What type of environment will the work culture of the future need? This is the question posed by Orgatec 2018, Cologne’s biennial workplace furniture fair, which opens on 23 October. Contract furniture manufacturers and their designers are falling over themselves trying to predict how and where people will work.

The buzzwords are still collaboration and creativity, hence all the innovative sitting and standing configurations that will be on display at the fair. But it’s not only tomorrow’s offices that will benefit from these visions. As work continues to move into airports, cafés, hotels and beyond, expect to see cosy pods and booths inviting us to plug in and get creative all over the place. According to some, that could even mean train stations. Below we showcase our pick of the office latest innovations ...

Soft Work by Barber & Osgerby for Vitra
 

Vitra Soft work

‘Soft Work’ intends to turn convention on its head. Rather than a working environment where desks are the focus and soft seating is on the periphery, Ed Barber and Jay Osgerby have positioned table workstations around a seating landscape. Find arm-mounted trays integrated into the upholstery, and panels that can be added for privacy.

Pastilles by Studiopepe for Tacchini

Pastilles by StudioPepe for Tacchini

Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto, the duo otherwise known as Studiopepe, were briefed by the Brianza-based furniture company to give a new twist to the classic concept of ‘pozzetto chair’ (a chair with armrests). The 12-year-old Milan design agency’s solution is the Pastilles three-strong family unit, with an ottoman and coffee table. By creating what the designers describe as a ‘round and comfortable shape’ on a high base, Pastilles is intended to be cosy and contemporary.

Plenum by Jaime Hayon for Republic of Fritz Hansen

Jaime Hayon office furniture for FritzHansen

Spanish designer extraordinaire Jaime Hayon makes his debut in the contract furniture world with Plenum. The high-backed one, two, and three-seater sofa system has its roots in Hayon’s existing designs for the Danish firm: the Ro and the Fri chairs as well as the Lune sofa. The designer’s aim? To challenge the concept of traditional office furniture and create a feeling of home.