In the new landscape of work, technology enables us to work anywhere and interact virtually. Despite this, people continue to work out of the office, because they see the value of face-to-face interaction. Collaboration is a key factor to success, and yet office furniture has not evolved to harness the potential of these interactions.
That’s what inspired PUBLIC Office Landscape – our new collection for Herman Miller. PUBLIC transforms every part of the office – including individual desks – into places for collaboration. Visually uniform and modular surfaces, storage, and seating can be configured into a broad range of settings that encourage fluid transitions between collaborative and focused work, and elegantly fill any office space.
The way we work has changed. The traditional office paradigm of cubicles and conference rooms doesn’t foster the broad range of work styles and task-based needs that people seek. So when Herman Miller asked us to take a look at a furniture solution for better group collaboration, we dug right in.
We conducted primary research with a broad range of organizations to better understand what workers and leaders are seeking in their office environment. This work, along with a deep dive into the competitive landscape and the latest in workplace research, led us to prioritize three key goals: 1. We need to foster collaboration not just in formal group spaces, but everywhere (70% of workplace collaboration happens at the individual desk). 2. Good work environments require a variety of different workspaces in close proximity to workers’ desks. 3. We need to enable greater flexibility to adapt to changing needs.
The resulting strategic framework provided clear, actionable guidance for design, and a unique and differentiated philosophy that makes PUBLIC distinct in the office furniture landscape.
We believe collaboration isn’t exclusive to conference rooms or desks; it happens everywhere. PUBLIC was designed to support fluid interactions and spontaneous conversations across the entire landscape, keeping the office in a state of flow and allowing people to move freely between collaborative and individual modes of work. Group spaces are complemented by space to focus and get work done alone—the secret to successful collaboration.
The core component of the landscape is the Social Chair: an innovative design that pares materials to a minimum, giving the seat and back the flexibility to accommodate comfortable movement through a variety of postures and activities. Both literally and figuratively, the Social Chair is designed for connection – its open, inviting shape encourages people to sit and interact, while its top surface seamlessly links to desks, storage units, and other social chairs.
Designed to support the unique needs of the group and the individual, this highly functional landscape maximizes collaboration, utilization of space, and ultimately productivity.