Client: Bene

Sector: Furniture

Commission: 2010

Launch: 2012

Following the success of PearsonLloyd’s collaborative spaces collection PARCS for Bene, the studio was commissioned by the company to continue its research into the future of the workplace. Docklands – a series of semi-private compact work enclosures – is the result of this research.

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The PARCS products stem from the observation that communication between individuals and teams is rapidly becoming the most important process in today’s ‘knowledge’ economy. The studio designed a series of products, which offer a more flexible and social office landscape, creating spaces for workers to have a quick meeting, give a short presentation or take a private mobile phone call.

However, while the demand for spaces where workers can collaborate is high, the studio’s research revealed that so too is the need for areas where quiet, focused work can take place. While the trend towards open plan workplaces has been promoted as the epitome of democratic working practice, the unwanted side effect of this layout is noise. More often than not, the only escape from surrounding distractions is the meeting room; a high cost, over-subscribed resource. The goal with Docklands was to find a new type of temporary workspace that could be used as a shared resource and provide staff with an alternative space to do focused individual work.

Great attention was paid to the bays’ acoustic performance: the soft, inner walls are engineered to provide optimum sound quality. And no thought has been spared on making the bays as practical and pleasurable as possible to work in: each has a place to hang a jacket, a shelf for a diary and phone, integrated power to charge a laptop, a flag to notify other users of its occupancy, and an understated table light that creates just the right atmosphere for working in. The bays’ aesthetic language is intentionally un-technical. The range is made up of modular panels, so it was possible for the designers to develop a range of formats with just a few parts. This not only makes for an aesthetically clean landscape, it also reduced the cost of production.