New-Gen Design for the Modern Workforce
Whether an app, a tech innovation, or an element of your built environment – what enables you to work smarter? DENFAIR’s Sandra Tan unpacks today’s mobile professional toolkit.
Can you remember the last time you flicked through a user manual? Odds are, it’s been a while since you’ve needed to. These days, we expect our tech to be immediately accessible, a logical extension of our own thought process – no instructions necessary. Hence, smarter phones with idiot-proof interfaces, and more integrated solutions for an increasingly demanding, tech-savvy market.
Industrial designers have responded with new-gen furniture that seamlessly plugs into the everyday. Sydney-based designer Tom Fereday’s ETO Desk, a collaboration with King Living launched at DENFAIR 2018, is a prime example of how design can be cleverly applied to elevate the experience of work.
Its minimalist silhouette in black, comprising an aluminum frame and natural timber top, reimagines the humble workstation as a sleek base for productivity. But beyond aesthetic, what truly sets it apart from other designer desks is its inbuilt tech, housing a wireless charging hub as well as a slim lamp arm.
In developing the product with King Living, Tom said, “We talked a lot about developing products that aren’t just sophisticated and well made, but also actually trying to push the boundaries of furniture.”
Becoming the first desk in the world to offer interchangeable lighting and charging accessories, ETO indeed challenged the design status quo. The potential for digital tools to enhance our relationship with furniture is something of a specialty for Steelcase. Their Ology with Active Touch range of height-adjustable desks works in tandem with a purpose-built app called Rise, which enables users to tailor their workplace wellbeing strategy to their own needs.
The app connects to compatible desks via Bluetooth, allowing for multiple height preferences to be recorded and easily applied to new workstations – handy for hotdesking digital nomads. And, to ensure people make use of the sit-to-stand functionality, Rise also reminds users to switch between modes during the day.
“We know that in today’s workplace, we need to offer a palette of postures and places,” says Oscar Lopez, Global Marketing Director and Product Development, Steelcase Germany. “When we were designing Ology, we were really thinking about how a desk can support the wellbeing of the people.”