Article by: Nicole Schemerl-Streben

Architecture & Design

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.

Bene News

ORGATEC 2012 – The new ways of working have arrived

“Modern Office & Object” was the organising motto behind the internationally leading office furniture and design trade fair, Orgatec, which took place this year between October 23 and 27 in Cologne. More than 600 represented firms provided some 50,000 visitors with a glimpse of new trends in the modern working environment. Innovative solutions addressing the themes of communication and interaction were clearly central, along with new and highly interesting suggestions for spaces that foster concentrated, individual work.

New working environments in theory and practice

The working world is changing: We are more thoroughly networked and communicate faster, more socially and with more transparency. We have become more mobile and are no longer necessarily attached to one specific workspace. On top of that, the demands we place on our workspace differ according to the type of worker we are: "Solution workers" spend only a limited amount of time at their own desks. They are constantly on the move, meeting customers and communicating digitally; the office is primarily a place for them to drop anchor, for meetings or intensive, concentrated work. Ideal office environments must therefore use their floor space efficiently, providing not only zones for communication and collaboration, but also areas that allow for concentration. The premise behind the "Smart Working" concept is that employees can freely choose their workspace according to their specific tasks or personal preference. The working environment is thus not only a space for dialogue and learning, but also for recreation and rest.

Orgatec 2012 demonstrated in Cologne just how these "New Ways of Working" look in practice, focusing on furnishings, lighting, acoustics and media technology. Ideas for communication and collaboration zones were an omnipresent trend throughout the trade fair’s exhibits. There were hardly any exhibitors who did not present their own version of a comfortable space for informal, quick meetings or brainstorming sessions.

Architecture & Design

Colourful spectacle in Milan

The international design scene met in April for the 51st time in the capital city of Lombardy for the world’s most important design festival: the Salone Internazionale del Mobile. It has long been much more than a trade fair, transforming the entire city into an enormous event space. The organisers report that they counted 330,000 visitors. And this year the festival made the city even more colourful.

Colour rocks…

Bold colours have prevailed everywhere. Cyan blue, an almost classic accent colour, was augmented by new pastel nuances. The mustard yellow of last year made a strong showing and appeared in several shades, even neon yellow. Powdery nude and flesh tones are new and omnipresent. The most striking combinations: nude with yellow or green. Last year’s apple green is yielding to a rich grass green. Along with white, the basic colours are earthy clay tones and rust. Black is used in upholstered furniture for small accents, but gone are the days of black leather sofas. Leather is also appearing in harmonious earthy tones, from nude to rust. Black, however, is the state of the art in table and chair frames. Perhaps the swan song of the chrome era? Black hardware fittings are new and look ultra-elegant in the bathroom.

Architecture & Design

50 years old and still going strong – i saloni Milano 2011

There were other anniversaries to be celebrated this year: Italy’s 150th anniversary and 30 years of Memphis Design enjoyed an ideal setting here. Dynamic, exuberant and bursting with ideas – Milan 2011 shone like a bright star and welcomed around 300,000 visitors who explored the inspiring tumult of furniture design, the art of staging and Italian lifestyle.

Everything is becoming softer now, …

Seemingly amorphous, closely intertwined, one trend leads to another. And all at once, almost imperceptibly, everything changes: and becomes softer. This is not really new, and there have been hints of the trend over the past few years, but now it is clear and obvious.
The brightly coloured, harsh accents of previous years have become much scarcer and have given way to natural colours.

Yellow has returned, in many different shades, but primarily as a soft, very natural mustard yellow. Blue is omnipresent – in all shades ranging from royal blue and cyan to dove coloured.

Architecture & Design

The Brightest Northern Light of Scandinavian Design: The Stockholm Furniture Fair 2011

The world’s largest and most important trade fair for Scandinavian design was held in Stockholm from February 8-10. The fair now has a long tradition; this year, it celebrated its 60-year anniversary. The guest of honour was no less a personage than Israeli-born designer Arik Levy, who transformed the entry lounge into a much-frequented meeting point. This is also where the anniversary celebration was held. And there were several things to celebrate, above all the Swedish producers made themselves the centre of attention. Come along on a winter walk through Stockholm’s design fair!

Spotlights on

The light bar was a popular meeting point that could not be overlooked. About one hundred black suspended luminaires from various designers were hung here, crafting space from above, and bringing inspiration and illumination.

One highlight that was brighter than all the others was the unique light sculpture "Dimension" by Swedish designer Alexander Lervik. The sculpture is on loan from Skandia, for whom it was commissioned. The 1,728 LED-illuminated heads symbolise the employees of Skandia. Overall, the sculpture creates a three-dimensional screen. All of the heads can be controlled individually, which creates exciting plays of light, a completely new technology from the Stockholm Lighting Company.

Architecture & Design

Kasper Salto

Kasper Salto was born to a family of artists in 1967 in Copenhagen, Denmark. His mother Naja Salto was an artist, and his father Sven Poulsson an architect. Even his grandparents were artists. There were a few architects on his father’s side. Among them was his great-grandfather Magnus Poulsson, who worked together with architect Arnstein Arneberg to design the Oslo city hall.

Young Kasper Salto completed his training as a furniture maker in 1988. He then graduated from the Danish Design School. From 1994 to 1998, Salto worked for designer Rud Thygesen, a renowned Danish furniture designer. It was then that he met Peter Staerk. Both of these friendships had a huge influence on his career. In 1997 Salto designed the Runner chair for Peter Staerk, which made him famous both in Denmark and abroad.

In 1998 Kasper Salto opened his own studio in Christianshavn, where he also lives. In the year 2006, he moved the office to Sankt Peders Stræde 22 in the heart of Copenhagen.

Music @ Office

Stimulation or regeneration, distraction or source of concentration. Music can inspire productivity at work as well as offset disruptive background noise. Communication, openness and transparency are considered fundamental principles of modern, open-plan offices today. Anyone can be reached anytime and anywhere; this is a good thing. However, what can one do to escape this setting so as to be able to work in a concentrated and undisturbed manner for a short while – and all without leaving one’s desk?

Acoustic hideaways in an open-office setting

The easiest way to achieve this type of semi-presence is with a pair of headphones and the music of one’s choosing. This allows you to enclose yourself in an acoustic bubble that stimulates your desired mindset. The headphones clearly indicate to those around you that you are not to be disturbed while you work and that except for urgent matters, you are temporarily unavailable for spontaneous conversation. The effect music has on concentration levels varies from person to person. Nevertheless, a large percentage of people prefer to handle unpleasant tasks and claim to be able to concentrate better if music is present.

Rhythm & work

Whereas today music is consumed in a primarily passive manner in the workplace, earlier on it had a more active role in the form of collective singing, which also served to define a pace for manual labour procedures.

How real is the reality of colour?

The world the brain presents in spectacular colours is in fact colourless. The term colour is only meaningful in regard to a living organism with sensory cells for light. These sensory cells have developed differently for each species – not all species see one and the same object in the same colour. Nonetheless – colour is one of the most important perceptions and is associated with the following: emotion, information and communication.

Sense of colour

A world in colour is the product of our brain. Colour is not a physical property of an object - it is a sensation, just like smell or taste. Colour is generated only when light of a particular wavelength falls onto the retina of the eye and specialized sensory cells generate a nerve impulse, which is routed to the brain where it is perceived as being colour.

How humans perceive colour

Humans are trichromats, which means they possess three different types of colour receptors – for red, green and blue light – and are able to distinguish a wide range of colours, approximately 10 million in total.

Light attracts colour

The desire for light and colour is one of the strongest emotional human needs. Light and colour belong together; there is no colour without light. Colour is a specific form of light: therefore we provide illuminating information in our latest Office.Info on the topic of "Bene Spectrum".

"Colours are the children of light."
Johann Wolfgang v. Goethe

Light is a prerequisite for colour. Adequate lighting at the office is essential for our well-being. 

The phenomenon of light

Light is made up of electromagnetic waves that are perceived differently and that vary according to their wavelengths. Light is only a minor aspect of this phenomenon. Our most important source of light is the sun, while only one per cent of the electromagnetic spectrum of the sun is that what we refer to as light. Namely the range from ca. 380 to 720 nanometres.

Colour – It’s all about the right dosage.

Mainly upbeat signal colours are spotted that stand out in trendy offices by using refreshing accents. Such a welcome change after decades of uniform "harmony". However, the same rule applies to colours and natural stimulants: Colour – It’s all about the right dosage. Too much colour may upset rather than inspire.

Too much colour at the office may be counterproductive and that's ultimately what it's all about: productivity; which is supposed to be enhanced through the right design and colour arrangement of the work environment.
Colourful accents in upbeat colours create – used in the right amount – a dynamic and refreshing atmosphere. Colour is information and emotion, a prime example of communication without words. Colour can – used skilfully – induce certain moods; colour can even be used to manipulate.

Who doesn’t enjoy spotting green nature? Yellow fills the space with light, while orange creates extrovert warmth and light blue is invigorating. The desire for light and colour is one of the strongest emotional human needs.

White – The sum of all colours.

It is refreshing and brings brightness. The trend toward white has emerged in recent years – and continues to dominate all industries. Previously shunned for worktops due to its strong reflective quality, white has been increasingly sought out for the office. Physically, white is the sum of all colours and does not have any negative connotations.