And so we returned from Cologne after an intense week at Orgatec, with our jaws scraping the floor, super inspired and ready to share our exhilarating design experiences with you. Here are some choice treasures from our favourite stands…
The Stands that 'stood' out...
Designed as flexible enclosures for open spaces, the BuzziBracks, in true Buzzi-style, is a fun industrial, modular partition system combining a visual separator with a soft acoustic divider. Designed by Alain Gilles, the curtains in the BuzziBracks come in every imaginable colour, and this highly configurable system includes a multitude of surfaces and modular accessories.
Pods and phone booths are clearly the rage in modern day office spaces. They also leave a door open for the acoustic panels industry to hop on board this trend, as pop up sections with sound proofing and privacy become increasingly popular.
Outside’s in! The workplace is becoming more and more ‘open’ to taking the outdoors into their areas of practice. And so, at Orgatec, for the first time, we saw an obvious increase in outdoor office furniture.
Natural and sustainable materials are hitting the corporate world in a big way. Everywhere we looked, we saw materials that were of the earth and tactile, created with methods of manufacturing that were gentler on the planet. Carbon fibre, natural resin, picks of the forest and felt were the order of the day.
Lastly, in the finishes domain, Scandinavian wood, brass, satin and gold dominated the aesthetic landscape at the fair.
Light fixtures can don multiple hats – they can be functional or decorative, or both. We found Artemide adding yet another one by being a little playful. They created the Alphabet of light.
Designed in collaboration with BIG the new light font consists of lighting components that can be combined to create uppercase and lowercase letters, special symbols and digits from zero to nine.
Vitra focused on the increasing convergence of the office realm and public spaces. Their presentation, titled ‘WORK 2018’ showcased some new and some familiar Vitra products within three innovative office scenarios that were conceived by Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby, Konstantin Grcic and Sevil Peach. Very cleverly done!
Kvadrat presented their vibrant new textiles Re-wool (crafted using 45% recycled wool, which comes from Kvadrat’s yarn spinners in the UK), Hint (for low-abrasion surfaces, such as wall panels and desk screens) and Glow (conceived by the late Dutch weaving expert Frans Dijkmeijer and woven on a jacquard loom), as well as a new laminated surface for Really’s Solid Textile Board.
The Really work surface is made of waste fabric compressed using intense pressure and heat. Could we possibly be looking at an entirely new type of surface material entering the market? Really boards are now available with a new melamine coating, which can be grinded, and recycled at the end of the product life, a key component in circular economy and upcycling.
This revolutionary, patent pending technology allows you to project on glass. Need we say more? Showcased earlier at Neocon in June, at Orgatec, Clarus projected a video on a two metre wide glass surface. What’s cool is that you can project and write on it at the same time, and it’s glass. We can’t wait to see how this does once launched in the market…
At their stand at Orgatec, we were greeted by Clarus’s resident caricature artist who drew comic versions of us on our own keepsake glass pane. Delighted!
Everyone loves a little BoConcept in their home. However, their move to address the B2B did raise eyebrows. But if you are going to do it, what better way than to have Karim Rashid design your coming out party! Karim’s newest creation, the OTTAWA, is a multifunctional, modular sofa with over 10 modules, and was the clear focus point at the BoConcept stand this year.
For Walter Knoll, Norman Foster created yet another iconic design – the Foster 620. This sinuous, upholstered bench is perfect for large, urban spaces. And with the Foster touch, is a clinch for top products of 2019. The stand also won points for the Tama Desk, designed by EOOS, which is nothing less than the redefinition of a desk – a melding of form and shape, and very sculptural. And lastly, Milanese designer Claudio Bellini made light even lighter with the Liz-M conference chair.
Amongst the star products at Wilkhahn is Landing, a modular and sound absorbent wall relief, designed in collaboration with RSW, which manages to create areas for respite in the tightest and toughest of spots, such as crossover spaces and stairwells. The Insit upholstered bench with backrest, designed by Wolfgang C.R. Mezger, also attracted much attention, thanks to the upholstered seating design, which appears to float over the A-line aluminium base. What’s winning about this one is that the bench is very easy to hold, flexible to rearrange, and the open foot section with just two base elements makes cleaning floors simpler.
The pommel horse seat Sitzbock by Rudolph Schelling Webermann is possibly their most unique showing at the stand. It allows you to sit astride, ride side saddle, or simply lean on. Oh and don’t forget to feast your eyes on their brand spanking new Inline table, about to hit the office furniture world in 2019. It’s a beauty!
Anyone stepping into Hall 7 could not miss the more than 10-metre-high spine of the new PUREis3 (available in MENA as of January ’19), which towered above visitors at the Interstuhl stand. Pure is3 stood out as a task chair to contend with. Its engineering on the plastic structure allows you free range of motion while providing support at every angle, and it is designed in collaboration with design firm b4K (Andreas Krob and Joachim Brüske). We think this is a chair to keep your eye on for 2019!
And as you experience the spatial scenarios of their SPLACES ideology, with new collections, such as the club chair LEMONis5 or the bar stool LIMEis5 (both available in MENA as of January ’19), you can immediately tell that this is a shift away from the traditional workplace format, with the main focus on flexible, pro-movement office landscapes. The Hub, however, dominated the space (introduction to MENA planned for the second quarter of 2019). This new collaborative line of furniture, designed by VINTAGEis5 designer Volker Eysing, has the essence of a German automobile – the aesthetics are refined with pronounced details, and the DNA is true to the brand. Besides, who doesn’t love a swing?
While there were many booths, each varying in performance and aesthetic, we did like the ones with the LED strip on top that indicated when the booth was occupied. A part of the se:cube office cube system, these were available in three sizes and shown in 98 different configurations on the stand! Sedus also went a step further by helping clients juxtapose their colour palette against different settings in a versatile app, as well as in a neatly packaged book called the Colour Cookbook.
Fritz Hansen showcased the new Plenum high back, soft seating designed by Jaime Hayon. With its soft lines and a focus on aesthetics, this sofa pays homage to modern workspaces, making room for collaborations. It also shows a drive from Fritz Hansen towards extending its reputation past the classics. The accessories are a great touch – it allows budding design junkies to acquire Fritz Hansen products at an early age. We also loved the Studio Rosa Mirror Art Pieces made with printed reflective glass. So unique!
Sustainability with their baffles using waste material to create a new product along with pushing the need for more sustainable materials showcasing a prototype chair made out of flax seeds! Yes Exactly!
Alea showcased their new demountable wall system, F65, with built-in LED strip lights, acoustic panel ceilings, air conditioning and controls. However, what caught our attention was their prototype on desking partitions. Could the panels be making a come back? If they looked anything like the ones we saw on their stand, we’d be up for it!
We are a little partial to Brunner, as we interviewed Markus Jehs and Jürgen Laub at the show, who are responsible for designing some of their collection. The development of Ray, however, has gone from strength to strength. Launched at Orgatec in 2016, the Ray has widened its portfolio, introducing a high back, executive chair as well as a fully upholstered armchair. It truly is a well designed family.
There were a fair few cantilevered executive tables at the event, however MDD’s Gravity by Dymitr Malcew caught our attention, mostly when a rugby player sized individual hung off the exposed end and the table still held it up! It looks beautiful, but at 300 kgs, you will need your own rugby team to put this together.
Pedrali, known for their occasional chairs and tables, made their intentions for Orgatec quite clear by showcasing purely workspace products. They launched the Ypsilon folding training table (by Jorge Pensi Design Studio) with compact laminate in a very slick black and polished frame, at a very attractive price, along with a chair that could well be your next meeting room chair. Also on display was the very classy Elinor Executive Chair designed by Milanese designers Claudio Bellini Associati, and the Temps Chair, also by Jorge Pensi Design Studio
Woods was our height adjustable table of choice. Designed by Metrica, this table had a milled wooden A leg, which we’ve never seen on a height adjustable table before. Each of the front legs had concealed wheels to allow it to extend at an angle. Smart and looked great!