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NeoCon 2015: Teknion intros technology and design collaborations, laminate program

By Brianna Crandall, June 17, 2015—Teknion, a leading international designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative workplace interiors, just announced three new initiatives that will help shape the future designs of the company in the areas of technology collaboration, a new design partnership, and a new laminate program.

1/ Technology collaboration with Cisco

Teknion announced that it is working together with Cisco, a worldwide leader in information technology (IT), to create new workspaces that unite modern, adaptable workplace furniture arrangements and Cisco collaboration technology to address the needs of today's highly mobile, flexible and dynamic workforce.

The Teknion/Cisco collaboration is producing work environments that address three key trends in the evolution of workplace needs: a focus on health and wellness, the uptick in demand for flexible workspaces, and the rise of the remote worker.

Technology is fueling a rapid shift in the way businesses plan and design their workspaces. At the NeoCon commercial interior industry event this week in Chicago, Teknion is featuring several examples of innovative work environments that address three key trends in the evolution of workplace needs: a focus on health and wellness, the uptick in demand for flexible workspaces, and the rise of the remote worker.

Teknion says that with a recent HOK study , for example, showing higher job satisfaction (60%) for workers who have high access to flexible workspace, compared to only 22% for those who have little/low access, the work with Cisco "is clearing the path for us to unify technology with design in a way that's never been done, rather than having to work around it," and is "enabling us to rethink office design in a way that simply wasn't possible before."

These new work environments, as explained by Teknion, will include:

Meeting Spaces of the Future: Teknion has designed a new workspace setting that leverages mobile, height-adjustable and light-weight furniture that can easily be reconfigured to support a number of different work activities, including decision-making, brainstorming and training. This new workspace also includes Cisco's dual screen, dual camera video endpoint, which has the ability to find, zoom in on, and switch between active speakers in the room without the need for manual camera controls, regardless of how the space is arranged. This powerful combination of customizable furniture and video technology is expected to drive increased space utilization and provide employees greater work style flexibility.

Bringing the Comforts of Home and Functionality of the Office to the Remote Worker: Nearly one-third of knowledge workers work remotely, creating demand for a new way to better engage telecommuters. Teknion has created an office setting that borrows from the comforts of home with warm wood elements paired with soft seating to give the remote worker a sense of home when they are in the workplace. Employees can connect with others instantly through Cisco's compact single-camera video unit that can turn any standard flat screen display into a high-definition collaboration endpoint in less than 10 minutes.

Open Floor Plan Private Workspaces: With the increased popularity of open floor plans, this workspace showcases how an individual workstation can enjoy privacy amid a crowded open space. The design features Cisco's touchscreen desktop video collaboration unit, an all-in-one endpoint that makes the most of desktop real estate by combining best-in-class high-definition HD video with voice and enhanced collaboration capabilities from a single screen. This endpoint is built for open spaces, with intelligent audio that eliminates background noise and noisy neighbors by triangulating on the person seated in front of the unit to reduce disruption.

Video-enabled Huddle Spaces: In today's fast-moving work environment, decisions are increasingly being made in smaller groups. To address this need, Teknion has created innovative video-enabled open huddle spaces with furniture like swing out benches that can comfortably accommodate additional participants or transform back for more intimate gatherings. This setting shows how employees can collaborate in small groups for impromptu meetings, using a Cisco video endpoint designed for smaller spaces to connect with team members across time zones and countries when decisions need to be made on the fly. The result of this marriage of casual, comfortable furnishings and technology is an approachable ad hoc meeting space for three to six people that will encourage quicker decision-making, foster team collaboration and increase employee engagement across the organization.

The first PearsonLloyd designs for Teknion represent an artistically crafted collection of objects for the workplace, including a coat stand, a love seat, a high table and a range of accessories.

2/ Design partnership with PearsonLloyd

Teknion also announced a new partnership with PearsonLloyd studio and the unveiling of the first workplace projects from the collaboration at NeoCon. The London-based design studio established by Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd works across the workplace, aviation, urban design and healthcare sectors with a goal to identify and respond to the shifting patterns of behavior in contemporary life.

"Luke and Tom bring a new way of thinking about product design for the contemporary workplace to Teknion," said David Feldberg, Teknion president and CEO. "Their first designs for Teknion represent an artistically crafted collection of objects for the workplace, including a coat stand, love seat, high table and a range of accessories. The collection, which celebrates Teknion's materials palette and manufacturing capabilities, stands completely on its own, but also forms the conceptual foundation for more product development to come."

Among the simplest objects in the office, the Hat Rack expresses the idea of mobility, that people are moving through a space and across the landscape of the workplace and need a place to hang a coat, a hat or a backpack. The hat rack is a light, minimal structure made of three bent wood components fitted together to create a branched form of poetic simplicity.

The Love Seat creates an intimate space for conversation, one that enables users to make eye contact and facilitates engagement through physical proximity. The love seat only fulfills its function when more than one person is using it, notes Teknion.

Conceived as an antidote to high-density systems furniture, the High Table bundles a table, seat and coat rack, creating a simple touchdown space for a single worker to concentrate. Executed in beechwood, it not only does more with less, but also is designed to reveal the beauty of honest materials and the intrinsic worth of well-conceived and well-crafted furniture.

Designed for use in a private office, meeting room or shared workspace, the Nest includes a blown glass water flask, timber iPad stand, marble fruit bowl and polished brass tray. The design explores ways of integrating well-being into the workplace, expressing ideas proposed in Teknion's new Ethonomics paper, available for download from the company's Web site.

Teknion's new laminates program features custom-developed colors and patterns specifically designed for today's office environments, plus low- and high-pressure (LPL and HPL) laminates developed to overcome typical industry visual discrepancies—reportedly an industry first.

3/ New laminate program

In addition, Teknion announced the launch of a major laminate program at NeoCon. The program features custom-developed colors and patterns that are specifically designed for today's office environments, plus low- and high-pressure (LPL and HPL) laminates developed to overcome typical industry visual discrepancies—an industry first, says the company. The laminate color palette supports the trend towards mixed material furniture compositions while setting a new color tone for future Teknion finish updates.

"The underlying influence affecting the finish program is the recognition of a finish renaissance that is resonating through our world and certainly office environments," said Geoffrey Milligan, Teknion director of design, responsible for new design and development of materials and finishes. "The places we live and work influence our behavior and our emotional state. Color, form and texture contribute to the designer's plan for the function and mood of the environment. Our clients are looking for their furniture to respond in look and feel to their overall design theme, which has created the opportunity to strengthen and refine our material and finish palette."

The new laminate collection supports a trending movement towards expressing natural materials and colors. This might be seen as wood expressed in a natural state, or solid colors that are derived from earth, stone or poppy seed hues. Direct connection to the personal comfort of home, nature and authentic craft-making are strong influences for the collection.

"Our research discovered that some colors and patterns needed to be custom-developed for office application, as they simply did not exist," continued Milligan. The color temperature of the office environment is often different from other industries, typically a bit cooler. Veneer was hand-selected and shared with our décor printer, who worked closely with us to design and execute our specific patterns and colors."

In what it calls an industry first, Teknion developed low- and high-pressure (LPL and HPL) laminates to overcome typical industry visual discrepancies. As a result of these improvements and furniture composition trends, LPL and HPL matches for each laminate design will be more commonly available.

Architectural applications were studied to better understand color and pattern needs, resulting in a new focused palette. Designers typically associate moveable wall vertical surface colors with surrounding interior building walls, which are often painted surfaces. The new palette reflects these popular paint colors.

Flexibility is another theme built into the new laminate collection. Often, plans for floor-plates coordinate different finish materials selected to align with use. However, maintaining color and pattern can be difficult. The new scalable pattern Reflect was created to link Teknion's veneer to laminate finish. This finish coordinating strategy will help designers plan more efficiently using different Teknion finishes and materials across its diverse product range.

Other products that Teknion is introducing at NeoCon this week will be covered in future FMLink articles.

For more information, contact Teknion and see more FM-specific information on the company's FMLink ad.

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