Home or workplace? What do living and working mean in the new normal? The worlds of private life and work have been merging for months now. We have suddenly, and more easily, become engaged in how we create an environment we enjoy spending time in. Aesthetics helps with it, as does quality. A chair otherwise used only for eating must fulfil significantly higher demands when it becomes an office chair for remote work. This is when well-considered, sophisticated design pays off in every respect. In this last piece from our three-part series about Interior Trends 2021, we present “Living Multispaces”.
In the world of activity-based working, the worker seeks out a space suitable for the activity at hand. The home workstation ought to serve as a place for concentrated work and basic duties. Trend researchers say that modern office environments create appropriate areas for creative collaboration between colleagues.
Meanwhile, dining tables and couches can only temporarily serve as workstations and are not ergonomically designed. There is only a small number of people who possess enough space for a dedicated office. That is why new work furniture is needed: furniture that integrates into the interior without being a disruption during leisure time.
Those who like to keep their working and private lives separated under their roof rely on intelligent micro-workstation solutions or modular furniture products that can quickly adapt to different uses in a living space.
“Office furnishings must be configurable and multifunctional”
So what does the new normal mean for home interiors? One person who is intimately familiar with the field of innovative solutions is designer Nils Holger Moormann. He describes his impression of the ideal laboratory as follows: “For me, the ideal situation is an acoustically effective room-in-room solution with the right lighting. It offers an opportunity to withdraw from within the family. Office furnishings should also be configurable and multifunctional in a way that makes them able to fulfil all tasks during work, while not being recognisable as office furniture after work.”
“Spaces organised just as flexibly as teams”
Designer Eva Marguerre advocates a holistic concept that removes the separation between the utility of a space and the people who use it:
Eva Marguerre: “Entrepreneurs who wish to incorporate agile working into their business should consider whether their spaces are organised just as flexibly as their teams. Working spaces can be adapted to the tasks being completed through a variety of design methods. The New Work movement in recent years has produced many excellent examples of the influence that work environment design has on team creativity.”
“The necessity of the features is essential, not the number of them”
Working in the “new normal” can also mean going to the office when the conditions are right – with new demands for occupational health.
Alexander Streit is a building services engineer and since 2005 has been the managing partner of Streit-TGA in Holzkirchen, Bavaria. His company has successfully come to concentrate on plant engineering, research and development over the last 16 years. The subject of ventilation and climate technology features among Streit’s daily work. His calina.DESK product, which was prize-winning at the ICONIC AWARDS: Innovative Interior 2021, is a design object for desktop air disinfection. We asked him what in particular he wanted to achieve with his concept.
Alexander Streit: “Our regular workplace has been in crisis since the advent of Covid-19. As social beings, we need personal contact to stay creative and keep enjoying the work we do. Remote work is not a magic bullet for this reason, and working from home is not an ideal solution for every industry or type of business either. Companies face the major challenge of enabling a safe return to the workplace for their staff, in addition to remote work.
calina.DESK was in principle conceived for any industry that maintains offices and cannot or does not want to go without them. That is why we appeal to company decision makers who endeavour to keep their operations running productively while having to provide safety for their workers in the workplace. The product’s innovation is in the combination of formally simple design, integrated UVC technology, ultramodern functions and sustainable production. Our customers simply put it on their desk and hook it up to a power outlet, nothing more. calina.DESK then makes sure they can breathe in their own disinfected air. It is one of a kind for something in this form.
The first calina.DESK product is underpinned by extensive experience in ventilation and climate technology as well as the research and development of innovative solutions. The first prototypes were created in May 2020. We then kept developing them with a few suppliers, contractors and some of our employees to make the current product. The process went very quickly because we largely produce everything ourselves and work with partners nearby us, which for me personally is a very important factor. The closer our suppliers are, the more flexibly we can respond to each other. We operate calina.systems autonomously with a reliable local network as a matter of principle.
I find inspiration in identifying problems and developing feasible, innovative solutions to them. I think it is particularly important to focus on the user, not on the number of features. Instead, I consider the actual necessity of the features to be essential. The combination of appealing design and reliable technology is something I find especially exciting.”
The ICONIC AWARDS: Innovative Interior annually honour outstandingly designed products in the interior design industry and communicate the industry’s quality and trends. The following submissions are exemplary for the Living Multispaces trend:
Texts and images of this article are partly taken from the ICONIC Design Special 2021 “Interiors, Innovation, Inspiration” (in German), published as an insert in the January issue of FAZ magazine.
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