Studio KBB and Tanita Klein designed Everybody In, a collection for the Frame x Montana Challenge that breaks down workspace boundaries. Upon entering Montana’s Copenhagen showroom during 3daysofdesign you were greeted by a cabinet. And no, that’s not a typo. Built with the brand’s modular storage system, The Greeting Optimist, as the installation is called, looked as if it’s about to hug you – with a smile. The playful structure is part of Everybody In, the winning proposal of the Frame x Montana challenge, which called on emerging creatives to conceptualize a welcoming workspace that breaks down office boundaries. And that’s exactly what Everybody In’s designers, Kathrine Barbro Bendixen of Studio KBB and Tanita Klein, did.
Through their project, which personifies furniture, the duo advocates for office interiors that represent – and help bring together – the various personality types making up today’s workforce. The collage of cheerful office fittings makes for a multifunctional space which turns the focus to sociability, which Barbro Bendixen and Klein believe is more important than ever. ‘The COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences in the working world showed us how capable we are of working remotely, not on our desk at the office – it showed us the extent of our flexibility. Now, the office has become even more a space for meeting in person than a purely functional work surrounding. This evolution gives space for more individuality and sociability,’ they say.
Both are important aspects to consider when thinking about the future of office furniture. As one of our Data Dive articles, which covered the outcomes of research by CBRE’s Furniture Advisory, outlined, there is a need to create new furniture systems that major on enabling collaboration and flexibility in open office spaces. This goes hand in hand with the changing role of the physical office itself, which ‘going forward will need to function as an organization’s clubhouse, a place of gathering’, as Frame’s director Robert Thiemann highlights.
His thoughts are supported by the words of architect Ole Scheeren, whom we recently interviewed about the future office. ‘Architecture has an incredibly important social component in which it can foster its user, acting as a social catalyst for people to come together in a spirit of exchange,’ he explains. ‘Because of the isolation the pandemic has brought, everybody has become acutely aware of what we can now achieve remotely thanks to digital tools, but also of all the things we still can’t achieve with them.’ Scheeren also points out that ‘as in all areas of life, people want to be able to define the parameter of their own (work)space. […] The paradigm shift is in thinking of the users as inhabitants rather than ‘employees’, and creating a territory that evolves to meet their needs in life rather than just work.’
The ‘territory’ created by Everybody In brings together five flexible and mobile installations – each representing, or rather serving, a different character type – into one open space. By doing so, the makers create a breeding ground for interaction, without losing sight of the spatial preferences of individuals. The Social Club supports mingling while The Lazy Lounge helps employees to relax and recharge. And while there is room for concentrated work – The Efficient Workaholic and The Organized Know-It-All are centred on productivity – the emphasis is on creating an enjoyable environment that fosters connection.
‘The winning designs look like cheerful office toys, instantly bringing a smile to people’s faces,’ says Thiemann. It’s their expressiveness that corresponds seamlessly with Montana’s goals, which is to ‘give users endless opportunities to create, frame and tell their personal stories through clever design – in the home or office environment.’
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