Swings and Roundabouts: Workplace Design Trends at Orgatec 2018
Orgatec, held in Cologne, Germany, every second year, this year featured 753 exhibitors from 39 companies and attracted 63,000 visitors keen to view the latest in office furniture and workplace design products.
This year, there were so many swings as seating that one could be forgiven for thinking the office is about to become a playground. Also prominent were colourful acoustic panels used creatively on walls or hanging from ceilings and large hanging privacy shades (somewhat reminiscent of the Cone of Silence in the Chief of Control’s office in the classic comedy series Get Smart) all, of course, aimed at eradicating the problems of noise control in open plan offices.
There was also a continuation of the trend towards aping mid-20th century design classics, evoking the work Jacobsen, Eames, Pantone and Saarinen. Sit-stand workstations also remained prominent as was intuitive seating that responds to the weight and movement of the user.
As well as telephone booths, alcove meeting booths and other products designed for privacy, focus and the ability to muffle the racket created by colleagues, there were also some nice demountable rooms designed for temporary use in open plan working environments.
A section of the event, Materials Culture, showcased possible applications for a number of natural materials as alternatives to plastics. One exhibitor, Buzzi Space, showed they were ahead of the pack in this initiative, showing acoustic panels using moss instead of felt.
Also showing impeccable sustainable standards was a meeting table made from recycled plastic dredged from Amsterdam canals.
Colour palettes mostly swung towards muted pastels, with a lean towards the green part of the spectrum. Will we see swings and a Cone of Silence in every office soon? We’ll wait and see