The way we work is changing. According to a global survey of 14 000 employees conducted by ManpowerGroup Solutions work, 55% of women and 45% of men require flexible work arrangements by way of flexible starting and finishing times and the ability to work remotely. Australia-specific figures vary slightly, with 60% of Australian women and 40% of Australian men requiring flexibility.
As we have previously discussed, product specification in the workplace is turning to the residential space for cues regarding comfort and creating warmth. But it is also looking closer afield, taking inspiration from the hospitality sector when it comes to durable, adaptable furniture that lends itself to a range of uses. As a result, workplaces in the 21st century are often hybrid forms that channel contemporary commercial cool and combine it with functional workspaces and the hygge of home.
Forbes has reported that workers with flexible work arrangements are happier and more productive than their counterparts who are still clocking in 8-hour days at their desk. Today’s offices can no longer assume that the average worker will spend their entire 40-hour week doing solitary work at their desk, and must be capable of adapting to changes in activity and shifting group size and nature. The increasing popularity of hot desking means that, as in the hospitality sector, design for commercial spaces calls for furniture that can comfortably accommodate different users and varied periods of use. Adaptability and durability are paramount in dynamic work environments, where monotony is avoided wherever possible.
Enter Chairs&More, an Italian design firm founded in 2007 with the intention of meeting contract needs with flair and contemporary style. Catering for commercial and hospitality needs alike, the firm’s wide range of chairs and seating solutions blurs the line separating the two sectors. As their name suggests, Chairs&More are intent on not only providing chairs, but also offering users an enhanced experience of the space that they inhabit.
Plush armchairs add warmth to the client meeting room or lobby, while elegant stools provide a place for workers to perch during breaks or after-hours events. For break out spaces or collaborative work zones, Chairs&More’s modular lounges offer smooth, sinuous seating that is as much a design centrepiece as it is a place for casual meetings and team brainstorm sessions. The firm’s vibrant and diverse range of chairs offers designers everything from sturdy, modular seats for indoor and outdoor use to lightweight chairs that can be carried from the desk into a team meeting or dragged onto the patio for drinks and nibbles after work.
One such exemplar is the brand's Jujube range – a modular seating system with additional elements to create a myriad of configurations. As with the rest of Chairs&More portfolio, Jujube is decidedly modern. Simplicity in line and form is the order of the day, while tubular backrests lends the range a sense of sculptural drama, perfectly balancing each piece between formal and informal design languages. Part of the range's success, of course, rests upon Chairs&More's prowess in the hospitality arena. Understanding the needs of end-users quite unlike many of their competitors, Charis&More's unique insight into the hospitality world shines through their products' approach to comfort-meets-functionality – also an especially important design resolution for the modern, agile and increasingly millennial workforce in the commercial space. Couple this with the meeting of old and new world new techniques of craftsmanship – a hand-woven rope backing referencing ancient nautical rope practices meets today's PolyPlus polyurethane – and the Chairs&More design philosophy begins to emerge as one squarely based around the need to innovate with unflagging aplomb.
But while this hard dedication to innovation remains the brand's order of the day, Chairs&More’s catalogue of seating solutions is characterised by a common thread of playfulness that is manifest in bright colours, tactile fabric selections, and bold new forms. As a result, their chairs bring to commercial spaces key elements that are traditionally lacking in this sector, though the hospitality world has long been versed in them: comfort, adaptability, and an unshakeable sense of delight.