Orgatec is a fantastic trade show that takes place in Cologne every 2 years. The show is a great opportunity for furniture traders and designers to show off their works and new products to visitors and potential buyers. A dream show for interior designers and furniture fanatics alike.
“Providing new perspectives, inspiring concepts and market-leading solutions for working environments.”
As the show is held at the end of October, it is often a good indication of what styles and trends are predicted for the following years. Having kept an eye on what was displayed this year, we have found the following themes that are likely to be introduced into 2017…
Wood & Natural Materials
“Bringing the beauty of the outdoors In”
Many office furniture designers seem to have taken a great interest in nature. The idea of bringing the outdoors into the office has been a trend that has seen a rapid increase recently. Solid wood has become a popular material with furniture designers and Vitra, who displayed their “Cyl Office Landscapes”, was clearly no exception. The office system consists of tables and sofas that have a “homely” sense.
“A new office system intent on making people feel more comfortable and relaxed.”
Bralco seems to have taken the demand for wood finishes on board and displayed their fabulous “Rail” desk range. The retro style wooden frames can be combined with contemporary glass desk tops. The juxtaposition between the contemporary and traditional has been one of the most popular design choices. The furniture pieces that complement the executive desk are manufactured from solid wood veneers keeping the executive classical feel.
Dinensen’s “From Forest to Floor” stand created a centrepiece using a Douglas tree. The exhibition showed how to “meet the needs and dynamics of the future workspace based on the use of wood”. A meeting table has been extended from the Douglas trunk, almost as though “sliced” from the tree itself. Elements of the original bark remain as a reminder of its creator’s heritage. The display seems to show that although wood is a durable material, it is always important to remember how vital and beautiful nature is.
Other elements of nature were incorporated with the installation of plants, hanging vines, indoor parks and living walls. All of which emphasised the positive effects that biophilia can have on the office work environment as well as the planet itself.
“A taste for the subtle pallet”
One of the first things that we noticed when looking at the exhibition stands was the use of subtle, chalk-like colours, that were used on upholstered furniture and screens. It seems that office furniture designers are slowly moving away from bright and bold colours and towards more subtle finishes. The simple, softer colours, create a timeless effect, ones that would create a relaxed atmosphere within the office.
Girsberger displayed their “Diagon” swivel chair in these shades of colour. The infusions of the two-tone chalk effect, together with a white frame creates a soothing effect. One that is peaceful and aesthetically pleasing.
Arper displayed their “Catifa Chairs” is the same sense of style. The use of “Shell colours” portrays the popular design choice that seems to have flowed throughout the exhibition hall. Although simple in colour and design, the contrast of materials create a contemporary, mesmerizing product.
Lammhults also had a display that embraced the pastel shaded effect. The mixture of their Comet, Penne and Aperi were placed on their stand in subtle mixtures of pink, white and yellow. The yellow allowed for the attention to be drawn to the exhibition whereas the lighter colours on the upholstered pieces allowed the furniture to speak for itself… Subtle, yet elegant.
“Controlling sound levels with Style”
The demand and popularity for acoustic solutions has increased dramatically over the years. With office spaces becoming more open for collaborative workspaces, the need for private meeting spaces has grown. The popularity has brought forward some great, new ideas to create “rooms within rooms” and establish fantastic meeting spaces.
Interstuhl exhibited their TeamUP chair. The acoustic seating range is perfect for having meetings with colleagues in private or even working on your own quietly. Complete with a writing tablet, the chairs can be linked to each other and have wheels for easy mobility. Although going against the favoured pastel shades, the bright colours that they are able to manufacture, guarantee the creation of feature points around the office. The collaborative benefits are endless for the team, making the product a very effective, practical solution.
Senator is another company to watch when it comes to acoustic solutions. Displaying their “Round Cell Pod” and incorporating their very practical seating range, their grand display showed the many ways in which you can create an effective meeting space without compromising any structural elements of the building. The pods themselves can also include lighting and air conditioning to keep the interiors as comfortable as possible.
Acoustic pioneers Buzzispace revealed their new lamp shades at the exhibition this year. They showed that acoustic solutions don’t have to end with panels and pods. Noise that is travelling through open spaces can also be controlled with lighting as Buzzispace has shown with fantastic, elegant designs. Adding something “personal” they displayed their BuzziBell range, designed by Chris Hardy. The stylish design offers a look that would create a soothing atmosphere in any environment, whether it is an office, a restaurant or a domestic space.
“Comfortable areas where you can work together”
The breakout furniture ranges that were displayed at the show seem to combine all the themes together. From natural elements, to using pastel colour shades and the use of fabrics for acoustic purposes, they showed it all!
Normann Copenhagen’s "Ace Chairs" are a great example where all these themes were combined into one range. The frames are wood, the fabrics used on the displayed chairs created a warm, relaxing atmosphere and they were upholstered in soothing, subtle colours.
The same look could also be seen at In Mezzo’s display of their “For Now” seating range. The range, designed by Chris Liljenberg Halstrom seems to embrace the natural elements with a light wood frame and simple neutral colour fabrics. It seems that it is simplicity that makes the seating range so elegant and inspiring.
“Buzzispace” revealed their new concept of a meeting space solution with their “BuzziJungle”. The vertical conversation tower must have been one of the main topics of conversation at Orgatec, mainly due to being such a revolutionary concept.
“Inspired by nature, BuzziJungle offers a solution to the conventional meeting space”
To hold a meeting within the “jungle” you can climb onto the structure and interact with each other from different levels and sit or lounge comfortably. Pushing the boundaries of the traditional workplace, the “jungle” allows for a casual, relaxing breakout space.
Orgatec 2016 definitely didn’t falter in showing us great, inspiring designs and giving us all an idea of what type of trends are likely to follow into 2017. I cannot wait to see what themes will be displayed at the next one!