How wonderful to have our design shows back in London this spring! Despite the changeable weather this week, we’ve been out and about to see what’s new and inspiring at Clerkenwell Design Week.
It was of no real surprise to see sustainability and wellness at the forefront across the exhibitions and showrooms this year. As we continue to emerge from the pandemic, these topics have never been so important, as we strive to rebalance our time and re-establish new ways of living and working.
What was particularly refreshing was to see a far more holistic narrative, benefitting both people and planet harmoniously; from materials and colours that seek to protect and nurture, to spaces and forms that provide flexibility and comfort. The rise of the new holistic workplace focuses not just on the functional needs of the work environment, but on the psychological needs too.
So, let’s take a look at a few things that caught our eye…
There is a greater demand for workspaces to be even more flexible, with the ability to evolve over time, responding to changes in work patterns and behaviours. Multifunctional spatial dividers are redefining open-plan offices and homes; zoning areas for tasks or creating quick pop-up collaborative workspaces. Nature is increasingly incorporated into these flexible solutions, following the principles of biophilic design to support the wellbeing of workers by creating a visual connection to the natural environment.
We are seeing an abundance of seating solutions that create more relaxed collaborative environments within workspaces. High-back sofas and chairs enable semi-enclosed spaces to be formed and reformed in any number of combinations, creating comfort and privacy reminiscent of working from home. Colours and finishes also echo residential environments; with softer fresher tones that are familiar and inviting. As the demand for more flexible workspaces continues, we expect to see more of these modular seating solutions replace traditional office layouts.
Monochrome blocking was present in many different forms throughout the festival, with distinctive contrast created through material differences and surface details; from fabric to metal, smooth to woven, hard to soft and surface to wall. The use of a single colour with simple geometric forms and precision details created a pleasing visual balance, resulting in bold statements pieces with inviting tactile touchpoints.
Unapologetically bold, this collection of upcycled furniture felt at home at Fabric, the infamous London nightclub, and location of the POP Exhibition space. Featuring pieces from several different designers; contrasting neon colours against vintage wooden surfaces and fabrics created statement pieces with a story. A refreshing visual twist to many of the colour trends featured throughout the festival; this collection gives a warm sense of nostalgia whilst also optimism for the future. A good one to end on!
Since you are here, take a look at some of our work in the Consumer sector.
Having celebrated its tenth edition this year, Clerkenwell Design Week welcomed a whole array of designs aimed at providing intelligent and adaptable workplaces. From psychology-inspired colours that were used to create calming spots within offices to sound-proof hubs dedicated to those who perform best in complete silence, the 10th edition proved to be truly inclusive for the wide diversity of personalities that come together to form a team.
Today’s workplace is much more than a building we occupy each day from 9:00-5:00. It is now taking the shape of a social hub and, as we spend so much time there, we need different spaces to meet different needs. In other words, we need experiences instead of objects or, as the Martela team put it, workplaces should reflect the 4 C logic: Collaboration, Concentration, Communication and Chill-Out. They believe that with the right kind of materials and colours, a harmonious working environment can be created.
Powered by the desire to enrich creativity instead of setting boundaries, the Finish-born interior design company believes it is possible to ‘Thank God it’s Monday’.
Image credit: Martela
On the same note, Sedus Stoll came up with a similar approach to office wellbeing, as they believe that any space can be divided into four separate experiences: ‘Smart Balance’, ‘Urban Living’, ‘Soft Being’ and ‘Multi Creation’. Given the mixture of textures and hues showcased at their stand, the possibilities of bringing life to dull spaces are endless.
The fusion between functionality and aesthetics seems to be gaining momentum and, now more than ever before, designers have come to prove this is indeed possible. Since the development of technology made it easier for teams to work together regardless of their geographical location, the offices of the future will illustrate just that. Modular designs that give new purpose to usual office elements prove that the traditional notions of ‘desk and chairs’ can no longer satisfy the needs of such a dynamic and fast-paced working crowd. Since employees are now more likely to be spread around the world, the notion of four walls within a static office no longer illustrates a workplace. They will be evolving with the working force and wherever the latter goes, the former will follow.
We have seen just that at this year’s Clerkenwell Design Week, as multiple brands introduced a series of acoustic pods that are available for both large team meetings and individual use. Described by the SilentLab as a mixture of ‘true silence and active work’, the pods are surrounded with acoustic foam designed to absorb the sound both inside and out for guaranteed privacy. But another useful feature lies in their flexibility and the fact that they can be relocated around the office, acquiring therefore multiple purposes as they move along. Sustainable materials have also been efficiently used for these pods, such as the single-use cardboard designed by the creative team at Chat Pod
As they pointed out, cardboard presents high-pressure resistance, is extremely stable and one of the most environmentally effective materials to recycle. The cardboard hub displayed at Clerkenwell Design Week goes by the name of ‘Chatpod_Chat’ – a single user isolation pod designed for confidential calls and quick mobile chats.
Overall, we have noticed that designers envisioned a working space where simplicity and practicality go hand in hand. The workspace of the future will broaden its meaning to the point where it will no longer be seen solely as that, but rather as a flexible, enjoyable and truly inspiring environment.