On the walk down to the Farmiloe Building, the Altro London Design Centre distracted us with a ‘Best of British’ theme, a playful virtual graffiti wall and… food. British food with a twist like quail scotch eggs and morish themed canapés. The staff proudly chatted about their non-slip flooring and waterproof walls, all sourced in Britain. But it was the virtual wall that got us most inspired – perfect for brain storming sessions.
We’re always on the look out for British manufacturers and were happy to see a marked increase at this year’s show. Reappearing were James Harrison Design who we worked with to redesign the Task Chair for our shared workspaces. Newly launched is their ‘Norton Collection’; each piece is completely customisable, sticking with the bespoke tradition of handmade furniture but with sleek modern design. It was great to see James Burleigh getting well-deserved attention for robust practical designs that don’t compromise on aesthetic.
MOBILE WORKING & SUSTAINABLE DESIGN
EFG Office was a freebie frenzy – get your own ping pong ball, key ring or USB before even getting inside. Surprisingly USBs were the first to go, and we’ve ended up with a not so handy little ping pong ball. The place was filled with great ideas, like the ‘office wheel’ which can fit to any height and can literally be wheeled around the office. Mobile working? Limited, but we like it.
Downstairs, they had a table tennis match going, with lots of good snacks and a bar making fresh cocktails. Food for thought – is their style as good as their designs? We didn’t think so and the thought of slightly too festive red and green ping pong tables in every office throughout London was something we’re eager to forget.
Desso impressed us with the dedication of their ideas but better yet were their lovely staff. These people seemed to really care about what they were selling; we aim towards sustainable office spaces so they were right up our street. These guys want your used carpet, they accept it from anywhere. They recycle it but have also designed their own entirely recyclable carpet – Desso Airmaster.
Tapping into the growing trend in mobile working, The Gallery in Clerkenwell were displaying Oofs, ‘Out of Office’ product, asking clients to “think inside the box.” Morgan Stanley’s Research has predicted by the end of 2013, there will more mobile internet users than desktop. The ‘Oof’ is a small space, acoustically treated, portable and private. It claims to increase employee concentration by eliminating distractions and stands out with its fresh design.
Offect’s rival offering could be found in the Familoe Building – charmingly robust acoustic walling, seating and acoustic partitioning furniture but the ‘Oof’ box stands apart in its dedication to providing privacy within an open plan space. After sitting inside it we must admit the sound from outside was hugely muffled (and it was pretty noisy out there). Functionally precise but we’re not sure it really ticks our aesthetic box.
THE FARMILOE BUILDING
Inspiring even when deserted, an infectious buzz surrounded the Farmiloe Building and inside the atmosphere was amazing. Straight ahead a man was carving a clay car and to the right three Jags. Bustling but relaxed, people were getting in and making the most of the luxury experience.
Established designers like Vola rubbed elbows with agencies like Relay, who represents smaller brands like Orsjo and RVW. Good to see that the size of your company doesn’t stop you getting to Clerkenwell.
Relay brings small Scandanavian companies under one handy roof – we especially like RVW. Derived from the word ‘review’, they reconsider designs again and again searching for better ways for it to be made and enjoyed.
RECESSION – PROOF
Some affordable, do it yourself type businesses also showcased themselves, perhaps reflecting economic trends. Catching our attention were ‘Blurb’, ‘Bo Concept’ and ‘Etsy’.
Bo Concept presented furniture based on affordable and practical Danish designs whereas for Flux Furniture form is function. They’re all about folding with chairs made from one single, durable piece of sustainable material. Perfect to have to hand for overflow at events and launches – and they’re great for outside use too. Roof party anyone?
Blurb takes the pain out of publishing with simple software that allows you to do it yourself. From shot stories to autobiographies to coffee book display books there were some great pieces on display. Our own Your Office book will be completed very shortly.
Taking practical and affordable all the way to DIY, Etsy sold arts & crafts supplies and advice to get us creating from our homes. We were especially taken with… their bath with a bear lying inside! Although it’s likely to give us a fright in the middle of the night …
What was your favourite of the week?
The Office Group Team