With the growing popularity of soft office furniture in the workplace our Design Director, Mark Barrell, takes a look at the advances in technology that are becoming pivotal to furniture designs.
The term ‘high tech’ in the office might conjure up a vision of exposed cables and cold metal furniture, but much has changed over the last few years and technology now serves to make a space more inviting, comfortable and productive.
Today, companies list flexibility as one of the top five criteria when choosing furniture. We have already seen how increased functionality has resulted from arranging workspaces via Wi-Fi instead of wires and raised flooring. Even computers themselves are gaining flexibility. The emergence of affordable flat-screen monitors has made it much easier to incorporate computer displays in a variety of places – from an office divider to the wall of a flexible meeting system or acoustic office pod.
As we move towards flexible work environments, we have to provide more flexible products. As the reliance upon mobile electronic devices increases, so too does the need for keeping mobiles, laptops and tablet devices charged. Hence, it is now commonplace to find charging points incorporated into upholstered seating panels as well as desks.
At The Boss Design Group, many of our upholstered seating products with broad arm areas already incorporate such technology – Layla by Boss Design and Raft by Komac being two such examples that can frequently be seen gracing breakout areas, foyers and public areas. The integration of such technology is clean and seamless and it aesthetically coordinates with each piece.
Today, as there is a greater emphasis on teams and groups and a lesser emphasis on individuals, the traditional workspace is moving away from fixed desk ratios. Furthermore, this collaboration must be able to take place anywhere. Hence, the success of collaborative work stations such as Cocoon by Boss Design and Entente by Lyndon Design. As well as providing innovative meeting areas that effectively break up large, open plan office spaces, they offer exceptional seating and technology combined into one striking piece.
Power and data units are available across a range of products, which includes power sockets and USB ports. An LED screen can also be integrated for the ultimate meeting space usability, thereby enabling mobile, nomadic workers who need instant power and internet connectivity to work away from the desk.
Going forwards, the challenge for furniture designers is to manage increasingly complex technology and facilitate a seamless integration into their designs. However, whilst technology should support the environment, it shouldn’t be a key visual feature of the environment. Instead, it is the convergence of architecture, furniture and technology that will be vital to successfully meeting changing business needs and encouraging effective workspaces in the future.