On Tuesday 22nd May I made my yearly visit to London for the Clerkenwell Design Week 2018. It’s the time of year when all the office furniture manufacturers open their showroom doors so that designers, architects, and office furniture sales people can see the latest designs and ideas.
First stop for me was the Verco Office Furniture showroom which is very close to the Farringdon tube station. Verco have recently revamped their showroom, painting the walls black which really makes the furniture colours ‘pop’ brightly against it.
The standout piece here was the concept Martin collaborative work/meeting table which has a new top finish of Oak veneer and Smoked Oak veneer. The smoking is a brand new process which gives the Oak a darker finish, like Walnut, but with some lighter streaks through it with plenty of character and a stylish grain feature. This was complemented by a LED light feature that lit the table beautifully and intricately engraved pink cable access panels with black relief patterning. Verco also featured Martin stools upholstered in bright Kvadrat fabrics.
Verco had also manufactured a matching meeting room Credenza using the same skills and finishes. These items are suited for the organisation who are looking to make an impact in their meeting space and ‘wow’ clients and staff alike.
The most striking feature of the furniture in the Verco showroom was the bright colours they had used on fabric and frames. Plenty of pinks, deep turquoise blues, yellows, oranges and patterns were used. As I’ve advised in a previous blog touches like these are lending more homely, welcoming, soft accents to the work place.
Next it was on to the Frovi Furniture Showroom. Frovi specialise in premium breakout furniture and their showroom was full of new designs. Their headline piece was a Relic collaborative work/meeting table (above) with an industrial style metal frame which went up and above the table top and became a frame that you could hang lighting and plants from. The table top was made of timber that had been charred black.
My favourite piece in the Frovi showroom was their Snug sofa (pictured above). A slightly retro sofa with a classic vibe and very comfortable with super pillow edged back cushions and a foam filled seat. The Snug also had an attractive piping detail on the seats and arms.
Another new product from Frovi was their Foundry range which consists of coffee and meeting tables, a coat stand, a console table and shelving units, all using ‘rebar’ as part of the structure giving a modern industrial look. I was particularly drawn to the shelving units which come in 3 different heights and are great for storing books, magazines and also for display purposes. They are for use in open plan offices to separate one area from another whilst also letting light through, keeping offices bright and airy.
Next it was off down the Clerkenwell Road to Boss Design who were also showing some great new designs.
A chair I had been looking forward to seeing was the Mango, a ‘new personal workspace solution’ made for one person to sit in a private workspace without leaving the office. The Mango chair is enclosed by a curved high upholstered screen ensuring privacy. It also has a work surface on an articulated arm allowing it to be pulled right into your lap whilst seated. It has also has a small metal arm rest pad on either side which you can also rest a coffee on. The Mango would be great for when you need to concentrate on solo work projects or a personal phone call.
Another new, very impressive product at Boss Design was their Plica folding conference table, available in lengths of 2800 mm up to 3200 mm. The Plica table folds in the middle and rises upwards enabling it to be wheeled to a different location on its large lockable castors. Several Plica tables may be stored quickly and easily in the corner of your meeting space or even in a large cupboard.
I have never known such a large conference table be able to be folded down and pushed around by one person alone. This product will be a boon to Facilities Managers who need to move large tables around quickly.
Next it was to Orn Furniture who were located in one of the pavilions. Orn had a great selection of breakout furniture upholstered in cool colours, including very high back sofas which are very popular currently.
My last stop was at Camira Fabrics who supply the majority of seating and office furniture fabrics used in the UK today. No new fabric here at the moment but lots of new colours added to existing ranges including Blazer, and a new Synergy Quilted range. I had a chat with Liam Wycherley of Camira about environmentally friendly fabrics and a promotion we will be launching in the near future.
In the office furniture showrooms that I visited as part of Clerkenwell Design week 2018 the main theme was colour. Fabric and furniture colours are brighter, softer, homely and more welcoming.
More pastel colours, patterned fabrics, colours from nature and wood finishes are everywhere and there is a definite absence now of chrome, blacks and greys which I don’t think we will see again for a long while if at all. Offices are now and will become more attractive to all.
There are several reasons why I go to these events:
It is easy to see all of the manufacturers latest designs all in one place. Each manufacturers showroom is within walking place of another and the manufacturers tend to save new product launches for Clerkenwell Design Week.
You cannot beat seeing a product for real ‘in the flesh’. Something that may seem bland in a catalogue or on a screen may really appeal to you when you sit on it if it is a chair or sofa or at it in the case of a table. Also, when clients ask me what to recommend for their project it may be something I will have seen on one of these showroom visits.
I feel part of a large community that is interested in the latest office furniture design and how it can improve employees experience in the work place. It’s always good to catch up with my contacts.
If you are looking to update your work place with modern and contemporary office furniture give me, Mark Brown the Director of Lismark Office Furniture a call on 0116 251 7741 or contact me here.
Mark Brown, Director
Lismark Office Furniture