Pre-pandemic, showroom visits were an annual date on the Combined Office Interiors calendar everyone looked forward to, but due to restrictions and guidelines, our regular visit was tentatively put on hold.
But two years on, as we emerge positively from the Coronavirus, and businesses start to reopen their doors to visitors, the COI Sales and Marketing team were delighted to take their first steps back to normality with a full day visiting key supplier showrooms in the heart of Clerkenwell in London.
There is always so much to see and discover in the UK’s design capital, and our long overdue visit did not disappoint! Here is an insight into our day and the prestigious showrooms we visited, along with a highlight of some of the best market-leading furniture for post-covid workspaces.
Elite Office Furniture
Just a short walk from Farringdon tube station, the day started early at the Elite Office Furniture working showroom. Inside was packed full of creative products to inspire every type of workspace including hybrid offices, collaboration suites, and agile work environments.
Kouch is a beautiful modern chair and two-seater sofa range that has taken its inspiration from popular Scandinavian designs. With an elegant wooden frame and fully upholstered seat and back, Kouch is on-trend in style and colour, suitable for both modern and contemporary environments.
We love the combination of colours displayed at the showroom with the armchairs finished in Crest Leather Vele-Visage and Vele-Burnt Rouge, and the 2-seater sofa finished in Shelly-Majolica Blue.
The sleek multi-functional Pill seating range has a distinctive design and a sleek look, with a cleverly concealed table hidden within the modular seat, to create an informal meet and greet area. This flexible low seat range is perfect for social and collaborative areas.
The Pill seating, cleverly named after its rounded shape really caught our eye, especially with its striking zigzag Svensson Accessoire Etage upholstery and compact design.
Cubeform Bench has a clean and fresh feel about it. The range adopts a slick modular design to create an in-office meeting, eating, or hot desk working space. Available with singular seat units, or a full-length bench to seat all users around the table.
We love the versatility of this range, with bench seats you can hide discreetly under the table bench when not in use, and you can even add your own little piece of luxury with an optional upholstered seat pad for further comfort.
Cubeform bench and tables are perfectly partnered with Cubeform storage which is designed with modularity and flexibility in mind. Cubeform storage is a great storage system with open shelved displays, cupboards, whiteboards, and planters that is ideal for dividing open-plan offices into reconfigurable and flexible work areas.
Tilt Flexible tables are an agile solution that is easily stored, relocated, and adaptive. We think as more businesses introduce hybrid working, Tilt Flexible will make a clever work surface for changing working environments.
With a 25mm thick top panel available in various MFC wood finishes or veneer, optional top panel edge detail, and multiple metal frame colours.
The first thing we noticed about the comfortable Vice Versa Mesh seat range, designed by Alberto Basaglia and Natalia Rota is its superior patented interlocking system allowing the product to be assembled without the need for any screws. In this range, they offer a selection of polypropylene or upholstered seat options with a mesh backrest available in three colours, and with frames available in Chrome, Silver, Black, Black Graphite, or White.
These chairs can be stacked up to 40 high, making them perfect for areas where space is a premium.
The mesh chairs in the showroom were finished in Svensson-Mingle chenille fabric seat which boasts a high wear-resistance, and a stylish black mesh back. The table was finished with a Grey MFC top, combined with an elegant black edge and frame.
More about Elite Office Furniture:
Founded in 1986, Elite Office Furniture has experienced progressive growth over the past 36 years with impressive manufacturing and showroom facilities in East Yorkshire, and inspirational showroom space in the heart of London. Elite is a pivotal manufacturer of contemporary and adaptive workspace furniture and seating solutions.
Discover more of the showroom using Elite’s clever 3D virtual tour
Connection Furniture UK
Following a hearty bacon roll and the informative tour at Elite’s showroom we headed to Connection Furniture UK showroom, which was just a 2-minute walk door to door.
Connection furniture is a design and manufacture partner that provide innovative commercial workspace furniture that adapts to the quickly changing ways in which people work and learn.
Designed by the Connection team, the Harp screen is designed with the use of bungee cords that resemble the look of a harp instrument. This design is used to construct ‘walls’ that create an effective division in open-plan agile spaces, without obstructing visibility or creating a permanent structure.
With adaptable multifunctional configurations, you can create ‘neighbourhoods’ to allow the convenient evolution of spaces to flex to emerging collaboration and hybrid workplace trends.
This trend-setting flexible range is eye-catching, and a vastly distinctive style to the traditional design of screening we are used to seeing. With biophilia also being a prominent office trend, this range is available with planter modules to support space acoustics alongside aesthetically zoning settings.
We cannot wait for the opportunity to specify this product!
The Muse seat is an intriguing hybrid seat, with a fantastic acoustic privacy offering. Designed with a high back, and lid top, this chair seat helps create a private space in public areas including waiting zones, and open plan agile workspaces.
We love the Muse chair, it is comfortable, stylish, and perfect for use in post-covid workspaces. Displayed with a black metal frame, this range is also available with a sophisticated wooden leg available in a variety of fabrics, vinyl, or leathers.
The Nomad range is a seamless mobile soft seating solution, designed to perfectly fit into the new culture of shared spaces including workspaces and educational settings.
Supplied with castors, these single, double, or triple seats can be easily manoeuvred when required to create flexible informal meeting spaces, networking zones, or collaboration areas allowing the user the freedom to choose where and how to work.
We loved the use of two-tone fabric which really highlighted the modern colour trends in today’s design industry.
We love the Peacework range, which is also a Mixology 20 finalist product. The high back design creates a tranquil ‘inner peace’ space to help users escape a hectic or noisy office space.
This lightweight range is 100% recyclable and has a reusable PET felt surround which is formed from recycled plastic waste. These modern booth-type seats boast great sound absorption and reverberation qualities and can include a writing tablet available in White, Grey, Black, or wood laminate tops.
The Tier range is a collection of 2 and 3 -tier auditorium seating modules that can be configured to seat multiple groups for focused meetings, presentations, and effective learning environments.
With inspiration from Greek theatre architecture, the high back and side end-runs balustrades offer semi-visual privacy and points the user’s focus forward.
We feel this range of furniture would be a fantastic addition for any school or college, or training environment.
More about Connection Furniture:
Connection Furniture UK has a great portfolio of dynamic furniture solutions that are agile, and intuitive and support the working practices for all types of environments.
The Senator Group
After a busy morning, and lots of nice coffee, we headed to The Senator Group’s impressive new showrooms for a working lunch, and a tour of their inspiring working showroom at Back Hill, in Farringdon.
Home to Senator, Allermuir, and Torasen brands, the Senator Group delivers innovative furniture solutions across five continents.
Cube storage shelving is a popular choice in modern offices. Designed by Allermuir Design, this range named Crate Divide is a cube-based modular storage system, with a prime function as a room divider. Pre-built components can be easily connected to create zones within existing workspaces.
We love this functional and flexible storage solution, which can include biophilia planters, door fronts, and castors to make this unit completely mobile and adaptable.
The Play mobile range is a portable collaboration range of units to create unique working possibilities. These versatile units can be used to store, divide, or collaborate. Designed for agile spaces with flexibility at its design core.
The mobile play table is a great functional worktable designed to perfectly suit agile and flexible environments.
Play is perfectly matched with Palio in our photo, with Palio providing a softer approach to the more formal bench desking systems.
Palio is available in a collection of single and back-to-back desks, as well as multiple project tables to suit both formal and informal working styles.
We just love everything about the Jinx chair. The contemporary range styled like a beanbag, radiates comfort and geometric form, with defining angular lines, and was the perfect low seat, to take a well-earned rest on our tour!
This flexible seat is available in single, 2-seater, and 3-seater solutions and is suitable for a wealth of environments.
Mote provides a holistic solution for dynamic environments. The reconfigurable unit is available in a complete lounge seating range and can be used for meetings, learning, or relaxing.
Not only is this range super comfortable with great acoustic properties, but it also supports technology with a variety of inbuilt power solutions available to make sure you can work anywhere which is essential in today’s modern office environment.
More about The Senator Group:
The story began in 1976, and all these years on, the family-run business has grown into one of the largest office furniture manufacturers in the world.
With a constant stream of innovation, product design, and sustainability values, the group of companies provides furniture for office spaces, social and collaboration areas, hybrid working, and educational establishments.
Discover more of The Senator Groups furniture showroom (we’re not going mad, the virtual tour showcases their Chicago showroom, but the furniture inclusion is pretty much identical to the London showroom) using their insightful virtual showroom tour.
Our fourth and final showroom visit, was to Orangebox, The Smartworking Company. Here we discovered a beautiful range of well-designed agile furniture including booths, pods, worktables, soft seating, and the uniquely designed Campers and Den Range.
What is not to love about the intuitive QT telephone booths. These booths from Orangebox are increasingly popular for open spaces. The compact cleverly designed booths provide a private space, so never again will you have to loiter in the corridors or the stairwells whilst call-making!
The Coppice range is a smart choice for an agile working environment where work requires an elevated level of concentration. With their organic shape and smart design featuring environmentally friendly materials, these personal booths are designed to combat noise distractions in the open-plan work environment.
But the benefits do not stop there, its compact footprint, sound-absorbing surfaces, and the ability to add the integration of power and data easily make this workspace solution ideal for new ways of working.
Allow Me is a brand-new chair to the market. This fantastic and extremely comfortable chair is available in four models and is perfect for desk-orientated tasking. The chair features a fixed height arm, which allows the user to rest their elbow and forearm, with a short front-to-back dimension that allows both the user and the chair to get closer to the desk.
What we particularly liked about this range is its flexibility and the encouragement of micro-movements that help users to stay physically and mentally alert. Using the chair armlet, you can simply egress and ingress as the back frame’s progressive resistance provide a safe platform into and out of the chair.
Cub tables are a distinctive range of collaboration meeting and project tables that are central to great Smartworking environments. This range of tables compliments laid-back collaborative environments with a choice of timber stains, metal finishes, and work surfaces.
These tables can incorporate power and lighting options and seamless cable management, which sees cables running seamlessly up the legs and concealed beneath the working surface.
With the increased introduction of hybrid offices, we are sure the Cub range is going to be popular in many modern workspaces.
And lastly, our final showroom highlight is the impressive intuitive Campers & Den range. Cleverly designed around campervan characteristics, this unique, demountable system can be conveniently moved, repositioned, or reused to suit the changing needs of the workplace.
With a patented opening roof scheme, the workspace pods integrate into open-plan spaces perfectly, allowing sprinkler systems to integrate seamlessly into any environment, without the need to build walls or permanent fixtures.
With a customisable canvas, this range is an architect’s or designer’s dream! The range can be tailored with whiteboards, integrated technologies, and a complete furniture range that is designed to work inside and outside of the pods, as well as inside the cabin and under the awnings, with various finishes available including fabrics, laminates, plywood, and painted metals.
Campers and Den are a range we would encourage our customers to explore in person. This range really is Smartworking at its best, it is flexible and can be designed to your own specification and requirements. Campers and Den is so adaptable, you can easily change styles of awnings or pod structures to entirely suit your ever-changing work environment.
More about Orangebox:
Founded over 15 years ago, Orangebox has grown dramatically from its inception into a market-leading Smartworking company. With a philosophy of designing products for collaborative workplaces, Smartworking offers a new pluralism of design choice and functional diversity.
As the sun went down, our London Showroom tour ended, and we all travelled home, buzzing with new creative ideas for post covid workspaces.
If you are looking to transform or enhance your existing or new work or learning space, get in touch, we would love to share how we can help design an effective smart-working environment for your business or to arrange your very own personal tour in any one of our partner manufacturers showrooms, or at our own flagship showrooms in Kimbolton Cambridgeshire, and Leicester.
Last Updated on July 21, 2022