Home / Design / Fresh designs

Fresh designs

Orgatec, the celebration of office design returned for 2022 after a hiatus due to the COVID pandemic. The halls of the Cologne Messe were bustling once again with plenty of fresh ideas in workplace design

Hybrid working was unsurprisingly a hot topic. For its part, Orgatec and the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics (IBP) presented their findings in terms of the socio-importance of this topic with half of respondents expecting the impact of the last couple of years affecting the future allocation of working time and working locations. There will not be a ‘new normal’ the report concluded as people are subject to various influences and long-term developments are regularly affected by current events.

That said, flexibility in fixtures and fittings remained high on the agenda for many manufacturers. Italian producer Arper, for instance, summed up the mood when it talked about “the boundaries between home and work are gone. Now ‘living’ means all the different things we do in a day. Everything is in flux, so anything is possible. How do we want to live? More seamlessly. More inspired.”


To this end, it presented Aeeri by Peter Kunz, a table to work at that is equally at home in a dining room as it would be in a workplace environment. It bends from a single sheet of steel, thanks to high tech engineering into a slender, sculptural form and has just five components in total which would certainly be music to an FM’s ear. Also from the collection is Shaal by Doshi Levien. This sofa, available in two or three seater versions is ideal for the home, office or hospitality environments. It marries both comfort and modularity to provide a graceful cocoon-like structure. Then there’s the Cell side table by Jean-Marie Massaud which again is designed to serve in all settings, providing a comfortable surface for working, reading or dining.

Furniture manufacturer Nowy Styl and its brand Kusch+Co presented a joint stand with an impressive 28 new products which also responded to the changing needs of today’s working world. Under the theme of ‘Reunion’ these included the Bound chair by Karim Rashid, Offa storage and Vapaa chair. The WithME chair, designed by Martin Ballendat with coworking and collaborative meetings in mind. The eUP sit-stand desk meanwhile is designed based on finding a healthier way to spend the working day. Space is another furniture solution consisting of desks and workbenches. Its smart construction means assembly is quick and easy and reconfiguration is similarly straightforward.


One of the other focuses for this edition was ‘sustainable workplace design’ and this was embraced wholeheartedly by high-performance ergonomic furniture products Humanscale. It presented Path, the world’s most sustainable task chair. Designed by Todd Bracher and the Humanscale Design Studio, the Path chair is composed of nearly 10 kilograms of recycled materials, which includes reclaimed fishing nets, used plastic bottles, and post-industrial material.
This is the third in a series of ‘Ocean’ chairs, representing Humanscale’s commitment to making a net positive impact on the Earth.

The organisers of Orgatec praised the exhibitors’ high level of innovation as also exemplified at Humanscale. It presented a range of integrated technology solutions, the latest being NeatCharge. This clever device turns your selected surface into a wireless charging area, reducing clutter and making cable management less of a headache for facility managers.

From future-focussed launches, other exhibitors preferred to take inspiration from the past albeit with a very contemporary twist. Design studio Industrial Facility worked with the familiar lines of Thonet’s 214 bentwood chair and reinvented the design as a stackable, material-efficient moulded plywood version with a tubular steel frame. The S 220 chair – or the S 220 F with armrests – is suitable for both residential and contract uses and is not only visually striking with its ‘waterfall edge’ at the front but also pleasing to the touch and comfortable to sit on.

Staying with seating for the moment, Pedrali presented Polar, a new task seating designed by Jorge Pensi Design Studio. Designed to adapt to the human body the chair has simple and intuitive built-in mechanisms which adapt to different uses, positions and postures. Thanks to its weight-activated, synchro-tilt mechanism it can cleverly move according to the user’s body weight.

Polar has an injected-moulded nylon frame with a breathable, flexible polyester mesh and injection-moulded polypropylene support at the lumbar area, with a polyurethane foam seat.


Innovations in upholstery textiles were the focus of Kvadrat’s presence at Orgatec. There the Danish manufacturer launched Steelcut 3, Steelcut Quartet, and previewed Steelcut Beat, the latest textiles designs by Giulio Ridolfo and Frans Dijkmeijer. Offering clarity and colour depth, the collections are characterised by a three-dimensional surface resembling small pyramids or steel points and are available in a range of warm tones, providing a lively dialogue between construction, yarn, and colour.

With such innovation and strong responses to contemporary ways of working, Orgatec’s organisers must be pleased with the 2022 show. Also, over three quarters of exhibitors came from abroad, enhancing the event’s international standing as it looks forward to the next edition in 2024.

About Sarah OBeirne

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *