An elegant district, a "twisted" building, interiors inspired by street art and modern furnishing – our new showroom in Paris proves that a workplace does not have to be boring. In September we finished renovation works and opened our work and inspiration space. We celebrated the opening of the new office together with our business partners and clients at a special event to mark the occasion.
– The previous office was too cramped for us. We needed a space for showing not only new products, but also our concept for the arrangement of different office zones, – says Marc Olivier-Leroy, from the Nowy Styl Group's branch in France. – The decor of the new office was inspired by street art. City streets provide the perfect space for human interaction. Street crowds move rhythmically and according to defined rules. Everyone has their own aims, paths and favourite places. We transferred this casual urban atmosphere and way of functioning into our office – concludes the idea's originator.
The carpet flooring in the showroom imitates pavements, with artificial drain gates placed here and there. The wall is covered with graffiti made by a famous French graffiti artist at the spring Bureau Expo fair. And because a city cannot lack recreation places, our funroom is equipped with a football table and a professional tribune fitted with Abacus seats, which are well-known to sports fans watching matches at the stadiums in Nice and Lyon.
Through the windows of our showroom, we can see a completely different world – the richly decorated buildings of Galeries Lafayettes and the Garnier opera house – after all, we are in the heart of the luxurious 9th district of Paris. The office occupies one whole floor of a tenement building that was designed in a circular plan. So after entering the office, we can travel endlessly and visit its different zones, including an open space, a silent room, informal meeting places, a conference room, a kitchen annexe and a relaxation zone.
Architects, clients, distributors and business partners were first to set off on the trip. More than 100 people took part in the banquet we organised. The classically-laid banquet table, full of various snacks and glasses of champagne, did not prevent visitors from playing in a table football tournament; they competed with a pair of the current French table football champions. Our visitors were also able to receive a unique keepsake: their face profiles cut out of cardboard.
We warmly invite you to visit our showroom. Our new address is:
You can make an appointment by sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
At the biggest office space equipment fair – ORGATEC 2016, which took place on 25-29.10 in Cologne, visitors were able to see the most interesting furniture solutions from all over the world. At the stand, covering 1,200 m², we presented not only products dedicated to different office zones which keep up with the changing work styles and environments, but also our KNOW-HOW concerning space arrangement.
Trends: modularity, home office design and acoustic products
What are the challenges the office space furnishing industry has to face nowadays? – One of them is the quickly developing technology of mobile devices and computer equipment which offers constantly new possibilities and influences the way we work and function every day. This leads to a change in the types of furniture, its dimensions, shapes and functionalities that are in demand, – says Przemysław Mac Stopa. His responses to these new challenges are the system of modular poufs Tapa and the line of chairs and tables Tauko, which he designed for us. Their design makes reference to home furniture because the home office design trend is becoming more and more popular in modern offices.
Jan Wertel and Gernot Oberfell, who designed the office furniture system Levitate, are fully aware of the fact as well. – There is an artificial border between office and home products. Some of them can be successfully applied to both spaces and should be adjusted to the user, not to the interior. Moreover, the use of materials and finishes we often associate with home furniture gives the office a feeling of warmth and friendliness, – claim the designers.
In contrast, Hilary Birkbeck highlighted the need to design modular systems which can be used to create single sitting places in undisturbed work zones, spontaneous meeting areas, as well as relaxation and waiting zones, e.g. at the reception. – More and more companies are leading a nomadic life, which means they often move to new locations or rearrange the existing space in order to meet new requirements. That's why, office furniture should be configurable, – claims Hilary Birkbeck who, specially for us, designed the system of sofas Tepee with walls having acoustic properties which meet this need.
We KNOW HOW to #MakeYourSpace
In order to meet users' expectations, we offer solutions for every office zone, including shared and individual work zones, creative meeting areas, formal and informal meeting places, as well as managerial offices.
At the fair, we presented the following solutions for shared work zones: workbench workstations with wooden legs from the Levitate line, new elements of the Play&Work system (workbench workstations for integration with cabinets) and the Xio line. In the case of individual work zones, we offered chairs that ensure dynamic sitting, desks with height adjustment, as well as temporary workplaces Tepee-Work. Our clients had a chance to become familiarised with our wide portfolio of solutions dedicated to meeting places – starting with the innovative poufs Tapa, through modular systems, to the chairs and tables Tauko which make reference to the classic design and whose wide range of arrangement possibilities aroused great interest among our visitors. In terms of managerial offices we paid special attention to the SITAGINLINE furniture because of its unique design.
We have the right KNOW-HOW at the same time. We know what solutions can be used in a particular office space, how to improve teams' efficiency and cause an increase in individual productivity. For us, an office is a place where people realise business processes effectively; that's why when creating an arrangement concept of a given place, we always take these aspects into consideration.
Virtual office, real solutions
At the fair, we not only presented the realities of contemporary offices, but also invited our visitors to a virtual world. Everyone had a chance to see, with their own eyes, how the products presented at the stand function in an office.
– The VR solution gives us new possibilities by creating new, previously unavailable, quality, not only in terms of office space designing, but also our communication with clients, – says Michał Kita, who was responsible for the VR project in our company. – This allows us to present our furniture systems in a real size, illustrating the conditions of a given space at the same time. When moving around the virtual office, our clients can compare different variants of furniture systems and their arrangements, changing them in real time. We give our clients a chance to change not only a furniture system in a given office, but also its colour concept. With a single click, they can change a cosy, home-like space arranged with the Levitate furniture into a space characterised by avant-garde solutions from the Play&Work system or universal ones based on the SQart system. When seeing an office in a real size, we don't have to imagine what it will look like. We can just see it, – concludes Michał Kita.
– The fair gives us a golden opportunity to present our product novelties. However, I would like to stress the fact that our company doesn't care about products only, but also about the ability to apply them to a particular office space properly. We equip office and public spaces thinking about the people who will use them – about their needs and expectations. An office adjusted to the needs of an organisation is an investment that allows employees to use their potential and helps the company function effectively. That's why later on we are going to talk with our clients about how to adapt our furniture solutions to a particular organisation in order to ensure they will serve it best. We highlight our competences in this field with the following motto: We KNOW HOW to #MakeYourSpace, – concludes Magdalena Tokarczyk-Cyran, Marketing Director.
You can read the current coverage of the fair on our social media profiles by typing: #MakeYourSpace.
You can also find interviews with our designers on Facebook and YouTube.
Przemysław Mac Stopa tells us about the challenges of contemporary offices, discusses the new products on show at the ORGATEC fair and reveals how to create products that will be sold for many years to come.
Which office design trend is for you the most worthwhile?
Nowadays people are paying more and more attention to the process of arranging a user-friendly office based on the open space concept that supports employees as they perform everyday tasks. A friendly open space is supposed to facilitate the functioning of an office, integrate employees, increase work comfort and make the process of implementing organisational changes within dynamic market conditions faster. The success of a modern office project is determined by the right arrangement of the appropriate equipment in open spaces, team work spaces, social areas, hot desk and shared desk workstations, as well as zones designed for holding small meetings and carrying out quiet work that requires concentration.
Are there any office challenges that have not yet been met with the right solutions?
Generally speaking, the office furniture market deals with new challenges quite well. One example of this is the very quickly developing technology of mobile and computer devices, which has a huge influence on the way we work and our everyday functioning, offering ever newer possibilities. This leads to a change in the demand for furniture: people need different types of furniture, of different dimensions, shapes, functionalities, etc. When we combine this with new and constantly developing production technologies, we have a never-ending process of creating new furniture, functional and material solutions. Because of this, we can observe lots of interesting implementations every two years at the ORGATEC fair.
What do you expect from this year's ORGATEC fair?
We will have a lot of new solutions for modular meeting rooms, "telephone booths," acoustic furniture, products resembling home furniture and examples of sofas and armchairs from the home furniture or hospitality sectors, because today these are the kinds of aesthetics being looked for in modern offices.
At the fair, Nowy Styl Group's stand will display two new furniture systems that you designed. What makes them unique and how do they meet the needs of the modern office?
Tauko is a system of chairs and tables that is distinguished by characteristic wooden legs. The whole furniture line stems from the use of wooden legs, but it also includes other solutions based on metal legs, and chairs, stools and tables available in a wide range of colours, finishes and functionalities.
Tapa, in contrast, is a modular pouf that can be a designer element in a space. It offers lots of modular arrangement possibilities. In addition to function, a very important element of every project is form. In my opinion, this kind of approach increases the chances of a product becoming a so-called "longseller" – one that will be sold for many years to come, regardless of the ever-changing design trends.
The Hexa system, which you also designed for Nowy Styl Group, consists of modules that can be arranged freely. Is giving users a choice a key element of your designs?
In my opinion, modularity is a very user-friendly feature. It offers more possibilities to adjust a particular product to new, often unpredictable, needs and improves its functionality. A huge number of my designs are based on modularity. This is not only for furniture, but also wallpapers, wall panels, carpet floorings and suspended panels, which also stem from the aspect of modularity. My latest two modular wall and floor finish designs were awarded this year's Red Dot Award. I think that modularity is a very important aspect of designing, which, accompanied by the right approach, can increase the success of a particular product.
What was your idea behind the Tapa system?
My intention was to design a modular sitting system, which would not look like a piece of office furniture at first sight, but rather an architectural model or a sculpture. Tapa is a four-level pouf that can be compared to a puzzle based on geometric modularity. Its base has a shape of an organic rhombus that consists of four circles. What's more interesting is that the other levels can be moved and placed on neighbouring poufs. By rotating particular elements, we obtain unique arrangements, especially when we have a few or even a dozen poufs. When we use several different colours, we can additionally achieve a visually pleasing collage of mixed shapes and hues. The modules are covered with woollen upholstery, which looks good on the curves and reflects the light smoothly, giving the pouf a cosier appearance. My inspiration was my general love for creating elements of industrial design based on the mathematical analysis of modularity and geometric forms.
In contrast, the Tauko chair makes reference to the trends of the 50s and 60s. What kind of effect did you want to achieve?
Warming the image of an office and giving office furniture a home-like or club-like cosiness are key challenges for many new designers. I think that the trend of translating the home office and hospitality environments into the corporate office is one of the most significant directions for the future.
This is often achieved by coming back to classic solutions – using material solutions from the 50s and 60s, when furniture design usually combined plywood with solid wood and soft upholstery finishes.
By applying many material and product solutions for legs, armrests and finishes, we have managed to create a line that is characterised by a variety of functionalities. Tauko includes conference chairs, visitor chairs, armchairs with bucket armrests, club chairs, chairs for restaurants, canteens, hotel and residence rooms, as well as bar stools of different heights and styles. The line offers wooden or steel legs, stackable or swivel, with glides or available as a wire leg version that adds a minimalist Scandinavian character to the products. This is a very extended line of chairs that allows for matching aesthetics and functionality to almost any project.
How did you manage to create the shape of the chair, which ensures high comfort despite being made of a hard material?
I have designed many chairs in the past; however, they were mainly based on injected forms.
The process of designing a plywood chair turned out to be quite a challenge due to the plywood flexing feature and the necessity to adjust the project to the right material. The use of a classic hole and an expanding cut helped create an organic and comfortable chair based on the standard technology of plywood bending. I cut the first Tauko models out of paper and cardboard. Then, after achieving the effect I wanted, I changed the paper models into 3D files and printed them using a 3D printer. The process of prototyping combined with developing the chair ergonomics enabled me to create the final product. At some points during prototyping I changed the plywood bending geometry by a dozen or so millimetres, which helped increase comfort and adjust the design to the production technology.
What is the line of finishes dedicated to Tauko like? What helped you define it?
The basic finishing element of the chair bucket is plywood based on natural colours and patters of well-known tree species. The visible veneer grain on the bended chair geometry has an interesting look. I complemented the palette of natural veneers with the possibility to stain them in a dozen or so pastel colours in order to maintain the delicate image of natural wood grain. I defined the plywood staining colours as if I wanted to paint a picture consisting of many different hues that harmonise with each other perfectly and where none of them is dominant. The Tauko wooden legs can be made using the colour concept of the plywood staining. The Tauko bucket is also available as an upholstered version in many different colours with the use of trendy quilting. The steel legs are available as powder-coated or chromium-plated in a wide range of colours.
The Tauko line is characterised by pastel colours, but you often use intense colours. Are they also desired in an office?
It depends on the type of office, the tasks a company performs and the part of an office we are thinking about. Many organisations from the FMCG sector often look for more intense colours that make reference to the products they offer. These colours can dominate, even starting in the reception area. In financial institutions or law firms, intense colours are applied to some small elements only, such as the chair upholstery, acoustic screens and seats in canteens or social zones. Properly chosen and arranged, intense colours can make an office look much more attractive.
We should also pay attention to alternative solutions, such as highly monochromatic interiors featuring different shades of steel and grey. I am talking about the difference in parameters of how the light is placed between materials reflecting the light and absorbing it. This helps us create hi-tech interiors based on a visual contrast between glass, steel, metal, shiny elements and the neutral colour white, as well as grey and black upholsteries.
What did the weirdest or most interesting office you have ever seen look like? What were its most distinctive features?
There are many examples of creative approaches to designing offices, from famous Google projects to selected projects of advertising companies which are surprising with the use of furniture made to order as parts of containers, cars, lift cabins, etc.
However, I would like to highlight the project we designed a couple of years ago. The solution we applied differed significantly from what we observe nowadays. At publishing company Interni in Milan, the press office interior was created according to my idea of 3D graphics and their application to as many finishes as possible. The three dimensional graphics were experimentally implemented as carpet flooring, upholstery and wallpaper patterns. Additionally, the interiors were complemented with a mapping projection on six-metre-high domed ceilings. From time to time, this projection presented an animation of the 3D graphics "walking" on the ceiling, which added a surrealistic character to all the interiors. At the Salone del Mobile 2013 fair several dozen thousand people visited the office. It is worth mentioning that Nowy Styl Group was one of the event's participants.
The comprehensive arrangement of a well-designed office involves an optimal combination of three elements – it concentrates on people and the processes they realise in their place of work, which allows for increasing a company's efficiency. How should we design an optimal office space that inspires people, organises their work, provides support in performing everyday duties and helps build a company's image?
Over half of employees (56%) prefer modern and creatively arranged office spaces. What do these spaces look like? How should the headquarters of a modern organisation be organised?
Only a few years ago office spaces were divided into an open space for employees and separate managerial offices. We have realised that an office based on the open space concept arouses different emotions and is perceived as a faulty solution. Working in a widely available space causes employees to lose their sense of privacy and individuality, which may disturb their relations with the surroundings. Employees complain about noise, the lack of opportunity to concentrate and mess. Even though eliminating these side effects is not a demanding task, it is connected with a change process that is often difficult to carry out.
The latest office arrangement trends pay closer attention to the needs of employees. We are now in the age of the Activity Based Working concept, which focuses on the division of an office space into different working zones designed for particular tasks. According to the concept's guidelines, an office space is a response to diverse work styles and is supposed to support employees in achieving the right concentration levels, while facilitating their communication with their surroundings. Sectioning off various zones not only improves the efficiency of teamwork, but also increases individual productivity by 10%. This philosophy also suggests creating breakout areas – for example, canteens or funrooms. These solutions undoubtedly improve the job satisfaction of people in a team. It has been shown that no less than 96% of satisfied employees have access to social zones at work.
Great attention is also paid to the effective arrangement of an office space. The average usage level of a traditional office space during a working day is within the range of 45-60%; for conference halls and meeting rooms this is approximately 35%. How can we increase the functionality of office interiors if workstations are not fully used on a daily basis because employees are often on business trips? One good solution is hot-desking. A huge meeting room can be divided into a few smaller ones by means of a removable wall. This will allow the room to be used by smaller teams. These are just a few ideas; there are many more possibilities.
A functionally designed office is the basis of effective work. When creating demanding projects, we should take into consideration the right interior decor. The office is the showpiece of every company, and its most representative feature. Both customers and employees often base their opinion of a whole organisation on the first impression the office made on them. However, it must be remembered that the arrangement of a law firm office will differ from that of an IT start-up.
Moreover, two companies from the same sector may be characterised by a completely different office arrangement, which will be adjusted to their organisational culture and structure, the types of tasks they perform and their strategic aims and development plans. Answers to customers' questions concerning office arrangement can be provided by our Workplace Research & Consulting Department, with the use of precise research and the needs analysis. We are able to prepare a project and conduct a change management process in an organisation, both for existing and new offices.
Do you want to learn more on how to arrange the best office for your organisation? Please contact our Workplace Research & Consulting Department.
Workplace Research & Consulting Department
T: +48 12 639 86 42
M: + 48 510 009 653