It used to be that if you went to IIDEX, the big office interior design show, you saw office interiors. Herman Miller, Steelcase, Teknion, all the big guns would be out with their latest. Teknion, which is based in Toronto, would take up a couple of thousand square feet.
Now Teknion is there with a tiny little Zones thing. It is a lovely little booth, part of the Zones collection designed by UK firm PearsonLloyd, with a standing meeting table inside, and with sound absorbing walls. But it is hardly an office.
Zones is a comprehensive series of furniture products that transforms the office, challenging convention and changing the way people experience work. It comprises seating, tables, screens, easels and accessories, as well as semi-private enclosures which can act either as an intimate collaborative setting or as a place of retreat when privacy is desired. Zones’ breadth of offering across multiple workplace categories with a consistent design language makes it unique.
It is nice stuff, but it seems that where the trend among those of us who work at home is to have an office, it seems that everyone who is at the office is going to look like they are working from home on the dining room table.
Teknion showed up with their Zones, but all the other major companies stayed home. There was a new player, Frövi, from the UK which doesn't design office furniture as much as what they call "social space". They made the tiny house shown in the field above. They do not make desks.
Frövi is a brand dedicated to furniture for eating, meeting and relaxation spaces within corporate and community environments. Through innovative design, high quality manufacturing and space consulting, we fulfil the market’s need for design-led, affordable social furniture.
I do not know anymore, for years I have predicted that the office of the future would look more like the lobby of the Ace Hotel than anything else, everyone sprawled on sofas with Stumptown coffees and Macbooks.
But after this trip to IIDEX, this seems the more likely future, a collection of little tiny houses.