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Coworking: a new way of conceiving the working space

The sharing economy has led to the spread of coworking: shared workspaces where facilities and services are made available to various professionals, freelancers and companies. It’s an innovative way to bring together not only skills and talents, but also experiences and spaces.

In 2005, software engineer Brad Neuberg founded the first coworking space in San Francisco. He wanted to find a way to combine the feeling of independence and the need of working in a community-like environment with all the comforts offered by a traditional workplace.
Since then, the coworking phenomenon have been largely increasing in the United States and in Europe. In 2008 it began to spread in the main Italian big cities and in 2021 there were 779 coworking spaces throughout the national territory.

One of the main advantages of coworking is the reduction in expenses: renting a desk in a coworking space is much cheaper than renting an entire office. Furthermore, it allows to find new collaborators, to combine different ideas and projects, increasing productivity, creativity and avoiding the isolation of working from home.
Choosing to work together, even if dealing with an independent activity, means designing the office and furnishings in an organised way in order to share both the working environment and the ideas of people who are not part of the same company. Finding a comfortable workspace, with ergonomic furnishings and professional equipment that responds to the different work needs, will encourage the freelancers to come back again.

The required elements in a coworking office are open spaces, modular desks and multiple workstations, ergonomic chairs that adapt to different body shapes, Internet connection, equipment such as telephones, printers and computers, meeting rooms, lounge areas and air conditioning.

Arper, for example, contributed with enthusiasm and innovation to furnish Palazzo della Luce in Treviso, an elegant historic building that dates back to 1500. The restoration recovered the historical elements of the exteriors and enhanced the three floors that compose the interiors. Today, Palazzo della Luce is a contemporary design space that hosts offices, events and projects. A big coworking space that allows professionals and companies to meet and collaborate – without sacrificing their privacy.
The materials and pieces of furniture have been carefully chosen to best convey the message that the coworking wants to promote. Arper chairs, sofas and tables have furnished the individual spaces, meeting areas and relaxation spaces with sustainability and a totally made in Italy design.

Italian office furniture, colors and materials: the trends of 2023

For the Italian office furniture, 2023 is marked by a few key words: essentiality, order, elegance, innovation and comfort. Design calls for clean spaces, harmony and balance.
Environments are designed to give a sense of freedom, comfort and creativity, with more airy and multifunctional spaces, and furniture, such as sofas, desks and bookcases, have soft and curvy shapes.

In the working areas, the Scandinavian style, which perfectly meets the need for comfort and functionality required, is a strong trend. This style is looking for furniture with clean lines in geometries, essential and allowing collaboration between working areas.
Fundamental is the division of the open office spaces. Entering an office, in fact, it is necessary to immediately understand which areas are dedicated to socializing and relaxation versus those suitable for individual work.
This inclusive design also places great importance on light, which should be as natural or equated with it as possible.

So the “minimal” style is the quintessential furniture trend of 2023. It is a rigorous style without superfluous decoration, which prefers practical, sober and transversal furniture of refined design, arranged in a clear order, to leave freedom of movement and give ample scope to the context. The motto “less is more” triumphs in office spaces as well as home spaces.

Colors, too, make room for freshness and dynamism to create positive environments full of vitality. Popular colors include blues and greens, which are inspired by nature, or earth-toned shades to create a more sophisticated and unusual style. Warm colors and cool colors thus create plays of tone that never tire. Sharp and contrasting neutral shades, in gradations that allow to increase the brightness of the rooms, highlighting the furnishings.

As for materials, those most in vogue this year are marble, metal and glass, which provide brightness and, above all, timeless elegance.

Of course, the quality and sustainability of materials continues to be of utmost importance in the furniture of 2023. Recycled and vintage materials are widely used, and the principle of the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is followed, especially in the production methods of furniture, which should be sustainable, ethical and certified.

Comfort and sustainability in the modern enterprise

In recent years, companies have changed the way the physical office is used, giving rise to new trends.

In 2022, safety, functionality and sustainability are emerging in the Italian office design. Environments are being designed to be more flexible so as to adapt to new work standards.
According to the NBER Institute, the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research, about 70 percent of companies will permanently maintain a hybrid work environment spread during the pandemic, supporting staff working both inside and outside the office environment.

Many workers have become accustomed to working from home therefore the need has arisen to bring some of the comfort, tranquility and freedom of home to the office as well. This is when larger spaces dedicated to meeting areas, breaks and staff recreation are created in companies; the physical office remains an important reference and meeting center for employees and clients. The “lounge area” becomes the hub of the modern office: a space separated from the working area and equipped with amenities and services where employees and outside visitors can relax, but also conduct business meetings freely. In the past, this area was dedicated to waiting; now it is a welcome area with comfortable and original furniture such as lounge chairs, armchairs, and sofas.

In addition to creating alternative spaces, the modern company embarks on a path to minimize environmental impact in every respect. Consumers, too, are more vigilant in looking for companies that pay attention to their environmental and social commitment.

Sustainable design is not a futuristic concept but a reality already present in many workplaces. Reducing printer, air conditioner, and electricity use through the use of light sensors, installing automatic doors, and using automatic toilets are good remedies for reducing costs and saving energy, plus they can be important points of momentum for making changes and creating more sustainable companies. According to a study by M. Moser, careful office design can save between 20 percent and 40 percent, taking into account only heating and air conditioning aspects.
Make room therefore for furniture that uses natural materials that ensure the healthiness and mental and physical well-being of people.

New office furnishing trends

This year is full of many new trends in office furnishing, a place where people often spend a large part of their day. For this reason, it makes sense to furnish it with care in all aspects, including design accessories.

One of the aspects that is given a lot of importance lately, when deciding to furnish an office with Italian office furniture is the choice of colours, which are able to influence human moods and perceptions and make working environments more or less comfortable.
In 2022, neutral tones of natural colours that convey relaxation, tranquillity and energy are making their mark. Among these is the popular olive green used for walls and office furniture, which brings a new touch to the daily routine, gives positivity and naturalness. An alternative to green is currently soft beige, which is often used as a backdrop for more unusual furnishing elements. Blue and yellow are also trendy colours in office furniture. They create a chic and refined ambience but are also energetic and positive, conveying a lot of confidence.
Many architects who design modern offices, opt for the combination of the colour white with wood to create environments with a minimal, elegant and contemporary style!

So go ahead with neutral colours that evoke natural elements, increasing the good mood in the office and consequently the productivity levels of workers, improving attention, motivation and security. This is how being ‘green’ literally and figuratively takes hold.
The colours you choose also influence the style in which you want to furnish your office. An evergreen is classic furnishing in which furniture with strong colours is chosen to create an influential and reliable environment. The modern style, on the other hand, prefers bold or softer colours to create a minimalist and refined ambience, also using cutting-edge materials, more or less expensive, that look at industrial design, with modular furniture in dark colours and metal structures with wooden tops that are both beautiful to look at and practical to use.
Wood, metal and glass are the materials that, combined or chosen individually, give an office an up-to-date look; these materials are joined by leather for the armchairs and iron accessories, which are essential for this type of office.
Materials such as wood and glass in an office, are practical and functional, and by creating simple lines give a refined look.

Whatever stylistic trend you choose when furnishing your office, it is essential to maintain homogeneity and consistency between colours and materials. Office furnishings, which are often not considered important, must instead be carefully selected to match the furnishings and create a sense of stylistic uniformity. Among the furnishing complements that fit well with any style are the office accessories by Caimi Brevetti such as: coat hangers, baskets, umbrella stands and desk accessories, designed for collective environments that stand out thanks to a design able to satisfy different demands in terms of personal taste and use. Objects suitable for small or large spaces, with minimalist or high-impact. Then there are the glass mirrors by Fiam that create refined environments, or the extravagant vases by Serralunga in the most varied colours and shapes that make work environments energetic and welcoming.

The guarantee of Made in Italy acts as a trait d’union between the different stylistic choices. The care and perennial drive for innovation and quality materials make Made in Italy something that few would give up.

How to furnish the modern conference room

We have spent the last two years without being able to use what has always been the nerve center of an office: the meeting room. The room in which relationships are built with the team, customers or business partners, the room that frames important decisions for the company and serves as a business card, along with the reception.

Now that activities are resuming the regular course, even the meeting room is once again an important and necessary place for the office. Of course, however, the measures to be adopted have changed, we already notice this from what we see through the mass media. Meetings of political leaders, take place on precious tables but of considerable size so as to maintain important distances between the participants, impressive tables and comfortable chairs so as not to divert attention from the discussion. This is also reflected in small and large enterprises.

Meetings have always been a crucial moment for the activities of companies and they are returning strongly to be so, for this reason the meeting room should always be taken care of in every detail. Furniture through shapes and colors should have a positive effect on people.

Let’s see what are the basic elements to furnish a modern meeting room:

–  The table is the main element around which business strategies revolve. The dimensions depend on the measurements of the environment in which it will be placed. One of the new trends is the spacious table, which can allow people to be far apart from each other. It is usually placed in the middle of the room.
Other important aspects to consider for the table are: the power sources (often you connect to a computer, smartphone, and so on), the design, the materials and the finishes (there are for all styles, in wood, glass, laminate, leather, and so on) and the shape (rectangular, square, circular).

–  The chairs, must be comfortable, so that the attention does not shift to the spasmodic search for a comfortable position

Low storage cabinets for storing meeting materials

–  Furnishing accessories, which can enhance the environment and at the same time make it more comfortable. Among these the sound-absorbing panels, now available in colors and shapes of great design, which therefore combine the acoustic and decorative function; the technical office curtains for office, so that you can modulate the light when using screens and of course accessories such as coat hangers, umbrella stands, pen holders, baskets and so on.

The meeting room must therefore ensure maximum comfort, stimulate concentration and productivity, put people at ease.

Solutions for intelligent, interactive and connected office furniture

Great opportunities in terms of technological innovation enter the modern office furniture and community sector, thanks to the new io.T applications developed by Tecno in the workplace that becomes a communication tool reflecting the customer’s image.

Tecno was the first company in its sector to tackle the Internet of things, creating a system of furnishings interconnected with the environment which, thanks to a series of incorporated sensors, activate functions designed for the user and send information in real-time to allow resource optimisation.
Therefore, Tecno continues its technological path in the office world by combining concrete and “analog” excellence with the virtual and “digital” experience.

Tommaso Mosconi, General Manager io.T Solutions, explains Tecno’s path and its developments:
“We started from the most difficult thing, from the idea that a person can build his ideal environment through his workstation, a desk with incorporated sensors to know all his preferences. At the end of the project we understood that a sensor needs to be part of a system otherwise it doesn’t allow the collected data to be integrated and processed. After this experience, the research continued until the development of a software integrated with a smart building that makes the environment adaptable to the user’s needs (room reservations, meetings, lighting, air conditioning, etc.) and able to communicate with communication protocols for energy and access control, but above all a software that has the ability to integrate in an open way with all the other systems of the building.”

The new io.T project is linked to a new business model and space optimization that goes beyond software and hardware. It is a product that is the first to make a concrete transition from analog to digital.
The interactive features of io.T furniture can be updated thanks to the digital equipment that connects the activities of objects and people and thus allows you to establish performance and needs by bringing together different structural and personal factors. The advantages of an interactive furniture also allow to define the user’s tastes based on the use of the furniture: the movements of the desks, the height you select for the desktops, how they are used, etc. Furthermore, thanks to the data collection, it is possible to improve the product according to the user’s personal needs and even warn him if something is about to damage even before it breaks definitively; this naturally increases customer satisfaction and retention.

Io.T creates new opportunities and new responsibilities as well. The connected world, therefore, facilitates internal and external communication, activates remote control and allows the reduction of costs.

Luxury furniture in high quality leather and solid wood

Luxury furniture that satisfies a demanding clientele and lover of refined taste, excellent quality, attention to detail and reliability, our Mascheroni products are the synthesis of this and furnish executive offices of wealthy men, international companies, ministries, embassies, luxury hotels, restaurants, universities, cinemas and museums.

Among the many clients, Bernard Arnault, the richest man in the world, has chosen the prestige and undisputed value of Mascheroni furniture to furnish his personal office, preferring the comfort of the imposing Congress 135 armchair. Upholstered in fine leather and with a solid wood base. From this armchair emerges the quality of finishes and workmanship and the search for a refined, sophisticated and innovative design.

Other important and well-known companies choose luxury furniture to create unique offices of timeless elegance. Among these, the Silk Way West Airlines with headquarters and operational base at the Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku, Azerbaijan. Here our Mascheroni products have been used to furnish the executive offices of the top management, as well as the executive office of the airline’s CEO.

The presidential armchairs chosen for the meeting room are the Ypsilon Br, handcrafted seats designed to furnish luxury offices. They are swivel with high back, equipped with a 5-spoke base with high-strength nylon wheels suitable for any type of floor. These prestigious armchairs are adjustable in height and equipped with a tilting mechanism. The structure is made of solid wood and the upholstery is in natural cowhide of the highest quality.
The other furniture in the offices have been tailor-made by master craftsmen: evident is the undisputed quality of the refined workmanship of Mascheroni products.

New needs in the workspaces: goodbye open office?

Workplace needs are constantly evolving: spaces are changing, relationships between colleagues are drastically changing, and new opportunities are emerging.

Before Covid-19, there had been the spread of open spaces, designed both to reduce the spaces and to improve collaboration among employees, thereby increasing productivity. In addition, digital transformation had also played a large part in creating dynamic shared spaces, flexibility in schedules, and areas equipped for fast and stable connectivity.

The modern concept was made popular by early 20th century architect named Frank Lloyd Wright, who believed the design would democratize the workplace by tearing down walls both literally and socially. A few years later, designers and architects around the world promoted similar benefits, saying the open environment allows employees to collaborate more easily and thus be more productive. Unfortunately, unlike Wright’s original concept, which emphasized natural light and space between desks, today’s open offices are often used to cram more employees into smaller spaces. The effect has been a more distracted workforce.

The current Covid-19 emergency has certainly challenged the existing work model. The open spaces as well as coworking, full of people working together, are now seen as a potential health hazard, so agile working is becoming essential.

Sooner or later people will return to their offices and their activities, but according to a study carried out in the United States, 74% of managers believe that at least 5% of workers will request to work exclusively in smart working in the future. The reasons? Workplace safety, of course, and not least the so-called “pleasure of solitude,” as Professor Deborah Tannen of Georgetown University put it: “The comfort of being in the presence of others will be replaced by the comfort of their absence, especially when it comes to people we know relatively well. Instead of asking themselves, “Why do I have to do this online?” they will ask themselves, “Is there a good reason to do this live?”

The office space will need to change. From now on, it will be necessary to keep social distancing, use easily sanitized executive and operative furniture, improve air exchange patterns, clean rooms thoroughly and more often, and avoid meetings with too many people and work groups. It is no longer the workers who must adapt to the spaces, but the spaces must be adapted to the workers.