Top 5 Office Furniture Design Trends for 2012

 

At its heart, office furniture is about fashion. Manufacturers consistently strive to accommodate changes in the workplace and with that comes new looks and trends. Below are a just few things you can expect to see in the upcoming year.

Steampunk and Vintage/Modern Grunge

steampunk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many designs in 2012 will incorporate some of these concepts. If you’re not familiar with the steampunk movement, it’s where vintage meets industrial. There is also a complementary trend that marries earthy tones and materials with modern aesthetics. The eco-friendly movement has brought us new offerings that incorporate reclaimed materials and scrap-wood construction. And wood is always good, even if it’s painted red, black or white.

 

Technology meets collaboration

 

technology meets collaboration

The trend in recent years at industry trade shows, has been a steady rise in furniture with baked-in technology. This includes everything from hidden outlets and cable management to built-in speakers and wireless charging systems. Most recently, manufacturers have focused on more ad-hoc collaborative areas that people tend to utilize in open plan offices. Expect this to continue, with more focus on built-in screens and wireless technologies.

 

Textured Textiles and Monochromatic Colors

textured textiles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There will be more focus on textures like leather, metallic and fur (possibly), with less focus on patterns. The most popular colors will be red, black, white and gray – gray being the relative newcomer this year. Bright colors, contrasts against neutral tones or two-toned shades of the same color, will be reserved more for utility driven areas such as open meeting spaces, waiting and children’s areas.


LED Lighting

led lighting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under-counter, color-changeable lighting will continue to be popular, as will the proliferation of task lighting. While the promise of CFL lights is all but dead, new breeds of LED lights are on the way that will likely make their way into work spaces across America.

Materials Exposed

exposed materials

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transitional styles utilizing wood, metal, glass will continue their meteoric rise in popularity this year. Expect more foil/aluminum/stainless steel and mirror finishes. Where plastics are utilized, expect them – along with glass – to be bright, bold and translucent.

What trends are you seeing as we enter 2012? What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.


Electronics Charging Unplugged. How Does This Effect Office Furniture?

 

The answer is – a great deal.

Can you imagine being able to simply lay your laptop or phone on a desk and it automatically begins to recharge your battery if needed? Well, the technology for wireless charging embedded into furniture is here and being manufactured, now.

So, why do we need it?
As noted in a recent whitepaper from KI, titled Charging Ahead: Intelligent Wireless Power for Real World Environments, the explosive growth of the portable electronics industry has helped to reinvent the way consumers and businesses work, play and communicate.

• According to the Consumer Electronics Association, the average U.S. household owns 25 consumer electronics products
• It is estimated that by 2013, the average U.S. household will have 2.5x as many digital media devices in use as in in 2008.
• These portable devices are being transported into the workplace, community spaces and campus buildings and the number of these electronics continues to increase daily.

Now, imagine an office environment having to support all of these devices when it comes to recharging the batteries. The cord clutter alone becomes a bit overwhelming doesn’t it? Not to mention the number of wall sockets that will be required to accommodate the increasing number of portable electronics. Hence, the push for wireless charging.

Wireless power
Some furniture manufacturers such as KI are already looking to the future by partnering with Fulton Innovation and embedding wireless charging into their furniture with eCoupled technology. The results include flat surfaces such as desks and counter tops that will have the capability of charging batteries simply by laying your device on the surface. This intelligent technology will not only know if your device needs charging, it will immediately begin the charging process.

IMS Research projects that over 900 million devices will be in the market by 2019 using wireless charging and over 50% of the market will use embedded solutions.

How do you feel about wireless charging? Will you consider purchasing furniture with this capability?

For more information on how the technology actually works when embedded in furniture check out this video be sure to read the KI pdf listed here.