Region: INTERNATIONAL

5 Hot Trends at Orgatec 2022

Coming back after a break of 4 long years, Orgatec 2022 at Cologne was a much anticipated event. Held between 25th October to 29th October, Orgatec 2022 highlighted ongoing trends and upcoming products and innovations in workspace design in an epigrammatic manner. Through the event we spotted what trends seemed to rule the narrative of Orgatec 2022, here’s a look….

01. THE TOP 5 HOT TRENDS AT ORGATEC 2022:

🡲 PRIVACY

It’s one thing to have an entire hall dedicated to acoustics, it’s another to have virtually every company at Orgatec 2022 showcase a booth of some sort. Some work, some just don’t cut the mustard. A year ago, everyone was chasing second place with Framery One holding first place. At Orgatec 2022, that gap reduced considerably.

Sexiest booth: Abstracta – It feels like you are going into first class on an Emirates Airbus 380!

Future Road map: Hush Office by Mikomax. “Hush Office” latest collection, due to release next year, seems well considered across the single, dual and meeting sized booth. They’ve accounted for better lighting, ventilation, acoustics and fittings.

Coolest gadget inside a booth: SilentLab newest concept booth equipped with a privacy button that scrambled the sound on any recording device when switched on.

There were many companies that took pride in stating that they sold “Silence” at Orgatec 2022, but that phrase wore out after the third attempt. Away from the hall of acoustics, Felt Touch did stand out – a Turkish company showcased a variety of molded PET products addressing architectural acoustic and lighting elements along with their furniture partner Deberenn – all accessible through Ahrend’s suite of products in the Middle East.

Alea & VetroIn both showed off their wall systems by creating more custom meeting rooms along with booths of their own. The mirror side and custom ironmongery on the end of the Alea booth did leave an impression.

While Lintex have been one of the more coveted brands in writable spaces, with their elegant shapes, color palette and Scandinavian design, another Scandinavian company – Into – paired up acoustics and writable surfaces with a bit of fun – adding a basketball hoop, a dartboard and other accessories that could be magnetized on a fixed acoustic wall or a movable one. Anything to get people back into the workplace!

🡲 SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT

We’ve heard this across most exhibitions, however what’s been said at Orgatec 2022 is actually quite fascinating. Clerkenwell Design Week and virtually every UK centric design firm and manufacturing company is focused on Net Zero and everything that comes with it. Orgatec 2022, however, spoke more about sustainable products using bio ingredients that “didn’t take away from the food source”.

“The Most Sustainable Chair”: Path from Humanscale showcased at Orgatec 2022

Products that made us go “Really?”: Kvadrat, one of the leading contract textiles companies showcased “Really” a revolutionary board made out of textile waste last Orgatec and has now perfected it to launch worksurfaces for the contract market! 

Vank, focused on creating Hemp based shelving, acoustic panel and other accessory products. An impressive showing and one that, you guessed it right – “doesn’t take away from the food source.” Crassevig‘s FINNA by Ramos & Bassols coalesced elegance with consciousness for the environment. The newly launched chair uses recycled plastic and exudes a minimalist and Nordic aura.

Kinnarps went as far as parking their truck in the middle of Hall 9 at Orgatec 2022 to prove how they can bring their workshop to you. Repair, Reuse or Refurbish products that have stood the test of time, while still helping to provide products to meet the more recent aesthetics of the current decade.

🡲 RESIDENTIAL PRODUCTS USED IN CONTRACT FITOUTS

Corporate furniture had been moving to a more residential feel over the past few years, however the pandemic sealed that shift with the work from home conversation. It’s clear Europe and North America have struggled to get people back in the office, which saw a lot of the western brands shift to soft seating and homey products. Residential brands coming to a corporate exhibition definitely make for an interesting market ahead of us, we got a glimpse of that at Orgatec 2022…

Project of Living: Arper’s latest launch showcased Ghia, Oell, Aerie & Shaal at Orgatec 2022. The center of the talk with Arper’s new CEO Roberto Monti & designer Peter Kuntz called Project of Living, reflects current changes in the way people live today. We bumped into Roberto Monti after the talk and he was pumped to shape Arper 2.0 to meet demands in spaces previously untouched. 

A workspace housed in a closet: Executed by Gotessons, a contract furniture company, the concept was whimsical and intriguing. If you could put all your equipment in a closet and adjust its height to meet ergonomic needs, why wouldn’t you? 

True Design brought to the fore at Orgatec 2022, homely elegance in contract settings with their Ermette table that could be a lovely dining table by night and double up as a collaborative hot desking space by day, along with their Wing Kitchen table that could just as well do the same thing. 

Kettal has made this transition seamlessly over the years with their outdoor spaces being tailored for the new age boardroom or collaborative spaces. Their collaboration with Tectum Garden to show a Hydroponic garden might be gimmicky but their space did still come off as an impressive kit of parts to create any space you desired looking outdoor chic!  

Cassina took another route and showcased their historic collection that has been reshaped to meet the contract market. Old classics and some designs that never saw the light of day have been given a first chance. The colors and the signature pieces did take you down memory lane and may just be that feature piece in your new space.

Cane-line, known for their outdoor collection made of cane, showed off some of their new ranges that could very well be placed in your living room. Their Lava stone coffee tables were one of their highlights along with their Cane Loop footstool – a wiry sculpture also masquerading as a coffee table however impractical was still something you coveted while walking away from the stand. 

Residential companies like Woud and Umage displayed their retail prowess, at Orgatec 2022, looking to move into the contract space, with their stunning pendant lights and furniture. The take back program from Umage was what we need to be seeing among the contract brands. Woud’s animals (Elephant, Rhino & Hippo) make for great workspace accessories. Design runs deep among the Danes, with One collection around the corner featuring Finn Juhl’s work. The chieftain chair and the Pelican chair were well ahead of their time when they were originally launched, however today, they could be that signature piece you are looking for at home or the lobby of your new space.

🡲 TECHNOLOGY

There’s an app for everything – Could furniture companies also start creating super apps?

Digital User Experience: Zgoll, a firm focused on keeping the user at the center of the experience to drive inspired collaboration, showcased a variety of different spaces integrated with over 20 partners across technology, contract furniture, lighting, flooring & acoustics. A true visual treat!

‘Tis the Season of Sedus: Sedus’ digital arm launched Sedus Connect to manage an occupancy management element integrating any suite of video conferencing and other team collaborative elements for their customer. While some of the other large German companies were missing at Orgatec 2022, Sedus didn’t hold back any punches. Their stand seemed to envelope virtually all of Hall 8, with good reason. Their two chairs launched at the fair now give Sedus a seat at the table (pardon the pun) with their very own mesh / mesh (mesh back & seat) task chair named Se:air to add to the already extensive portfolio. 

The Limbic Office was another attraction at Sedus and a great way to get more involved with their customers to help them better understand themselves and their company across three major groups – Stimulus, Dominance & Balance. The 12 questions you have to answer places you across 12 personality types which help you resonate with colors and materials for your space. Designing your space just got simpler!

Roombuidlingpartner.de showcased how their use of mixed reality with Hololens 2 from Microsoft will one day shape the way we design & view our spaces. It may not be a conversation on the metaverse, but it is the most practical application I envision in Design for the next 5 years if not more.

🡲 GOOD HOSTING = GREAT NETWORKING

Showcasing hospitality doesn’t come better than Extremis – Amai bench collection. With its new addons – Amai Chef and Amai high/low bench, is a must have in every home or a cool workspace. The versatility of the product still ranks high up among its outdoor competitors.

Dinners however seem reserved for actual/potential customers and booking an evening out in a restaurant isn’t as easy as it sounds across those 5 days. Thank you to Humanscale, Modulyss and Wilkhahn for hosting Siddharth Peters, Co-Founder, Love That Design across the three evenings.

Offsite parties were plenty with Architonic (DAAily platforms) kicking off on Day 1 as it did in Valencia Fair last month, while Haworth and other brands pressed forward on Day 2 & 3.

02. BEST OVERALL STAND

There were many stands and a lot of them were special in their own way. Some oozed with style, others with color, a few with sheer presence of size, but nothing dazzled more than the simplicity of Prostoria from Croatia. The visual impact the stand had couldn’t really be described by words, neither could pictures capture its essence. Designed by Numen / For Use – The string used to delineate the spaces created a mirror effect that had you reaching out with your arm every time you walked into a new setting to avoid hitting a possible mirror.

03. NOT ON THE LIST, BUT ON OUR MINDS…

Another Croatian firm that was worth noting was Nunc – their modular table “Ala” had an immediate practical setting for a restaurant looking to re-arrange for different settings of people, and looked good doing it!

“What if we fly” – taken from Peter Pan, shares the need of thinking differently. Recognizing the need for innovative collaborative workshops, Interstuhl put together a line of products focused on agile thinking, collaborative discussion and the use of various materials including lego for brainstorming sessions. We had a lot of fun throwing around the magnetic elements to replace post-it notes commonly used in workshops & ideation. We will wait and see whether the concept showcased makes its way to the contract offering next year!

Molo’s foldable textile walls have been exhibited across the past few editions of Orgatec. The elegance and simplicity of the product always sparks a visitor’s curiosity. This year however their textile walls made way for veneer softwalls. Needless to say they were an attraction and got our thumbs up for the ability to dazzle once again. If the pictures don’t do it justice, traveling to Vancouver to see it might just be worth it.

Orgatec 2022 organizers expertly paired products together. Monitor Arm alley was one of them. Companies focused on ergonomic accessories were paired up together across the right side of Hall 6. From Humanscale leading the way on the far right to Ergotron 50m down the stretch. Trace’s dual monitor arm definitely stood out from the rest of the pack with its ease of movement. You only needed a finger to guide it to the right height or depth and seemed intuitive to the touch.

Walkolution, an American – German collaboration, brought treadmill workstations right back at Orgatec 2022. The new kidney shaped treadmills that encouraged proper running technique are integrated in the workstations, so you could just pick up the pace if you did want to get your training in as well!

Height Adjustable tables don’t have a great rap for looking good, however FAMO’s scissor lift made looking under the hood worth it. Its lifting mechanism gives you complete flexibility in choosing any leg design from FAMO’s range, without having to worry about sacrificing ergonomics!

Green walls may have been a feature wall on some stands, but none were as impressive as Pedrali’s spanning nearly 60sqm across and encompassing two thousand odd individual plants! They were the sponsors of Frame’s “exhibition stand” awards and didn’t slack on their own. Their impressive space showcased their latest products on the periphery with their new Polar task chair paired up with their Arki Height Adjustable table. Their range of products have been growing every year to not just encompass the outdoor, soft and F&B spaces, but now pushing to cover every aspect of the workspace. 

A few more glimpses from the event….

04. WHO WASN’T AT ORGATEC 2022, BUT STILL WAS!

Some key brands that chose not to exhibit at the hall but was still spoken of:

  • Vitra’s presence was missed and talked about

  • Koenig & Neurath opted out of Orgatec 2022. Last edition, the occupied quarter of a hall, and made their presence unmissable.

  • Bene hosted “Networking” breakfasts every morning at their showroom.

  • Wilkhahn had a mini exhibition at the Qvest hotel nearby and held events on each night of the fair. 

  • Design Post – A cool collaborative space that houses the likes of Arper, Baux, Kvadrat, BuzziSpace, Ethemo, Elmo Leather and many more as permanent showrooms really come to life post 5pm when everyone tips out of the fair for talks, drinks and parties.

All in all, even with quite a few German manufacturers and brands amiss, Orgatec 2022 managed to pull off an event that was educative, impressive and inspiring. Products are bound to be either hits or miss, and neither outcome should bar us from executing ideas and experimenting – and fairs such as Orgatec 2022 reinforce that spirit among participants and visitors. The organizers of Orgatec 2022 managed to succinctly highlight the current merging of boundaries between work and home, and creating enough curiosity for visitors to look forward to the next time. Until then!


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