PearsonLloyd’s first commission was for the office furniture sector. In the 15 years since, the studio has developed a strong and varied portfolio of products for the workplace, and become a specialist in the field. The studio works in an anthropological manner, analysing the way people act in shared office environments, and using this research to develop intelligent products that reflect the shifts in contemporary working life.
Launching in a market dominated by static desking, the Homer hot-desking system was one of the first manufactured products to recognise a shift in the way people work. The compact unit has a cantilever top that swivels out to provide a desk for impromptu working. While the product was heavily published in international design publications, the market didn’t quite know what to make of it: it was a decade ahead of its time.
At a time when the industry was buzzing with the idea of the ‘paperless office’ – a result of communication increasingly taking place online – PearsonLloyd was observing the opposite; email increased the volume of communication, a proportion of which was still needed as a hard copy. In addition, offices often had more technology (multiple printers etc) thanks to the cheaper price tag. As a response the studio developed a storage system that could be built into the desking system, with integrated cable management, so power could be brought into the units.
At the time of its launch, there were few options besides expensive partitioning systems that enabled companies to quickly build an informal meeting space. So when ARPRO invited the studio to investigate new uses for expanded polypropylene, PearsonLloyd took the opportunity to develop a flexible screening system. Made of modular components, the product is cheap to erect and easy to re-arrange.
The Cobi chair shares the visual language of task seating – but its function is different. Noticing that workers rarely adjust their chair in meeting rooms and collaborative spaces, PearsonLloyd worked with Steelcase to develop a new rocking mechanism. Rather like a swiss ball, the mechanism encourages the worker to maintain a good posture using his or her balance; enabling the worker to move around freely, and stay alert. The chair was an early recognition that collaborative spaces needed a different approach to seating.
The Peggy table responds to the need for less formal office furniture, for small scale, co-working and boutique office settings. It also demonstrates PearsonLloyd’s efforts to introduce timber into the workplace – a stable, flexible material that requires no tooling, is carbon neutral, cost effective and ages well.
PearsonLloyd worked on a series of products for Bene that are recognised as shifting the office furniture market. Following a period of research to explore how people interact in today’s workplaces, the studio developed PARCS, a range of seating, table and screening products that facilitate networking, meetings, presentations and those informal interactions that are so often the catalyst for a new idea.
Following the success of PARCS the studio was commissioned to extend on its research. It established that while the need for flexible space is important, so too is the need for areas where quiet focussed work can take place. Docklands, a series of semi private work enclosures, is the result of this research.
Another studio project for Bene is a re-consideration of the task chair. Gone is the heavy, tech aesthetic commonly associated with office seating; in its place, PearsonLloyd designed a chair with some human touches. Orange buttons intuitively tell the user what their function is, and its simple form and clean lines provide a great platform for bringing colour and textile into the office space.
PearsonLloyd recently developed a new type of table for team work, meetings and informal get-togethers for Bene. The TIMBA Table surprises with solid oak as the distinctive material and an aesthetically and functionally clever swivel plate, which permits easy access to power and the network. Pleasant and welcoming, the TIMBA Table is the focal point of a team and its many different activities.