Do you find yourself regularly tethered to a desk, stuck in a chair, working 9 to 5, 24/7 and everything in-between? Office life, whether at home, in a ‘bonafide’ office, a cafe or co-working space, is often dull, dreary and devoid of character. In many instances, design is rarely given due consideration and the office environment is an insipid one that saps energy and creativity. If you are indeed spending exorbitant amounts of time at the office, then well-designed office furnishings are a key priority.
This writer has experienced office conditions concerned more with instilling uniformity, conformity and tedium. Low-quality and mediocre furnishings contributed to a set-up that chained workers to desks and drained creativity. Juxtapose this with my experiences in office environments where design was a central tenet and I felt much more confident and expressive, noticing vast improvements physically, psychologically and emotionally.
If we are to properly consider our understanding of the workplace and look again at how work is undertaken, then design – good design – is paramount. Unhampered by convention, a well-furnished office space will aid thinking, reflection and the sparking of ideas. Investing in better spaces and facilities and in the office that is people friendly will inevitably boost workplace morale.
We require everything from small desks for solo working to larger tables for teams and informal meetings. Lounge areas are important for casual interactions, unwinding, enjoying a coffee and a chat. People should be able to move around, working wherever it suits them and having a personal space to return to. The office must exemplify such values as honesty, punctiliousness, style, simplicity and longevity. It is only then, in this writer’s opinion, that people will express passion, convey creativity and demonstrate expertise.
There follows 22 ideas for a well-furnished office:
1. Healthy working
Evoluzione is a range of height adjustable tables by Fattorini+Rizzini+Partners for SA Möbler AB. Image © 2015 SA Möbler AB.
2. Spatial awareness
Platform is a range of furnishings that cater to a workplace’s spatial needs, including flexibility and storage. Designed by Tengbom Architects for SA Möbler AB. Images © 2015 SA Möbler AB.
3. Light and sound
Hood is both a flexible light source and a sound absorbent barrier, ideal for use in open-plan spaces. Designed by Form Us With Love for ateljé Lyktan. Image © ateljé Lyktan.
4. Comfort for waiting clients
Marina Combi, designed by Fattorini+Rizzini+Partners for Extremis, is perfect for those alfresco lunches, meetings and evening drinks. Also featured is the Captain’s Sliding Chair. Images © 2015 Extremis.
6. Modern classic
The 606 Universal Shelving System was designed by Dieter Rams in 1960 and has been made by Vitsœ ever since. Image © Vitsœ.
7. Midcentury modern
Arne Jacobsen’s Swan™ and Swan Sofa™ in black classic leather in the lobby of Danmarks Nationalbank. Image © Republic of Fritz Hansen.
8. Clinical form
The MILK Classic by Søren Rose Studio is a smart, stylish and studied desk. Dubbed “the desks’ lamborghini” by Berlingske (a Danish National Newspaper). Photo by Søren Rønholdt via Søren Rose Studio.
9. Valet service
Traditional, minimal and contemporary, the Gentlemen’s Valet is an ideal office companion for the urbane executive. Designed by Søren Rose Studio. Image © Søren Rose Studio.
10. A work of art
Eileen Gray’s iconic hand-lacquered Brick Screen is both art and a perfect office space divider. Image © 2015 Aram.
12-14. Studio Office, Vitra
The central club area.
A meeting room.
A work area.
A new office concept is being tested at Vitra’s headquarters in Birsfelden. The Studio Office in the Vitra Center (sic) is a large open space divided into five neighboring clusters or studios. Workspaces within each studio occur spontaneously, so fostering adaptable, non-territorial and varied working environments. The concept allows for the improved flow of communication and information within an atmosphere that is genial, efficient and transparent. A central club area acts as a pivot between each of the studios. It includes a large irregular table in order to facilitate the concurrent meetings of different groups. Furnishings play an important role in the space and include selections from Vitra Office, Vitra Home and Artek. Images © Vitra AG.
15. The ergonomic chair
Cron has the classic qualities of an executive chair, combining adjustable operative features with a minimal, aesthetic design. It is available in three models: high backrest with headrest, high backrest only and low backrest. Cron was designed by AlegreIndustrial Studio for ACTIU. Images © ACTIU Berbegal y Formas, S.A.
16. Geometric balance
The 70/70 table was designed by TAF for Muuto. Balanced, clean and simple in form, this handsome table provides the optimum working surface. Images © TAF.
17. Shelf life
This Lundia Classic shelving is available in different varnishing options. Utilitarian and understated, it is Finnish solid wood shelving that adapts to your evolving needs. Image © Lundia.
18. Rest and rejuvenate
The OW150 daybed was designed by Ole Wanscher. Take time out in a busy working day to cleanse the mind and spirit. Image © Carl Hansen & Søn.
19. Playful colour
20. Formal yet relaxed
Norway’s Ministry of Health and Care Services and Ministry of Agriculture and Food is a meticulously conceived governmental space. The environment is a formal one, and at the same time its furnishings create a relaxed air. Hans J. Wegner’s iconic CH07 Shell Chairs add a modernistic touch that tempers the austere backdrop. Image via Carl Hansen & Søn and photography by Colin Eick.
21. Bin it
The Vipp52 office bin was designed by Holger Nielsen for Danish company Vipp in 1985. It is perfect for disposing of waste in a most aesthetic manner. Image © Vipp.
22. Handcrafted sophistication
Crafted by hand, utilizing wisdom and experience, the Bolsa desk from Portuguese brand WEWOOD is sublime. A clean oak surface is accompanied by a saddlebag, the perfect space in which to store documents. Images © WEWOOD.