Wednesday, June 16, 2010

NEOCON 2010 - "Harder Working Spaces"

"Harder Working Spaces" to paraphrase from the 360 Magazine handed out at this year's annual NEOCON World Trade Fair, held at the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago, June 14-16, aptly sums up the vibe of this year's event.  People I meet here speak of last year as one of the worst in recent memory for the contract furnishings industry modeling much of what the greater A&D community experienced as well.  
With the belt tightening contractions of the last two years, therefinally seems to be a slight economic uptick, more like a steadily growing heart beat now.  The word on the trade show floor is one of cautious calculated optimism.  
At the front of Steelcase's introduction to its 2010 offerings in the 360 magazine it identifies what we already know organizations are working harder today doing more with less resources, employees working longer hours and wearing many different kinds of hats. "The agile organization must be both lean and creative."  (paraphrased) With a renewed emphasis on workplace flexibility and adaptability.  We must provide building and interior design solutions which work harder than ever for our clients and deliver value to them both in the short and long term.  Doing more with less.

Steelcase won one of two silver awards for the Best of NEOCON products 2010 with it's new FlexFrame™ workwall in the Files & Storage category which aligns with the harder working workspace theme.  

I saw FlexFrame in their showroom.  It has sleek lines and is really a wall hung tasking and storage solution for the downsized offices that is the norm today.  It has novel frame based wall system with integrated cantilvered work surfaces and very flexible, nearly invisible file and box storage below the task area.   It helps to maximize small office spaces by neatly organizing essential functions along one wall.  It has strong horizontal lines and a simple straightforward appearance.

It's just one example of many innovative task area officing solutions you can see here which align with the "Harder Working Spaces" more with less.  Ideas like this support the drive to high performing workplaces which help maximize all of the resources available to the energized learning organization.

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