The office is trending in warmer, comfortable and residential directions. In response, Keilhauer has developed wooden furniture meant to transform the workplace into a welcoming environment.
In the June issue of Azure, we explored the emerging trends in the modern office – which looks neither like a stuffy grid of cubicles or an austere open-plan studio. Rather, the contemporary workplace has begun to emulate the home: it’s an environment that’s become increasingly welcoming. And that evolution is evident in the newest offerings by Keilhauer, which lean heavily on wood.
The choice to design office furniture with natural materials, says president and creative director Mike Keilhauer, came in response to an increasingly digital workplace. The wireless office untethered workers from their desks, meaning that productivity is now happening anywhere – and meetings, once the stuff of boardrooms, have spread to lounges, collaborative spaces and wherever people gather.
As workplaces become more untucked, so, too, have their furniture choices. “We have seen the office change dramatically with the advent of wireless technology,” Mike says. “We watched as the workplace became less formal, less dressed-up, and wondered how space would evolve in the new casual world. We felt that the need for elements with wood detail would be required to soften space.”
The Toronto furniture brand was among the first to respond to the relaxation of the office, and it shows, especially in their tables. Many add surprising whimsy to the workplace: Stix, a curvaceous table designed by Vienna industrial design studio EOOS, is a moveable perch for laptops, notebooks or phones. The playful Turn, conceived by Patty Johnson, is a circular Maple, Cherry or Walnut table that can be half-painted in six bold colours.
Keilhauer’s wooden range extends to its seating, too. For instance, the Ash-constructed Sip stools, which can be clustered or stand solo, add bold pops of colour, while the Oro lounge/work chair, debuted at NeoCon 2018, features oar-like wooden arms provide a surface for devices, drinks or magazines.
Yes, each of these items are handsome. But what separates Keilhauer’s furniture from residential fare is that they’re purpose-built for productivity. “It was important that we soften our products to give them a more casual feel but not to make them too lounge like as in the home,” says Mike. “People want to be comfortable but they are still working.”
He’s right – there’s a tactful utility to Keilhauer’s wooden offerings. The EOOS-designed Awla table, a gorgeous balance of lines and planes, is offered at bar, counter and conference heights – and maintains its unfettered aesthetic via hidden cable management. Geometry, part of Keilhauer’s breakout space-geared Untucked collection, is a versatile take on the coffee table, available in Walnut and Ash in three shapes and 10 colours.
These design choices were highly intentional. Keilhauer’s finishes can soften workspaces, while tables offered in different heights transition spaces from formal to informal. With their wooden options, the company says, it hopes to foster environments that simultaneously promote comfort and productivity – or, in other words, reflect how we work now.
“We ask ourselves questions: what are our clients asking for? What are the trends that are evolving? How is technology changing the way the people work and interact?” says Mike. “The best products satisfy a need.”
This content was published by Azure in partnership with Keilhauer.