Teknion has always had an impressive range of workspace solutions. Now, the brand has also come out with PODS – a solution that caters to the rising privacy needs in open-plan offices. An acronym for Privacy On Demand, the PODS feature Tek Room and Tek Booth under their umbrella. With PODS, Teknion aims to bring a truly modern and dynamic workspace solution.
This review will look closely at Tek Room, the bigger version of the two solutions under the POD collection. As the team explains the design approach behind PODS and the features of Tek Room, designers Nervan and Sara voice their opinions about the product.
The Review Crew
From left to right: Nervan Helmy, Senior Interior Designer, SAY Studio; Sara Jamil, Interior Designer, Roar
Privacy. Whenever, Wherever.
A notable evolution from the Altos system, Tek Room is a noteworthy elevation in design and functionality. The former has been around for 30 years or so, and it made sense for Teknion to build off its popularity. “ Rather than recreating something from scratch, we’ve taken from what we’ve learned from Altos and improved upon it. So we have the Tek Room which offers so many possibilities. It has nine colourways as standard, but you can also customize it with close to 200 different combinations”, says Heather Portingale, Sales Director Middle East & Africa.
What Tek Room does is give you the ability to configure a product that works for the environment that you’re designing for. Tek Room itself works as a meeting room, but you can have it with a sofa, a table, and a work surface. It’s a unique space within a space. Even better, it’s DDA compliant. “So if you have got somebody in the workforce that uses a wheelchair, one of the things you’ll notice is that there is no step into the room itself. And that’s the same for any of the room sizes. A feature we’ve introduced for that is a touch-free sensor opening, to make it easier for wheelchair users to enter and exit”, explains Heather.
The booths work well in any setting and are especially to fit in between existing benching systems. Designers can leverage Teknion’s large existing range of finishes to specify a configuration that blends with the environment. Teknion has intentionally not provided embedded electronics or technology in the pods, due to the simple fact that technology changes so quickly. However, it comes equipped with Bluetooth connections that allow for seamless presentation whenever needed.
Nervan Helmy : I thought it was really cool. I liked them. It’s simple and has an impressive design. What stands out is the outer frame itself – you’re not limited to how it’s looking right now. You can change colors, the corners, the finish of the frames and everything. I think it caters well to a lot of offices. The technology features are a smart choice. It makes sense to not have them embedded because even if you design something now, in five years the technology changes. You don’t want to be limited, especially in the case for different clients, they already have a certain standard or a framework. It’s nice that it’s compatible and it can be changed to anything they need. I think the fact that it’s LEED compliant is great, and that it’s quite sustainable in terms of the materials they source and for it to be manufactured.
Sara Jamil: I wasn’t impressed at first – I thought to myself, I’ve seen this before. But now that I know and understand the details and everything, there are a lot of features that make it stand out from the other products in the market. I think it’s great that it’s built to be accessible for everyone, including those in a wheelchair. That’s amazing because in other products you wouldn’t have that option at all. You can change so many colors, and textures and you can just play around with it. It’s super flexible, which is great because the size and customization options with these are limited. It’s also that it can go back to the manufacturer at a later date, I think it’s quite handy that it’s something that’s so focused on sustainability for a project.
Tek Room has impressive subtle features that are incredibly useful. For starters, there’s an occupancy sensor that detects a presence in the room and turns the light and fan on automatically. Task lights have 3 dimmable settings that can be dimmed or brightened depending on the task you’re doing. Since it’s DDA complaints, opening and closing the door is a hands-free operation as well. Then there’s the fan and sprinkler system, a standard in most booths these days.
It’s important to note that while the acoustics in pods are important, it’s also important to not have them block out sound to the point of deafening silence. We felt Tek Room does this well, with just the right amount of ambient noise seeping through. This is a key facet of the Tek Room’s design – individual privacy. Tek Booth is designed to support the individual when focus, privacy and comfort are needed from the open plan environment. Referred to as fascias – the external surfaces ensure sound isolation, while fabric and micro-perforated fascias on the interior minimise sound reflectivity. Double-glazed glass partition delivers acoustic excellence as well as sound transmission.
The rooms can be filled with furniture as per your desired intent. Sofas, task chairs, and angled standing height attached desks are all available options. The pods can accommodate more than one person, with seated or standing orientations as well. The space footprint is small, yet doesn’t compromise on quality or functionality.
Nervan Helmy : There’s a good variety of patterns and finishes, both subtle and fun. I also think it’s good that certain components can be manufactured locally. It’s great for the environment, delivery times, and local businesses too. It’s great that most of the components are customizable. I do recommend they work on more options from the door handles. But besides that, it’s great!
Sara Jamil: The design options are quite broad, and you’re given a lot of options as a designer. I can have this unit in an open office plan, and make it as crazy as I want, then it can be just like the statement piece and then everything around it would complement that. I also like that the light is dimmable. Most clients have no idea how wildly different people’s lighting preferences are. So the fact that you can customize this to whatever, that’s amazing. Yeah, it’s just a small feature, but it plays a huge role in offices.
Teknion’s POD ( Tek Room & Tek Booth ) are worthy challengers in a market filled with plenty of competitive options. The focus on privacy and individualization is clear, and it fits well not only with Teknion’s other furniture solutions but with existing furniture you may have in your space. Finally, it’s priced well enough for consideration in most projects. We surely see it finding its way into more and more office spaces, and wouldn’t be surprised if it reaches the popularity level of Altos.
22 February, 2023