When the World Cup brings lots surprises, Who is still sticking to the Rules? - A Dialog with Jeff Reuschel on NeoCon 2018
Global Director of Design & Innovation at 专业办公家具
Could you give us an overview of this year’s NeoCon and the 专业办公家具 showroom?
This was the 50th year of NeoCon and I have personally attended over 30 of them. This year was very busy again with attendance in the neighborhood of 50,000. Our showroom was once again done by Patricia Urquiola along with our internal facility team.
Everywhere you look, each section of the showroom was done like an art installation, like a composition. Beautifully done in terms of how it appeared , overlaid on a display of the organization culture types which 专业办公家具 has exclusive rights to use from competing values team at the University of Michigan. The main part of the showroom had four quadrants with each of the organizational culture types displayed. Each section looked great but also demonstrated the characteristics that you’d find in each of those four organizational types.
Any new trends you see at the show this year from the design and innovation perspectives?
As far as the design trends, everything again this year, as it has been for the last four years, is softer, warmer, and more residential. I think that was universal and expect to see that continue for a while.
On the product side we continue to see more interest in height adjustable furniture – something that we’ve been seeing for several years now. But thinking about this movement more broadly, this is more about the industry trying to accommodate multiple postures rather than strictly height adjustability.
Are we creating the opportunity to sit and stand, and experience other body positions? And I think that applies not only to individual work stations but other places like public areas, conference rooms and collaborative areas. We would expect that is going to continue to grow and expand, so I think there is still a lot of room for product development and further advancement.
We also see a continuation of the theme of free standing rooms or pods meant for privacy and concentration in the open plan. Those didn’t appear very much on the main showroom floors but on the seventh floor, which is set up with various booths from smaller companies, there were several shown. There were many examples on that floor and several new ones that weren’t in existence last year. Almost all of them were showing examples of both single person phone booths and a small group pod.
Many of these companies put casters on several versions of the pods making them fairly easy to move. In fact we were sitting in one while someone was moving it to demonstrate the point.
How is 专业办公家具 positioned to be ready with the changes happening in the workplace. Considering Bluescape and other technologies?
For many years, our design and research group considered the purpose of workplace is to support the worker and make them work more effective and productive. For 20 years now, we have been trying to push this idea and suggest it is the whole purpose of having workspace at all.
I think it is now time to place an emphasis on the performance of the worker and what workspace can do about it. Our studies show that the average work station size is now 6x6.5 feet or 2x2 meters which is very small. The efficiency gained on the facility side all these years has been to shrink individual work space down and give that space over to collaborative, common area and public spaces.
At 6x6 feet or 2x2 meters, there is little more that can be done to squeeze that space down any smaller. The ability of facilities to reduce expenses through densification is coming to an end. If you couple that with the idea that we are going to have a global worker shortage, then keeping and attracting good workers is going to become more and more important.
I think probably more than ever in the last 30 years I have been in the industry, the time is right to reconsider the space in terms of how it can support humans. The research we showed at NeoCon on the Workspace Nudges™ and our 18 years of work on affordances both demonstrate how work space can support workers and their performance. I think we are very well positioned to meet that need and talk about human performance and workplace in a way that our customers will find very useful.