The Table Leg World team recently returned from another interesting trade show journey, with a late October trip to Orgatec, the leading global show for office and facility design and furnishings. Held every two years in Cologne, Germany, Orgatec is the ultimate show for capturing ideal working conditions for the future, as defined by manufacturers and designers from all corners of the globe.
At Orgatec 2014, our team was delighted to see a number of fascinating trends addressing practicality for facility managers, comfort and ergonomics for individual workers, as well as the colors, lines, and finishes that make this business so much fun year after year.
The market continues to address the needs of facility managers, particularly with regard to “open concept” office spaces. Designers are bursting with creativity in how they address open concept privacy issues. Since privacy is still at a premium, no matter your office layout, we saw a trends toward sound absorbing walls, as well as individual furniture pieces, such as sofas and chairs, with tall “wings” that effectively create private meeting spaces.
Another detail that manufacturers have picked up on, with regard to open concept spaces, is that facility managers must be able to reconfigure them quickly on an as-needed basis. We saw several manufacturers offering versatile pieces—simple, yet quite effective cubicles/tables/desk areas that were easily foldable into small boxes for transport or storage. Constructed from high quality wood and steel frames, these modular pieces, when erected, can be used with laptops, tablets, and printers, creating full workstations on the fly. The office furnishings market is matching the “here one minute, gone the next” nature—and true needs—of modern facilities.
With regard to comfort and ergonomics, we were quite taken with some new chairs with built-in speakers from BOSE (!). These chairs are designed to fill the worker’s ears with music while canceling noise from the open surroundings. And in keeping with our commitment to leadership in height-adjustable desk frames, which support health and wellness for individuals, we saw a slogan that we agreed with and made us laugh a bit: “Sitting is the new smoking.”
While some years are more understated with regard to design trends, other years really stand out. With regard to colors, lines and finishes, let’s just say that Orgatec 2014 didn’t disappoint with regard to making clear statements of intent. For colors, we saw some serious retro trends, back to the 1970s with avocado greens, soft yellows and pinks, and light blues leading the way. The groovy 70s colors matched with lines that were more square and straight in chairs and desks, featuring metal frames. Overall, we saw more clean lines with a more industrial look and feel.
Finally, the trend-setting designers at Orgatec 2014 indicate that polished chrome should be the “it” finish in the next few years, poised for a comeback in the office space.
We had a great time checking out the exciting new trends on display at Orgatec 2014, and we are already looking forward to a return trip to the beautiful city of Cologne for Orgatec 2016.