At Toronto’s office furnishings expo, a casual, even homey, sensibility took centre stage, as seen in these debuts by Teknion, Interface, Neinkämper and more.
In both look and function, the modern workplace seems to be drawing from the tech sector’s start-up culture. Whether it’s a response to longer working hours, an effort to attract the best talent, or a way to stimulate creativity, the trend in office interiors is toward residential luxe as much as productivity-boosting workstations.
The showroom floor at this past September was filled with examples: desktops in natural wood, lounge seating upholstered in boldly hued wool fabrics, and richly textured surfaces for floors and walls. Even the forms maximize comfort: the round Fractals lounge, presented by Teknion, and the Gateway line by Nienkämper, featuring a sinuous sofa and a media wall, evoke a modern living room combined with the flexible functionality of an office.
Perhaps the Glamping installation, at one end of the showroom floor, best exemplified the tech-inspired trend. Toronto’s Mason Studio set a trove of seating, lamps and accessories from local and international designers into an interactive campground inspired by Canada’s great outdoors. Floor and wall graphics provided a woodsy backdrop for accessories in hewn wood, cast metals and leather, as well as faux-tufted Blofield couches, resulting in a refreshing indoor oasis. While the concept centred on bringing the comforts of home to the outdoors, the presentation brought to mind the immersive environments you might find in a Googleplex, where aesthetically quirky spaces provide respite from all-night programming sessions.
1 LED HL by
Arani developed the LED HL series to replace the fluorescent tube lamps ubiquitous in office settings. The contemporary fixtures greatly reduce energy consumption and boast up to triple the lifespan of typical fluorescents.
2 Fractals by
The casual-minded Teknion Studio line made its Canadian debut, with a series of tables and seating that includes the Fractals group (shown). It can be upholstered in three different fabrics, for backrest, cushion and seat.
3 Premiere Series by
In its showroom, Three H launched the Premiere Series, a line of case goods and desking for the contract market. Aluminum hardware and painted glass doors accent the laminate surfaces in multiple colours.
4 Installation by
Mason Studio’s installation took visitors into the wild using graphic vinyl tiles by LSI Floors and a forested mural from Numerart. Blofield’s inflatable sofas were joined by turned wood stools from Design Republic and Gubi’s Cobra floor lamps from Design Within Reach.
5 Ikaros by
The Ikaros sofa, from Turkish manufacturer Koleksiyon, fills in for a desk in a casual breakout area. Wide arms and a ledge extending off the back are positioned at table height, ready to accommodate laptops and lattes.
6 Privèe by
A combo of seating and work surface, Borgo’s Privèe is available with padded privacy canopies in three sizes. These flexible elements both reduce noise and define interior zones.
7 Standing Shelf by
Garth Roberts’ Crate Collection, designed for Italian manufacturer Antique Mirror, includes boxes, shelves and dividers with uniquely patterned mirrors. The slight but roomy Standing Shelf shown here comes in two sizes and colours.
8 Net Effect by
Interface’s Net Effect collection of carpet tiles draws inspiration from swirling ocean currents. It’s an apt source: all of the yarn content is recycled from discarded fishing nets found along the shores of the Philippines.
9 Sound of Silence collection by
The perforated surfaces of the screens, file cabinets and shelves in Sagsa’s Sound of Silence collection conceal acoustic baffling designed to absorb up to 70 per cent of human voices, making for a less stressful, more productive office environment.
10 Gateway by
Gateway, from Nienkämper, includes highly configurable tables and media walls, as well as a modular sofa with optional built-in laptop stands. Busk+Hertzog’s design scales from intimate breakout spaces to large presentation rooms.
11 Xorel by
Carnegie’s Biobased Xorel incorporates up to 85 per cent plant-derived polyethylene, earning top marks for sustainability. Available in a range of textures and patterns, the high-performance textile is suitable for panels, upholstery and wallcoverings.
12 Signature series by
Lacasse’s Signature series of case goods lets clients specify custom orders ranging from micro-runs to mass production. The colourful storage lockers were designed by Julia Leahy of Francis Cauffman, in collaboration with PMC.