Meet Inscape: Masters Of Simple, Flexible And Adaptable Contract Furniture

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Elise Shapiro
Elise Shapiro
Elise Shapiro is a contributing editor. Little did she know that her first job, in the facilities department at Ralston Purina, while obtaining her M. Arch at Washington University, in St. Louis would foreshadow where her career would lead. She has always been a strong advocate for providing the best possible spaces for people to work – where aesthetics meet function and drive business success.

WDM is pleased to re-introduce you to Inscape: creators of products that reflect the office of today and tomorrow, while standing the test of time.

We recently met up with our friends at Inscape and took an in-depth look at their product offerings, but more importantly, talked with them about their commitment to utilizing the flexibility and depth in their simple kit of parts of products or product ethos to create the optimum furniture solution for each client today – and even have the means to adjust to the unpredictable future.

One of the key ingredients of a successful project is identifying and incorporating the right furniture solution team early on in the process. In reviewing the wealth of information on Inscape’s website and their thoughtful responses to our questions, we are pleased to re-introduce our readers to this modern and forward-looking company with deep roots in the office furniture industry.

Where it all began.

Inscape has been providing furniture solutions for businesses for over 130 years. How does that legacy inform the work you are doing today?

The evolution of office furniture is evidenced by an early file cabinet solution

Our rich history has made us into masters who have perfected the art of simplicity. For us, simplicity is stripping away all the fluff and getting down to the very essence of great products, ones that are effortless and understated in function and form. Products that are perfectly tailored, exquisitely engineered, and relentlessly tested. Our commitment to mastery is ongoing, and our quest for simplicity never ends. We’re always improving, always adding new talent, and always looking at how we can captivate the world with less, not more. It’s a simple vision, but simple is what we do best.

Currently, one of the most important qualities of great office furniture is adaptability. The pandemic has changed the office and how we work. Today, it is critical now more than ever that each space is planned with the highest levels of strategy and efficiency to maximize usable square footage. Using our 130+ years of experience, we create products that reflect the office of today and tomorrow, stand the test of time, and are exquisitely engineered. It’s more about the fact that our products stand the test of time and also – simple kit of parts – exquisitely engineered – is what allows for it.

Can you think of three things that drove the design ethic in 1888 and how that compares with the company philosophy today?

Opening in 1888 in Rochester, New York, Office Specialty was a creative pioneer and big thinker leading the new era and meeting the demand for office furniture and storage. Office Specialty was the first to market with steel vertical storage with its product Hercules filing cabinets: “A mechanical Triumph!” Technology progress was rapid and so was Office Specialty. The company continued to design products that change and work seamlessly with new technology.

Today, design is all about flexibility that doesn’t sacrifice style. Inscape has mastered simplicity to offer maximum customization for any need. We have also noticed a new focus on the promotion of health and well-being in the modern office. Offices also need products that are multi-use and collaborative. The traditional workspace is beginning to shrink as hybrid work becomes the norm. In these space-challenged environments, furniture must often do double duty whether that is seats that double as storage or storage that doubles as space division.

Today’s offices continue to evolve as work styles and technology informs change on a large scale.

Designers have a lot of options in the marketplace for contract furniture – what are the three key things that differentiate Inscape from the rest of the pack?

  • Made Just For You — It starts with your idea, a floor plan, a specific storage challenge, or even a simple napkin sketch. We review the project with you to make sure we understand your challenges. From there, our team starts to work on options. From non-traditional configurations to specialty finishes, we can modify pieces from our current product listing to match your needs–or build something new. Connect with us here. Tell us what you need and we will find the right resource(s) for your project.
  • With You For Day Two — We know that business conditions or your office needs won’t stay the same on “Day 2” or “Day 2000”. No one can plan for everything, but you can choose furniture systems and walls that can adapt to anything. We design products and services that are focused on what’s coming, so your business can adapt and evolve without investing all over again.
  • Sustainability — Our products are built to last and are completely reconfigurable so they can adapt as workspace needs change, extending the product life cycle. Ultimately, we seek to create workplace solutions that make sense for today and are kind to tomorrow. Our solutions are sustainable, long-lasting, and produced in a way that minimizes the impact on our environments.

Our environmental standards are detailed here.

Storage solutions are reinvented to meet today’s needs.

What can you tell us about your design team and their approach to finding the solutions for the evolving office landscape?

We are always looking for the best talent to collaborate with for new and innovative products. Our new laminate line, L Storage, (launching this fall) is made in collaboration with ModusID to respond to the hybrid worker. The move to hybrid requires corresponding changes to the furniture used to support work. We collaborated to find the new needs of the way we work today including how we store, move, and carry our things.

The size and scale of our storage options can meet the simplest or most complex needs.

For instance, the need to file is not going away but its importance has diminished due to technology. Paper filing drawers are still a part of the collection along with small-item drawers; however, these products can be tailored from drawers to doors to stash bags or work tools. Holes for power cords and cables are also featured throughout the product line to allow for technology to be easily integrated into the furniture and boost flexibility and productivity.

We have designed furniture with a place for everything needed to support everyone working in the office.

Where do you see the most changes in how designers and their clients are approaching the design of their workspaces in order to draw more employees back to the office?

As companies want their employees to return back to the office, new office furniture is needed to adapt to these new ways of working. However, changing an office’s landscape can take months to years for new furniture to arrive.

Luckily, Inscape and Office Specialty have short lead times on all benching, system, walls, storage and organizational products to help teams come back to the office quickly. We can ensure that staffs receive the service they need from day one to be their most productive, focused, and positive selves. If you don’t have the storage or organizing tools you need, now is a great time to choose the pieces to help set yourself up for maximum productivity and well-being in the future.

Inscape’s products have been easily adapted to the changing environments of CLA’s 79 locations across the US.

Tell a story about a recent project and how it was developed and fine-tuned, adjusted for the client’s specific needs.

Inscape prides itself on flexibility and adaptability of its furniture systems in the workplace environment to be there for its clients for Day 2 and Day 2000. CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen) is a professional services firm that has invested in Inscape’s systems, storage, and wall products since 2007 because of Inscape’s guarantee that its products are adaptable to any changing work environment. CLA’s business has grown steadily over the years, and the company has acquired more locations. A consistent CLA look is created across the locations all while each office retains its own aesthetic. The flexibility of Inscape’s products has allowed CLA to save time and money with each of its new locations.

 “As masters of the simple, we strip away all the fluff and deliver perfectly tailored and customized products for your needs. Our local reps will work with you one on one to ensure the best solution for your needs. Find the best rep for you on our site.

We are launching our new showroom in Chicago in June. To visit this new showroom or other Inscape and Office Specialty showrooms, please view our showroom site here.” 

Elise Shapiro
Elise Shapiro
Elise Shapiro is a contributing editor. Little did she know that her first job, in the facilities department at Ralston Purina, while obtaining her M. Arch at Washington University, in St. Louis would foreshadow where her career would lead. She has always been a strong advocate for providing the best possible spaces for people to work – where aesthetics meet function and drive business success.
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