Break-out furniture

Furniture used in break-out areas is quite varied, and has a certain overlap with privacy furniture. After all, if a break-out area is not acoustically separated from the work floor by means of a screen or a room-divider, it might be wise to purchase more protective furnishings, both acoustically and visually. Likewise, furnishings can be grouped in a large break-out area, resulting in a several clusters, each with a different emphasis on privacy, interaction, and openness.

Therefore, it is not surprising to find Robert Bronwasser’s ‘Bricks Hoog’ high back sofa for Palau, which forms part of a comprehensive range of break-out and privacy furniture, in this category. Similarly, Till Grosch’s and Björn Meier’s ‘ophelis docks’ range for ophelis is also adaptable to any particular situation with sofa, daybed, side table and screen modules.

Many of the other designs are formally and visually experimental, ranging from Dick Spierenburg’s and Karel Boonzaaijer’s ‘Side by Side’ break-out furniture for Arco, in which modular sofa elements are assembled into a multi-directional seating ensemble; to Naoto Fukasawa’s abstract, calm ‘Common’ break-out furniture, a collection of rounded, upholstered benches that can be slotted into one another in a number of ways. Bartoli Design’s ‘Flores’ for Segis is also an exercise in composition, though here large, low benches are subdivided by heavy, colourful cushions.

Celebrated Danish designer Verner Panton goes sculptural, both with his 1959 ‘Heart Cone Chair’ for Vitra, whose striking silhouette and high level of comfort made it a post-war design icon; and with his 1969 ‘Cloverleaf | Sofa’ for Verpan, an ornately curving, modular, upholstered sofa.

Not to be outdone, Pierre Paulin’s 1970 ‘Osaka’ is an abstract, sublime arrangement of three, long, curved prisms behind one another, two low and the last one tall, re-launched in 2013 by La Cividina. The sculptural approach is just as viable in contemporary design too, and can be seen in Anne-Mette Bartholin Jensen’s and Morten Ernst’s undulating, aptly named ‘Waves EJ 142’ break-our furniture from Erik Jørgensen, or in PearsonLloyd’s ‘Polar Perch’, a gently curving sculptural composition for Tacchini Italia.

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