Having attended the recent Orgatec fair, what was the single major trend you found from the leading exhibitors?
Phidias Leonida, Jones & Partners
Walking the aisles this year I was struck by a few things, nothing earth shattering, no big idea, just stuff. Domestication of the office is firmly on the menu. According to many, if it’s wood it’s good. Felted materials are still a favourite among the manufacturers. Products for acoustic management continue to make some noise. Show goers were still backslapping but there was real business going on in the background – it felt a bit more like Milan than Cologne, but with sausages and beer.
Mark Pearson, Heatons
For me this year was not so much about innovation, but more consolidation and evolution of existing trends. Co-working, shared spaces grow in importance from technological advances. What were once semi-private spaces are becoming much more enclosed, secular ones, combined with developments in acoustic products and materials to create pure focus environments.
Carl Gearing, PwC
After bringing down walls in the office for many years now, the office has no private space. The new trends are to put these back in at the right level – as well as the acoustics required, size, comfort and workability. More office space is being turned into furniture-less main contractor works, with less bespoke joinery. Clever, flexible multifunctional furniture is being used. Focus on projects was reflected by most manufacturers – who moved away from workstations and more to soft alternative settings. The clever bit for all of us is getting these settings right.
Gary Helm, H4 Consult
Emotional connectivity! Products and settings that entice workers back to the office. Perhaps a realisation from leading exhibitors that if people stop coming in to the office, organisational cultures and communities won’t exist. Not only must spaces be functional and adaptable, they must also be places that people choose to work from.
Elena Panagiotidis, Perkins+Will
Simplicity of forms, refinement of design to create products with concealed mechanisms and integrated technologies. Sophisticated new designs that have free-flowing lines and luxurious finishes. Leading exhibitor stands conveyed their message; open light collaborative spaces highlighted their products of new innovative ways of working. Dark, moody atmospheric stands showed themselves as the luxurious welcoming alternative.
Ralph Hearnshaw, Bisley
From a personal perspective, the exhibition felt busier, more vibrant and more upbeat than in recent years. Orgatec has always been a great event for networking, meeting clients and showing product, but the quality of many of the displays this year was particularly compelling. If I had to pick a single trend, I would say ‘organic’ workspaces. Traditional, formal layouts and products were barely evident, but the recurrent themes of collaborative and informal working seem to be here to stay.