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Spotlight: Workspace
These ingenious office interiors and products let you take care of business — whether at your desk, in the metaverse or in silent meditation pods.
Shanghai’s WorkX Social is Part Office and Part Community Hub
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Shaal modular contract seating collection by Arper
4 Modular Contract Seating Collections Built for Lounging
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Installation by HUSH Design Agency at Uber's San Francisco office.
Immersive Light Installations Bring These Tech Offices’ Missions to Life
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Work Series Two meeting table by Another Country.
4 Functional — and Beautiful — Tables for Office Gatherings
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Andrew Lane and Tessa Bain of Toronto firm Digby, focused on creating metaverse experiences
Exploring the Metaverse’s Impact on the Future of Work
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Tulsi screen divider by 3form
4 Stylish Screens That Enable Privacy in the Workplace
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Headspace office meditation pod
These Meditation Pods Offer Respite From the Stressors of Office Life
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Spotlight: Workspace

Even after more than two years, the threat of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders remains a constant around the globe, and many people continue to contemplate ever returning to physical office spaces. Since commercial building owners arguably have the most to lose from permanent work-from-home, landlords worldwide are brainstorming new services to dissuade tenants from shuffling off their leases. In downtown Shanghai, local real estate developer Shui On Land has devised one such solution, proposing a two-for-one offer — supporting business growth and encouraging strong social connections — that is available not only to office tenants of its recently completed Ruihong Tiandi development but also to area residents.

Hallway at WorkX Social Shanghai

Called WorkX...

Shaal modular contract seating collection by Arper
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Shaal by Arper
Shaal seating by Arper

A study in duality by London-based studio Doshi Levien, Shaal combines residential comfort with the flexibility of modularity, and a sense of weightlessness with generous volumes. Six core elements can create angular or linear two- or three-seat compositions, each framed in a rigid panel that supports the supple cushions. A range of leathers and textiles is offered for the hard and soft segments; the removable upholstery can be replaced to extend the life of the sofa, and all components are recyclable.

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Prescott by Plural Studios
Prescott seating by Plural Studios

Like a well-tailored suit, Prescott can be customized to perfectly fit its surroundings. The modules are built in 76.2-centimetre increments and include armless,...

Installation by HUSH Design Agency at Uber's San Francisco office.

In the late 1990s, while taking a summer program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design intended to help students refine their ideas and build a strong portfolio before applying to architecture school, David Schwarz had a revelation of sorts: Maybe he didn’t actually want to become an architect after all. Though he still loved buildings, his interests had begun to drift away from the analog aspects of the industry. “By 1999, I had moved to San Francisco, and I got swept away in the digital design revolution,” he says. At the time, tech start-ups were thundering onto the global stage.

Light Forest installation by HUSH Design Agency at Instagram's San Francisco office.
The Light Forest installation at Instagram’s San Francisco office transforms the platform’s community photos and videos into a...
Work Series Two meeting table by Another Country.
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Hook Up by Three H
Hook Up desking by Three H.

With beautifully simple lines and practical accessories, the Hook Up collection by Toronto design firm MSDS Studio can accommodate all manner of meeting and work types. A universal rail connects tables together and can be fitted with privacy panels, letter trays, storage boxes, planters in different sizes, cupholders and power receptacles — all without the need for tools. The steel frame and legs are offered in nine standard colours (customizing is also an option), and three table heights are available.

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Mitis by StudioTK
Mitis meeting table by StudioTK in an office with a bookshelf.

Part of the mid-century-modern-inspired Punt collection, the Mitis table by Barcelona-based designer Mario Ruiz highlights the natural beauty of wood through its...

Andrew Lane and Tessa Bain of Toronto firm Digby, focused on creating metaverse experiences

While many of us may be slowly accepting the mere existence of the metaverse, forward-thinking companies are rushing to harness its potential. They just need to figure out how. That’s Andrew Lane’s job. At Toronto-based firm Digby, Lane and his fellow co-founder Tessa Bain help clients uncover opportunities for authentic metaverse experiences to accelerate retail innovation — utilizing web 3.0 technology, NFTs and the blockchain, as well as delivering sales and business development and other means of support. It’s the next significant evolution of the web and, if applied in a meaningful way, Lane tells Azure, it could influence the future of work.

Utility Won’t Be Universal

How do we create something in the metaverse that’s...

Tulsi screen divider by 3form
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Steelcase Flex Personal Spaces
Steelcase Flex Personal Spaces privacy screen

Working together, these curved privacy wraps and specially shaped desks carve out a cocoon-like area for focused work, video calls or quiet conversations. Tufting details on the canopy give it a tailored look, while a portfolio of accessories (hooks, nameplates, integrated lighting, modesty panels, free- standing screens and pin-tackable surfaces) allows for diverse set-ups.

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Frame Mobile by Lintex
Frame Mobile office divider screen by Lintex

Refining the basic whiteboard, the double-sided Frame Mobile enfolds its rounded corners in a bentwood casing that outlines the inset magnetic writing surfaces and serves as a handle to easily move the unit. Designed by Christian Halleröd and Matti Klenell, the low-iron...

Headspace office meditation pod
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Iris by Openseed
Iris office meditation pod by Openseed

A three-part collaboration between meditation-pod-maker OpenSeed, designer Yves Béhar (founder of multidisciplinary studio Fuseproject) and Deepak Chopra, Iris is a successful blend of industrial design, wellness technology and sustainability. The womb-shaped, assembled-on-site capsule features a structure partially made from 3D-printed upcycled saw-dust with 100 per cent natural sound-absorbing felt panels. Intended to “quiet the chatter and help…refocus on our well-being,” the stand-alone micro-environment is equipped with immersive audio for guided meditation, aromatherapy and specially designed LED sequences that are synchronized with the sound aspect, all controlled through an unobtrusive built-in...