Orgatec 2018 Shows Us Welcoming, Creative, and Informal Offices

Working wherever, with whomever, and in conditions of maximum comfort has become a must.

For some time, we’ve been attending ORGATEC – the unique trade exhibition dedicated to work environments in Europe and undoubtedly one of the most influential in the world. After this year’s event in Cologne, we are certain that the way we work and live has changed drastically. Based on new trends, working wherever and with whomever, and in conditions of maximum comfort has become a must.

Why go to ORGATEC?

Attendees go to experience the modernity. Walking through the aisles of this German show means first and foremost understanding what people want and expect from the workplace through trends that were so obvious they are impossible to ignore. We saw furnishings in the spotlight that can give life to different work environments and that coexist, and also assume a specific role.

Co-working spaces, where people from different realities work side by side, have become places that satisfy a range of needs and requirements. They have lounge areas for holding informal meetings or just working on your laptop, quiet rooms, and break rooms which can transform to serve a variety of purposes depending on the occasion. Key displays showcased spaces that inspire communication and collaboration in an increasingly informal, inclusive style. The personal cubicle has disappeared to make room for flexible offices featuring large tables, lockers, and the freedom to move about the workplace guaranteed by the absence of fixed workstations.

Maximum flexibility and the ability to change quickly have been important characteristics for years, but today they have become indispensable. Likewise, it has become essential to work surrounded by ‘resimercial’ furnishings.

Numerous upholstered elements with warm-tones and wooden accents seem to have taken the place of the traditional metal-framed desks chairs. The replacements are high-performing and ergonomic, yet simplistic and with a more welcoming look. However, the stand-out feature at this year’s event is acoustic solutions, including upholstered objects and elements, perfectly soundproofed cubicles, and privacy rooms for making phone calls or holding small meetings.

In this new work culture, it’s also not surprising to find more and more outdoor furniture companies since, if you can work anywhere, you can also work outside (as long as the spaces are adequately equipped).

Thus emerges an office that feels good; more welcoming, creative, informal, but, above all, a space which places the undisputed focus on those who experience it!

ORGATEC 2018 in Figures

Among the 753 participating companies, coming from 39 countries, 187 were from Germany, while 566 companies came from abroad.

Over 63,000 visitors from 142 countries came to the fair.

The main concepts that emerged at ORGATEC 2018, demonstrating the evolution of the way we work and, consequently, of modern work environments:

01 – sharing + privacy

NARBUTAS – Arcipelago Wood – design Baldanzi & Novelli

Seating system with an oak-veneer frame, visually and acoustically protected from the surrounding space; a workplace where you can find concentration and privacy, have small meetings and work independently far away from the noise around you.

02 – configuration + flexibility

BUZZI SPACE – BuzziBracks – design Alain Gilles

An architectural system that allows users to create areas of work, focus, or relaxation in open-plan environments, which can be continuously re-created to serve a variety of everyday needs. Featuring standalone frames finished with curtains, it acts as a visual and acoustic shield from one’s surroundings.

03 – focus + relax

FRITZ HANSEN – Plenum – design Jaime Hayon

High-back sofa system designed to embrace any space, whether the need is to be individual together or just together. In an open office, airport lounge or hotel lobby, it offers the possibility of refuge but creating a feeling of home.

04 – comfort + acoustic

CAIMI BREVETTI (Snowsound collection) – Botanica – design Mario Trimarchi

The system of sound-absorbing panels from the Snowsound collection, composed of metal structures that recall tree branches and many plush, fabric-covered leaves, providing high-performing sound absorption.

05 – privacy + natural

CITTERIO – WS-S – design Pinuccio Borgonovo

Collection of self-supporting acoustic booths with a wooden structure, designed for open space offices, where small, private and comfortable spaces are needed for daily work or meetings, made in natural and recyclable materials.

06 – configuration + flexibility

POLTRONA FRAU – Trust – design Lievore-Alther-Park

Open, flexible, and welcoming workplace system composed of desks, self-bearing walls, and containers in soft, organic shapes, made of high-quality natural materials: wood, hide, and leather. Introduces the concept of sharing even in a managerial context.

07 – reconfigurability + versatility


A full-height partition system, extremely versatile, made from aluminum profiles with double or single infill panels, with glazed panels, blind or mixed. A key feature is the grooved profile that “suspends” the partition and continues seamlessly; the groove can be fitted with led strip lighting.

08 – exclusivity + customization

ADDO – Nel – design Sezgin Aksu (Studio Aksu/Suardi)

Executive furnishing system that can indulge the needs of designers: with many different configurations of elements denoted by soft lines and organic forms, dimensions and excellent materials such as solid wood, marble, brass, and leather, it’s conceived to provide flexible furnishing solutions for work environments that are exclusive and intensely individual.

09 – sensuality + identity

WALTER KNOLL – Tama Desk – design Eoos

An executive desk that celebrates freedom and creativity, elegance and beauty, sensuousness and self-esteem. Its design is a song of wood and craftsmanship. Bronze blade legs, elegant lines, and overlapped levels; it marks the evolution from the workbench to an instrument of work.

10 – warmth + elegance

UNIFOR – MDL Wood – design Michele De Lucchi

Table system for open-space work environments and for formal and informal meeting spaces, characterized by restrained and elegant lines, that found inspiration in common hand tools that efficiently combine wood and metal parts.

11 – nomadism + organization

DIEFFEBI – Echo Lockers

The system of containers for personal but shared use which allows the integration of various aesthetic, aggregation and technological solutions, such as the inclusion of an integrated lighting system and working USB ports to charge mobile devices, in addition to the IoT locks system, which can be opened with a badge but also with mobile devices.

12 – configuration + modularity

TECNO – Linea – design Zanon Architetti Associati e Centro Progetti Tecno

A modular, continually reconfigurable micro-architectural system, to organize spaces and combine to serve various functions, creating horizontal surfaces such as worktops and seats, vertical surfaces to divide up space, shapes that become containers and supports that can be integrated with lighting systems, fabrics and acoustic panels.

13 – ergonomic + innovation

KOKUYO – ing – design Kokuyo design team

An innovative office chair that doesn’t stop or restrict body movements. The main characteristic is the gliding mechanical structure, which moves 360° in response to subtle shifts by the person seated in the chair. The seat glides and follows every movement of the body, from leaning forward and backward to the left, right, and oblique twists.

14 – ergonomic + simplicity

SEDUS – use:motion: – design Carlo Shayeb (Sedus Design Team)

Swivel chair with a minimalist design and maximum flexibility adapted to the needs of the new work culture. It offers excellent freedom of movement when seated and lends itself to moving around the environment; it is excellent for spontaneous seated meetings, in co-working environments, and in teamwork contexts.

15 – informality + communication

WILKHAHN – Sitzbock and Landing – design RSW

To foster a team spirit and encourage staff to interact we need areas that surprise, arouse curiosity and are attractive in the long term. The pommel horse seat enables a variety of different casual postures. The modular and sound absorbent wall relief creates a welcoming atmosphere to perch and chat.

16 – versatility + collaboration

VITRA – Soft Work – design Barber & Osgerby

A seating system that converts into a workstation; a versatile and modular platform that can be easily assembled in different formats and fitted with tables, dividing panels, power outlets, and charging stations, facilitating independent work and teamwork in the office or public spaces.

17 – color + vitality

MONTANA – HiLow and Free – design Peter J. Lassen and Joakim Lassen / Jakob Wagner

Grey and gloom be gone. A working life should be unfolded in all of its colors. The height-adjustable table has a new tabletop and frame colors. The freestanding shelving system creates divisions between workstations and at the same time serves as a storage and display unit.

18 – escaping + comfort

ETHIMO – Allaperto – design Matteo Thun + Antonio Rodriguez

Collection of sophisticated wood-framed furniture, at once minimalist and refined, flexible, allowing the creation of meeting places and relaxation areas outside the office in which to enjoy nature or breathe in the energy of the city.

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