News + Research

Proximo Spirits

Proximo is a privately-owned, premium spirits importer based in Jersey City, New Jersey. With just over seven years of business, the company’s portfolio has already grown to hold twelve premium brands. Its office space struggled to keep up with rapidly growing storage needs. In addition, high workstation panels were obscuring the unique architecture of the building, which was built in 1890. Proximo was committed to creating a new layout that provided a cleaner aesthetic with full functionality and less visible clutter.


Drivers

Streamline Aesthetics

After two years of using affordable refurbished and rental furniture from Arenson’s Rental department during their growth phase,  the firm sought a streamlined aesthetic to help attract and retain future and current employees.

Provide More Functionality

The needs of Proximo had begun to outgrow the amount and type of storage that they currently had, and they wanted storage that reflected the large body of work they were accumulating. “There was not enough storage particularly for the type of work we do… we had tons of bottles and mock-ups,” says Dylan Beyer, Assistant Brand Manager of the whiskey division.

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Because of the odd shapes and sizes of items that needed to be stored, many of the employees ended up putting their items on their worksurfaces. As a result, almost a third of their worksurface was being used for storage. In addition, many employees did not utilize their filing drawers because it was not the right size for their materials.

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Encourage Collaboration

Proximo’s layout had consisted of private offices, 2 conference rooms, workstations, and a kitchen/break area. They wanted to create more areas for collaboration to provide greater flow of synergy.


Process 

After providing rental furniture to Proximo for 2 years, Arenson was made aware of the need for change. The Rental department collaborated with the Arenson’s Office Furnishings division and from there, a solution was delivered.

“He had a lot of industry knowledge in terms of what to recommend, etc. It was a long process… there were a lot of changes; overall, it was a great experience. Every question we had for him, he had answers. He’s very on top of it,” Vera Soto, Manager of Financial Planning at Proximo who led the project, said of John Lawler, Arenson’s point of contact for this project.

After walking through the space and discussing the current concerns with Proximo, Arenson realized that employees had storage that was inadequate in both type and amount. Many of the employees did not use their filing drawers and ended up putting storage on the worksurface. In addition, the space had unique architecture and windows that were being obscured by high panels.

Meeting Storage Needs

Arenson chose Knoll’s Template line of storage specifically to meet Proximo’s needs. With multiple horizons and unique two-sided access, Template enables a topography of sightlines; this allowed the unique architecture of the room to stand out and natural light to disseminate better. The client desired low horizon; however, this conflicted with a functional storage solution. As a result, the final workstation layout uses multiple horizons that let more light in throughout the room.

Template’s modular, component-based construction allows for flexibility and customization.

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Deliver Ergonomics and Usable Worksurfaces

Monitors and keyboards also took up a good portion of each employee’s worksurfaces. Arenson provided monitor arms and keyboard/mouse trays to clear the worksurface and enable proper ergonomics for the user.

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Collaborative Solutions

Arenson provided small meeting tables throughout the shared workstations as well as an informal break area that was able to accommodate 20 people. The informal break area consists of bar-height tables with Knoll tops. In addition, Arenson provided markerboard surfaces on high panels facing the break area to aid in collaborative efforts.

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In addition, Knoll Template’s 15” deep footprint allowed for greater space efficiency; this helped provide space for the collaboration area near the pantry. 


Results

Greater Efficiency

A smaller workspace footprint accommodates the same number of workspaces as before as well as additional collaborative areas both within the workstations and in the separate break area.

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The break area is slowly gaining popularity. “That’s something we’ve never had before. Maybe over time, people will be more comfortable using it. Some people hang out there during lunchtime. Others who have a lot of stuff to lay out use that area too,” says Beyer.

An innovative furniture solution creates greater efficiency in a more spacious configuration that provides some privacy while maintaining openness for improved collaboration.

Encouraging Wellness in the Workplace

Raising the subject of new health concerns with the prevalence of mobile technology in a fast-changing work environment.

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One of the most active and ongoing topics in workplace design is centered around the growth of technology coupled with a generational in the workplace and the subsequent behavioral shift. We’ve seen the shift from the individual static based office to the transitional dynamic based office. People are working remotely, both within and outside of the office envelope. As we continue to research and develop new technologies to expand the capabilities of the versatile mobile office, it’s prevalence poses an ever increasing need to examine its effects, both positive and negative.  In that search, Orangebox’s director of well-being, Jim Taylour, works to shed light on some of the health concerns in his presentation Orangebox Present: “Mobile Generations.”

Arenson recently had the pleasure of hosting Orangebox, where Jim explored our changing places of work and the workforce within them and the implications of our increasing reliance on hand-held technologies. The discussion, hitting on topics of noise control and ergonomics, focused on insights and recommendations for achieving better working practices and environments.

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Challenging your perception of health.

We tend to assume that we  are healthier than we are realistically. We claim to be healthy, but in the hype of our daily lives, it’s easy for us to fall back on habits.  It is not until we are made aware, that we slip back and realize that, “maybe I am straining my neck too much, or sitting down too long.”

Jim introduces a transformative idea of bringing the “highline into the office.” What if we push for a health resurgence from an administrative level, where it starts to blend healthier practices into our work day. Implementation of programs that not only bring these issues to light but challenge them will start to shift our acceptance of unhealthy practices.

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Start Your Own Conversation.

As a bonus, we took the liberty of finding some simple, everyday practices that could start the conversation of transforming the perception of health in your workplace.

1. Jim suggests taking a walk instead of calling a coworker, which increase face-time and boosts morale.

2. Deskercise!

3. Start an ideas board, where employees can share their interests and concerns about well-being.

4. Take an initiative and implement shared office activities.

  • At Arenson, we implemented Yoga, Zumba, and afternoon massages into the work week.
  • Play the ‘Walking Game’—250 employees accepted a pedometer to count their steps: 2 million strides over 36 hours. The idea was to get people moving, help them meet colleagues and build a feeling of community.

There are a number of ways to start the conversation and challenge the well-being practices in your office. Share some of your ideas with us via social media by hashtagging #healthyworkplace @arensonoffice.

Future Proofing Startup

Creating adaptable work environments from start to growth.

For startups, there is a great deal of friction in creating physical environments along the journey and quest for greatness.

While initial founders can handle the coffee shop as the conference room or the corner of another office as home base, the functional and cultural requirements of an office quickly become a reality as a team grows in size.

Ignoring that reality may not doom a business, but it creates an avoidable drag on the overall mission of the company. Why? A well-performing environment is crucial in the high-stress, fastpaced crucible of a startup. There is a return on investment for the environment, just as state-of-the-art laptops and smartphones deliver a return to the business in terms of output.

At its core, the environment’s job is to quietly enable the success of a startup by letting high-performance happen — particularly in an organization that is constantly pushing itself to new peaks of success. The environment is critical in several areas:

  • Stimulating productivity
  • Providing a sense of stability
  • Fostering collaboration
  • Reinforcing transparency
  • Cultivating a sense of culture, identity and spirit
  • Evoking a ‘second home’ feeling
  • Supporting talent acquisition and employee retention

For companies that have scaled successfully, the physical environment is rarely a perfect journey. But there are important lessons to be gleaned for new startups to ensure the environment performs today and avoids pitfalls tomorrow.

-Knoll®, Inc

 

Download Knoll Research White Paper: Future Proofing the Startup Office >>

Wearables at Work: Using People Analytics to Change Offices for the Better

Watch Ben Waber’s presentation at the Google re:Work conference.

Dr. Ben Waber, President and CEO of Humanyze – part of Sociometric Solutions – showed how his company’s wearable ID badges gather data on employee interactions, which can then be used to map internal networks and predict performance. The badges collect data constantly about employees’ real-world interactions with colleagues and how employees spend their time. Waber’s team uses this data to better understand how organizations operate and what behaviors positively influence employee performance and organizational success. Their research has shown how the physical layout of an office can help or hinder the sharing of information, which can impact millions of dollars in sales. “It demonstrates the results you can get when you use real data about how people actually work to change how a company operates,” Waber said.

Meet the Remix Chair by Knoll

Setting a New Seating Standard

Knoll upholstered task chairs have set the standard for decades— innovative in their time and considered classics today. In recent years, Knoll’s designs have focused on material innovations that support the new ways people work. Remix updates the traditional upholstered chair aesthetic while providing cutting edge performance. With classic stitching and clean lines, Remix has a modern, refined aesthetic for every workplace. Remix celebrates high performance by making use of an unconventional mix of materials on its outer back, deliberately exposed to celebrate the function and performance of the chair.

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Holistic Ergonomics

Remix supports the idea of holistic ergonomics, incorporating how we move and how we think. The result: a design that promotes physical and emotional well-being, and encourages free expression, creativity and engagement in the workplace. Remix recognizes that a chair should support many postures and be comfortable and easy-to-use for a range of mental and physical tasks.

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Awarded Best of NeoCon Gold

The last time Formway introduced an office chair design for Knoll, its innovative material technology responding to human mobility made significant strides in office seating. In 2014, Remix was introduced and well-received  at NeoCon, where it received the Best of NeoCon Gold Award for Ergonomic Desk/Task Chairs. Check out the video below to learn more about the chair from its designers.

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The advanced performance material  coupled with its refined form gives Remix a versatile scope that spans the workplace, from private office to open plan and conference room settings. Its Flex Net Matrix material incorporated in its tandem back offers flexibility and firmness, which supports active, all-day use. Remix recognizes that an office chair should support multiple postures and be easy-to-use for a wide-range of mental and physical tasks. Available in mid-back and high-back versions, the classic stitching and clean lines gives the Remix its refined aesthetic, making it complementary to any environment.

Download Research on the Remix Chair:

Remix Chair Research

Go to the Product Pages:

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Our Trucks Have a Fun Side to Them

It was an exciting challenge to use the opportunity of a truck redesign to engage the city of New York with the core of our business. On the side of Arenson’s new furniture delivery trucks, you will find our name rendered in a different furniture finish – textile upholsteries, chrome, elastomer, caning and leather. High-resolution macro-photography of finish swatches was used to capture each image, which when scaled 20 feet long, provides a stunningly luscious close-up of each material’s texture.

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Another goal in designing our trucks was to engage the clever people of New York City working high up in office towers. This led us to utilize another side (a side that usually goes ignored.) Looking down on them from above, you will find a different furniture trivia question on the roofs of each of our trucks.Truck 1 Top

Check out all the Truck Trivia questions and answers at www.aof.com/truck-trivia. If you see a truck, parked in front of your building or stopped at a light, be sure to snap a pic and post to social media to enter our quarterly drawing.

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Dutch Manufacturer Maars Unveils LineaCube, a Crystalline New Collaborative Shelter at Orgatec 2014 in Cologne, Germany

The widespread move by companies to densify (cram more people into) open-plan offices provides for some interesting office-design possibilities. One new trend we have seen is the emergence of Collaborative Shelters – freestanding structures for the purpose of huddling, conferencing, or even breaking away from the open-plan to have a private moment to oneself, free from acoustical distractions.

Maars has seized on this trend with the introduction of LineaCube at the Orgatec 2014 Office and Object Trade Fair. Incorporating details from the LaLinea architectural walls platform, LineaCube features double-glazing and flush-mount glass, which cleverly conceals door hardware, including jambs, frames and hinges. Additionally, the sleek, adjustable footer profile is among the most minimal of any wall system out on the market today. But perhaps the most differentiated element of LineaCube are the crystalline double-glazed corners – a signature detail resulting from the mitered glass edges and the absence of vertical profile components at the corners.

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LineaCube’s planning flexibility enable an endless number of layout variants, from single-person refuge-spaces, to chains of phone booths, to freestanding conference rooms for 12 people, all within the following dimensions:

  • Height up to 10 feet
  • Depth up to 13 feet
  • Unlimited length

 

Arenson Architectural Products Maars LineaCube

 

LineaCube’s high-performance ceiling is contained within a minimal-form housing, inset into LineaCube’s double-glazed walls. This flush-glazing results in seamless lines and the appearance of crystal-clear transparency. The ceiling construction features:

  • Integrated indirect LED mood lighting along the ceiling contours
  • Controlable working climate vis-a-vis the concealed and fully integrated ventilation and air extraction system embedded in the ceiling
  • Direct lighting; spots or hanging lamps
  • Integrated sprinkler, fire alarm and/or movement sensors vis-a-vis steel ceiling construction or customized stretch ceiling
For more information regarding LineaCube or any Maars product, please contact archproducts@aof.com or call (212) 991-4191.

 

 

Knoll’s Antenna Telescope Height-Adjustable Benching Wins Best of NeoCon Silver

Knoll evolves the idea of height-adjustable tables by introducing Telescope by Antenna Design. Antenna Telescope is a system that combines the ergonomics of adjustable height work spaces with the planning efficiency of benching. The range is available in a variety of configurations, and maximizes planning scalability by allowing the system to grow, shrink and change as customers need.  It features a clever cable management scheme that minimizes wire clutter while maximizing clean and elegant functionality.

Antenna Telescope was awarded a Best of NeoCon award for Benching. Here’s why:

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Knoll introduces Bounce app at NeoCon 2014

Knoll introduced its new Bounce app at NeoCon 2014. Bounce provides interactive information and notification based on a user’s micro-location, while also monitoring, measuring and analyzing space utilization and the social dynamic of the office. The app employs a wireless “beacon” technology that operates in tandem with smartphones to exchange data and information.The app will enable real estate, facilities and design professionals to learn from and plan based on space utilization metrics.

As you tour Knoll’s Chicago showroom, location-specific notifications offer context to what you are seeing, creating an interactive, multi-layered experience. You can download Bounce by Knoll in the iTunes App Store here.