In Review: Orangebox’s Coppice

If you’re a fan of Orangebox, you will agree that their latest product, Coppice, is a true embodiment of the company’s design ethos. To guide us through the inspiration of this product and its multifaceted use, we met with Liz Walker, Marketing Manager at Orangebox, at their Smartworking Showroom in d3. Joining us to review this product were Mai Elagizy from Bluehaus and Fatma Elfeki from Roar. Here is what we learned…

The Review Crew

Above from Left: Mai Elagizy, Interior Designer at Bluehaus Group, Fatima Elfeki, Interior Designer at Roar, and Liz Walker, Marketing Manager at Orangebox.

This UK manufacturer’s innovation-based focus on collaboration, sustainability and comfort often results in an exciting new product that expands its offering to take new modes of working in any type of workspace. From that same focus comes Coppice – a stand-alone, single occupancy work booth designed to provide just the right level of privacy, acoustic comfort, and productivity for the focused worker within a busy, open-plan space 

Coppice’s design, like all of Orangbox’s products, was created and developed in-house with the goal of addressing the need for not just personal focus but also collaboration. It’s an acknowledgment of today’s office space designs, where you’re not totally hidden from co-workers, and need a blend of privacy and collaboration with those around you. 

Compact, Configurable, Comfortable

“Orangebox has never been in the desking business, and they aren’t about to start start now,” says Liz. “Though one might be forgiven for mistaking a Coppice unit for a workstation, a quick look through its design wipes away any confusion.”  

Despite having only five main parts, the product is deceptively versatile and can be configured in several different ways, whilst remaining comfortably compact. Available in 12 variants, the average footprint of 11 square feet is more than enough for your focused work needs. Bigger configurations maintain compactness through shared panels, and its shape maximises privacy. Furthermore, a single unit can be scaled out without looking bulky. 

“It’s interesting how I can change the type of work requirement simply by changing the chair that goes with it, while keeping the rest of the product the same,” Fatma.

Coppice shows evident ease of installation in design, adding on to its reconfigurability and speed of installation. It’s easy to pack and ship, assemble, disassemble and reconfigure quickly during work hours with minimum disruption, saving labour costs and productivity time. All you need is an allen key, and the architectural panels and enabling booths can be assembled equally quickly and easily. Furthermore, the anthracite acoustic felt panels are fixed on timber that is lightweight with honeycomb paper inside, which makes it easy to carry and handle in the logistics and installation process.

“It’s got just enough space to be comfortable, but not enough to stretch out and move about – an ideal set-up for the agile workspace,” Liz comments.

The Design is in the Details

In Coppice, there is definitely more than meets the eye. It features a clever cable management system that’s hidden but easily accessible. The cable is passed through the panels and is able to travel in both directions, allowing easier integration of power and data. Daisy chain cabling can enter or exit at any point over and above the workstation. Given that Orangebox isn’t a traditional manufacturer of workstations, the cable management design makes sense – it stays true to their aesthetic and doesn’t compromise on the intended functionality of the product. 

Coppice has an obvious sense of lightness to it, striving towards a ‘light-touch’ solution, as its design team like to call it. Panels aren’t bolted to the ground, and are height-adjustable to counter any irregularities on the floor surface. “It’s about ease of use,” says Liz.

But here’s an interesting and unexpected bit in the design. The birchwood panels are complemented with an acoustic felt pressed polyester and felt panels that come in only one colour – anthracite. The brains at Orangebox decided to minimise the range of customisation to keep the manufacturing lean and sustainable. The tabletops, however, are available in 12 different colours. This certainly is an interesting strategy in a traditional personalisation driven A+D industry.

The system also features excellent acoustic properties, making it easier to do focused work without additional foams and fabrics. And for more privacy and quiet, personal acoustic screens can be added and customised in a fabric of your choice.

“Even if the felt panels come in only one colour, there are tons of other ways to personalise Coppice! Personalisation may be a great offering, but is comes at a cost. The goal here seems is for the product to be lean and sustainable without compromising on design, and I think they’ve done a great job,” says Mai. 

Finishing touches come in the form of add-on lighting options, such as the Pablo Circa Table Lamp or Lana Lamp. Considering all the diverse materials used to produce a single unit, it’s still 96 percent recycled content, which is immensely commendable and a great package for ideal agile working space.

Fatma: There’s a psychology behind the product that can relate to different workers, depending on the age and use. I see it fitting well in a variety of settings and configurations, such as a single booth or library, or even airports. It’s also great for focused work, yet feels open and not enclosed. And it remains collaborative because the screen doesn’t completely surround it. The ‘light-touch’ is great, I love that it doesn’t go all the way to the ground. Plus, it’s got that homely vibe to it too. 

Mai: It’s such a good product! Flexible, light and configurable, and fits in a variety of settings. The subtle curves are a smart move; it means no sharp edges, a modern aesthetic, and easy on the eye. I’d definitely have it in libraries and co-working spaces. Plus, since it doesn’t take up too much space, I can imagine scaling it out with ease without the risk of it looking bulky. You save costs in more ways than one. 

Final Thoughts

Speaking on Orangebox’s design philosophy, Liz explains, “Coppice represents a shift in the status quo. People are getting used to not seeing co-workers at the same desk all the time. We now know to expect colleagues to move around the office, depending on their mood or the task at hand, and not just workstation to meeting room and back”.

There are only a few comparable products in the market with regards to function and price point. And they share a feature or two, but not the whole package. It could be said that Coppice is in a category of its own.

“When considering an investment in something like office furniture, business leaders wonder if it’s helping their business not,” says Liz. “The answer isn’t always easy. But at the least, something that provides more efficiency in a smaller footprint is bound to give a higher return in the form of productivity.” 

Fatma: I’m confident that one can justify the price point by breaking down the features and value of the product. I also love the Pablo light that comes with it, along with the clever cable management, which makes the entire aesthetic appear clean and integrated. 

They’ve really gotten the choice of material right, and the acoustics are good. I would love to have more options, but that would just defeat the purpose of its lean and sustainable design. 

Mai: I agree with Fatma, you can justify the design by explaining all those features that will increase productivity without having to invest in bigger solutions. It’s an amazing product overall. I love the cable management, it’s such an underrated feature.

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