This issue’s Industrial Design section is devoted to a couple of sectors that have proved their ability to move with the times and adapt to evolving functional demands on them.

The first of these is the Office, both the place and its furniture and fittings. The standard office is increasingly a thing of the past, since office equipment is now designed to be moveable and to fit in anywhere you care to put it. Another trend that emerges from the latest products of the office fittings manufacturers is the effort that is going into making work more enjoyable, which involves the use of colour, and the creation of a more home-like and relaxing ambience. We saw that at the 2004 edition of the Eimu Show, which formed part of the Milan Furniture Fair in April. The Eimu theme was “Work and Emotion” and challenged the exhibitors to come up with innovative new designs for working environments that would meet human as well as business needs.

The same focus on the human side has come to the fore in the design of the materials used in office decor, where much work has been done on the influence of colour and tactile sensations on people’s emotional status. Office outfitting companies are making a major effort in this direction, which involves both identifying new materials and finding new, high profile applications for the materials that already exist. That research and more importantly an intelligent blend of tradition, culture and technology, aided by increasingly sophisticated processing techniques, is enabling designers and manufacturers in this sector to optimise the qualities of traditional fabrics, laminates and glass, in a way that allows them to innovate without losing touch with reality.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 148

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