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International office designers seek customised pieces says global furniture survey

It’s no secret that how we work has changed irrevocably. Gone are the Mad Men-era of smoker-friendly private offices. Gone are the eight-to-five days of office-bound work in a grey cubicle with poor overhead lighting. Even the days of going to the office are (mostly) gone.

Today’s workforce is agile and ergonomic. They work from around the globe in spaces specially designed to induce mental agility and physical wellbeing, increasing both creativity and output.

Wiid Cork Lamp in Situ


So, it’s not surprising that a recent global study by JLL subsidiary Tétris Design & Build found that office designers are increasingly seeking customised furniture pieces in light of the continuing trend towards “resimercial” office interiors.

But how can local designers and furniture manufacturers capitalise on this global trend?

Wiid Cork Lamps

The team from Tétris Design & Build created a capsule survey showcasing 40 items from six popular local brands with which they work: Wiid Design, Houtlander, Pedersen + Lennard, Haldane Martin, Mash. T Design Studio (showcased during Milan Design Week 2024 as part of Dolce and Gabbana’s ‘Gen D – Designer Generation’ initiative), and Dokter and Misses (available to Tétris through Southern Guild) and shared this with teams across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and Brazil to gauge international interest in local designer pieces for workspaces.

“While this survey provides excellent insights, the data set is not comprehensive evidence of a guaranteed international demand,” cautions Steve Fish, Director of Tétris Furniture Solutions South Africa.

“We are, however, optimistic about what may emerge from this knowledge-sharing exercise. If anything, we’ve put a range of extraordinary pieces before design teams who were not previously aware of them.”


Mash. T Design Studio

Survey respondents were asked to comment on which items they would be most interested in, as well as pricing, lead times, desirability, and ability to compete with similar products in the European market. More than 50 international designers responded and their feedback revealed a clear potential demand for South African furniture, with 542 hypothetical “orders” for the products showcased.

Respondents were particularly interested in the local willingness and agility to customise designs, including briefing in specific colours, materials or finishes, as well as willing to pay more for highly crafted or uniquely designed items

“This survey confirms what Tétris already suspected about the potential of South African furniture,” says Fish. “By showcasing our rich multicultural influences and continuing to make distinctive pieces, South Africa has the potential to become a major player in the global furniture market.”

Tetris UPCYCLE exhibition

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