Unassigned seating is a growing trend in the office environment and is expected to increase dramatically over the next several years. 52% of corporate executives anticipate implementing some level of unassigned seating in the workplace within the next three years, and 38% said they anticipate going to a partially unassigned seating environment according to the 2018 Occupier Survey by United States Commercial Real Estate Service (1).
Factors behind the unassigned seating increase are reduce costs, such as elimination of unnecessary desks, which saves space, equipment, heating, lightning etc., but also cleaning. Cleaning might seem like a small factor in the big picture, but it really is not. A company can easily save a large amount of money by reducing unnecessary cleaning for an office that is rarely full, because quotes from cleaning services are based on space and amount of desks, which means that desks that are not used will not be cleaned but charged for (2).
Space or rent is a more obvious cost-cutting measure because the cost of an office space is based on square feet, so less desks means less space needed, which equals less dollars spent per square foot.
Many workplace strategists believe flexibility in where you work in an office is correlated with increased productivity (3). The option to sit where one wants, be alone or within a group, without concerns of hierarchy is considered a benefit to many younger generation office workers. One might choose to sit by the window, while another chooses a work spot closer to the lounge, café or bathroom. Others may choose to work based on temperature, noise or other factors that can be difficult to control. Having the flexibility to move within an office to maximize comfort and accessibility enables employees to focus on work rather the environment they are in.
The trend towards unassigned seating has many benefits for both employers and employees, but there are also disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage is the challenge of finding available desks and finding fellow colleagues who may work in a different location each day.
As many of Innovant’s enterprise clients began experimenting with an unassigned workplace, questions on how to resolve these challenges led us discover that most hoteling based technologies were very expensive, complex, and required the use of sensors that created serious security risks that put greater demands on the client’s IT department. To address this, Innovant partnered with leading wireless charger manufacturer Zens in May 2018 to launch a patented technology in North America called HotDesk.
HotDesk combines wireless charging, occupancy tracking, peer locating and desk booking all in one application. By simply placing a cell phone on a wireless charger located in each desk or work spot, an employee becomes “checked-in” to that space and become discoverable by colleagues. What makes HotDesk truly unique is that it works out of band (off the IT network.) The cell phone acts as the gateway to the cloud simply by placing it on a charger to check in. IT managers don’t need to oversee its implementation or maintenance. Equipment costs are incredibly low, with just the cost of the wireless charger itself being the investment.
Perhaps most important, employees do not feel like they are being “tracked” because the sensor is the wireless charger, which is a beneficial accessory that promotes engagement while being completely optional to use.
As more technologies compete in the emerging unassigned workplace, Innovant is betting that the simplest technology will be the winner in the end.
To learn more, please watch the video below for an explanation of the general functionality of the HotDesk app.
Theories and trends involving workplace design have been
chaotic in recent years and the commercial interiors industry (both designers
and manufacturers) is constantly scrambling to come up with the next hot ticket
item or concept. Dealing with mobile technologies,
millennial life styles, collaboration spaces, residentialization (is that a
word?), wellness, unassigned desking etc. the list of trends and their associated
challenges is long. In the end, “cool
offices” get celebrated for their breakthrough designs, the new amenities they
offer employees, and the way they make for fantastic photography.
Beneath this creative office design resolution are some real
challenges to managing the way these cool offices are impacted (or perhaps
restricted) by real-world technology. One of these challenges presents itself when conferencing technology
meets interior design and furniture specification, particularly in huddle rooms
or huddle spaces. There’s absolutely a
need for creating huddle spaces within the office that promote casual
interactions, but serious project meetings rely on technology to communicate
ideas, activities and goals.
A huddle space can be a banquette in the cafeteria or a
custom designed nook as seen in practically every photo shoot of the latest
cool office. Rarely shown in these photo
shoots is the huddle room with thousands of dollars’ worth of state of the art
teleconferencing and computer equipment. These are the closed door huddle rooms, where 4-6 people (or more)
bridge into offices overseas, or across town, or even on a different floor in
the same building. In these rooms, the
meeting topics are about how to bring the good ideas from (perhaps initiated in
the banquette on the magazine cover) to the marketplace before somebody else. These are not casual meetings, these are “get
it done meetings,” and all the mobile technology and indoor bleachers in the
world cannot replace the value of having the stakeholders together in a secure and
functioning technology environment to present and argue the solutions that will
get the job done. Bad connections,
echoes, startup delays, security risks, and broken technologies are therefore not
For the past year Innovant has been providing a CEU course
to designers that focuses on how to avoid some of the pitfalls that can arise
when a client chooses to deploy several such huddle rooms across a new campus
or headquarters. The basis of our
intel and experience came predominantly from our large Silicon Valley clients,
one of which has deployed over 2500 technology based huddle rooms in the past 3
years. Not all clients will have such a
need, but the suggestions here can apply to everyone.
Suggestion #1: Avoid
the built in “Picasso”
The early days of huddle room design, especially at Google,
saw many huddle rooms custom designed with displays built into walls and
technology cabling routed through walls and floors. More effort was put into the artistic
expression of the room than in enabling the room to evolve over time. While this makes for a great vanity shot,
the technology in these rooms is usually antiquated within a year, and
replacing built in technology can be costly and time consuming.
Suggestion #2: Keep
it “Technology Agnostic”
Without providing any design direction here, the point is to
consider furniture and room features that do not impede the ability to quickly
and effortlessly upgrade technology. Sophisticated huddle tables and display mounts are available that
provide this capability without impacting aesthetics and design. Technology companies are rapidly developing
new and better conference technology that end users will inevitably purchase
and need to install without significant disruption and delay. There are a number of “all-in-one”
technology packages that provide displays, processing power, cameras,
microphones and other features, but they are often very expensive up front and
limit the ability to upgrade features in the future.
Suggestion #3: Be
wary of cabling distances
Huddle / conference room technology, like almost everything
else, is using USB cabling for many of the devices needed to make it work
(cameras, microphones, etc.) What
needs to be understood is that there are maximum distances that USB based
technology can span. Less than 16’ for
USB 2.0 and less than 10’ for USB 3.0. Without careful consideration of how these devices will be positioned in
the room in relation to the technology that’s driving them, problems can
quickly arise. It doesn’t take too
many turns through the furniture, floor and walls to quickly pass these
distances, so how the furniture bridges devices and technology is an important
Suggestion #4: Keep
Most huddle rooms these days utilize furniture products that
contain all of the huddle room technology, including the displays, cabling,
power and processing. Innovant’s
FORm_AV suite has over 50 different sizes and shapes of huddle tables, each
with optional features that can support PCs, codecs, microphones, cameras, and
displays. This makes installs,
upgrades and relocation super-fast, easy and inexpensive so clients can feel
confident that their huddle rooms will never get out of date.
Location, Location, Location
When company executives invest in technology based huddle
rooms, they expect to see them in use. Walking past a row of empty (expensive) huddle rooms tucked in the far
corner of an office will lead to questions of competency in space planning. The easiest way to make them popular is to
make them extremely visible. Locate
huddle rooms next to high traffic areas to remind people of the tools they have
at their disposal and to see others using them effectively. Bloomberg, a heavy user of huddle rooms
even has glass enclosed huddle rooms right in the entry way of their NYC
headquarters, visible to employees and guests alike.
Figure 1: USB charging
ports are a common requirement in office furniture today.
As a supplier of sophisticated commercial office
workstations, we at Innovant
are repeatedly asked about the USB charging capabilities of the many options of
convenience power we provide. Some of these questions are asked by people who
may as well have a PhD in USB technology. However, many other inquiries come
from clients and designers who have less of an understanding of what
constitutes a “good USB charging solution.”
Understanding the inner design of USB ports and cables is
not needed to understand how to provide an appealing USB charging solution for
office workers at their desk. All that is required is an understanding of what
the various types of USB means and how their stated charging output gets
utilized by the USB charged devices currently found in the office. Ideally,
understanding the future of USB and how devices will work with it will allow
you to make better decisions when investing in USB charging products.
For now, let’s look at the basics. There are handful of USB
ports that are commonly discussed, the table below helps summarize what they
USB 1.0 and 2.0 are what you first saw on computers and
laptops that provided connectivity for peripheral devices like mice, cameras
and printers. Not necessarily by design, they also provided 500mA of charging
power to devices like phones, albeit very slow charging. USB 3.0 is clearly
identified in today’s world by the blue detail on the inside of the cable and
ports. While USB 3.0 does provide notably faster charging than 2.0, its main
purpose is for faster data transfer rates.
Figure 2: USB 3.0
identified with blue ports.
USB charge only ports are simply designed to charge devices
and not to provide any data transfer. These are the ports we see in office
furniture, coffee shop tables, airport lounge kiosks etc., and their charging rates
are noticeably faster than most current data USB ports. USB Fast Charge is an
even faster option available in some products (like the Ag
Power Module by Innovant) and they can literally charge faster than
the common wall plug adapters provided with mobile devices. This is a key
talking point we have with clients and designers about USB charging, and the
question we ask them to think about is simply “what is the charging output of
each USB port in your furniture or accessory?”. For many, a 2000mA charge is
more than enough for smart phones, but a USB fast charge accessory is really
appreciated for tablets and other heavier load devices for its ability to
charge these devices faster, even though they may not charge a smart phone that
much quicker than the common 2000mA charging ports. The list below shows the
power charging draw from many common devices:
Figure 3: Innovant’s Ag
Power Module with 2.5 A Fast Charging.
USB-C is a 24-pin USB connector
system allowing for even greater transport of data and power. More noticeably
however, is that USB-C replaces the cable connecting profile at both ends of
the cable to be universal. Many people believe that USB-C could become a stable
industry standard for providing data transfer and power delivery to everything
from phones to laptops to lighting and even appliances. Investing in USB-C now
may prepare facilities managers for such a convergence in the future.
Unfortunately, at the writing of this post USB-C is simply not available as a
charging accessory to office furniture. Nonetheless, we are doing our best to
keep pace with an ever-changing demand for charging products, and will be sure
to announce any new products that do offer this.
In a future post, we will take a look at
the emergence of wireless charging devices and how they can serve dual purpose
by also acting as a location service in the latest generation of unassigned or
“smart” office spaces.
Despite how trendy they may seem, standing desks have been around for quite some time. Historians recount that Leonardo da Vinci used standing desks for his brainstorms on “flying machines” while Thomas Jefferson employed a 6-legged “tall desk” with an adjustable top, and Ernest Hemingway stood while writing his masterpieces due to a nagging leg injury (Knighton, 2015). Given that standing rather than sitting appears more in line with our human evolution, it may seem surprising that adjustable height desks have yet to become the norm in workplaces. Innovant’s new case study yields insight into the reasons why certain workforce segments tend to have higher adjustable height desk (AHD) success rates while others don’t, the problem users face in AHD adoption, and how they may be overcome.
The wellness case for the AHD paints a rosy picture. The benefits range from the alleviation of back and joint pain to the improvement of conditions such as heart disease and Type II diabetes. Looking at the numbers, it would seem that the world believes it. A study from TowerEight indicates that online searches for standing desk information have increased by over threefold in the United States over the course of a year, from May 2016 to 2017 (Tower Eight, 2017). While this spike can result from a variety of reasons, it is plausible to believe that consumers are at least growing more curious about AHDs, which is usually the first sign that demand is picking up.
So, why does it seem that mostly deep-pocketed financial and tech giants are implementing AHDs in any meaningful way? In other words, with all the Googling going on, why aren’t three times as many people pulling the trigger?
One possible reason for the demand stall is the questionable success of adjustable height desk adoption by users. Here are three major influences likely to determine the rate of AHD success or failure in the workplace.
Adjustable Height Desk Success Rates Factor #1: The Importance of Wellness to the Workforce There seems to be no consensus regarding the question of whether or not physical comfort really does drive productivity gains. According to an article by FastCompany, most studies have shown zero impact on worker productivity (Duffy, 2016).
Every workforce is different. While some more health-conscious groups may be thrilled by the ability to shed a sedentary existence, others may not be up for the fatigue that comes with standing for long periods of time. If a worker is in poor physical condition to begin with or has little regard for his or her own wellness, improved mobility may not be welcome. It may even create safety issues for some worker segments. For this reason, companies may hesitate to promote usage of the desks among worker populations.
In our study, we found that certain segments of the workforce population were more open to AHD usage than others. This knowledge will come in handy for managers who are uncertain about who to encourage to use the desks and who to leave alone.
Adjustable Height Desk Success Rates Factor #2: The Pink Slip Effect At most companies, dealing with Human Resources or the boss to put in a request for expensive office furniture is an awkward conversation. While some companies are more open to accommodating these desires, many are not. Some employees may fear that asking for an amenity that their counterparts do not have is asking for the pink slip. Likewise, unless a line manager can afford to give a sit to stand desk to every employee in the department, giving this perk to a select few may trigger accusations of favoritism.
Adjustable Height Desk Success Rates Factor #3: Sticker Shock There are many varieties of AHDs that corporate buyers can choose from, but whatever way you slice it an AHD is a noticeable investment. While standing desks tend to come in lower on the pricing scale, sit to stand desks can cost in the thousands per position. This creates all kinds of buyer questions about choosing the right type, knowing what to avoid, and how to justify the purchase to the higher ups when adjustable height desk success rates may not be high for all worker segments. For this reason, buyers may scale back and only purchase for a select population, perhaps misjudging the candidates and compromising success.
Adjustable Height Desk Success Rates Study Methodology
In our study, we monitored desk height position across every employee over the course of a year. At the time of our launch, the company, one of the largest commercial interior design firms in the world, had just furnished their new Chicago headquarters with Innovant’s award-winning FORm_office benching system. This granted full range, electric height adjustability to every single employee in each department.
Desk height was categorized into 4 unique positions: standing height, drafting (or stool) height, as well as high and low seated heights. Desk height positions were tracked in the mornings, midday and the afternoons. After tallying the results, we were able to provide usage rates and trends for each department and for the company as a whole.
Get the Lowdown on Adjustable Height Desk Success Rates
To view the full results and obtain a copy of our proprietary research study, Adjustable Height Desk Success Rates, please visit our opt in page.
Our key takeaways from NeoCon 2017 center around three themes: a lack of sophisticated technology enablement in collaborative workspaces, a growing acceptance of compressed polyester products, and a striking emergence of thought leadership from niche manufacturers in the workstation category. In this article, we will outline how specifiers, interior designers, architects, and operations and technology professionals can apply these insights to their workstation strategy. We’ll also give practical examples of ways to do so.
For years, we’ve seen the gradual shift to office workspaces designed for higher collaboration. NeoCon 2017 brought a new twist to this trend, leading us to question what elements are essential in these shared spaces to truly inspire people to work together. Furniture products designed for teaming or even ad-hoc collaboration have been the hot product category for the past 3 years.
Much of what we saw, however, did not support or coexist with the collaboration technologies that the most innovative companies in the world use. The problem is bigger than it may seem: according to Forrester research, employees avoid 29% of meeting spaces due to insufficient collaboration tools (Forrester, 2016). This provokes thought as to how much technology is needed, what kinds of technologies are necessary vs. nice to have, what is the cost, and what return on investment should companies expect to see for this outlay?
The idea of “huddling” is universally understood as bringing people together to solve problems and foster innovation. These “huddle spaces” - communal areas designed for meetings of up to six people - are served by many manufacturers with lounge-like products peppered with whiteboards and the occasional auxiliary display. Marked by good styling and attractive materials, little if any of the products we saw were sensitive to making good use of collaboration technology. The fastest growing companies achieve their innovation goals when employees can quickly and effectively share their information. This requires easy access to collaborative technologies within huddle spaces. When designing a workplace to maximize huddle space usage, consider the following technologies:
Robust Wireless Networks: Employees are relying on both their own wireless devices and the supplied hardwired collaboration technology. Wireless networks should be designed to avoid limitations or dead zones where mobile devices won’t be able to function properly. If not, meetings can become delayed or canceled altogether due to the challenge of finding a way to get everyone connected. Design the huddle spot with the roaming wireless user in mind. Device charging stations don’t hurt either.
Virtual whiteboards: Going beyond the traditional flat screen display can be a very powerful tool for sharing ideas among a team, working both within a huddle space and remotely. Choose whiteboard applications that operate in real time, store information in the cloud so that valuable information is not lost, and can be accessed by teammates offsite.
Video conferencing: To encourage adoption of video conferencing, huddle spaces must first make it easy and foolproof to initiate and connect the conference without delay. Not so obvious, the participants of the conference must also be visible and audible. Collaboration and video conference technologies deliver this, but if the environment or furniture is not adequately supportive, critical collaboration tools are rendered useless.
Office Information Security: Remember the WannaCry virus? The threats are real and ever-present. Including a guest network will help prevent network password misappropriations when visitors join a huddle area meeting. While it’s important to ensure proper network security, remember that employees are typically the largest source of security breaches. To help employees feel at ease with huddle spaces nearby, consider privacy screens for workstations near communal areas that are highly trafficked. Many of our clients restrict any kind of network access in areas where guests visit frequently, such as lobbies and cafeterias.
Clients and employees alike will thank you for better collaborative technologies. According to Forrester Research, 51% of business leaders report higher employee satisfaction, with a little over one-third seeing higher employee retention rates (Forrester, 2016).
Read here to learn about the latest solutions that will help you integrate collaborative technology and cabling into conference room environments.
Polyester, particularly compressed polyester, has followed the resurgence of felt and felt-like materials, appearing within the workplace in a variety of forms. NeoCon 2017 proved that polyester is making its mark in workstation design, of all places. Compressed polyester is a felt-like substrate - not a fabric - that is easy on the wallet and has terrific sound absorption potential. We’re seeing it on privacy panels, vertical faces of storage, and any other areas that blend acoustics and aesthetics.
Innovant’s own workstations seamlessly integrate polyester cladding. The
multi-functional panels divide workspaces, conceal cabling and serve as
desktop storage, providing solutions that are both environmentally
friendly and acoustically beneficial.
At NeoCon, we were impressed by Silver Award winner Aura™ by Sis Ergo. These wraparound privacy panels, mostly made from recycled polyester felt, snap on to divide adjacent stations on a workbench.
NeoCon 2017 Trend #3: Niche Players Steal the Spotlight for Workstation Design
At NeoCon 2017, niche manufacturers stepped up to the plate, demonstrating thought leadership in the workstation design and development segment. According to industry experts, new products from big fish Herman Miller and Teknion failed to make a splash this year, and word on the street is that Haworth, Steelcase, and Herman Miller will “continue to be pushed by outsiders” (Monday Morning Quarterback, 2017). NeoCon 2017 showcased far more new product selections from smaller companies, signaling a higher degree of competition. At the end of the day, this works in favor of the end user. For the intermediaries who select designs on their behalf, the takeaway is this: there are great rewards to be reaped from looking further than the usual suspects when seeking the latest and greatest in workstation design.
Innovant’s latest integrated adjustable height bench was on display at our North Wells showroom this year. REX™
was developed as a base benching product upon which Innovant could deliver advanced tailoring capabilities. Nonetheless, in it’s out of the box format, REX has redefined the adjustable height benching category by delivering (finally) a product that perfectly conceals and manages cabling and technology to deliver a beautiful product without the mess usually revealed by work surfaces at standing height.
Check out more of our thought leadership in the workstation category here.
NeoCon 2017 & Beyond
Putting it all together, NeoCon 2017 showed us that the office design and furnishings market is at an evolutionary inflection point. The paradigm is shifting with greater thought leadership coming from less expected places. These innovations are expected to deepen already existing trends and introduce an environmentally friendly twist where possible.
Architects, designers, specifiers, operations and technology professionals, please weigh in here by commenting below. What is your view on NeoCon and beyond?
The importance of safety and quality in height adjustable tables and
workstations, by Bruce Wells.
They have arrived. After years of toe-in-the-water contemplation
by real estate and facilities executives, height adjustable workstations are
now being specified for everyone.
I won’t comment on the associated health benefits, which individuals rely upon
to offset the negative impacts of “sitting too much.” Height
adjustability in the workplace can’t hurt, right?
Or can it?
As someone who has developed height adjustable solutions for clients over many
years, I can confidently say that customers now seem to be committing to
these workstations because they are suddenly more affordable. Competition
has made them affordable. But competition has also driven many manufacturers in
a race to the bottom regarding quality, functionality, and most disconcertingly, safety.
We demand that machine operators, carpenters and electricians be properly
certified in their field of work to ensure their own safety as well the safety
of others. However, we provide only optional guidelines to the soon-to-be
millions of motorized desk operators in the US.
There are some products on the market with built-in sensors to stop and reverse
the operation of an adjustable desk upon contact with an obstruction - whether
an object or worse, a human obstruction like hands and fingers. At Innovant, we
refuse to compromise safety and have made this capability standard for all our
adjustable height products. This anti-collision technology was
initially developed to protect the motor within the desk, but it offers a
significant safety feature for users. Of course, a feature like this costs a
little bit more.
Not only do furniture RFPs rarely indicate this as a mandatory
performance requirement, few people ever ask what level of anti-collision
sensitivity is built into the products they buy because they don’t
know what a “safe level” means. As a result, we now have an influx of
questionable quality machinery, (particularly from low-cost manufacturing
regions) getting incorporated into furniture here in the US. These come with
little to no collision sensitivity built in - all in an effort to make “health
conscious” furniture “affordable.”
Accidents are usually rare in a data pool. But when the numbers of that pool
grow as we reach millions of motorized, adjustable height pieces of
furniture, it’s time to start asking questions about the safety expectations of
Designed for integration atop all Innovant furniture products, Ag Arm
is a sophisticated system of VESA-compatible display mounts for LCD
monitors. The product is particularly suited to open plan offices
furnished with height adjustable workstations.
Developed specifically for deployment in
multi-screen environments, Ag Arm eliminates the possibility of
collisions with components on adjacent adjustable height desks.
Using a combination of variable arm lengths and rotation restrictors,
Ag Arm ensures the most effective fit and alignment of monitors within
the footprint of each desktop.
Modular, mix and match parts allow users to
easily create or reconfigure dynamic displays. Ag Arm displays can
either be mounted to worktops with rapid install and adjust C-clamps or
secured to an accessory beam at the back of Innovant work surfaces. For
advanced features, an optional convenience power module – with 2 receptacles and a fast dual USB charger – can be integrated into the base of any Ag Arm support post.
“I’ve never been satisfied with the design of
popular monitor arm products. Until Ag Arm, I had not yet seen an
intelligent monitor arm product for the tight, multi-screen
configurations of today’s height adjustable workstations,” explains
Bruce Wells, Director Marketing & Design at Innovant.
Technology is rapidly evolving and Innovant’s
Ag Arm ensures that investments made today will continue to benefit
users in the future. For more information about Innovant or its
products, please visit http://www.innovant.com.
About Innovant: Innovant is a renowned
industry leader creating intelligent, adaptable furniture for the modern
workplace. For over twenty-five years, Innovant’s substantial
contributions to office and trading environments have resulted from the
sophisticated products and close collaboration Innovant supplies to
clients and designers. With a flagship showroom located in New York,
Innovant maintains a worldwide network of offices and showrooms spanning
North America, Europe and Asia.
After galvanizing the market leadership position established with its FORm family, Innovant is proud to introduce its next-generation trading desk, NEO.
NEO trading desks
are engineered to be height adjustable, but can be specified as fixed
height. Day-2 conversion to adjustable height is a quick and simple
process, saving clients time and money. Available in four standard
configurations, NEO accommodates various CPU containment requirements.
All four options feature sophisticated cable management, easy equipment
installation or access, and state-of-the-art thermal management.
“NEO is a game changer. Its performance,
features, and aesthetics set a new benchmark for trading desks,”
explains Bruce Wells, Director of Marketing & Design at Innovant.
Incorporating the unparalleled quality and
workmanship of all Innovant products, NEO boasts exceptional technology
integration and aesthetics. NEO also offers the critical sustainability
and wellness features required in today’s workplace. Bolstered by
Innovant’s trademark excellence in tailoring and global manufacturing
capabilities, NEO is boldly positioned to expand Innovant’s market
About Innovant: Innovant is a renowned industry leader creating
intelligent, adaptable furniture for the modern workplace. For over a
quarter century, Innovant has proven itself the preeminent trading desk
manufacturer of North America. More than half of the twenty largest
global investment banks in the US consider Innovant their standard
trading desk manufacturer. With a flagship showroom located in New York,
Innovant maintains a worldwide network of offices and showrooms
spanning North America, Europe and Asia.
Innovant invites clients and colleagues from the interiors industry to
celebrate the release of our new trading desk, NEO. Doors to our NYC
showroom open at 5 PM on Thursday, June 23rd. Stop by for cocktails and
hors d’oeuvres as we kick off the summer season!
It takes superhuman ambition and
supersize resources to challenge the likes of Amazon.com and Costco
Wholesale Corporation. So why not a superhero-inspired workplace? When
Jet.com was still based at an incubator, the e-commerce start-up gave
the names of different superheroes to the company’s various teams. “That
would be something good to keep,” Interior Architects
principal and design director Julio Braga said to himself when
conceiving the company’s first real headquarters, in a new building on
the Hudson River in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Although the company had outgrown the incubator, IA intermediate
designer Brie Samyn notes, “They liked the buzz of everyone being
together.” That meant constantly moving through a vibrant environment.
Braga and Samyn therefore settled on a largely open plan, with office
areas occupying the four corners of the 40,000-square-foot floor plate.
Of the 350 employees now, about 200 work in a dedicated team, while the
remainder either float among unassigned desks or have no desks at all.
“The CEO, the employees—you see everyone,” Braga says. Tucked between
these quadrants are shared spaces, from the reception area to a variety
of meeting venues.
Then there’s the question of branding. Samyn explains it as
“making sure, when you walk in, that the headquarters can’t be mistaken
for that of any other company but accomplishing that without a big
gesture.” The winking letter J in the purple logo gave her and Braga the
idea to develop what they refer to as “Jet wink moments,” subtly clever
Completely in the open, among the workstations, painted circles
on the concrete floor demarcate break-out areas furnished with tables
and ottomans. When the need for quiet or privacy arises, glass-fronted
phone rooms are available. They’re nestled next to alcoves containing
upholstered banquettes and shell chairs by Charles and Ray Eames.
All that still isn’t sufficient for fast-growing Jet.com. The
company has leased the level below, expecting to expand there next year,
and IA is once more coming to the rescue on the design front. As a way
of thanking the customers behind the success story, the names of the
first 25,000 to test the Web site, in beta, are listed on a purple wall
as Jet Insiders. From the company’s perspective, they are the true
heroes, one and all.
Read more about this project on Interior Design’s website.
SWA Group, a world leader in landscape architecture, planning, and urban design, relocated its San Francisco office to a new space that would better serve its business and accommodate the firms’ growth. Plans for the new office stipulated a sophisticated, open plan furniture system that was capable of accommodating SWA’s particular work style, while also delivering a strong, contemporary aesthetic. Integrating the existing structural columns as a point of interest rather than an architectural obstruction in the layout was another design challenge.
THE INNOVANT SOLUTION Innovant’s FORm_office benching product was selected early in the evaluation process by SWA Group and their interiors consultant, SmithGroupJJR. In addition to delivering the desired aesthetic, FORm_office was chosen for its easy tailoring to meet the specific needs of the end-users. An increased desk depth of 42 inches allows each designer to comfortably view plans at his or her workstation.
Instead of relying on a more typical enclosure solution to contain the columns, FORm_office’s oversized raceway permitted building columns to be easily scribed through the desks with minimal cost or complexity. This allowed for cable management and concealment throughout the space. Additionally, the designers are able to freely “slide” back and forth across the work surface of the product, a quality that will support SWA Group in densifying its workplace environment as the firm continues to grow.
THE RESULT Project Architect Dew Padilla reported that “the product is working perfectly for SWA Group.” The SWA Group architects “love the depth” of the desks and appreciate the unique edge detailing of the product, as well as its seamless technology integration.
Innovant is pleased to announce the addition of three new Luna Textiles
to its standard finishes: Acolyte, Hush and Stitch. These fabrics can
be utilized for various applications, including privacy panels, tackable
wall boards and cushioned pedestals.
For panel applications, Innovant now offers Luna’s Stitch collection. Woven from 100% Eco-Intelligent polyester, this line is available in six standard colorways.
Innovant has also graded in two dual purpose
patterns, Acolyte and Hush, which provide the flexibility of both panel
and cushion applications. Acolyte
is a versatile, high-performance, bleach-cleanable fabric. Its rich and
lively surface of variegated color evokes the unique charm of natural,
handwoven fibers. Hush takes its cues from the bouclé texture of couture
fabric, interpreted as high-performance polyester to address the
demands of contract environments. Hush is an excellent value, with its eco-friendly, 90% recycled content available in 13 stunning colors.
Luna Textiles was founded in San Francisco in
1994 to introduce new style to commercial interiors. Since then, Luna’s
textiles and showrooms have gained numerous accolades and industry
awards. Sharing Innovant’s pursuit of excellence, Luna Textiles is an
excellent Innovant partner due to its desire to be the best source of
well-designed, elegant, and refined textiles.
March 1, 2016, Innovant relocated its Bay Area showroom to the 49 Geary
Art Gallery Building in the heart of downtown San Francisco. This move
stems from Innovant’s recent growth on the West Coast and the need for
presenting products in a space more consistent with Innovant’s brand.
The new Bay Area address is:
49 Geary Street, Suite 411
San Francisco, CA 94108
The showroom has been furnished with Innovant’s latest benching products, including the award-winning adjustable height FORm_office™ line and the trendy yet sophisticated NIGEL Desking line. Innovant’s market-leading huddle room furniture and next generation private office and conference products are also on display.
In addition to this showroom change, Innovant recently relocated its
corporate offices in New Canaan. This new address is: 21 Locust Avenue,
Suite 2D, New Canaan, CT 06840. All of Innovant’s phone numbers will
remain the same. Innovant will also continue to operate its showroom in
New York, NY and Chicago, IL.
For more information about the San Francisco showroom, contact
Anne Markel at info(at)innovant(dot)com or call 415.515.8970.
Innovant products can
also be seen elsewhere on the West Coast at the Architype showroom in Los Angeles, CA.
About Innovant: Innovant is a renowned industry leader creating
intelligent, adaptable furniture for the modern workplace. For over
twenty-five years, Innovant’s substantial contributions to office and
trading environments have resulted from the sophisticated products and
close collaboration Innovant supplies to clients and designers. With a
flagship showroom located in New York, Innovant maintains a worldwide
network of offices and showrooms spanning North America, Europe and
THE CHALLENGE In 2014, a private investment management firm sought out a new workstation standard for its New York City headquarters. Despite recent workplace trends shifting towards primarily open plan offices, the client wanted a significant portion of its staff to retain private offices. With these parameters in place, the design firm proposed a work wall solution for private offices measuring 9’x12’. Efficiently sized, these offices required furniture with reduced footprints and untraditional dimensions.
THE INNOVANT SOLUTION Through a unique development process, the client gained direct access to Innovant’s team. This enabled Innovant to match the client’s original scheme with a cost-effective solution. Designed in partnership with architecture firm Shelton, Mindel & Associates, Inc., in association with A+I, Innovant crafted a PRIVATE_office product with cantilevered, adjustable height desks integrated directly into self-supporting workwalls.
In addition to these streamlined private offices, Innovant installed over 140 adjustable height FORm_office positions and constructed over 170 millwork pieces. These pieces included benches, tack boards and conference room workwalls with Day-2 capabilities for integrating adjustable height desking.
THE RESULT Innovant created a one of a kind product by tailoring existing private office casegoods to incorporate cantilevered adjustable desks. Having applied mass production knowledge to all of the bespoke elements, Innovant also delivered the best price.
Thanks you to all who joined Innovant as we kicked off the holiday season with our Open House. Congratulations to the winner of our Special Edition NIGEL Desk, which was raffled off to the event’s attendants. We hope everyone had great fun embracing their inner NIGELs while wearing NIGEL specs. For more information about our desking products, please visit our website.
Innovant invites industry friends to ring in the holiday season at its New York showroom on Thursday, December 3rd. Stop by for drinks and hors d'oeuvres, as well as a chance to win your own NIGEL desk made from reclaimed lumber and blackened steel. Doors open at 5:00 PM, kindly RSVP to marketing[at]innovant[dot]com.
Innovant, a leading manufacturer of innovative benching products, conferencing solutions and other contract office furniture, has formed a partnership with Architype, a highly respected manufacturer’s rep firm based in Los Angeles.
Since 1991, Architype
has been a trusted resource for architects, designers, general
contractors and developers. Offering in-depth technical and design
knowledge to the A&D community across Southern California and
Nevada, Architype represents some of the industry’s leading
manufacturers of furniture, lighting and other architectural products.
Now, Innovant joins the ranks of these esteemed makers.
“For Innovant to successfully bring our
unique, tailored product design process to the Southern California
market, we needed an experienced partner to effectively communicate our
message to the design community. Jean-Guy Poitras and Joe Fitzpatrick of
Architype are just the kind of experienced and connected professionals
we were hoping to join forces with,” explains Bruce Wells, Director of
Marketing & Development at Innovant.
With principal backgrounds in both engineering
and architecture, coupled with deep passions for design, Architype has
long served as a trusted A&D community partner offering education,
insight and technical expertise. As a representative to manufacturers of
premier A&D products across furniture and case goods, solar control
and shading solutions, lighting, glass wall and store front systems,
ceiling and wall systems, as well as custom architectural and design
manufacturing services, Architype strives to demystify complexities and
translate project goals and design objectives into tailored, deliverable
solutions across a range of design environments. Architype proudly
represents industry leaders that include Innovant, Arktura, Halcon,
Kartell, MechoSystems, Moroso and Muraflex.
Innovant’s NIGEL Desking, FORm_office benching and FORm_AV video conference products
will be prominently displayed at Architype’s showroom in downtown Los
Angeles. The showroom is located in Suite 801 of The Collection
Building, 527 W. 7th Street. Innovant’s furniture is available for
viewing by appointment.