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Making work live - live at Old Paradise Yard
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Garton Jones - Nine Elms

Our client - a growing estate agency - needed a polished new office with a fresh look. 3equals1 designed and installed a fantastic space allowing Garton Jones to promote the new evolving area of Nine Elms.

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Our Latest Projects

See the latest projects by the 3equals1 Team from around London & the UK.

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Taking inspiration from leaders in education and technology, 3equals1 creates durable spaces that primarily work for their clients' needs but also sit ahead of the curve. Our human-centred, organic approach to workplace design guarantees that clients get properly involved in the process. We are inspired by the way people utilise their spaces and strive to create the best environments possible by researching in depth the psychological and physical aspects

Clerkenwell Design Week | 3e1 Event Highlights

Here at 3e1 HQ, we don’t do anything by halves. Our designers extracted every inch of Clerkenwell Design Week this year! Pounding the streets, showrooms, tents and talks to find the best products and processes in workplace interior design!

As we are firm believers in that age-old saying ‘Form Follows Function’ we weren’t going to let ourselves get distracted by just the shiny new products. All that glitters isn’t gold! We wanted to seize this opportunity to source real, practical products for all our clients’ needs and budgets. Each of our designers hit #CDW with a strict itinerary, sourcing products for departments you would find in a typical office: everything from Directors to Admin, and Sales to Marketing.

Check out our top picks for a few of these!

“fixed walls are a constraint and solid partitions are quite literally barriers to collaboration”

Sarea picked out this great configuration from Creatif, ‘ Constuctif’. The lightweight, modular system creates semi-private environments that breed creativity and can be quickly reconfigured by the user to shape the perfect space for different tasks throughout the day.

We think it’s perfectly suited for a Marketing team’s brainstorming session!

#HR HAVEN

Our HR Hero Nicola Kellet joined us on our product hunt. In her freelance role she doesn’t have the luxury of a private office (who wants one anyway these days?!). She loved the flexibility of Guialmi’s Marea collection. The foldable sofas can easily turn an everyday breakout area into a soft and friendly private space.

#3equals1approved

e1 were all talking about the Midj table by Clessidra back at the office! It caught Gert’s eye on his hunt for products suitable for a Director and with great mix and match options for each component, you can cater to each individual’s tastes! We love this statement piece and how the base almost looks as if it will topple and collapse. It won’t, we tested it! We were also pleasantly surprised by the very reasonable price tag for such a high end looking product.

By Ourselves, From Not Another Chair

Harry picked out some great options for a sales environment that suit the varied working needs of a typically agile role.

The fittingly named work booth ‘By Ourselves’ from Not Another Chair offers its user a quiet space to touch down and get some work done. We love the simple non-electric sit stand mechanism which allows the product itself to be flexible and easily moved around an ever changing office space! Great for businesses that are looking to grow!

‘Worx’ By Intarc Design

Harry was also impressed with the re-configurable desking, ‘Worx’, designed by Intarc Design in collaboration with Alea. The system can effortlessly switch from work stations to meeting table and keep laptops charged with powered central core, perfect for offices short on space.

The EarChair by Agilita is next on Tash’s shopping list! The stand alone chair with its huge wings makes it easy to step into a quiet conversation anywhere in the office. It can be configured singularly or grouped making it another great option for future proofing expansion. Tash loves the geometry of this statement piece and would love to spec this in a law firm instead of using built-in quiet rooms.

Atom’ By Boss Design

And finally Maz was drawn to Atom Desking seated stool by Boss Design and thought it would be an ideal solution for the Director that prefers to be easily approachable and in the mix of things in an open-plan environment.

Many of the products 3e1 gravitated to over the festival had a degree of flexibility and can move with the occupier, transform to suit alternative tasks or double up to offer an additional purpose – Like the Boss which offers the user elevated status and privacy as well as storage and a stool to collaborate with a colleague.
We love products that work as hard as we do, can grow with your business, and offer users the space they need to get great work done.  Send us your thoughts and feedback on these products and comments and anything you saw at this year’s Clerkenwell Design Week which caught your eye. You can explore all the exhibitors from this year and full details on all the events and shows on the official Clerkenwell Design Week website.

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The Sound of Contemporary Workplace Design

Why are acoustics so important in a work space and is anyone getting it right?

“I have long held the opinion that the amount of noise that anyone can bear undisturbed stands in inverse proportion to their mental capacity and therefore be regarded as a pretty fair measure of it.”- Arthur Schopenhauer

Most people with any exposure to contemporary office design concur that open plan spaces are often hindered by inherent poor acoustics. This article looks at why bad open plan office acoustics are so detrimental to the success of a working environment and how the productivity of the people that work within it can be seriously affected. We’ll then show you some companies with products that are well-designed and, importantly, making a positive difference in acoustic office solutions. Read on for 3e1’s in-depth look at this topical and frequently ignored area of modern office design.

Why do poor acoustics have such negative effects?    

Tests carried out for a television programme called The Secret Life Of Buildings have produced evidence that open plan layouts create massive distraction which in turn damages productivity. The Channel 4 programme’s presenter, architecture critic Tom Dyckhoff, wore a cap that measured his brainwaves while trying to work in an open plan office. The scanner revealed intense bursts of distraction. Dr Jack Lewis, the neuroscientist who conducted the test, said:

“Open plan offices were designed with the idea that people can move around and interact freely to promote creative thinking and better problem solving, but it doesn’t work like that. If you are just getting into some work and a phone goes off in the background, it ruins what you are concentrating on. Even though you are not aware at the time, the brain responds to distractions.”

This supports the finding quoted by Julian Treasure in his TED talk (watch below) which showed that open plan office noise reduces the productivity of office workers by a worryingly high 66%. Julian is known for encouraging architects and interior designers to pay respect to acoustics in the workplace by creating quiet working areas in every office layout in order to regain this lost productivity. In the absence of any re-design possibilities he recommends workers to wear headphones and listen to birdsong, surf or rainfall to mask the distracting noise.

Forcing people to work in these environments all day regardless of their task profile is costing businesses a serious amount of money in lost productivity. It’s important to also bear in mind the currently unmeasured cost for employees and society of lost health and well-being through stress, fatigue, restricted neural development, and impaired sociability.

The sound of quality – who is making positive noises?  

Office acoustic screens, acoustic office furniture, and various floor and wall coverings that possess supposed acoustic benefits have been in existence for several years. The problem we’ve noticed in recent times is that more often than not these items don’t create a noticeable effect on the acoustics of a space and – arguably a larger sin – look awful too! Some companies are doing a good job though and we’ve picked out 3 below that we rate – both for functionality and aesthetics.  

1) Ocee Design

Offices choosing the new ‘Positive Sound Tessellate’ collection from Ocee Design are invited to create their own acoustic configuration. There are seven shapes to choose from, different depth options, and extensive fabric and colour choices. As well as being bright and looking fresh, these office acoustic panels have been tested to Class A absorption, meaning they are highly efficient at absorbing sound across a wide range of frequencies. Check out further acoustic options from Ocee Design.

2) Echo Jazz

This is a company we saw recently at Orgatec in Cologne and a fantastic example of what we would call ‘design-led acoustics’. They offer a huge variety of acoustic products from panels to chairs, and even light fittings. The open and highly compressed felt structure of the material they use is more effective than conventional acoustic composites. Although it’s 40% thinner, the ‘EchoPanel’ achieves comparable absorption rates as conventional high-performance acoustic absorbers.  

Explore the full range of Echo Jazz products

Have a read of our full review of Orgatec 2018.

3) Acustio

There are lots of companies out there claiming to do acoustics well but are far from nailing it from an aesthetic point of view. Acustio are another company we came across at Orgatec 2018 who are producing products that are less clumsy and possess more subtlety from a design perspective.

Find out more about Acustio and their products.

Acustio's solutions are elegant and thoughtful

Get in touch with 3equals1 about your acoustic challenges

If you're planning an office relocation in 2019 or you need to smarten up your own space, speak to 3equals1’s Business Development manager Natalie Brady (see her avatar below) to chat through what you are trying to achieve. At 3e1, we pride ourselves on not only designing tailored modern spaces that work for each client, but also making sure the process is inclusive and fun - for you and us!

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Orgatec 2018 Review

As London’s most innovative agency for office design and commercial interiors we present to you our official Orgatec 2018 Review. Here’s what stood out from the crowd at the biggest event in the world for commercial interior design.

5 design themes that caught our eye…

1. Design-led Acoustics

Among the Orgatec highlights this year were several companies who focused on acoustics and showed how acoustic solutions can be more of a design feature rather than simply a functional object designed to be as visually ‘undisruptive’ as possible. It was superb to see acoustic solutions that are less clumsy and possess more subtlety from a design perspective. Over the years – since acoustics in the workplace came to the fore as an issue that needs solving – we have seen so many options that really don’t look great. There are many companies out there saying they do acoustics well but not that many that are really hitting the nail on the head. Echo Jazz (pictured below left) and Acustio (below right) are two companies leading the way in this subject and it was excellent to see their high-quality options in Cologne      

2. Beautiful Sustainability

DeVorm showed some stunning examples of furniture created from recycled plastic bottles. Aesthetically beautiful, the finish of the material gave a warm matt feel which was such a welcome change from so many examples of cold, shiny commercial furniture. In Devorm’s design and production processes, they are always looking at where environmental thinking and economic improvement intersect. The result is minimal waste in every aspect. In fact, the actual finished pieces are all completely recyclable themselves completing the cradle-to-grave narrative of their design. Read more about their PET technology in furniture design.    

3. New colour techniques

Although the majority of the design ideas we saw at this year’s Orgatec were not particularly new, the use of colour from some of the exhibitors was really refreshing. Separating out entire areas of a workplace in one colour created quite a statement and a welcome departure from blending random colours for the sake of decoration. When a colour is used in this way the increase in its impact is huge compared to seeing it in smaller portions alongside other complementary colours. For more on this topic check out Gert’s blog article on the misuse of colour.  

4. Technology - anything new?

Technology-wise, Orgatec 2018 was a touch under-whelming. There were several examples of how lighting and other parts of an office can be controlled from a user’s mobile phone which was quite interesting but sadly nothing new. What did catch our eye though was a recently developed software that allows facilities managers - and interior designers - to see where staff are congregating in a space and how certain areas are being used. This is amazing for practitioners in our industry to receive an accurate picture of what’s going on in a space with data to back it up. Being able to judge the success of a space design on the back of detailed data provided by actual users of the space is really powerful.    

5. Let There Be Light

Waldmann’s display provided a more in-depth, educated experience than simply showing off light fittings.

The amount of lighting designs and the quality of the lighting solutions was a little disappointing at Orgatec 2018. It felt like this was an area that was under-represented compared to all other aspects of commercial interiors. One company who did have an interesting display on this subject though was US-based company Waldmann (pictured above). They presented theories and information around the subject rather than just showing off various fittings which made for a more in-depth experience. using YoYo’s software (pictured below) they were promoting the possibility of individuals in a workplace being able to select their own lighting levels for their work area.  

Conclusion

We digested a serious amount of products and designs but to be brutally honest nothing that screamed out as being new. It felt like all the suppliers and designers were playing quite safe and even the smart technology was all quite predictable. Obviously, companies need to sell their products but it would be far more interesting to unveil what some of these manufacturers are testing out and potentially trying to do. This continuous copy and paste mentality of creating what people need now gives no inspiration for and pays no respect to what people are going to need in the future.

To keep in touch with 3equals1 and receive the articles and posts we publish you can subscribe to our newsletter, use the 3equals1 enquiry form and also chat with us on various social media channels including Linked-In, Instagram or Twitter.
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The (Mis)use of Colour

Gert van Dam from 3equals1's design team explores the use of colour as a design tool...

Interest in Colour

Colour is one of the most interesting elements to manipulate in the work of design. In residential design colour is for the most part controlled by personal taste which makes perfect sense. Your house is your private environment where you want to feel homely and safe. In public spaces, colour can be more of a tool to create spatial experiences and to direct people unconsciously through a space. My interest in colour intensified when I worked on my graduation project in the Netherlands. I discovered the friction that exists between colour being very beneficial but also at times distracting. In public spaces in particular colour can be used to make spaces more practical for the users instead of counterproductive. Colour in spaces where different people come together requires well-considered choices instead of being driven by trends or personal taste.

How to Approach the Subject of Colour

Colour is one of the most interesting elements to manipulate in the work of design. In residential design colour is for the most part controlled by personal taste which makes perfect sense. Your house is your private environment where you want to feel homely and safe. In public spaces, colour can be more of a tool to create spatial experiences and to direct people unconsciously through a space. My interest in colour intensified when I worked on my graduation project in the Netherlands. I discovered the friction that exists between colour being very beneficial but also at times distracting. In public spaces in particular colour can be used to make spaces more practical for the users instead of counterproductive. Colour in spaces where different people come together requires well-considered choices instead of being driven by trends or personal taste.

Remember as well that the meaning of colours and the psychological effects of colours are highly affected by the culture of the environment in which they are seen. Whereas in Western culture white is the most used colour for weddings, in other parts of the world it is related to death. And even though white and black are theoretically not colours, this example shows the cultural differences in colour usage around the world. 

Colour Experience

Although the way we observe colours is often affected by personal experiences, preferences, and trends, there are some general facts about colour and the way we all experience them. Research shows there are factors that are proven to be influential to all people. This needs consideration when working on projects for offices, hospitals, universities etc.

‘’Well used colours in an Elderly Residential Homes by Atelier Zundel Cristea in France’’
Warm and Cold Colours

The circle of colours can be cut in 2. On the left hand side we are talking about the ‘warm’ colours. On the right hand side we’re talking about the ‘cold’ colours. You could say the right side is representing the ‘Calm and Rest’ whereas the left side represents the ‘Power, Passion and Energy’.

The centre of the colour circle starts with the three primary colours: Red, Yellow and Blue. When two of the primary colours merge there is a secondary colour. For example Yellow and Blue together becomes the secondary colour Green. One step further shows the circle of tertiary colours. Although this may be basic information and quite obvious, it helps to understand the way colours can complement each other. 

When we look at the following colour pallets various sources say that these colours generally have the following impact on our mood:

Blue: Is connected to water and air and therefor associated with a clear mind, and a meditating environment

Yellow: Is bright and sparkling. Yellow could stimulate the productivity and brains.

Red: Red is all about passion, boldness, and intimacy.

Green: Green represents nature and can stimulate relaxing, calm and balanced.

Orange: Should stimulate the creativity

Grey: is natural and timeless.

Colour and Design Classics

To me, the impact of colours is as strong as the impact of design classics. The original design of a well-known furniture piece has a lot of impact. However, the more copies of the original that are made, the lower the quality will be. For me, the colours in the colour circle work in the same way. The 3 Primary colours have the most impact. The further you go away from the original colours the less impactful it will be. There are exceptions to this rule but broadly speaking this is the case. 

Our Design Work

For one of our clients I have been working on a listed building where we wanted to use colour to enhance the design. In the sketch visual we have used colours in the different rooms to improve the purpose of the space. For example, in the offices we have used the colour yellow as it’s a place where people work individually. The colour yellow will affect their mind and work-speed in a positive way.

In the meeting room we have used the colour blue. In this space a lot of meetings and classes take place so there will be lots of conversations and discussions. The addition of yellow would be too much as the people in the space won’t need this vibrant colour addition. Instead the colour should be more calming to balance the vibrancy of the discussions and classes. That’s why we have used the colour blue as a feature in this room.

Conclusion

There is a lot to talk and write about colour and the potential psychological effects of it. It is a subject that is difficult to put in the format of a short blog piece. My main aim with this blog was to point out the importance of colour and the ways in which it can be used. I know not everyone will agree on this colour-vision but I think colour is very often misunderstood. Even though I think [interior] architects and designers have the responsibility to use colour with the well-being of the future users in mind, we obviously see that many choices are based on personal preferences or even worse, on cheap interior trends which are highly influenced by money and commercial benefits. Personally, from an [interior] architecture point of view I feel the need to create spaces that work for the future users longer than only one season. It’s about giving depth to your design work and caring about the well-being of your clients. This means colour should be considered in every single project rather than seen as a decorative part of design. These well considered design choices will increase the impact and save the design from becoming outdated.

SOURCES
Books:
1. Color and Light in Nature
David K. Lynch en William Livingston - Cambridge University Press -  Amsterdam, 2001
2. Kleur (Colour)
Theo Schildkamp - Van Holkema & Warendorf – Houten, the Netherlands, 2001
3. Color decoder
Dorothye Parker - Quarto Publishing plc – London, United Kingdom, 2002
4. Kunst en Kleur (Art and Colour)
Johannes Itten - Cantecleer – Baarn, the Netherlands, 2000 (3e druk)
5. The Influence of colour on our wellbeing
Joyce van der Woning, Thesis for University of Twente, the Netherlands

Web:
www.dezeen.com
www.stidolph.nl
à /het psychologische effect van kleuren [the psychological effects of colour]
www.wetenschap.infonu.nl
à /invloed van kleur op menselijk gedrag [the influence of colour on human behaviour]
www.capsella.nl
à /de beste kleuren voor ouderen [the best colours of elder people]
www.kleureneffect.com
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3equals1 Design's Furniture Showroom Research

Furniture Showrooms Research: What to look out for at Clerkenwell Design Week

With #CDW upon us have a read of our latest furniture showroom research and find out what's trending...

With Clerkenwell Design Week approaching what a perfect opportunity to discuss the continuous exploration 3equals1 undertakes into the ever-changing trends in the workplace design world. We do this in a variety of ways: from visiting furniture showrooms and workshops, to going to specialised talks. Our most structured visits are those to showrooms, which take place every other Friday. It’s a great way to experience the products on offer, particularly the examples we specify in our projects. We always recommend to our clients that they test products before purchasing them. It’s important that we do the same!

After visiting so many furniture showrooms, it becomes tricky to remember what we had seen and how suppliers compared with one another. Therefore, we ended up formulating a questionnaire which we now take to every showroom visit. So far we’ve collected answers from 12 furniture manufacturers with operations in London and the UK.

The manufactures we have visited so far include: Patrona Frau, B&B Italia, Verco, Techo, Vitra, Kusch, Senator, Allermuir, Brunner UK, Moroso, Opus Magnum, and Andrea World.

The questionnaire put to them covers the following topics:

  • Company Nationality
  • Lead times (in weeks)
  • Their favourite product
  • Product trends
  • Most popular sector
  • Comparison to car brands
  • Workplace trends
  • How many products launched per year
  • Internal / external designers
  • Which country buys the most

Lead times, breakout spaces, and homely furniture...

We have drawn several conclusions from the data we collected, the first would be that the majority of manufacturers are operating on a 6-8 week lead time. Therefore, given the pace of the workplace industry, anything over this amount of time is a tough choice for us to make. The product would have to be really special. Looking into workplace trends and product types, the trend of breakout spaces seems to be a recurring one. In addition, work-spaces with a homely feel are on the rise. Suppliers who more traditionally would provide furniture for the residential and hospitality sectors are now seeing their products being used in the workplace. These include Andreu World, Moroso, and Patrona Frau.  

German manufacturer Brunner setting the standard...

Aside from UK manufacturers who had a heavy presence in our research, Germany seem to be at the forefront of office-related product manufacturing. When it comes to the sale of their products, they dominate their own country’s market. Brunner is a great example of one of these German manufacturers. They are one of our go-to manufacturers. With the release of their soft powder coated finishes and high number of product launches per year, they attract a wealth of different clients. From chatting to Olly at Brunner, he explained how their market in Germany was very different from that of the UK in terms of style. In Germany the traditional finishes you associate with corporate office spaces like the use of chrome for instance is still very popular. Nonetheless, their UK market was looking for something softer in style with a more homely aesthetic. This spawned their soft powder coated finishes range. From our experience we have noticed Brunner becoming ever more dominant in the mid-to-high end market. Their stunning showroom refurbishment reflects this. As we touched on previously, they release a large number of products - 14 per year - with the average from our data being 5. Maybe this is why they are doing so well and leading the market.

German car brands leading the way in the eyes of furniture manufacturers

One of our favourite questions to ask the manufacturers is: ‘if you had to compare your brand to a car brand what would it be?’ One of the most interesting responses we got was from Moroso, who compared themselves with Tesla. This was due to their innovative and experimental approach. In contrast, the majority compared themselves to executive German car brands like BMW + Mercedes. Interestingly, Allermuir - being part of the Senator Group - gave the exact same response as its parent company. They opted for Jaguar which speaks of their British association.

Design Influences

One of the final questions we ask refers to design influences. We ask whether the designers they use are internal or external. The majority said they use external design studios. The benefit of this as we see it is that it paves the way for a broader collection of styles. It is also another opportunity to collaborate with different designers. A good example of this would be how Moroso teamed up with world renowned architect Daniel Libeskind to create the Gemma collection.

Tips For #CDW

We are incredibly lucky to have all these showrooms at our disposal in London. However, it’s important to use a variety of manufacturers in our projects so that our designs look fresh and unique from each other. For us Clerkenwell Design Week is going to be very useful to find up-and-coming design companies, which maybe don’t yet have a London presence. One of our favourite areas last year was the Design Fields marquee, which showcased leading furniture, lighting, and product design from around the world. If you combine a design team like ours with some of the amazing new products out there clients can feel excited and confident that the dawn of a more productive workplace age is without doubt upon us.

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A Different Perspective on 3equals1 Design

Guest blog editor and freelance marketing consultant Phil Hodgkinson tells us why 3equals1 Design is such a fun place to be.

Office relocations and refurbishments are for some people the source of headaches and misery. I am very happy to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way! If you’re planning a move or setting up a new office and the task feels like it isn’t going to be an enjoyable process, then I recommend you check out 3equals1 Design. They are brilliant at what they do but more importantly,  they have fun doing it. They claim in their mantra that they are “Making Work Live”. Well, take it from me, they really are. And here’s how…

"They are brilliant at what they do but more importantly, they have fun doing it."

Energy

Having worked in commercial property and interiors for over 13 years – in London and various regions of the UK – I’m excited to tell you that I’ve never before experienced a design agency with so much energy and desire for work to be fun. For anyone taking on the development of a new office or the renovation of an existing space, it’s so important to feel fired up about it and engaged in the process. Maz and her team enjoy what they do and their style and character is incredibly infectious. You only need to have a quick look at the projects section of their website and read a few of the testimonials from their clients to realise just how much they all enjoyed the process. Without leaning on clichés about journeys vs destinations, I can’t miss this opportunity to fully endorse this aspect of what 3equals1 offers.

Check out their projects here: https://www.3equals1design.co.uk/projects

“I’ve never before experienced a design agency with so much energy and desire for work to be fun.”

Technology

The use of technology among commercial interior design companies – and the level at which they adopt the latest software – varies considerably. 3Equals1 occupies space in the fast lane when it comes to tech. They are always looking at new ways of augmenting their own abilities and presenting their work to clients. There is a selection of 3D renders and movies on their website which gives a snapshot of the immersive detail clients can expect. The assumption that technology of this kind is only synonymous with larger, more corporate agencies can often be true. 3equals1 however works hard at maintaining its status as an outlier. Technology is definitely an area where they are showing their contemporaries a clean set of heels. Check out example videos on their #MakingWorkLive page: https://www.3equals1design.co.uk/making-work-live

"Technology is definitely an area where they are showing their contemporaries a clean set of heels"


Most Friday afternoons the team head out to explore all the latest furniture and products out there so they know what’s new and cool

Straight-talking


Without mentioning any names there are design agencies out there who enjoy the supposed kudos of being a designer a little bit too much and often fail to resist the temptation to hide behind jargon and over-complicated language. For anyone needing to procure design services this is a problem. Someone whose responsibility it is to deliver a new office for their colleagues needs to feel in control and knowledgeable about what’s going on. It’s so important that their design agency talks to them in a language they comprehend and one that allows them to relay progress to their teams with confidence in their own understanding of the project’s status. Maz and her team pride themselves on being real. Their ability to quickly strike up a rapport with clients is one of the linchpins of 3equals1’s service.  

"It’s so important that a design agency talks to its clients in a language they comprehend "

Social

For those that are new to it, the commercial interiors industry is a really sociable environment. Companies within it are full of personalities that like to talk, go out, and enjoy the huge range of fantastic bars, pubs, and restaurants in the Clerkenwell area. 3equals1 are no exception to this rule and love the social vibe of the industry. Most Friday afternoons the team head out to explore all the latest furniture and products out there so they know what’s new and cool. And to put it simply, there is nothing better than a cold beer after exploring Clerkenwell’s best showrooms.

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3Equals1 Studio Playlist #makingworklive

The first in a series of #3e1 #studioplaylists. Let us know what you think via any of our social channels. Volume up - let's get down.

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Stockholm Design Week

Taking place in early February Stockholm Design Week is the most important week of the year for Scandinavian design. The 3Equals1 Design team attended this year's festival to explore all the wonderful new furniture, lighting, and design on show. Will Nock and Gert van Dam give us the lowdown...

The picturesque architecture we found in the old town dates back to the 13th century and was made even more appealing by a dusting of snow covering the city.

Made By Choice

Will: Our first glimpse of Design Week was a quaint pop-up store by ‘Made by Choice’, a Finnish company making beautifully crafted wooden furniture of typical refined Scandinavian design: http://madebychoice.com/

With the evening calling we stumbled across a wonderful Viking themed restaurant named ‘Aifur’, which is definitely recommended for an authentic Nordic experience. It put us in good stead for our day ahead at the Furniture and Light Fair.

Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair 2018

Will continues: Entering into the fair on Thursday Morning was a surprising sceptical, we hadn’t quite realised how large it was going to be, boasting products and services from over 700 exhibitors from 35 countries, obviously the majority being from the Nordic region. However, in comparison with Milan’s Furniture fair with around 300,000 visitors, Stockholm’s fair is rather more modest at 40,000.


BLA Station

Gert: On entering the furniture fair exhibition, BLA station was the first stand that caught our attention. Obviously they had put lots of attention into collecting the right products to show. The combination of products, materials, and colours, and in general the overall look of their stand was really appealing.

BLA Station is a furniture manufacturer from Sweden and they’re describing themselves as being in a ‘constant flow of change’. This way of thinking resonated with 3Equals1's methodology and posed several questions which we consider all the time. E.g. How are interiors built and how do they work? How do we interact in the public space - and has our way of working and socialising changed?

We saw many examples of new ideas during the week that were tackling these issues and trends. Products illustrating this include small chairs that you can hang from the wall when they’re not in use (pictured right), being both practical and providing a playful feature. The ‘Pocket’ Lounge chair met this idea to, with a simple storage area underneath for your personal belongings and all produced in beautiful finishes.

Gert: A couple of things in particular were personally very interesting to me. To start with the modular system BOB that looked really good, shown in different configurations and materials. It is made up of many small pieces giving the possibility to create the form that you want. This is important in the workplace environment today, where flexibility is key when needing to meet several people’s requirements. This is something Harry discussed in a previous blog.

The other thing that surprised me in a positive way with the BOB range were the additional furniture pieces available, such as small tables to work on, and on top of that the best electrical sockets ever! This might need some explanation as a socket is not the most interesting thing to talk about! Since I have started to work in commercial design I know it’s a huge benefit for some products to implement sockets for the use of your laptop or to charge you phone. And there is nothing wrong with that! But from an aesthetics point of view I have never understood the use of literally the most horrible sockets in the most beautiful pieces of furniture. BLA Station gave me an example (see below) of what I would like to see more of in the future. See the pictures below and make up your own mind! The connection of the table and sofa through the socket (left) looked like a feature of aesthetics, rather than a disaster! Good job Bla Station!

http://www.blastation.com/

Aesthetic Waste

Will: Something that we often find hard to come by is manufacturers offering aesthetically pleasing rubbish bins. This may seem something hard to get excited about, nevertheless ‘Lundqvist Inredningar’ a Swedish Company based in Stockholm have injected huge personality and design flare into their ‘Waste’ product range. This is definitely one to bare in mind. The wrong accessories like bins can quite easily ruin a great space.

Opposite the Lundqvist stand was another Swedish company by the name of Mizetto, what caught my eye was their storage solutions, which supplied both practicality and ease of use as well as providing a really nice feature in a space, due to their colour combinations and simplicity. My personal favourite was a new product for 2018 called the Cottage, it merged breakout and storage, which isn’t something new, yet this architectural style I can definitely see being popular.

http://mizetto.se/cottage/

Acoustic Developments

Gert: It was great to see the developments in acoustic materials and the presentation of some nice acoustic/feature panels. Acoustic products are becoming ever more popular.  From a design point of view, we were happy to see some very interesting products providing excellent additions to plain walls rather than a ‘practical must have’. One of the companies that really got our attention was  manufacturer Offecct. The stand was architectural looking and a lot of the showed acoustic wall panels where neutrally coloured and very interesting formed and shaped. Especially for the public- and workspaces that we work on this is a great product to specify. Besides Offecct we were happy to visit the Abstracta stand where we saw some more beautiful acoustic products and a nice Quote that we would like to share: Privacy and Quietness make us more creative, motivated and focused, that why Pods are created!  

https://www.offecct.com/
https://abstracta.se/

Edsbyn

Will: We believe Edsyn offered the most innovative products that we saw at the fair. These included the Sound Bubble 2.0 and a height adjustable desk still in the concept stage. The Sound Bubble 2.0, currently being tested ahead of production, wasn’t a normal wing-back chair. It featured noise cancelling technology controlled by an iPad to dictate the amount of exterior noise the user is wanting to hear. This would be quite revolutionary for a loud open plan office and could challenge the solo pod systems which take up large footprints. The height-adjustable desk we saw had the addition of a tilting work surface, so you could simply wind a small handle and tilt the work surface to fit with your working needs. People who are often drawing could really benefit from this, especially regarding posture. Hopefully, these two products will be put into production soon for everyone to experience.

Overall the trip was hugely enjoyable. Finding some exciting new products as we have discussed was fantastic, but what really made the trip for us was to be completely immersed in Scandinavian design style. The combination of practicality and natural materials produces a wonderfully timeless style. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to see more of the design week events back in the city, but given the time we were there we covered so much! One thing I think people who haven’t been before should be aware of is the cost of living in Stockholm. It was incredibly expensive and may deter smaller companies based outside of Scandinavia from exhibiting and visiting.

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