ORGATEC 2014, the world-leading fair for Office & Object, will bring
the international office furniture industry on the same platform once again
from 21 October to 25 October in Cologne.
The working world of tomorrow is mobile and the trend towards
intelligently organised office and knowledge work is unstoppable. Flexible
working practices and networked information technology are accepted as part of
everyday office life and will only become more ubiquitous. Renowned office
furniture producers see a clear connection between office design, a living
corporate culture and the long-term success of a company as they respond to
changes in the working world with the newest technology, smart furniture
solutions and integrated furnishing concepts.
ORGATEC 2014 will welcome architects, interior designers, designers and
industry visitors, from decision-makers at small and medium-sized companies to
buyers and HR managers at multinational companies, all seeking inspiration and
consulting expertise from leading manufacturers in the areas of flooring,
acoustics and lighting as well as media and conferencing technology.
Cross-generational working in
the ‘Feel-Good Office’
Workstations are becoming spaces for working within the most diverse
scenarios and on differentiated tasks. The increasing individualisation of the
working world requires individual solutions. The modern office is flexible,
mobile and virtual and should promote communication and knowledge transfer as
well as facilitating periods of withdrawal, concentration and regeneration.
Current buzzwords such as open space, desk-sharing, third place working and
activity based workplaces represent future-focused solutions. Change management
consultants and office space managers support the substantial change processes
According to a recent survey by the Association of Office Furniture
(bso/Büro-, Sitz- und Objektmöbel), only 49 per cent of employees currently
believe that their places of work positively support communication and
collaboration between staff, while 21 per cent would like to see an improvement
in health aspects and only just half of subjects polled believe that their
company is well represented by and reflected in its style of furnishing.
Qualified employees, alongside their own personal work-life balance,
increasingly value an optimally designed working environment with feel-good
elements and individual character. It is not a coincidence that ‘feel-good’ furniture,
reminiscent of pieces from a traditional living-room, is increasingly finding
its way into modern offices. Stylish designer sofas for the reception area,
modular lounge systems, high-quality cosy furniture for chill-out zones and
relaxing upholstered seating made from the finest leather create a friendly and
homely working atmosphere. Even mobile deckchairs have found a place in the
It has become common knowledge that a healthy mix of younger and older
staff has a positive effect not just on the working climate of a company but
also on its financial performance. Manufacturers are taking this fact into
account by using integrated concepts and ergonomically and orthopedically
designed office furniture. The multi-generational office and co-working spaces
inspire interior designers and designers to come up with unusual solutions.
Architects develop flexible working environments, integrating nature and the
environment where possible, reflecting the huge Urban Nature trend. Manufacturers
provide appropriate furniture for these new environments, such as combinable
seating furniture, the design reminiscent of smoothened pebble stones.
Trend expert Birgit Gebhardt observes that it’s important to bring
together the different views and work practices of the various generations within
the company and promote interaction between them. Her most recent study
examines change within business structures and multi-generational cooperation
within German offices. ‘Generational diversity in the office’ is also a
trending topic at the ORGATEC Trend Forum in Hall 6 where highly qualified
experts will discuss current trends on all five days of the fair. Demographic
change, new work order, change management and gamification will be discussed as
will staff motivation and movement in the workplace.
Team work with intelligent
Futuristic ideas are already well-entrenched in the modern office world.
The mobile, flexible and virtual modern working world is defined by tablets,
smartphones and PDAs; intranets support companies’ internal processes, and cost-effective
video-conferencing, 360° round-table cameras, Web 2.0 and an open authoring
system for websites using ‘Wiki’ have all become established elements in
technically well-equipped offices.
In light of the huge amounts of data and information available today,
productive teamwork is of fundamental importance. The newest technological
wonders allow several people to simultaneously work on one interactive surface
within a highly networked office and process the most diverse of information
sources, analogue as well as digital.
Visitors to ORGATEC 2014 can experience live the practically boundless
opportunities of current technology and learn how internationally connected
communication systems actually function at the ‘Mobile’ competence centre in
Hall 11.2 in one of the interactive room installations.
The smart generation of chairs
Back problems are the number one health affliction of our culture.
Highly flexible work practices, power density and permanent flexibility are
increasingly seen as triggers of stress and burn-out syndrome. More movement at
one’s desk, unconventional meeting formats, targeted and planned detours and
taking the stairs instead of the lift serve not only facilitate healthy
movement but also promote direct communication. When one is moving, one is more
attentive and alert, more communicative and more efficient. Active office
concepts and movement-promoting seating and office furniture are and will
therefore remain a huge trend.
Office chairs assume particular importance in this context. Today the
most used piece of office furniture is an ergonomic and health-promoting
high-tech product. Variably moveable and adjustable seating heights, reclining
options and angles of inclination are just some of the countless norms and
regulations dictated for ergonomic seating. The exhibitors at ORGATEC 2014 go
beyond these functional benefits to offer corporate responsibility and health
as part of corporate planning.
Up to nine different seating positions with as close to natural
three-dimensional movement as possible should help relax muscles and relieve
joints and vertebrae. The latest swivel chair ranges impress with appealing
aesthetics, pioneering ergonomics and the simplest handling.
The smart generation of the latest office chair even has sensors, which
evaluate sitting posture and will give a corresponding signal in the event of
bad posture. A new stool design features a ball track integrated into the base
of the stool to give acoustic feedback on levels and quality of physical
activity. Even smartphones play a role in the newest generation of seating: A
movement app equipped with an interface to the new Apple Health Kit iOS8 allows
office chairs and stools to become fitness trainers in the office, with the app
recording movements, graphically visualising them and encouraging the sitter to
perform playful exercises for back and body.
Ergonomic and dynamic solutions are also driving movement with the
desired health benefits in desks and conferencing systems. Mobile folding and
collapsible tables and table systems with ingenious linking mechanisms provide
almost limitless application options. In addition to the standard norms for
size and stability, collision protection and the absence of vibration are
important criteria for purchasing within the premium market segment. Waist-high
desks allow meetings to take place standing up and, thanks to the integrated
electrical connections, can be combined with the monitor.
Individualisation is the norm now with customised solutions and models that
can be adjusted and combined. Interchangeable individual elements can be
adjusted to perfectly fit the body and also take into account the
sustainability factor. Young designers see the future of office desks and work
spaces as something that can be set up and taken apart in just a couple of
steps, and are trendy, lightweight and simple to assemble. The hotly discussed
trend of gamification is said to promote good moods and increase motivation. Gamification
means integrating playful elements into our daily lives and work processes. A
brand new ‘object of motion’ will guarantee playful access to active working
processes, with lots of bright cheerful colours to promote good mood, encourage
interaction, and with its dynamic interface, be a real trendsetter. With
presentations and best practice examples from companies such as SAP, Rabobank
and Centigrade, Gamification Day at the Trend Forum on 23 October covers every
element of these top trends.
Lighting, acoustics, flooring
With its broad range of applications, the flexible office makes
challenging demands of the acoustic conditions within the workplace. According
to experts and environmental psychologists, even low levels of noise can cause
stress and impact performance levels, making optimum room acoustics vital for
employees’ concentration, performance and health.
Solutions available to improve the work environment include room
dividing systems, acoustic absorbers with micro-perforations and acoustically
effective wall and ceiling panels in addition to noise-absorbing desk surfaces
and functional wall paper providing heat or sound insulation. Elegant and
flexible felted acoustic panels create a warm, harmonious atmosphere and also
serve as a projection wall or a pin-board.
Currently in trend are sound-absorbing dividing walls made from
naturally fragranced materials or ‘Human Nature’ flooring reminiscent of forest
floors or fresh-cut grass. The large format wall prints, which not only bring
art into the work place but also discretely improve the room’s sound absorption
levels, are an optical treat. A new type of room divider, which can be combined
with seating furniture, brings together equal elements of flexibility and
The ‘Space’ competence centre in Hall 11.2 will demonstrate how to
achieve the optimal room experience using the trio of acoustics, lighting and
carpeted flooring. The special show was developed by Cologne interior designer
Sylvia Leydecker (100% interior) and Dr Christian Nocke (Akustikbüro Oldenburg
– Oldenburg Office for Acoustics). Spatial concepts, lighting, acoustics and
interior climate are the focus of the ‘Workplace Congress’ on 22 October 2014
in the Offenbachsaal.
Design is an important market and competitive driver and is one of the
keys to economic success. A pleasant working environment and emotional design
also promote creativity and performance of staff. The move toward complex
working and living environments with the demand for well-being means new
challenges for products and designers equally. Design awards represent success
in the market and are evaluated on the basis of degree of innovation,
functionality and ergonomics as well as user friendliness, comfort, ecological
compatibility and the ‘emotionality’ of a product.
In 2014, the leading office furniture manufacturers demonstrate once
more the outstanding degree of innovation of their products with a host of
design awards. The internationally renowned ‘red dot design award’ went among
others, to ORGATEC exhibitor Giroflex (Stuhlfamilie 353/656 or Chair Family
353/656), Sedus Stoll (Drehstuhlfamilien/Swivel Chair Families Swing up and
Quarterback) and the Spanish manufacturer Andreu World (Ronda Chair). A double
award went to König + Neurath’s work place system TABLE.T and the transparent
glass room solution THINK.TANK for creative expertise and design excellence.
Office furniture manufacturers were also placed in the design champions’ league
at the design awards: the Stapelstuhl A-Chair – (A-Chair Stacking Chair)
designed by jehs+laub and produced by Brunner was awarded the red dot best of
the best for the highest design quality in its category. Conceived by Stuttgart
designer Michael Schmidt, the many variations and versatility of multi-purpose
programme MeetYou ensured that Haworth brought home the if design award.
Katharina C. Hamma, Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse GmbH comments
that innovation and design are essential innovation drivers for the
development-intensive office furniture industry in particular. The large number
of award-winning products by ORGATEC exhibitors makes a compelling case for the
high levels of innovation of these companies and the design and technological
quality of their products.
According to EnergieAgenturNRW (EnergyAgency.North Rhine-Westphalia), an
employee in Germany uses on an average, approximately six technical devices a
day. Around 17 million people in Germany alone work in offices. Sustainable
management integrating ecological, social and economic elements and observing
environmental factors are essential in light of the high energy costs within the
office, and product planning in particular as well as the procurement of
technical office equipment. A recent survey revealed that a large number of
companies are prepared to invest more in return for environment-friendly
information and communication technology.
Environmentally aware office furniture manufacturers use regionally
sourced woods from sustainable forestry. They favour formaldehyde-free glues,
their varnishes and waxes are sourced naturally and they treat surfaces with
environment-friendly herbal oils. Public institutions are also promoting
environmentally aware company policies to increase ecological efficiency, like
the City of Cologne and the Chamber of Commerce of Cologne with their current
consultation and qualification programme 'Ökoprofit’ (Eco-Profit). The Federal
Environmental Agency UBA is using its website to publish a series of guidelines
to support small to medium businesses in particular, for sustainable
procurement. The introduction of an international sustainability certificate
for office furniture is also planned by the European Federation of Office
Furniture, which will be brought into force at ORGATEC 2014.
According to Burkhard Remmers, director of international corporate
communication at Wilkhahn, sustainability means, first and foremost, careful
handling of resources to achieve mid to long-term successes. Office work links
traditional environmental themes such as energy consumption, emissions,
material efficiency and product lifecycles to organisational and psycho-social
elements such as task structure, working atmosphere and health.
Burkhard Remmers is one of the speakers at the ORGATEC Sustainability
Day, taking place on 23 October 2014. Organised by ORGATEC and the German
Environmental Management Association (Bundesdeutscher Arbeitskreis für
Umweltbewusstes Management /B.A.U.M.), Sustainability Day will demonstrate
through practice examples and expert presentations, how sustainability can be
reconciled with everyday office requirements.
Protection of the environment and sustainability also require the
development of innovative materials. According to Dr Sascha Peters at Haute
Innovation, it is especially important to develop, alongside environment-friendly
and healthy products, innovative lightweight construction solutions for mobile
working, multi-functional and smart materials. At the ‘Innovation of Interior’
competence centre in Hall 8, the special exhibition ‘IOI – Smart Office
Materials’ will present the latest developments and trends.
Physical/Digital Working World
The working world of tomorrow will be flexible, mobile and virtual. However,
despite flexibility of work practices, mobile offices and high-tech gadgets,
the physical office will continue to exist. Physical/Digital – the central
meeting point and communication platform for solution workers in the digital
world is an important part of successful business management. With their unique
concept, ORGATEC 2014 demonstrates the latest developments, innovations and
trends from the world of office and object furnishing for the modern working
world of today and tomorrow.