Posts tagged design
Standing up for Productivity, Comfort and Health

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As discussed in a previous post on the history of standing desks, the old practice of working at a standing height desk has begun making its way back in vogue. Though much of today’s conversations have focused on the application of desks for standing in the workplace, a buzz has begun around applications in educational settings.

A Florida school has adopted the standing desk trend by deploying adjustable height desks on castors in Melissa Irving’s fourth grade classroom. This furniture decision was motivated by the same reasons for standing in the workplace: productivity, comfort and health.

Sitting for hours in the classroom or office is completely counterproductive to learning and working. One of the many hazards of sitting for extended periods of time is the negative effect on the brain. When people are sedentary for a long time, everything slows, including brain function. On the other hand, moving muscles pumps fresh blood and oxygen through the brain, which triggers the release of both brain- and mood-enhancing chemicals. These chemical contribute to a person’s productivity and creativity. 

Ms. Irving has “seen a marked change in her students ever since the desks made their [classroom] debut.” Not only have students begun to feel more alert and involved in class, but they have also experienced a new level of comfort. Students who now have the option to sit or stand no longer struggle to stay still at their desks. The same goes for people in the workplace who now have a range of options for finding a comfortable way to work.

Remember this the next time you struggle to find focus or comfort while working. Take a stand.

Innovant to Present Two Breakthrough Office Furniture Products at NeoCon 2014

imageInnovant is proud to announce its display at the Merchandise Mart for NeoCon 2014 in Chicago, June 9-11.

The new FORm_AV series of conference room furniture solidifies Innovant’s position as a go-to partner for companies seeking a robust, yet flexible video conferencing solution. Also on display, FORm_office Standing Height is an advancement of Innovant’s award-winning FORm_office Adjustable Height product. This standing height innovation is a result of Innovant rethinking and reinventing its FORm_office product for greater ergonomic, aesthetic and cost benefits.

Innovant has been repeatedly recognized as a renowned industry leader and pioneer of workstation design. In 2012, the manufacturer won Best of NeoCon in benching for FORm_office Adjustable Height. In 2010, Innovant’s FORm_office product received the Silver Award for Innovation at IIDEX (NeoCon Canada). This year, Innovant hopes to take home an award for its innovative designs in Contract Magazine’s Best of NeoCon or Interior Design’s HIP at NeoCon competitions.

Innovant’s products will be exhibited in booth 3130C on the 7th floor of the Merchandise Mart, where NeoCon is held. NeoCon is the largest design exposition in North America, featuring more than 700 showrooms and exhibitors and nearly 100 CEU-accredited seminars for over 40,000 architecture and design professionals. Other products can be viewed in Innovant’s Chicago showroom at 440 North Wells Street, Suite 310, located just around the corner from the Mart.

The FORm_AV and FORm_office Standing Height products on display are available to all Innovant clients, with or without tailored elements.

For more information about Innovant, its FORm_AV or FORm_office product lines, please visit http://www.innovant.com. Register now to receive Innovant’s latest product updates and company news.

The Monuments of Tech

Last week, the New York Times probed the rising trend among big internet companies to construct “workplaces that memorialize their products and values.” Gone are the nostalgic days of Silicon Valley companies “building world-changing technologies from the humble garage, or the nondescript office park.” Instead, tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple and Amazon are seeking to craft workplaces that “fuse their values of speed, change and productivity with their perceived corporate smarts and quirkiness.”

image                                                   Image: Jim Wilson/The New York Times

In most cases, these personalized workplaces subscribe to the common design trend of open plan office environments. This workplace type is not only suited for fluctuating office teams and sizes, but also helps move “work and information as quickly as possible” – a quality particularly suited to fast-moving tech companies.

By injecting their “ethos” into the design of their workplaces, tech companies have begun to create not “just offices… [but] monuments.”

Facebook’s Menlo Park, CA headquarters is one example, boasting a “Disney-like” design modeled after “Main Street, USA.” At Facebook, there are no permanent offices as employees are often moved around based on “new short-term projects.” Such elements as plywood boards hanging from the ceiling provide the space with a “visual ‘under construction’ reference meant to reinforce the company’s ethos.” Considering that doors act as an “impediment, slowing the making of something new,” the open plan office is designed to “change thinking” and inspire creativity.  

Twitter’s San Francisco office also uses its architecture to influence employees, with quirky design elements – like the front desk computer housed “inside a faux birdhouse” and nest-like twigs on walls – that reference the company’s iconic logo. Informal meetings often take place in the @birdfeeder cafeteria, in the hopes that “this low-stress setting… will help foster new ideas.”

All of the design decisions and uses of these tech offices are in service to the idea that “nothing is permanent, that any product can be dislodged from greatness by something newer. It’s the aesthetic of disruption: We must all change, all the time.” The flexibility and utility of open plan offices is particularly suited to this type of disruption and temporality that defines the tech industry.

Innovant for Higher Education: Going The Way of Modern Office Interiors
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Several months ago, Contract Magazine delved into the topic of design for higher education environments. The mag stated that higher ed “has gone the way of modern office interiors. The traditional institutional aesthetic has been replaced with design-savvy environments… In other words, all the factors that correlate with how learning has changed globally.”
                                                                                                                     
This trend was reflected in Fordham University’s new Gabelli School of Business, which selected Innovant to furnish the business school’s forty-seat trading room. Another Innovant example of higher ed going the way of modern office design is Osgoode Hall Law School’s Library at York University in Toronto.

When the school outgrew its home of forty years, it commissioned a major renovation to reorganize and expand its main complex. Access to the collections at the school’s library, the largest law library in the British Commonwealth, had been hindered by a decentralized layout across five floors and a lack of study space. The renovation successfully resolved these challenges and more, creating a LEED Silver certified state-of-art facility for this renowned law school.imageThe new law library, consolidated into two floors, features a central reading room, independent and group study areas and a rare book room. Innovant’s FORm_office system was selected for its flexible, technology-ready design and contemporary aesthetic which integrate seamlessly with the architectural plans for the space. Project Architect Dan Klinck of Diamond Schmitt Architects notes that Innovant offered “a thoughtfully designed system that is both affordable and modifiable versus entirely custom.” Innovant partnered with the architects to modify the standard FORm_office design to accommodate specified power sources in the library’s main reading room. And in the rare book reading room, where a premium aesthetic conveys the special nature of the collection, a custom oak table top was commissioned for the FORm-office frame.
                                                                                                                     
The system’s standard features such as durable construction that would withstand robust use, adjustable height tables, a comfort bumper at the table edges, as well as lighting options were all important factors to the school. The lighting fixtures were chosen to honor the Victorian heritage of the library’s founding in a contemporary way.imageThe renovated Law Library at Osgoode Hall Law School has been a resounding success. After opening to students in September 2011, it quickly became the most popular library on the York University campus and remains a popular site for student study today.
                     
To learn more about other Innovant installations, visit the Case Studies page on our website.
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Innovant’s Marketing Department recently toured Philip Johnson’s Glass House. The pastoral 49-acre landscape comprises fourteen structures, including the prominent Glass House (1949), Ghost House, Kirstein Tower, Library, and other notable works built between 1949 and 1995. Two of the structures serve as galleries (see the Sculpture Gallery pictured above), which house a permanent collection of 20th-century painting and sculpture, along with temporary exhibitions.

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CORENET YOUNG LEADERS & IIDA ARCHITECTURAL TOUR: BARCLAYS CENTER, BROOKLYN

by Hayley Willson

Last week, I attended the architectural tour of Barclays Center hosted by CoreNet & IIDAThe attendees were IIDA members, as well as CoreNet Young Leaders, including architects, designers, furniture manufacturers, end users, construction and real estate industry members - all under the age of 35.  

The event brought both groups together to network and learn about thoughtful design in a unique commercial space. The tour exposed us to a few unique features of the Barclays Center. These include shower heads in the locker rooms installed at a level that accommodates the height of the basketball players. Also, the Calvin Klein Lounge is filled with the aroma of their signature fragrance, which gets pumped in through the air vents. The Blackberry Lounge features convenient charging stations for cell phones. Finally, the tour ended in Jay Z’s exclusive VIP bar, The 40/40 Club. One notable feature of the space is a wall lined with Ace of Spades Champagne bottles, which lends the space a glamorous vibe.

Thanks to CoreNet and IIDA for hosting a wonderful event!

Expert Series: Storage as Separation

by Julie May, Strategic Account Executive

Making the change from cubicles to open plan office environments is a major shift for any organization. Two of the biggest concerns we hear from clients are:

“We need to make sure that our employees have as much storage as they do now.”

“Our employees are used to having privacy. They sit in 6’x8’ cubicles with 60”H privacy panels.”

These are understandable concerns.

There are many factors that drive organizations to move into densified, open environments (see previous post, "Expert Series: The Changing Workplace" for common factors). Under these parameters, the application of multi-functional solutions help address many of these concerns. 

One effective solution that Innovant has routinely provided to address these concerns is the use of storage elements that serve multiple purposes: create division, provide extra surface space, and establish additional informal meeting spaces.
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Face-to-Face Storage as Separation: The personalized storage cubby units that sit in the center channel of a double-sided benching cluster do not take up any additional real estate. They provide plenty of above-work surface storage for books, binders, and personal effects, while also providing separation between colleagues. This separation helps provide a sense of privacy, while sitting low enough to meet LEED Daylighting requirements.

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Side-by-Side Storage as Separation: The bookcases and storage units pictured below are at 42”H and divide colleagues that sit side-by-side, while minimizing the overall footprint of each user position. Storage can be configured with different components depending on the client’s requirements. These units can also function as informal meeting areas.

These types of solutions help maintain privacy and provide storage, while also keeping the open plan “open” and conducive for collaboration. As Innovant continues to evolve with the ever-changing workspace, these types of storage solutions are flexible and easy to modify, which enables users to replace their storage units with new solutions in the coming years.

Expert Series: The Changing Workplace

Innovant is proud to announce the launch of its “Expert Series,” which will feature blog posts written by our very own industry experts. We’ve invited our sales team, engineers, and senior management to share their thoughts on all things related to workplace design.

Tune in each month for insights on the evolving workplace, product design, office tips, and more – all from Innovant’s team members at the forefront of workplace strategy and design.

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First up is Julie May, Innovant’s Strategic Account Executive. Her first post will be published in two parts. As an introduction to her upcoming account of storage used as separation in the modern workplace, Julie describes the factors contributing to the evolving workplace. See her breakdown the common factors below: 

Real Estate Efficiencies: Many companies are reducing their real estate portfolios and are looking at the most efficient practices for working with less space. Corporate real estate and facilities ask how they can give their employees the tools to be productive, collaborative and focused, while reducing their allotment of space per person. The average square foot per person has dropped from 225 sq ft in 2010 to 176 sq ft in 2012, with prediction of being reduced further to 100 sq ft per person by 2017. (*Data sourced from CoreNet Global.)

Sustainable and Corporate Responsibility Corporate Programs: In addition to space reductions, there has been a rise in corporate social responsibility initiatives, which include sustainability and LEED certification strategies. These often translate to open furniture plans, which have inherent sustainability benefits because they use fewer materials. Open furniture plans also minimize or eliminate such elements as panels, walls, and high storage that tend to obstruct lines of sight and access to natural light. As a result of these programs, more employees are sitting in the open environment, with senior management joining them outside their private offices.

Multiple Generations: “Collaboration” is a common word used in planning meetings to discuss strategies for boosting employee productivity. With multiple generations existing in a single workplace, studies have been conducted that show contradictory results: 1) Collaboration between multiple generations is effective in increasing productivity. 2) Younger generations like being in an open environment and older generations struggle to focus. 3) When done right and with the right worker types, the open plan can be productive and a successful platform for multiple generations to share information, develop mentorships, socialize and connect.

Workplace Tools: What works for me, as a salesperson, doesn’t necessarily work for, say, an engineer or accounting person. Each department and worker type has different requirements for work, which means that “one-size-fits-all” doesn’t necessarily work for every organization. Developing effective tools for different worker types is becoming more common and easier to manage for facilities.

Please check back next week for Julie’s insight into how “Storage as Separation” fits into these new work environments. 

Is Your Office Making You Unproductive?

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Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal posted an article about office life, which posed the question, “Is your office making you unproductive?” The author, Rachel Emma Silverman, cited a new study performed by a global design firm that discovered collaborative environments with open plan layouts or low cubicles have “compromised workers’ ability to concentrate.”

Looking deeper into this topic, the study also found that workplaces featuring “both quiet spaces and collaborative areas… giv[ing] employees a choice of where they’d like to work” were the most effective. This mix of private and open work areas help boost productivity because employees are able to choose the appropriate work environment depending on the task at hand.

Innovant has recognized this need to mitigate the potential distractions found in open plan environments. One solution is to rely on breakout spaces for private meetings, individual work, or conferencing. To furnish these areas, Innovant has adapted the signs of both our private office products and award-winning workstations into a single, complementary line of conference products.

To answer Silverman’s question, if you’re feeling unproductive at your workstation, perhaps you need a change of workplace scenery.

Celebrating Innovant’s Partnership with Arenson   
  Last week,  Innovant  hosted a sales meeting under the guise of a wine and cheese event. The gathering marked the kickoff of the new partnership between Innovant and  Arenson , a New York City   dealer of contract furniture and architectural interiors products.  Arenson is now one of Innovant’s three preferred dealers in the New York City market for all non-trading desk client environments.   
  Arenson’s President, Carl Milanta, brought together his team members from the New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut offices. This afforded our four separate offices the opportunity to socialize over in-depth product demonstrations. We know that the success of the event foretells a fruitful partnership between our two companies.

Celebrating Innovant’s Partnership with Arenson

Last week, Innovant hosted a sales meeting under the guise of a wine and cheese event. The gathering marked the kickoff of the new partnership between Innovant and Arenson, a New York City dealer of contract furniture and architectural interiors products. Arenson is now one of Innovant’s three preferred dealers in the New York City market for all non-trading desk client environments.

Arenson’s President, Carl Milanta, brought together his team members from the New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut offices. This afforded our four separate offices the opportunity to socialize over in-depth product demonstrations. We know that the success of the event foretells a fruitful partnership between our two companies.

Workplace Environmental Strategy and Branding   Over the past 13 years, the evolution of the workplace environment has gone through a transition. No longer emphasizing privacy and the “my space, your space” syndrome, workplaces now carry the opposite focus. Our sales consultants have worked on a diverse range of environments in a variety of industries. With flexible product lines that have intelligent solutions such as the S4 series, Innovant has been successful in meeting our clients’ specific needs.   The evolution of how people work has been driven by the realization that the user’s role has changed. With a shift towards telecommuting and co-working, workplace strategies require flexibility in their spaces to perform well. Being in an enclosed, restrictive space does not promote collaboration in the office, in or out. In order to increase motivation and promote growth, having an open environment in which to work allows this natural progression to evolve, which then enables creativity and yields a more productive workforce.   Companies today, whether consolidating or relocating, go through the process of evaluating their brand presence and corporate culture. They look for ways to modernize their image both inside and out. Your future workplace strategy should be designed to attract and retain the most talented people, and a corporation’s physical environment is an important aspect of employees’ success and output.

Workplace Environmental Strategy and Branding

Over the past 13 years, the evolution of the workplace environment has gone through a transition. No longer emphasizing privacy and the “my space, your space” syndrome, workplaces now carry the opposite focus. Our sales consultants have worked on a diverse range of environments in a variety of industries. With flexible product lines that have intelligent solutions such as the S4 series, Innovant has been successful in meeting our clients’ specific needs.
 
The evolution of how people work has been driven by the realization that the user’s role has changed. With a shift towards telecommuting and co-working, workplace strategies require flexibility in their spaces to perform well. Being in an enclosed, restrictive space does not promote collaboration in the office, in or out. In order to increase motivation and promote growth, having an open environment in which to work allows this natural progression to evolve, which then enables creativity and yields a more productive workforce.
 
Companies today, whether consolidating or relocating, go through the process of evaluating their brand presence and corporate culture. They look for ways to modernize their image both inside and out. Your future workplace strategy should be designed to attract and retain the most talented people, and a corporation’s physical environment is an important aspect of employees’ success and output.

Launching S4A, Innovant’s new height adjustable benching system this June at NeoCon!  
 To schedule a time to meet with one of our representatives please email  info@innovant.com  or call 212 929 4883. 
 Space 7-4093 7th Floor (Right outside the Elevator Between 3Form & Dyson) 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza Chicago IL 60654

Launching S4A, Innovant’s new height adjustable benching system this June at NeoCon!

To schedule a time to meet with one of our representatives please email info@innovant.com or call 212 929 4883.

Space 7-4093 7th Floor (Right outside the Elevator Between 3Form & Dyson) 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza Chicago IL 60654

Trading Places - Seminar with Charles Braham, Joe Du Temple, and Charlie Du Temple Monday June 11th 1 - 2pm  
 We are excited to annouce that Charles Braham, President of Innovant Inc., will be speaking at Neocon. He will be accompanying panel members Joe and Charlie Du Temple of ESD Global in addressing the impact of high density technology on space design and construction. They will also discuss how to accommodate technology within and above a desk while insuring that the mechanical infrastructure and ergonomic requirements are met. 
 The attendees will gain a knowledge on trading desk - open plan design and how it relates to accommodating an extensive list of technology requirements. They will also gain an understanding of how to best position the process of ‘desk’ design into a project, and finally what team disciplines are needed to make the project a success.

Trading Places - Seminar with Charles Braham, Joe Du Temple, and Charlie Du Temple Monday June 11th 1 - 2pm

We are excited to annouce that Charles Braham, President of Innovant Inc., will be speaking at Neocon. He will be accompanying panel members Joe and Charlie Du Temple of ESD Global in addressing the impact of high density technology on space design and construction. They will also discuss how to accommodate technology within and above a desk while insuring that the mechanical infrastructure and ergonomic requirements are met.

The attendees will gain a knowledge on trading desk - open plan design and how it relates to accommodating an extensive list of technology requirements. They will also gain an understanding of how to best position the process of ‘desk’ design into a project, and finally what team disciplines are needed to make the project a success.