Seating & Orgatec: Visionary Concepts For a New Work Culture

Spread across the Koelnmesse, Orgatec 2018 provides an important insight into the ever-changing designs of working environments. This giant biennial fair, houses exhibition stands, congresses, lectures, events and many opportunities for further discourse and trend spotting.

CEO of Seating, Clyde Collins, muses on his 10th trip to this leading international trade fair…

According to Orgatec, digitalisation, globalisation, demography and changing values are radically altering our surroundings and the way we work. Agility, ambidexterity, transformation and disruption — are just a few of the current keywords discussed in relation to coping with this radical change.

A culture of innovation is crucial for companies wishing to initiate processes of transformation towards a new way of working. Everyone has the potential to be innovative, yet we become dulled by constraints, roles, hierarchies and the minutiae of everyday life. We need to heed the five most important influencing variables for innovative thinking: inspiration, intuition, imagination, improvisation and interaction.

Creating office infrastructure that encourages activity and movement is a first step in the right direction. Companies are starting to integrate this thinking and the merging of previously separated spaces.

Orgatec this year represented a move away from showy opulence toward a more understated and sophisticated aesthetic of sultry tones, subtler textures and intricate upholstery patterns. Sustainability, the blending of boundaries between office and public space and acoustic consideration, continue to be a big focus.

According to Clyde Collins, the buzzwords this year were minimalism, digitalism, privacy, pods, agile/disruptive workspaces and again, sustainability.

He says desk chairs have become simplified, pared down shapes, that employ more sophisticated self-adjusting. And everywhere, an immaculate attention to detail, profusion of deep, understated colours and refined, stylish finishes.

The new DVD range by Seating, shows off some of the features seen at Orgatec. Call 011-474-1393 to book a showroom visit.

Again, the main theme of the show was acoustics. Or, more accurately privacy, because the products at this year’s show also addressed the problem of visual privacy and the need to muffle distractions.

There was a lot of uniformity Collins says, which makes for a good show, but is not really indicative of the way we currently work, especially here. However, Orgatec remains the authority, and this was their best and biggest show yet.

Collins takes pride that their company Seating is well on track with global trends. “Our epoxy colours, leather trims, upholstery details, modular systems, and certain shells and finishes are similar to a lot of what I saw over there. The international shows are crucial because they raise the bar and push our boundaries, but I am still inspired every day by what we are forging here in Africa.”

Work to Go, an Orgatec special event, presented the future vision of work as imagined by the next generation– for whom flexibility and autonomy are increasingly vital criteria. These were developed by, among others, students at the Akademie Mode & Design (AMD) in Hamburg. The students’ credo: ‘A future in which work no longer defines our everyday life, but rather our everyday life defines work.’

Words to live by.

In numbers

  • 23 – 27 October, 2018
  • Köln, Germany
  • 753 exhibitors from 39 countries
  • 63,000 visitors

With an internal R&D department and both office and soft seating divisions, Seating stands for the local design and manufacture of at least 80% of their over 100 product ranges. They also assist in fabric choice, space-planning, renders, project management and installations.

For more visit or follow along on their social media platforms.

High upholstered panels make the Play & Work sofa by Gernot Oberfell and Jan Wertel, a stylish sound-absorbing retreat for work or casual meetings.
Shared office by Barber & Osgerby for Vitra, highlights the workplaces shift towards soft seating, rather than desks.
Thinking Works presented their Thinking Quietly Cone of Silence.
Studiopepe’s new twist on the armchair: the Pastilles three-strong family unit,
with an ottoman and coffee table.
With Plenum, Spanish designer Jaime Hayon aimed to challenge the concept of traditional office furniture and create a feeling of home.
This Cila Go multifunctional seating system by Arper is a chair, an armchair, a stool, a workstation and a conference chair in one – to be used flexibly as your environment adapts around you.


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