Team trumps all

A new spin on the office: Bene brings fresh pep into the office with the TIMBA Table and TIMBA Stool, designed by PearsonLloyd, offering the best conditions for creative cooperation and dynamic teamwork.

Cooperation is the key word. Employees shift back and forth between meeting rooms, places and spaces for communication, team and project work, workshops and desks. TIMBA, the new furniture line from Bene, was developed especially to create a pivotal point of focus for teams in modern office landscapes.

TIMBA Table and TIMBA Stool take you by surprise with their solid oak construction and rotating features. The oak legs of the table and stools convey stability and warmth. The round swivel base brilliantly provides the team access to power and the network via the “Power Bowl” in the centre of the TIMBA Table. The TIMBA Stool’s round, swivelling seat surface ensures optimal freedom of movement during discussions and promotes dynamism and interaction. When people are relaxed in terms of their posture, they remain flexible and open to new ideas.

A table for the team

“Meetings in the office are no longer events you always go to a separate room to conduct. They are just as likely to be quick, unplanned, and informal. TIMBA was developed for an open type of cooperation that is done at a shared table; it fills precisely that gap between informal collaboration and the formal setting delivered by traditional meeting rooms.” (Tom Lloyd, PearsonLloyd)

Work in Progress: The Architect

A generalist and a specialist. God and Ted Mosby. Architects come in all shapes and sizes. What they actually have to be able to do has been discussed for thousands of years.

The world in seven days

Based on things in our part of the world, that have been shaped by Christian faith – you only need to think of the way we calculate our calendars – the Creator could be called the first architect, having created the entire world in six days plus a day of rest according to the Bible. There is a reason why early depictions of the creation of the world often show Jesus Christ representing the Father and measuring the globe with a compass. God as the architect is an example which combines both the power of the idea as well as the capacity of design and execution in itself, thereby indicating an ideal which has occupied the discussion around architecture for thousands of years.

Ever since people have been able to document buildings there has been a discussion over what the architect’s responsibilities really are. The word architect, which comes from Ancient Greek and which thanks to Latin is still used to designate the profession today, provides merely inadequate or partial information on the meaning of the term as we now use it. For instance it can be translated as “Chief Craftsperson” – and some architects would indeed rightly consider this to be an inadequate description of their activity.

All eyes on design: Milan 2014

The mood in Milan for the 53rd Salone Internazionale del Mobile was as bright as the sunshine. More than 355,000 visitors gathered in the glorious spring weather of the Lombard metropolis of design to be inspired by the flood of items on display. Clear trends: the huge variety of colours, solid craftsmanship and sophisticated functionality. TIMBA fits right in with this: Bene’s new table was presented in Milan for the first time.

All that glitters is not gold…

The trend towards Scandinavian modernism was also obvious among the variety of items offered at this year’s furniture fair. There was more wood on show than has been the case for a long time, lots of light oak, and lots of solid wood. The very rustic wood look – often kept ostentatiously coarse by using a brushed finish – is contrasted in an exciting way with smooth upscale materials such as glass and high-gloss surfaces. Vintage metals are also being combined with wood. Metal is a must have, whether it's gold, brass or copper.

Stockholm Furniture Fair - beautiful things for everyday

Kvadrat Stockholm Furniture Fair

The Stockholm Furniture Fair is small, but exquisite. In addition to the best known Scandinavian producers, a number of international greats also present their new living, lighting and office design products here. Bene was there for the second time. Of course, we brought along  our products  for today’s modern working environment.

"Vackrare Vardagsvara"

In 1919 the chairman of the Swedish Design Council tried to explain the uniqueness of Scandinavian design with the words “Vackrare Vardagsvara”:  “More beautiful things for everyday use.” The light and pureness of Scandinavian shaping and design has since set precedents all around the world, and the Nordic design language is now spoken just about everywhere.

Designing Toguna Circle

PearsonLloyd by Mark Cocksedge

At the beginning of the collaboration between PearsonLloyd and Bene it was evident that there was a desire to develop a completely new unconventional furniture system able to foster spontaneous communication and collaboration as well as usher in a new era of office life. PARCS is the response to the growing importance of knowledge work, which is the main driver of demand for a new generation of furniture products and inspirational workplaces.

PARCS has already won a number of international design awards and is already established as one of the most important and successful ranges in the Bene portfolio.

The idea and name Toguna originates in Mali, West Africa. There it describes a meeting place where the village elders meet to make important decisions. The PARCS Toguna is a semi-enclosed, free-standing capsule and is the most distinctive product in the range, a place for brainstorming, short meetings or private conversations which people can do while sitting, standing or leaning. Toguna is the most compact meeting room in the world. Now the latest development is the Toguna Circle.

What were the most important considerations in the development of Toguna Circle?
Since it was launched in 2009, Toguna has enjoyed a great deal of positive feedback from architects, designers and end-users. The starting point of PARCS is the idea that people are productive when they are away from their main place of work. Toguna represents a new step in this direction: towards an informal, semi-private meeting room within an office to encourage the exchange of ideas, cooperation as well as creativity and innovation. These are the most wellestablished contemporary demands in the market.

A Hot Spot in the Office

Toguna Circle is the latest furniture launched by Bene as part of the groundbreaking and successful PARCS range designed by Pearson Lloyd. It has been developed to create team spaces within open plan office environments. The lounge-like design of Toguna Circle creates lively meeting spaces to support a range of activities and simultaneously foster great team spirit. It is this dual approach that catalyses interactions between team members, accelerates communication and collaboration. The range also incorporates media boards for presentations and videoconferencing.

With its half-height, upholstered walls, Toguna Circle creates a room within a room, but one that is not fully enclosed. With a diameter of three metres, it provides plenty of space for up to ten people. The result is a private workspace that doesn’t cut people off from what is happening outside, because people can see both into and out of Toguna Circle.

In fast-moving open plan workplaces that encourage people to move constantly between personal and group working areas, me- and we-places, Toguna Circle offers a dynamic focal point for a single team, an ad-hoc meeting place.

Lights on: LED lanterns light up the work environment

Together with Nimbus, the pioneer and innovation leader in LED technology, Bene has developed new luminaires for the new areas of the office: Lamps. The clear and simple design of the lamps comes from the PearsonLloyd design office in London.
They may look like small lighthouses such as navigation lights or lanterns in the communication islands and work bays of the office’s urban landscape – but in all cases, the new lamps from Bene are sophisticated light dispensers. With optimum light quality they not only illuminate the work area, they also create a pleasant atmosphere, and as such ensure increased well-being for employees.

Simple and clear with an almost archetypal design, the lamps bear the unmistakable mark of PearsonLloyd, and go with PARCS and DOCKLANDS, the two most successful product ranges for communicative and temporary working from the London studio for Bene. In terms of form the luminaires remind us of modern street lights – which is not surprising when you think of how much Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd like to design urban furniture and city lighting.

The best light quality with innovative technology

Nimbus developed this new luminaire range exclusively for Bene. Innovative technology ensures that lamps provide glare-free light and the ideal light temperature. The luminaires can be intuitively operated and dimmed, using contact-free gesture control. The sensor for this is located in the base of the lamp. The light dims or brightens slowly and continuously by waving your hand 2-3 cm over the sensor.

The lamps are available in two sizes: 450 × 180 mm or 500 × 250 mm, und in two different designs: as a floor lamp or as a model mounted directly on the table top.Nimbus – an innovative company in Stuttgart

Let there be LED!

“That’s not just a nice cosy spot, it’s quite a town,
you need quite a few Watts to see everything well there.” Kurt Weill / Bertolt Brecht “Berlin im Licht”, 1928

The sentence quoted comes from a song which Kurt Weill composed together with partner Bertolt Brecht for the “Berlin im Licht” (Berlin in the Light) promotional week in 1928, which saw the German capital shining in electrical splendour. Berlin presented itself to the whole world as a progressive and radiant city of a thousand lights – the “Electropolis”.

The song and event perfectly display what light is frequently associated with: progress, modernity and innovation.

The triumphal procession of electrical light did not just make an innovative contribution to designing public spaces – the work environment also changed immensely, for instance through the possibility of night work and of working in artificial light.

Enlightening offices

You are bound to have heard that Eskimos apparently have a large number of words for snow. It should be a similar case for light – after all, light is not identical in all cases by a long shot, as it can occur in the most diverse colours and forms and fulfil the widest range of functions.

We use lamps and luminaires to create a certain atmosphere, whether at home, in museums or in window displays. The focus is usually on functionality when artificial light is used, for instance for road traffic, on a football field or in operating theatres.

Choosing the right lighting for the office is also essential. Light at workplaces should be functional and practical, so that employees have the required perspective at all times. Poor or inadequate lighting or even lighting that is too bright leads to fatigue, eye problems and headaches – all of which are very unwelcome in people’s everyday working lives.

Milan Revisited

An entire city dedicated to design: this year the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, the world’s largest furniture fair, attracted more than 300,000 visitors. The new creations and reinterpreted classics weren’t just displayed on the trade fair grounds – as part of the SaloneFuori, new and familiar faces alike showed their exciting designs throughout the districts of Milan.

Everything retro

In recent years the biggest trends and most extravagant presentations were mainly found in the centre of town, but in 2013 many of the large brands focused again on their presentation at the trade fair: Over 2,500 exhibitors presented new home and office furniture products as well as lighting design in an area covering more than 200,000 square metres. Many exhibitors such as Vitra, Cappellini and Kartell designed their stands as impressively as if they were stage sets. One major trend turned out to be playing with nature, either in terms of materials (cork, felt, marble and even paper were on display), structure, texture or in how the designs were presented. This idea was matched by the colour trends: in addition to a wide range of pastel shades, natural hues like nude, terracotta and yellow were everywhere. Also én vogue: retro colours such as a pale antique pink, dark teal and brown shades.

Responsive architecture: Better “alive” than “there for all eternity“

Rolling Masterplan

Heliotropic buildings, skyscrapers with vibration absorbers, walls with integrated phase selectors, dancing facades, moving walls, and buildings that are bigger inside than out – 21st-century architecture is interactive. And very much alive.

We like to take for granted the enormous variety of specific architectural solutions for the places where we live and breathe and work: from the igloo to the tent in the desert, the bunker to the space station. But we still have a stereotypical image in our minds when we hear the word "building": static, passive and universal. However, buildings intended to cope with today's lifestyles are (we hope!) changeable and adapted to specific circumstances, or even customisable in themselves. And they need to be, as they do not all face the same demands in every location.

Whether it be the climate, potential (natural) risks, the setting for the buildings (surrounding landscape, architecture or culture), their purpose and function, symbolic expression and aesthetic requirements, energy aspects, mobility needs, the space they need, building regulations – there are a host of challenges. This is especially true whenever buildings are expected to respond interactively to the life they accommodate even after they have been "completed".

The first step is straightforward

… because throughout the history of architecture, problems and priorities may have changed but the same structural solution can still work for different starting points. Take a specific example: buildings on stilts. Although the main reason for their existence has long been to protect their inhabitants from wild animals, enemies and flood waters, you will still find today in city centres – far removed from such dangers – buildings standing on pillars. Now they are meant to create an open space below a building to meet and interact with others. This is a way for buildings to react to the restricted space available in today’s cities and meet the needs of their residents.

The advantage of experience

There are also places where the problems are the same as they have ever been, but where the solutions vary from the traditional to the modern. When Nias Island near Sumatra was hit by major earthquakes in 2005, nearly all of the buildings collapsed – except those that had followed tradition when they were built. Their locations on hilltops and their construction on three levels (substructure, coherently constructed living space and a very high light roof) were ideally adapted to the local danger of earthquakes.