Orgatec 2014 - Modern Working Environments
10/31/2014 - 10:10

The biggest office furniture fair in Europe was held last week in Cologne and I was really looking forward to see that what kind of solutions companies would present for activity based working environments. This is the way that most of the new office projects has been lately carried out at least in the Nordic countries and that tendency seems to be increasing in Central Europe as well.

Since the permanent trend in modern working environment seems to be change, there were a lot of products that offer customers the possibility to change office lay-out quite easily. Even though there were still few big modular workstation systems the trend seems to be more in the direction where workstation areas are getting smaller and smaller. More and more people are sharing a desk and the space that you actually need is the area you need for your laptop. Various modular sofa systems offer you a cozy place to sit in and check your e-mails and work with your laptop or tablet for a short period.

Privacy and small meeting rooms seemed to be the main trend and this year there were a lot more such solutions compared to last Orgatec. In modern office environment there´s a constant shortage of small meeting rooms and in many cases it doesn´t have to be an actual room where you can have confidential discussions. In many cases it´s quite enough just to have a set of sofas where you can have a short ad-hoc meeting. The great thing about these new Activity Based Offices is that people can communicate with each other much easier compared to the traditional offices and this hopefully reduces the amount of e-mails that we all get way too many every day.

Also various accessories were widely presented by numerous manufacturers. With such accessories it is easier to characterize work station and lobby areas. Those small things might be seemingly insignificant, but they can really make the difference. Nice details, colors and materials can make any working environment more inspiring and welcoming.

The overall feeling was that the offices are starting to look a lot like hotels and their lobbies and in my opinion that is one of the most important trends that will increase during the coming years. Where hotels have been promoting themselves as being “home away from home” the modern offices are now trying to achieve exactly that same feeling. The office is not anymore so much about working as it is about meeting people. We are social creatures and we have this urge to meet people in person. This is something that will not disappear even though the modern technology helps us to communicate with each other from long distances; it does not eliminate the need for face to face interactions. So no matter if the technology develops, we still need offices and places to meet each other also in the far future.

Next big thing would be the Stockholm Furniture Fair in February 2015 and it will be interesting to see what companies are presenting there and what the branch has to offer to customers and architects who are always looking for new products and solutions.

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