At home: (not) like the office

It is a well-known fact that the identity of spaces is becoming increasingly “liquid.” In the workplace we rely on divider panels for concentration and privacy, but we also display snapshots and souvenirs of our travels, like windows onto very personal life experiences. At home, our kitchen tables are occasionally covered with notebooks, sticky notes and devices for yet another call. These are everyday realities. But within this need for flexibility, what do we expect from the objects we use to facilitate our lives? Furniture can play a major role. What sets a décor apart as "domestic"? What are the characteristics of “hybrid” products designed for use in both the home and the office? We asked the designers Jeannette Altherr, Raffaella Mangiarotti, Vicente García Jimenez & Cinzia Cumini and Patrick Norguet, who help us to understand the indispensable requirements for a workspace in the home in a video.

I Jeannette Altherr,
co-founder Lievore + Altherr Désile Park

 

 

“Domestic means furniture that speaks to personal values rather than to technology or functionality. The technology we use most in our daily life has become softer and visually discreet. [Office furnishings] need to fit into the complexity of an already existing environment, which is often a collage of pieces, the result of ‘negotiations’ with other members of the family.”

Residenza Privata, © Salva LopezResidenza Privata, © Salva Lopez

“Hybrid work/home furniture brings together the best of both places. It should have the ergonomic quality of office furniture, but paired the warmth and delicate care you want to have from the objects in your home, because they are meant to stay with you for many years”.
—Jeannette Altherr, Co-founder Lievore + Altherr Désile Park

II Raffaella Mangiarotti,
founder Raffaella Mangiarotti Studio

 

 

“We spend more time on work than on private life, often the best time, the very hours in which we are awake. So we should be working in a marvelous place! A functional place, of course, but comfortable, a place that makes us feel good. [...] I try to design hospitable, open spaces, in which people discover the pleasure of being together, while also respecting the desire for privacy and concentration. For me, spaces should transmit a sense of empathy.”

Moodboard of materials, colors and textures – courtesy of Raffaella MangiarottiMoodboard of materials, colors and textures – courtesy of Raffaella Mangiarotti

“Our domestic organization has always been more highly evolved than that of offices. But now the office is taking on these dynamics as well. [Nevertheless] the total sharing of spaces with other people, having different ages and needs, can make work that calls for concentration very difficult. Technologies are helping us to screen out background noise and to create virtual rooms for remote working. I believe, however, that specific furnishings will still be necessary for some time.”
—Raffaella Mangiarotti, Founder Raffaella Mangiarotti Studio

I Vicente García Jimenez and Cinzia Cumini,
founders Garcia Cumini

 

 

“The world of the office is based on longer usage times with respect to home furnishings. Therefore it seeks potential duration, and above all ergonomic comfort that allows us to stay healthy from a physical standpoint. The objects of the home are instead more welcoming, also in terms of their materials, more comfortable in the sense of softness, color, sensations, emotions.”

“[Hybrid furniture] should be an object, and hence a system, that has chameleonic virtues. Something that can fit in, blending and mingling with the setting, with the natural décor that is already there inside the home. [...] The seating factor causes more difficulties, because it has to exist in the context of the home but also be fully adjustable, to permit the long hours of use.”
—Vicente García Jimenez & Cinzia Cumini, Founder Garcia Cumini

I Patrick Norguet,
founder Patrick Norguet Studio

 

 

“Flexibility between the world of work and that of the home, the residential sphere, is an ‘obstacle’ that is emerging for a variety of reasons. [...] The tools of connection we have from morning to night allow us to exchange and communicate, but also to work in completely different hybrid spaces. This has had an impact, over decades, on the evolution of office furniture, based on comfort, on the ergonomics of seating. [...] With the arrival of the digital [...] we have seen the rise of a new way of approaching furnishings, in pursuit of greater versatility [and of] products that are more sensual, more domestic.”

Courtesy of Patrick NorguetCourtesy of Patrick Norguet

“A product with a domestic dimension [...]narrates a story and should have emotional impact. [...] It should be easy to understand. It has wisdom, in the sense that it inserts itself in an ecosystem of other products. And the selection is made by the consumer, it is the result of culture, of the choice of a product according to the function, in keeping with one’s own references and desires. [...] The domestic question is connected with getting beyond preset criteria: it is a question of emotion and the senses.”
—Patrick Norguet, Founder Patrick Norguet Studio

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