It’s not often that a hashtag escapes the world of algorithms to become a real life phenomena. But when it does, it’s usually pretty explosive. And so it was with the idea of the anywhere office, as it journeyed from a coveted pipe dream to a fully fledged social experiment.
A year on, and we’re reminded of something Helen Arvantiakis said in a recent interview with the Modern House. The genie is out of the bottle in terms of working from home. So whether you’re a high flying exec. Or a full-time freelance creative. WFH is here to stay. And we all need a method. Or at the very least, a ritual for finding focus on the days when distractions are ripe. In search of such guidance, we spoke with the most organised people we know. The talented team at Vitra.
For Vitra’s Head of Scenography, each day begins with a quick bit of admin. “At the start of my day, I always check my agenda,” says Till Weber. “I like to have a proper idea of what my day looks like, what I’m trying to achieve, and who I need to see.”
The method he describes is known by productivity gurus as time-blocking. And is particularly helpful for getting into and maintaining the mindset of work. At its core, it helps us to understand our own circadian rhythm, planning work or allocating meetings for times of the day when we tend to feel most creative or energised. Apps like Rise can help you discover yours. But so can some good old fashioned self-observation. Whichever your method, you owe it to yourself to riddle out the schedule that works for you.
For trend-researcher and life-long Vitra admirer, Oona Horx-Strathern, working from home is all about differentiating your spaces, both literally and figuratively.
“We’ve had a long tendency to work in open spaces where everything blends together and a single space serves different functions,” she explains. “Our kitchens, for example, have traditionally had to fulfil many functions: at once a cooking space, workspace, play area, cosy place to sit etc… We’re now learning that this is just too much for one room.”
Cultivating a quiet spot in which to get down to business has undoubtedly been one of the more pressing takeaways from the pandemic. And one that should be a priority no matter the size of your home. For some, this might mean claiming the end of a generous dining table during working hours. Or else, embarking on a transformation of a spare room.
Personally, we love styles that can do both, shifting between public and private tools at a moment’s notice. Jean Prouvé’s Compas Direction Desk is the gold standard here, thanks to its precise lines and plush finishes. A more contemporary alternative is the height-adjustable Tyde Table — ideal for those who seek the ergonomic benefits of a stand up workspace from time to time.
Keep It Clean
Of course, clutter can come in many forms. And whether it’s an overflowing inbox, too many notifications or a meandering set of stationery, focus is the first thing to suffer. Your home office should therefore be easily organised. And as rigorous about airplane mode as your job permits.
This is especially true in smaller spaces which can easily become overwhelmed by the flotsam and jetsam of working life. Vitra’s Marketing Manager, Emma, recommends setting yourself up for success with a stylish wall unit like Uten.Silo.
“First designed in 1969, this stylish storage unit sees all of the odds and ends of office life neatly stowed and ordered. Better still, given that it’s up, up and away, you can easily find what you’re looking for, avoiding rummage and the creation of (you guessed it) more mess.”
To paraphrase Gertrude Stein, a chair is a chair is a chair. Except when it’s made by Vitra. Over the last century, the Swiss design house has dedicated themselves entirely to the art of seating, aided and abetted by a series of iconic collaborators.
The classic collection comes from Charles & Ray Eames, ranging in size and scope from the classic Eames Lounge Chair (squishy and soft like a beloved baseball glove) to the more rigorous Soft Pad or Aluminium Collection.
And while any home office is a work in progress, assembled object by object, no truly comfortable study is complete without one.
One designer who was keen to add to Vitra’s legacy of office protagonists was Konstantin Grcic. In 2018, he presented the Rookie Collection, a lightweight, versatile style that does a lot with a little.
“Our design approach was to make the chair very legible very clear in how it works with as few levers and adjustments as possible. It’s intiuitive. It gives you a very instant comfort.”
Like any rookie or underdog, it promises to surprise in the best way. And has maintained its position as a steady bestseller throughout the pandemic.
Colour Your World
We can’t overstate this one enough. Colour is one the key tools for energising any space. And while the vogue for dark interiors is wonderfully atmospheric in bedrooms and lounges, you might want to try something more uplifting in your home office.
We saw a beautiful example of this in Vitra’s recently redesigned Club Office in Basel. Spiced pastels could be found throughout. With the Bourollec Brother’s cornflower blue and tangerine Alcove seating in the social areas, as well as more piquant accent hues in spaces where deep work is required.
“Colour encourages creative freedom and fires the imagination,” confirms Hella Jongerius, long-time Vitra collaborator and the mastermind behind some of their most piquant works.
Indeed, in homes that have fallen flat during the pandemic, it might just be the salve we need to fall back in love with our living and workspaces.
SHOP VITRA HOME OFFICE FURNITURE ONLINE OR IN-STORE AT CHAPLINS
Eames Hang it All Rack - Marble (Limited Edition)The Eames Hang It All Rack is a cheerful alternative to traditional coat stands. Initially designed with children's bedrooms in mind, it has since become a sophisticated storage solution for contemporary homes. The latest evolution is a limited edition Marble version, made of light hued Carrara balls with a pale grey frame. Ultra-sophisticated, this refined version is limited to just 999 numbered pieces, each of which are marked with a small numeral on one of the balls.
Panton Dining ChairThe Panton dining chair is the epitome of Verner Panton's sinuous style. Originally designed in 1960, it was the first ever cantilever chair to be crafted from a single piece of plastic and it remains as futuristic and forward-thinking to this day. Aesthetics aside, it's also incredibly hardworking — a resilient chair that can be used inside or out thanks to its weatherproof matt finish.
Standard SP Dining ChairThe engineer, architect and designer Jean Prouvé incorporated this simple insight in his design for the Standard Chair: while steel tubing suffices for the front legs, since they are subject to less stress, the back legs are made of voluminous hollow sections that transfer the primary weight to the floor.
Eames Lounge Chair - Black AshCreated by legendary design-duo Charles & Ray Eames in the 1950s, the Eames Lounge Chair has become one of the most iconic designs of all time. Revered for its easy comfort and masterful mix of wood and leather, it is a signifier of style that will last forever.
Physix Studio ChairPhysix Studio by Alberto Meda is a lightweight, streamlined office chair with a swivel base. Its design offers excellent comfort thanks to its high-tech textile panel stretched between two adjustable side elements. Its understated character makes it a perfect addition to every home office environment.
Eames Aluminium EA 104 Office ChairThe Aluminium Chair is one of the great furniture designs of the twentieth century. For its construction, Charles & Ray Eames departed from the principle of the seat shell, instead stretching a panel of fabric or leather between two aluminium side members to create a taut but elastic seat. The chair adapts to the body of the sitter and is exceedingly comfortable, even without elaborate upholstery.
Tyde 2 Sit Stand Table - QuickshipWe tend to think of ergonomics only in the context of seating. And yet, there are variety of best practices that offices of the future are adopting in order to ensure the physical and mental comfort of their employees. Standing desks are one of them. Ideal for meetings that need to be kept short or as an alternative to traditional desk work, Tyde represents a dynamic and versatile solution for offices of all sizes.
Eames Soft Pad EA 219 Office ChairThe design of the Soft Pad Group dates from the year 1969. In terms of both construction and shape, the Soft Pad Chairs are similar to the design of the Aluminium Group, but their sewn-on cushions create a striking contrast to the slender aluminium profiles.
Eames Soft Pad EA 217 Office ChairThe design of the Soft Pad Group dates from the year 1969. In terms of both construction and shape, the Soft Pad Chairs are similar to the design of the Aluminium Group, but their sewn-on cushions create a striking contrast to the slender aluminium profiles.
Eames Aluminium EA 117 Office ChairThe Aluminium Chair is one of the great furniture designs of the twentieth century. For its construction, the designer couple departed from the principle of the seat shell, instead stretching a panel of fabric or leather between two aluminium side members to create a taut but elastic seat.
Eames Aluminium EA 107/108 Office ChairThe Aluminium Chair is one of the great furniture designs of the twentieth century. For its construction, Charles & Ray Eames departed from the principle of the seat shell, instead stretching a panel of fabric or leather between two aluminium side members to create a taut but elastic seat. The chair adapts to the body of the sitter and is exceedingly comfortable, even without elaborate upholstery.