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Comfort Zone 21

At the hay booth at Orgatec, an almost incognito Kon­stan­tin Grcic picked up a chair from atop a table, turned it over to check out its construction and pushed on its flexible back. It wasn’t his own model the German designer was testing but part of Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec’s Copenhague collection of classroom and office furniture. “It’s nice, he remarked. “I just didn’t want to sit on it and break the prototype.”

One great designer (who also debuted a smart-­looking classroom chair, the Pro for Flötotto) admiring the work of others seemed to embody what this all-encompassing, biennial contract furniture fair is all about: innovation and inspiration. At the enormous and exhilarating Vitra stand, groups of showgoers wearing headsets followed along as company reps described the latest products, and men in suits made phone calls at desks concealed behind sound-absorbing Workbays, another standout product by the Bouroullec brothers. The main thrust at Vitra was intimate nooks, whether in supersized versions, such as the giant enclosures used as display cases for the brand’s accessories; or in miniature ones, like Antonio Citterio’s latest iteration of task chairs with all manner of felted hoods. The idea that the workplace could provide a respite from work itself was also expressed at Carpet Concept’s New Silence exhibit, where you could don a pair of headphones and listen to waves crashing against a shore. At Haworth, three women crowded into the CalmSpace sleep capsule, to experience its soothing light and sound emanations.

These privacy-boosting systems were conveyed in vibrant colours, as were many new seating options. Walter Knoll and Tecno had perhaps the most beautiful seats on offer: the former’s curvaceous Seating Stones, and the latter’s low-slung Archipelago.

Many idiosyncratic systems were also on display, from Prooff’s SideSeat, by Studio Makkink & Bey, to Unifor’s retro writing stations by Fernando Urquijo and the ultra-minimal LessLess by Jean Nouvel. Clearly, manufacturers of high-end design are focusing on ways to make the office a pleasure.

Comfort Zone 01
1 Dim Sum by Simon Pengelly
Simon Pengelly cooked up Dim Sum for Montis, in the form of a rocking chair for modern contract spaces. Padded in polyurethane foam, with walnut or oak runners, it comes clad in leather or fabric. ­montis.nl

Comfort Zone 02
2 Beta desk by Tecno
Tecno presented vibrant seating and an update of its Beta desk system. The latter’s main element is a 120-centimetre-long backbone module that doubles as storage. When plugged into it, work surfaces, screens and accessories create multiple configurations. ­tecnospa.com

Comfort Zone 03
3 BuzziWings by BuzziSpace
Taking privacy out of the box, BuzziSpace and Couvreur.Devos launched BuzziWings, felt partitions suspended from the ceiling – with an in­tegrated light source – that frame work or casual areas. ­buzzispace.com

Comfort Zone 04
4 A chair by Jehs + Laub
Jehs + Laub designed the A chair for Brunner with the ability to mix and match its material components: a frame in die-cast aluminum or plastic and a wooden shell. ­brunner‑group.com

Comfort Zone 05
5 Copenhague collection by the Bouroullecs
The undeniable star at the Hay stand was the Bouroullecs’ Copen­hague collection of tables and chairs, ori­gin­ally designed for the University of Cop­e­nhagen. Supported by a trestle frame, the wooden pieces are flexible and elegant. ­hay.dk

Comfort Zone 06
6 Pillow wall panel by Robert Bronwasser
Designer Robert Bronwasser came up with the Pillow wall panel for Cascando. Available in a multitude of colours, it’s both decorative and versatile, as a sound-­­dampening
device, a magazine rack or a garment hanger. ­cascando.nl

Comfort Zone 07
7 Seating Stones by UNStudio
UNStudio continues to devise surprising designs for Walter Knoll. The latest: the shapely Seating Stones, made with a steel frame and polyurethane foam, upholstered in vibrant duotone fabrics suggestive of Incan textiles. ­walterknoll.de

Comfort Zone 08
8 U-Turn by Michel Charlot
U-Turn, a charming lamp by Michel Charlot for Belux, has a magnetic die-cast aluminum LED head, which enables you to position the light directly or indirectly. Available in pendant, tabletop and clip-on versions. belux.com

Comfort Zone 09
9 Graph chair by Wilkhahn
Wilkhahn’s handsome Graph conference chair, designed by Jehs + Laub and launched in early 2012, now has a matching table. It features cast aluminum legs, and a veneered MDF top in 10‑millimetre-thick reinforced glass. ­wilkhahn.com

Comfort Zone 10
10 Dragon by Kinnasand
Part of Kinnasand’s exuberant Unfold 2013 collection, Dragon unfurls a multi-tone digital print on Trevira. Meant for contract environments, the drapery is best suited for daring spaces. ­kinnasand.com

Comfort Zone 11
11 LessLess by Jean Nouvel
With LessLess, Jean Nouvel updates a desk and storage system he created for Fondation Cartier in 1994. Manufactured by Unifor, the current series includes new storage towers, and finishes in anodized aluminum. ­unifor.it

Comfort Zone 12
12 SideSeat by Studio Makkink
A witty Dutch take on the classroom desk and seat combo, SideSeat, by Studio Makkink & Bey for Prooff, integrates a desk, a cupboard, and a spring-loaded seat that adjusts to individual body weight. ­prooff.com

Comfort Zone 13
13 Cocone by Dauphin
Züco, part of Dauphin’s Human­Design Group, devised Cocone as an “oasis of well-being.” Defined by a curved one-piece wooden shell, it’s available in one-, two- or three-seaters, with an optional built-in lamp. ­zueco.com

Comfort Zone 14
14 Workbay by Vitra
Under its Workspirit banner, Vitra rolled out a number of new ideas. The most prominent, the intimate Workbay meeting space, comes in two heights and several work surface and seating combinations. ­vitra.com

Comfort Zone 15
15 Framework 2.0 by Fantoni
A box module forms the name­sake structure of Framework 2.0, by Fantoni. A built-in desk extends from this unit, which can be left open or fitted with storage compartments. The components are made of recycled chipboard. ­fantoni.it

Comfort Zone 16
16 CalmSpace by Haworth
Haworth takes the trend of the private nook to its logical extreme with CalmSpace. This sleep capsule, outfitted with a slim foam mattress, can be programmed with a sound and light show that runs for a 10- to 20‑minute power nap. ­haworth.com

Comfort Zone 17
17 Liquid Lounge by Studio Cibidi
Liquid Lounge, by Studio Cibidi for Castelli, shows another approach to private seating. The modular system includes a range of accessories, from occasional tables to lighting integrated into the backrest. ­castelli.it

Comfort Zone 18
18 Fly by Lievore Altherr Molina
In a range of shapes and sizes, the tabletops of Fly, by Lievore Altherr Molina for Sellex, seem light as air and incredibly versatile. They are made with injection-­moulded aluminum legs and MDF tops. ­sellex.es

Comfort Zone 19
19 Link by Hee Welling
LaPalma presented Link, a new chair in curved wood, by Hee Welling. The seat, with legs or a swivel base, comes in ash, blanched oak or Cana­letto walnut, and in white and black stains. ­lapalma.it

Comfort Zone 20
20 Pro by Konstantin Grcic
The sinuous Pro, by Konstantin Grcic for Flötotto, represents the latest evolution of the classroom chair. Grcic emphasizes the flexibility of his plastic chair, with its round seat, slim backrest and multiple base options. ­floetotto.de

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