A review of Orgatec 2018

furniture & interiors

It’s clear to see from our recent visit to the Orgatec trade fair in Cologne, Germany, why the event – the largest of its type in the world – remains the number 1 platform for trendsetting in office interiors and a magnet for exhibiting companies….

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It’s clear to see from our recent visit to the Orgatec trade fair in Cologne, Germany, why the event – the largest of its type in the world – remains the number 1 platform for trendsetting in office interiors and a magnet for exhibiting companies and visitors alike. Where some high profile trade shows have lost their spark in recent years, Orgatec is definitely ‘alive and kicking’ with some 760 exhibitors showcasing their products and over 60,000 international trade visitors.

The key trends

Unsurprisingly, Orgatec 2018 was all about ever changing work cultures, with flexibility a key theme: flexibility to quickly change the layout or use of a space, flexibility to collaborate and communicate wherever you are, flexibility to reclaim traditional office space for time away from the desk. So, products designed for multifunctional areas were everywhere, always pushing creative boundaries further and experimenting with shapes and finishes – seating booths, meeting pods, personal storage lockers but also telephone booths, open shelving systems, meeting and office enclosures …

Wellbeing featured heavily too, something that was already a defining trend of the last event in 2016. Sit-stand workstations and tables are becoming more and more widely adopted as a solution to counteract some of the health risks of sedentary office work, and some of the best examples were on show, as were more dynamic seating options focusing on balance, strengthening the muscles and relieving the spine. For us though, the move towards a quieter, more peaceful office really stood out. Whilst more open, collaborative offices encourage better exchange and communication, they come with the challenge of how to maintain good levels of privacy and sound insulation. Many exhibitors were showcasing their acoustic solutions, from wall-mounted and mobile panel systems or more adaptable acoustic bricks to sound absorbing ceiling hanging panels, light fittings, floor finishes, ‘room in room’ concepts and more.

Seating and phone booths at Orgatec

Our personal favourites

We took so much away from the show that picking particular highlights may seem a bit of an impossible task. Belgian company BuzziSpace’s various takes on workspace acoustics certainly impressed us with their BuzziBracks curtain enclosed modular room concept, BuzziMood moss wall panels tapping into the biophilic design trend, as well as their striking chandeliers and light fittings.

Connectivity and smart working solutions are something we’re always looking out for, and there was plenty at Orgatec to get our attention, with so many manufacturers making access to power, data and comms an integral part of their furniture – and coming up with new, smarter, more intuitive ways to achieve that all important technological harmony. We loved Spacestor’s ‘California cool, London design’ Phonebooth and SBS Mobilier’s Seat Box and Stand Up Box.

We couldn’t help but indulge in some of the more informal and playful product ranges displayed by a few exhibitors, such as ball sports inspired chairs, unique pieces made of books or corrugated paper furniture.

Orgatec never fails to deliver a great show. Yes, some of the largest companies were absent. Yes, there were very few exhibitors from the United Kingdom. Our overwhelming feeling, however, is one of excitement, with a refreshed creative and innovative mindset that will be at the heart of our future projects.

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