Article by: Désirée Schellerer

Architecture & Design

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)


Marino Formenti, Conductor and Pianist, Vienna

Marino Formenti credit Los Angeles Times

Work and lifestyle at the cutting edge. In discussions with contemporaries we review the assertions, clichés and ideals which circulate around work environments. This time,we spoke with Marino Formenti on the phone. The pianist and conductor (born in 1965) lives in Vienna; he spoke to Désirée Schellerer and Angelika Molk about the importance of the pause in music, ceaseless toil and the carrot and the stick.

Marino Formenti is seen as one of the most interesting musical personalities of our time thanks to his unusual combination of intellect and emotionality. Praised by the Los Angeles Times as "Glenn Gould for the 21st Century", Formenti has made his name in contemporary music and with his quest to combine old and new. Formenti's preference for new, unexpected connections can be seen in the different projects which often experiment with the concert form (Missa, Piano Trips, Nothing is Real, The Party, Piano Integral, Kurtág’s Ghosts, Sieben Letzte Worte). He will shortly appear in the documentary "Schubert und ICH" (Schubert and I), in which Formenti will teach Schubert songs to five musical amateurs in a private setting.

Mr Formenti, the summer edition of our magazine has the theme of "pause". In music, the pause can sometimes have great importance; one only has to think of John Cage. What importance has the pause in your work?
A pause is probably the most important feature in music. Stillness is part of music, similar as it is in life: You need moments to revive yourself. This is, however, sometimes hard in today's world as it has become so much more hectic.

Has the life of the artist also become more hectic?
Even a classical artist is travelling more today as opposed to just two or three generations ago. You can only master this by using routine - but routine is totally uninteresting, it's a bit like playing the same piece over and over again. It is much nicer to look for new ways. This can be very tiring. I don't want to complain though as it is a wonderful life.


Robert Pfaller, Oskar-Kokoschka-Platz, Vienna

Robert Pfaller © Jeff Mangione

Work and lifestyle on the cutting edge. In discussions with contemporaries we review the assertions, clichés and ideals which circulate around work environments. This time we talked with Robert Pfaller, a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Among other places he has been a visiting professor in Amsterdam, Berlin, Chicago, Toulouse and Zurich. The topics covered in his publications include the role of common sense in present-day culture, the pleasure principle and the “good life”. His most famous books include “Wofür es sich zu leben lohnt” (What it’s worth living for) published by Fischer in 2011, and “Die Illusion der anderen. Über das Lustprinzip in der Kultur” (On the Pleasure Principle in Culture: Illusions Without Owners). Robert Pfaller spoke to Désirée Schellerer about his everyday working life, philosophical friendships and the pleasure of concentration.

Robert Pfaller, your research deals a lot with the issue of what makes a good life and what it is worth living for. How significant should daily work be in a good life in your opinion? Doesn’t a lot of work actually stand in the way of the pleasure of a good life?
First of all, drawing on philosopher Georges Bataille, I would like to point out that you work to live. You do not live to work. We should not overlook this difference – particularly as work presently, for example in the so-called creative industry, is generally burdened with high expectations in terms of fulfilment. The demand to have a good and fulfilling job is also legitimate – but only in relation to work and not to life itself. However, many of our contemporaries appear almost unable to lead a fulfilling life unless they work like the devil. Admittedly there are lots of social functions in our society which are linked to work, e.g. related to social contacts, respect, contemporary life, taste, political participation, etc. This is why you can barely lead a good life these days without a reasonably decent job. But the same is true when you have one, as work can threaten to leave no room for a good life.

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.

Jeanette Müller, Vienna and Koh Chang, Thailand

Work and living environments at the cutting edge: In discussions with contemporaries we review the assertions, clichés and ideals which circulate around work environments. This time round, conceptual artist and political scientist Jeanette Müller answers our questions. She tells Désirée Schellerer why she became interested in trust, and how a studio, a laboratory and an office can all fit into a rucksack at the same time. And why.

Jeanette Müller is a conceptual artist and political scientist. She lives in Vienna and Asia and works on transitions between science and art - with a focus on designing cross-cultural communication spaces and global learning. Jeanette Müller graduated from the University of Vienna with a degree in political science and Jewish and Arabic studies. She also studied at the University of Applied Arts and the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Trust and creativity. The Importance of Trust for various Players in Innovation Networks is the title of Jeanette Müller’s dissertation and publication. She was awarded the Theodor Körner Prize for science and art in 2008.

Jeanette Müller, one focus of your work is on the issue of trust – both for your artistic activities as well as for scientific projects. You also wrote a thesis on this subject. How did this come about?
I realised something as a teenager: we can think, decide, act and design either based on trust or motivated by fear. And this has consequences for us and our environment. My decision was a clear one: I wanted to be guided by trust in myself, in other people and the world.

The topic accompanied me through my studies and my artistic work. My thesis then dealt with the issue of the importance of trust for cooperation and social and technical innovations in a society characterised by diversity.

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

Peter Stöger, Franz-Kremer-Allee, Cologne

Work and lifestyle on the cutting edge. In our conversations with contemporaries, we examine the claims, clichés and ideals surrounding our workplaces. This time we are visiting a sports field where the main task consists of working with and in a team – in football. FC Cologne coach Peter Stöger, who has set his new team on a successful course in no time at all, talks with Désirée Schellerer about his “programme”.

Peter Stöger was born and bred in Vienna and began his first career as a football player at Austrian sports clubs. His greatest achievements include winning several championship titles – three times with Austria Wien, once with Rapid – as well as several Austrian Cups. He made 65 appearances for the Austrian national team. He retired as a football player in 2004. That same year Peter Stöger started his second career as a coach. With his coaching, Austria Wien won the Austrian Cup and the championship title, most recently in June 2013. As of this July, Stöger has been the coach of FC Cologne’s first team and has scored swift success: the Cologne team shot to the top of the second division of Germany’s football league in no time at all.

Mr. Stöger, do you have a main workplace or are there two – one outside on the sports field and one in the office?
Yes, I have two workplaces: my office, which I share with three colleagues in the club house at our training area on the outskirts of Cologne. And the sports field. Our office is equipped with four desks and computers for our organisational work. The TVs are also important so that we can watch and analyse video recordings of the games. We also have our coach meetings here in the office. We use a flip chart to keep track of our strategic ideas. I also like using it as a reminder so that I won’t forget important things the next morning.

Kai Stania, Hühnersteigstraße, Vienna

Work and lifestyle on the cutting edge: In our conversations with leading contemporary thinkers, we examine the claims, clichés and ideals surrounding our workplaces. This time we spoke with designer and architect Kai Stania. In a talk with Désirée Schellerer and Angelika Molk he tells us about the office as a status symbol, the design of luxury objects and the beautiful life on top of the hill.

After studying architecture and industrial design in Vienna, Kai Stania assumed the role of project manager in Ron Arad’s studio in London. In 2002, he founded his own design company: kai stania I product design. When it comes to furniture, Stania is involved with TEAM 7 and Wittmann, and he has additionally designed accessories for Cerruti, Ungaro and Cacharel. Kai Stania designed the successful AL Management Series for Bene which, among other accomplishments, served as the workspace for M, the tough female head of MI6, in the James Bond film "Quantum of Solace". Stania lives with his family in Vienna in a house he designed himself, where he can seamlessly bring together aspects of home life and working. In this interview with Désirée Schellerer and Angelika Molk, the architect and designer talks about the office as a status symbol, the world of luxury objects and the good life to be found up on top of the hill.

My desk, my chair, my realm – even today the office is regarded as a status symbol. What are your thoughts about this?
An office of course has a particular value especially for managers. Your watch, your car, your desk – these are the symbols that have a value in the world of business. Status used to be indicated by the table top: the manager or CEO had the thickest table top and sat higher than everyone else, too. Today this type of status is conveyed in a more subtle way, through the use of especially high-quality materials or the elegance with which parts are joined. This partially has to do with the more level hierarchies of the modern office world – more level hierarchies mean that status symbols, whatever they may be, are not as ostentatious as they used to be. The emphasis is instead on understatement and restraint. I think that AL is predestined to symbolise this new style of status symbol.

Anders Byriel, Lundbergsvej 10, Ebeltoft

Work and lifestyle at the cutting edge: In our conversations with contemporaries, we examine the claims, clichés and ideals surrounding our workplaces. This time we spoke to Anders Byriel, CEO of the Danish textile company “Kvadrat“. Byriel, who spends most of the week on the road, told us via email about his nomadic work style and revealed what he appreciates most about his head office.

Anders Byriel is the CEO of the Danish company 'Kvadrat', holding a leading position in the European market of design textiles. "Kvadrat" is renowned for constantly pushing the aesthetic, technological and artistic boundaries of fabrics, using textile "in a way, you would not normally experience it." The company works closely with architects, artists and designers such as Olafur Eliasson, Alfredo Häberli, Peter Saville or Tord Boontje. Kvadrat fabrics have been used in the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Gherkin (London), Yves-Saint Laurent Paris or the Guggenheim Museum (Bilbao). For Bene, "Kvadrat" is exclusively weaving the "Greenwich" fabric designed by PearsonLloyd.

Do you have a "primary workspace", and – if so – where is it?
One day per week I am in my Ebeltoft office with an amazing view of the bay of Ebeltoft. This view I share with most of our staff in Ebeltoft.

The office as a space: What significance and function do you assign to it? 
Productivity and well-being.


PearsonLloyd, 117 Drysdale Street, London, UK

The cutting edge office: We assess reports, clichés and visions that deal with places of work in discussions with contemporaries. In this issue Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd of PearsonLloyd explain the significance their design studio has for them: in conversation with Désirée Schellerer they talk about their office community, declare they love for London and reveal their most important working tools.

Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd founded their design studio PearsonLloyd in London in 1997, and since then it has become one of the most renowned in Great Britain. Their international clients include Artemide, Classicon, Fritz Hansen, Knoll International, Lufthansa and Walter Knoll. Their work is diverse and has received numerous awards. London Designers Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd impressively demonstrate again and again what constitutes high-quality industrial design – namely, the intelligent translation of changing work styles, production possibilities and living circumstances.

Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd, your studio is situated in Shoreditch, an upcoming, creative district in the northeast of London. How did you get there and which criteria were important to make the decision for that studio?

Tom Lloyd (TL):
When we started the studio, Luke and I both lived in West London. Coming east was both a financial decision (looking for cheap studio space) and a creative one. Our first space was in an unheated warehouse on the edge of Spitalfields market, which was then still operating as the primary fruit and veg wholesale market for London. The area then was edgy, a little scary but full of life and energy. Artists had started to occupy discussed commercial property and it was this community that drew us there. In the 16 years since we started, we have been in three different spaces all within a mile of the first space. Shoreditch is now an area full of design and fashion businesses and although very different from 1997, it is a great area to work from.

Luke Pearson (LP): Tom’s brother had a studio right near the city, the financial district. The rent was absurdly low. It seemed like a great idea to take a space that was big and cheap. As soon as we moved in the neighbouring square became an architectural dig. We then moved to Whitechapel and finally bought our studio after cycling past one day. There was a dip in the market and that seemed a good idea although we have outgrown it now in many ways.