
Muzo’s 4,000 square foot showroom in downtown Chicago has been called “arguably the coolest office furniture showroom in the world.”
The project took 2 full years to complete and required an onsite workforce of 400 people at its peak. For those of you not in the construction industry, that’s a ridiculous amount of human activity to manage, and it makes this fact all the more impressive: there were zero lost time incidents in over 200,000 working hours.
More than a few at NeoCon East were bleary eyed and tired as the show opened, having spent the night before glued to cable news channels watching as election results rolled in. After a slow start Wednesday, NeoCon East got going as East Coast designers and government specifiers finally made it to the Pennsylvania Convention Center for the annual event.
The aging of the office furniture industry has a lot of executives wringing their hands about what they can do about bringing younger generations — and a different and new way of thinking — into the fold.
When the organizers of Orgatec approached Vitra Chief Executive Officer Nora Fehlbaum about taking an entire hall at the biennial trade fair in Cologne, Germany, she declined. How would a single company fill out an entire 12,000 square meter hall into a cohesive story about its brand, even one as iconic as Vitra?
Why does it matter? That question is at the heart of everything we write about at Business of Furniture. And as more and more try to decide how office furniture shows fit into a digital world where new products and ideas fly across the Internet ether as fast as we can refresh a webpage and e-mail, it is fair to ask why Orgatec matters.