With noise-pollution still a common complaint in workplaces (particularly in open plan offices), many furniture designers have started to embrace sound-absorbing materials.
Among the acoustic designs were individual pods. These provide an ideal environment for independent working, as the winged design creates a cocoon around the individual to block sound and facilitate concentration.
Café-style booths with sound-busting acoustic panels were also a highlight at Clerkenwell. Built with integrated power, the booth design is perfect for quiet office work or ad-hoc meetings with laptops.
There were many furniture solutions at Clerkenwell which tackled the issue of lack of privacy. Again, this is a common complaint of open plan offices, where employees share desks in an exposed space.
Acoustic ‘rooms’ are a prime example of how designers are tackling this issue. These essentially function as private ‘zones’, which are typically used for meetings, phone calls and quiet working. Crucially, this can prevent legal or ethical issues that are more likely to arise if your office is entirely exposed.
Employee health and wellbeing also influenced the new designs at Clerkenwell. Height adjustable desks, for example, are designed for those who prefer to spend a portion of their working day standing up.
While that may sound uncomfortable for some, it is worth noting that standing up can have several health benefits, including less obesity risk, reduced cancer risk, longer life and better posture.
Allowing employees to tailor their office experience to suit them is perhaps a significant insight into how furniture will evolve. It may well become a key stylistic factor in future office refurbishment or fit out projects.
Playful, 1970s style patterns were a key trend at Clerkenwell. Balancing vibrant geometric patterns with muted hues was a recurring theme, with a particular highlight being the office meeting room (scroll through images above). This achieved both style and practicality with a multi-coloured acoustic shell, grey internal sofa and geometric pillows.
The combination of understated table designs and vibrant chairs also made for visually interesting presentations.
Inventive And Eye-Catching Table Designs
There were a number of interesting tables at Clerkenwell, with many manufacturers experimenting with eye-catching materials and new concepts.
The most prominent designs included sophisticated breakout area tables made from marble and stone; simple but stylish circular coffee tables; and a conference desk with integrated power and a webcam.
We also saw a response to the growing appetite for bespoke design, most notably with the classy stained wood boardroom table.
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