As little as five years ago few people would have discussed innovations such as drones, wearable technology, artificial intelligence, 3D printing technology, agile robots, smart wind and solar power. Take a look at the BBC news website today and they will all be featured! The pace of technological development in the last 20 years has been significant, but expediential innovation growth in the next 10 years might just blow our minds.
Unbelievably, predications for 2025 include the end of petroleum-based packaging, solar power to be the number one source of the world’s energy; acceptance of genetically modified crops; regular DNA testing for children to pinpoint future diseases. The world of office interiors is awash with innovation. To continue the theme of innovation we have collected a delightful group of products and processes that have innovation in their very DNA.
What’s it all about, Alfie?
Innovation can be defined as a new idea, device or method. Taking this concept to the workplace, Knightsbridge has approached its furniture design with a new method, creating pieces that feel remarkably reminiscent of the home environment to help encourage social interaction between colleagues and heighten productivity and wellbeing of employees.
Alfie, designed by award-winning British designer, Sean Dare, is inspired by the 1960’s film of the same name. Its masculine finish and angular lines makes for the perfect standalone feature for any workspace. Exuding style with a structured wooden frame and soft, textured upholstery, this chair offers comfort and class, making it an innovative piece for a breakout space or open-plan office.
Desso and Philips – partners in carpets and lighting respectively – have developed the pioneering and patented Luminous Carpets. Think moving images, the latest news broadcast on the floor, personal greetings for important guests – all changeable at the click of a button. Luminous Carpets also allows businesses to display videos, infographics and logos underfoot. It can be used to share and celebrate an occasion, or simply inform visitors of the current waiting time. On a functional level, it can provide directional information and highlight emergency exists. The solution is designed for high traffic areas and comes in different colours, shapes and sizes.
Life through the lens
Continually evolving office environments demand a flexible approach to lighting but one that until recently has been difficult to achieve. Designers would want to adjust the CRI (Colour Render Index) and light distribution, for example, and have to change the luminaires in given areas to achieve the desired effect. Now, the introduction of efficient and cost-effective lenses for LEDs means that an office lighting environment can be changed easily and swiftly to meet new needs that present themselves as businesses change. For example, Verbatim has developed new lenses that shift the CRI from 85-90+ while SORAA’s SNAP lens range provides control over beam angle, colour and other parameters, with no negative effect on energy efficiency. The ability to change lenses with minimum fuss also means that office environments can maximise the energy savings from fitted LED luminaires over their very long working life, while having complete control.
Innovation taken to task
Trinetic by Boss Design is a brand new task chair that incorporates a brand new type of movement. It creates a superior and completely natural user experience and its design is set to change the face of the task chair market. Boss Design conducted two years of intensive market research in which the concepts of how office chairs should move and what they should offer users were completely deconstructed. The outcome was to completely overturn the market’s fixation with developing task chairs of greater complexity and with increased functionality and ranges of adjustability. Trinetic provides revolutionary dynamic support through fluid movement, and does not require any user adjustment, multiple components, complex assembly or even training.
Ocee Design believes in constant innovation. ‘Even with a great product we always keep searching for improvements’. To prove the point, the new Four®Cast’2 chair collection embodies the same features of the original Four®Cast design, including the ergonomic V-shaped back and flexible shell, but the new construction method streamlines production, improves recycling and creates a stronger chair. Four®Cast’2 also has sleeker contours thanks to the new construction. The development of a structurally stronger and even more durable frame removes the need for a crossbar, so now the design is even cleaner. Ingeniously designed to be constructed with fewer parts and no screw fixings, the construction creates a stronger, lighter chair and makes end of life recycling easier and more effective.
Fabricks is so simple and yet so clever – just like good design should be. As you can see from the illustration on pages 28/29, we like this so much we thought we’d give it a little more coverage. Fabricks transforms open plan spaces into separate areas in moments, fulfilling the need for modularity with effective simplicity. An acoustic wall that is flexible, quick to install and easy to reconfigure, Fabricks has been rated Class A for sound absorption and sound attenuation, tested to ISO 10053 and BS EN ISO 354:2003. The lightweight bricks simply slide onto aluminium posts and the interlocking ‘house brick’ style creates a strong wall. Power is hidden through the extruded posts. The brick colour options even allow you to create pictures, logos or messages to suit your brand. You can create a meeting room in 15 minutes, while nothing is permanent if you don’t want it to be.
Public Address System
BeCode Public is a new highly innovative locking system. A green flashing light on the BeCode MiniPad keyless lock indicates a free locker; using a mobile phone, simply scan the QR code on the lock. After registering (just once) you are immediately connected to arrange payment and receive the access code. Fast and easy payment is made via PayPal or credit card, with billing calculated by the minute. You can even receive a text to remind you that your rental time is running out. With BeCode’s TANmode software, the lockers and locks are operated offline, so they are protected against online manipulation.
The focus on wellbeing of employees and growing awareness of Sick Building Syndrome has sparked a wave of innovation in lighting, Mark Sait, CEO SaveMoneyCutCarbon.com, tells us. It’s now pretty much universally accepted that getting the lighting right is essential for any healthy office environment. Physical and psychological wellbeing is inextricably linked to lighting conditions. Quality of light, its effect on shades and colours and the need to avoid glare are front-of-mind when planning or refitting office space, along with energy efficiency. In response to the growing need to combat glare and provide excellent quality light, we are seeing a move away from the standard LED panel to a new form of LED panel luminaires that combine elegant design with innovation to reduce glare and provide human-centric lighting in offices. These panels, from innovators like SORAA and Thorn Lighting, feature graceful upward curves that minimise glare, especially in large open plan offices, while helping to reshape the office aesthetics.