‘Work Design Studio’ explained: Interview with Oliver Baxter - Herman Miller

We asked Oliver Baxter, MSc, Bsc - Insight Programme Manager MEA a couple of questions before Workspace and one of the new feature's this year - Work Design Studio.

Oliver works with the Herman Miller Insight Group and is responsible for the commissioning, overseeing and presenting of Insights into the latest thinking in workplace design and associated issues.

What office trends are you experiencing in 2018?

Office design has changed a great deal since Herman Miller established itself as a workplace leader in the 1930s with modular executive furniture by designer Gilbert Rohde. Globally there is a shift towards adding value to work spaces, rather than a drive to simply reduce costs; there is a growing understanding that the right office environment can enhance people’s performance. As new modes of production, creation, interaction, and service evolved the way workers behaved, so too did the landscape of the modern workplace.

However, the way people work together is changing, and the office landscape needs to adapt with it. While the more traditional corporate team still exists (where people work together regularly, under the same manager in the same place), there is an increase in ‘swarm’ behaviour. This is where groups of people come together quickly, often to tackle a specific problem or opportunity. Our research has shown that privacy is an ongoing trend, and remains an important part of the office floor plan. It is human nature to seek out your own space, but in the open plan office, it can be difficult to find more private spaces to think, escape or collaborate in. Biophilic design and integrated technology are both high on facilities managers’ agendas.


Tell us what to expect at workspace’s new show feature: The Work Design Studio?

Working with our Authorised Partner H2O Concepts LLC, we understand that design is an integral part of this business.

At Work Design Studio, we will play host to an interesting set of seminars and discussions led by our Insights Program Manager Oliver Baxter. At Herman Miller we think, learn and communicate through design. It is the language with which we share new ideas and address the problems that people face. Before we decide what we do and how we do it, we must first ask “why?”. For us, design is never just about a finished product. It is a narrative that extends from the designer's vision to the people it touches and the places it transforms. We invite you to discover why we do what we do at Herman Miller.

We will also be previewing Memo, a work system designed to help companies be more agile. By re-inventing the desk structure and making it relevant to the way people are working today, Memo serves as an efficient platform to create different kinds of spaces so people can choose whatever place best suits their task.

We are also showcasing our latest partner, naughtone. naughtone products have an artisan, handcrafted feel and a contemporary style. By insisting on attention to craft and only the best materials, naughtone ensures a high-quality finish to their products. The remastered Aeron will also be showcased, along with the Keyn Chair Group. The Keyn Chair Group is a range of meeting and side chairs that offers responsive movement and immediate comfort for collaborative spaces. The design, by the London firm forpeople, uses four key parts to create every model in the group, so each retains the same visual appeal. For extra comfort, Keyn’s CradleFlex movement responds to shifts in posture, reclining up to 10 degrees.

 Why do you think this type of feature is important at exhibitions like Workspace?

We recognize that office design and supporting furniture is the most critical furniture investment a company will make, given the impact it can have on its employees, and that suppliers or manufacturers vary wildly based on innumerable factors. These events put us in front of our key influencers and gives us the opportunity to showcase our innovative designs and solutions.


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