It was another exciting year at NeoCon in Chicago. In case you’re not familiar with NeoCon, it’s the big event every year where office furniture manufacturers come to display their latest and greatest innovations in furniture design. It’s a great place to see new styles in office furniture and to catch up with industry friends.
Here are the items we found to be the most interesting:
Collaborative Work Spaces
Just about all the workstations I saw featured low or clear panels separating individual desks. The idea is that this will foster an atmosphere where colleagues can easily bounce ideas off of each other and brainstorm strategies that will improve the company’s bottom line.
Dual Purpose Furniture: File Cabinet Seats
I really like this trend. How often do we find ourselves heading to a colleague’s desk for a quick five-minute talk that turns into a 20-minute discussion? Most of the time, we’ll start to lean on their desktop, disturbing papers and shifting constantly to find a comfortable stance. Furniture manufacturers found the solution: take a standard file cabinet that sits just underneath the work surface, add some wheels, add a cushion, and voila– a comfortable seat that tucks away when not in use.
Chairs with Tablet Arms
This chair design brings collaboration and dual functionality together into one. These chairs are great for meeting spaces where a table might not fit. Co-workers can still gather and have a work surface to place a laptop or write notes. These chairs would also work great as guest chairs in an office. Instead of using their lap to support a notepad, or scooting their chair forward and shifting sideways to use the office desk, people can simply fold up or swing over the small work surface.
Standing Height Desks
Google “Sitting Bad for Health,” and you’ll find a slew of articles telling you to stop sitting and start standing more often at work. Furniture designers and manufacturers have responded with an array of standing-height desks. Many feature surfaces that rise from standard desk height to counter height with the push of a button. Other desk surfaces were fixed at standing height, becoming a second level of a combined-height workstation. My favorite display took it one step further and incorporated a treadmill under the desk. Surprisingly, it was easy to type while walking at one-and-a-half miles an hour, though my handwriting definitely saw better days!
So, what do you think about these new designs? Can you see your office adding any of them?