Stockholm Furniture Fair 2018 – the dawn of the EBO?
02/26/2018 - 00:00

The SFF 2018 took place last week and once again it provided us with a good overview of the latest trends in Scandinavian furniture and workplace design. However, the actual concept of Scandinavian design itself is something that is perhaps getting more and more blurred these days since the minimalistic design, which is the essence of Scandinavian design, is becoming increasingly popular among companies worldwide. Nevertheless, I think that Scandinavian design still has a lot to offer the world and this was once again proven in Stockholm.

At the fair the obvious thing was how much the office working environment has changed from the aesthetic point of view over the past few years. This year the trends regarding colours, materials and shapes had taken yet another step closer to more homelike and cosy environments. There were a lot of tactile and honest materials, quite dark colours and sympathetic and inviting shapes. From the employee point of view this is a very welcome trend and should be taken into account by companies when designing future office working environments.
 

Home away from home

Remote working is becoming more ordinary all the time and this sets high expectations for office design. Companies now need to design their offices so that employees really want to spend time in them. A good benchmark for this is hotel design. Hotels try to offer their customers a “home away from home” feeling and this is exactly what the future office should do. This was also seen at many stands of office furniture manufacturers which were displaying more and more products focusing on various soft seating solutions and collaborative spaces.

 

EBO is the new ABO

In Scandinavia and Finland, the ABO (Activity Based Office) is more or less the standard for the office of today, but I feel that we should aim for better and start creating EBOs (Experience Based Office). In the future an attractive working environment will be one of the key factors when it comes to recruiting talented people and increasing employee wellbeing and engagement. This also means that the role of interior architecture is becoming more important and employers are required to seriously pay attention to this. For example, one of the strong rising trends is biophilic design, which has many benefits such as better acoustics and improved air quality. A green office is also aesthetically more appealing and this has a direct impact on employee productivity and wellbeing.

When you start to make any plans for moving into new office space or remodelling the existing one, it is extremely important to engage the staff in the design process. The engagement of the whole organization in the early stages is crucial for the success of any transformation project and the size of the workforce is irrelevant: whether you are an organization of six or six thousand, the process must be collaborative.

The target for any such project should be that once the new office has been taken into use, the staff will be able to say Thank God It's Monday!

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Director, Education, Martela
Vice President, Innovation to Market
Martela
Interior Architect, Physiotherapist, Physical Training Instructor, Martela
Director, Workplace Planning Services, Martela Sweden

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