Whether you’re looking for acoustic panelling to absorb noise or wanting to create private zones, screens and space dividers are an excellent option to organise the office without forming definite boundaries. Historically, these items have been cheap fabric boards that were found collecting dust in storage closets, but in recent years, there have been some fantastic new developments that embrace multifunctional design and bright, clean aesthetics. These are our top 5 modular systems for 2016 that clearly expand the limits of creativity and performance.
Designer: Lievore Altherr Molina
Arper’s collection of acoustic panels was nominated for a deluge of awards last year and with their bright, minimal geometric forms, it’s easy to see why. In essence, Parentesit’s foam texture absorbs sound, reducing extraneous noise for concentrative work and here, form is married to function. With their eye-catching shapes of circles, squares and ovals in a wide array of colour options, the panels become signature statements; perfect for small offices and cafeteria spaces.
Designer: Patricia Urquiola
Haworth’s carefully considered Openest range is much more than acoustic panelling, with a whole furniture range cast around complementing a related design aesthetic. The visual and tactile softness of the range is created through light fabric choices and curved lines and these imbue the space with a quiet; relaxed ambience for isolated and individual work. When placed face-to-face with another Openest, these become snug community hubs – great for collaborative and teamworking tasks.
Designer: Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec
There really is nothing on the market like Clouds. Essentially, the system is a series of interlocking fabric tiles that can either coat architecture or stand alone. As the tiles are connected with simple elastic bands, users can decide how they want to use them; from dividing spaces, making DIY office art installations to lining workspace walls. Clouds has a multiplying effect on reducing noise in the space by both absorbing and reflecting sound waves. Blurring the lines between art and function (Clouds is part of the permanent collection at The Art Institute of Chicago), this soft, tactile design revolutionises the way we consider textiles in the home and workplace.
Designer: Johannes Wolf
Danish company Craftwand’s new design answers the modern office’s need for fast adaptability and modular flexibility with a novel, organic structure. Using a simple fastening method, these building blocks can be connected to create the size and form required for each zone – from individual desk spaces to the wide perimetres of reception waiting areas. Should the need for a new space arise, these blocks can be disassembled and reconfigured to create new areas. We see this being used in industrial-style spaces where the natural and unique character of the beech wood helps create a comfortable, inviting and eco-friendly environment.
Designer: Robert Bronwasser
Cancando’s mobile room dividers help put the fun in multifunctional. The high quality foam is an excellent sound absorbing material and with a wide range of upholstery options, they can be used to either blend in or contrast with the workspace decor. The real distinction between Pillow and other space dividers is the wide range of uses available; paper storage, coat hangers, planters and even LCD screens can be incorporated into the system and with the added mobility, Pillow can be used anywhere in the office. We see this working in offices that want optimum daily flexibility, such as creating presentation alcoves that are relatively sound proofed in seconds.