Aspen Insurance’s 15,000 sq.ft. headquarters in Midtown East of New York, NY called for height-adjustable desks throughout their new office. Designed by the Switzer Group in partnership with Arenson and Knoll, a loop around the office feels like a tessellation of workstations broken up by private offices that flow seamlessly in function and framework.
An industry concern facing the use of height-adjustable desks is the desire for refined mechanics that achieve a cleaner look. The majority of end users want sophistication. As a result wire management is an increasingly important feature. Arenson worked with Knoll to creatively push standard Knoll product and provided a custom solution for height-adjustable systems that answered the client and architect’s concerns.
Arenson used Knoll Tone tables, which offered various options in which the mechanics could be strategically hidden, yet accessible. The slim profile and adaptability of Tone tables within Knoll systems product provided the framework where the leg could be hidden behind a custom storage piece. In return, this not only hid the mechanics, but also increased the overall circulation space for each user. This solution was then adapted throughout the office for the various workstation and private office configurations.
In addition to the workstations and private offices, the space is dispersed with conference, small meeting/touchdown spaces, and other communal areas where we provided ancillary pieces that reflect the branding of Aspen
Upon visiting Grace Farms, New Canaan, CT, one of the most apparent visual and physical experiences stems from the concept of its “river structure.” The sloping and continuous roof over the periodically programmed entities serves as an inviting journey to explore not only the building itself, but also the surrounding site. The views through the structure and the seemingly floating roof impart a continuous duality of being both inside and outside or one with nature.
SANAA, the Japanese-based award wining architecture firm, is known for rigorous attention to detail, where design units are redefined repeatedly. Every aspect seeks to serve the overall concept, which in this case lends to the spiritual and cultural center initiative of the Grace Farms Foundation.
Paratus Group, the managing owner’s consultant, offered superior capabilities in guiding the project towards fulfilling the architect’s vision. Having worked with Arenson on high profile cultural projects before, Paratus contacted Arenson for its wide range of in-house service capabilities. Sandra Radosh with the support of Linsley Lall and Linda Grant at Arenson’s Connecticut office worked with Paratus from the beginning on pricing, on-site mock-ups, storage/piece-by-piece inspection, direct contact and coordination with several European vendors, coordination and presentation of several custom pieces, to a very detailed installation and coordination process. Arenson prides itself in its attention to the experience of the furniture process and making it tailored to the client and architect’s vision.
The collaborative effort between SANAA, Paratus, Grace Farms and Arenson, is evident in the comprehensive and cohesive aesthetic achieved through the total commitment to design intent. We want to congratulate the Grace Farms Foundation and Sanaa on the success and exquisite result of their hard work and attention to detail! We at Arenson are very grateful for having the opportunity to work on this world-class project.
The Locus Leaning Seat from Focal Upright was designed to encourage an active position halfway between sitting and standing. The product rocks one’s pelvis forward at a 135-degree angle, neutrally stacking one’s spinal column and engaging core muscles. MRI studies have found that a 135-degree hip angle puts significantly less strain on the spinal disks, muscles, and tendons than the 90-degree angle of traditional seats.
The half-standing perching position of the Locus Seat was designed to take pressure off of the lower back and shift some weight towards the the feet and legs, avoiding a sedentary position. The pivoting pneumatic lift and seat move with the user, supporting small movement throughout the day.
Founded in 2012 by Martin Keen, founder of Keen Footwear, Focal Upright provides ergonomic product solutions that work within both private and collaborative workspaces. For more information about Focal Upright’s ergonomic philosophy, please click here to view their white paper.
Wheels is a 7-piece collection of mobile seating & tables designed to support an idea lab, where the spontaneous exchange of ideas fosters creativity.The designs take inspiration from Building 20, a structure erected on the MIT campus during WWII that was known as a “magical incubator” because of the fundamental advances in physics made there.
As its name implies, Wheels is entirely mobile and was designed for flexible, on a whim, collaboration. a is entirely mobile. Every piece – chair, stool, chaise, idea divider, and tables – is equipped with large casters and built with light wire structures to make the collection movable in an instant. Rather than search for a place to collaborate when the creative energy erupts, participants can bring the furniture to the meeting place. Design is minimal, deceptively raw, with only essential elements included.
Horsepower by Antenna Design is a visually light technology channel, spirited in form and steady on its feet. The independent, cord-set module serves as an on-demand, mobile power source suited to a range of Activity Spaces: optional seat cushions create an impromptu bench in community spaces and video display, whiteboard and open storage options equip flexible, shared work areas.
Configured Horsepower modules can also furnish dynamic open plan environments with hardwired, multi-circuit power, cable management, suspended storage, desk supports, modesty panels and privacy screens.
Taking notes from the modernist age. The Barber Osgerby Stool, resembling the Barber Osgerby Table, embodies refinement, comfort, and exceptional craftsmanship. Its tripod-like structure from die-cast material is equally resilient to abrasions and dents, making it a cost-efficient option for start-ups. It features a robust cast aluminum base finished with a highly durable powder coat paint in a variety of colors. The height adjustable seat comes in a range of fabric and leather coverings ideal for residential and office settings.
“They don’t spend anything on office furniture,” says German designer Konstantin Grcic about the tech companies of Silicon Valley. “It is something that has to be cheap and has to be quickly accessible. They buy a lot of furniture on eBay because they can have it within 24 hours.” (‘Hack’ Designer, Konstantin Grcic )
This attitude was what inspired the designer, Konstantin Grcic, to develop Hack. The culture within start-ups is one that is easily adaptable to change, where furniture for them becomes a commodity. Hack’s raw wooden panels deliver an unfinished aesthetic at first glance that is flexible in use and easy to ‘hack’. “If it is a piece of wood, I can drill into it and add a hook or a shelf to it myself. They (start-up tech firm employees) call that hacking the product as they do with hacking a programme. ” (Konstantin Grcic)
While not necessarily created for the big tech companies such as facebook, Hack represents the manufacturers response to scrappy, D.I.Y., “hackable” office trends that strongly lends itself to a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-it-done, start-up ethos.
Hack is unlike anything Vitra has designed before, and that stems from the culture and inspiration in which it was developed. In Designo’s interview with Grcic, he takes us on a journey into the atmosphere and learning environments within Silicon Valley’s start-up culture. “If you do it the Californian way, then it’s ‘That’s an interesting idea, lets do it.’ You do something and maybe it works and maybe it doesn’t work…” It is this mentality that gave us Hack. At Vitra, producing a new product takes a long time because everything is scrutinised and analysed, but taking notes from his visit to Silicon Valley, Grcic produced Hack within a year. He released it with the expectation that even if the product is ripped apart and criticized, it would still be learning experience, just within a quicker time frame.
“It was exactly what we were looking for, creating a chair for an office environment that is changing from the corporate nine to five routine.” (Konstantin Grcic – Designer of Allstar)
Equipped with a complex, but highly employed mechanism in office seating – Konstantin Grcic set out to design a low-cost task chair for a student at a college campus. The synchronized seat and backrest mechanism proposed by Vitra is not new to task chair design, but with four years to develop and learn, Konstantin and his team designed a chair that performs all the functions of an office chair, but has a different grammar. It looks recognizable, but not necessarily recognized as an office chair.
In a recent interview with Johanna Agerman Ross for Disegno Magazine, Konstantin admittedly states that some of the other more challenging chairs in his repertoire may be harder to like. However, Allstar for Vitra is easily likable. It’s prominent feature, the large loop armrest, makes it very inviting and easy on the eye. “Because it looks familiar, it makes it very simple. It is a chair that you can read immediately, you know what it is.”
Still, even this statement masks its attributes. Konstantin points out that most people readily mistakes Allstar for a studio chair that is capable of performing limited functions that don’t match up to other tasks chairs. Its most characteristic feature, the elegant loop armrest, that gives it its simplicity is also what houses its function. Aside from adjustable armrests, Allstar behaves like any other task/office chair, therefore defying the typical stereotype of how a task chair should look.
Read Disegno’s interview with Konstantin Grcic to learn more about the design of Allstar.
The buzz surrounding the Whitney Museum of American Art’s new opening on Gansevoort Street continues. Contract Magazine joins the conversation about how today’s museums should function while highlighting the intuitive relationship of its curatorial offices, where Arenson played a huge role. Designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop in collaboration with New York firm Cooper Robertson, the new Whitney Museum extends the pedestrian activity from the Highline to the satellite gallery/bookstore on the lobby floor and up through its open floor galleries and outdoor terraces, which were also furnished by Arenson. This relationship between pedestrian and museum reflects that of the museum and curation at the Whitney, by establishing an ongoing exchange between the artwork and its curatorial offices.
The curatorial offices, inspired by the artwork of Donald Judd, were designed by the architects as branches of the galleries in order to provide a direct conversation with the artwork and galleries. Arenson devised a millwork-type solution using systems product within Knoll’s standard product range: Antenna Workspaces and Reff Profiles. The custom gallery-like panel creates the atmosphere of walking through a gallery. John Czarnecki, the author of Whitney Museum of American Art in Contract Magazine, and Scott Newman, FAIA, a principal with Cooper Robertson, eloquently explains the new Whitney’s relationship between gallery and office.
“Offices and meeting areas for curators, conservators, and preparators all have enviable views and are located along the north and northwestern portions of upper floors, within close proximity to the galleries. “The offices and staff areas were designed to reinforce the museum’s commitment to artists and art,” Newman says. “Design of the workspaces also reflects that essential relationship with a vocabulary of simple materials, such as plywood, and the straightforward expression of building elements, such as structural cross-bracing.” – John Czarnecki
Read more of Czarnecki’s article on Whitney’s success a museum of the 21st century and view our project profile of the Whitney below to see more images of the curatorial offices and our contribution.
This year at NeoCon 2015, Knoll introduced furniture solutions that encourage the evolving relationship between social and technological use in the workplace. The office network recognizes that today’s workplace is a direct reflection of this dynamic relationship and office settings that encourage mobility and varied forms of work are ideal. Pixel was designed to meet the needs of multiple tasks and audiences and can be quickly and easily reconfigured by a single user, saving time and maximizing productivity. High-performance design details ensure continued performance in the most active, demanding environments. Pixel features the intuitive Pixel Connect system and a patent-pending flip mechanism that makes it simple to attach, separate and nest tables for a virtually limitless range of meeting and training applications.
Awarded Best of NeoCon Gold
Pixel and the idea of an office network was well-received this year at NeoCon, where it received the Best of NeoCon Gold Award for Tables: Training & Work.