Office Design Week

With its new office furniture collection Meet Up, Fantoni is responding to the increasing need for flexibility and agility at work, as well as disappearing management hierarchies.

The Meet-up collection comprises tables and cabinetry that address the need for multi-functional workplaces designed to nurture community and connection

Flexible furniture, New Work and Fantoni's new Meet Up collection | News

The Meet-up collection comprises tables and cabinetry that address the need for multi-functional workplaces designed to nurture community and connection

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At the risk of stating the obvious, there’s something very unifying about a round table. The most famous one of Arthurian legend may have been designed by that sage old wizard Merlin to symbolise the world, but its most important function was to get the king’s cohorts – the knights – sitting together to discuss security issues and future ventures with no one person lording it. Even if King Arthur were in attendance, there was no head of the table. Everyone around that table was equal when it came to debating the affairs of Camelot.

Meeting culture is changing

Though not strictly circular, at the centre of Fantoni’s new collection of office furniture is the meeting table – height adjustable, and in a number of different, shapes, sizes and finishes – and with thoroughly cambered corners. This is a round table in spirit, and it responds to new office structures, both physical and metaphorical.

Taking cues from residential furnishings, the elegant, minimal lines are warmed up with textural details, such as the option of Calacatta or Noir marble finishes

Flexible furniture, New Work and Fantoni's new Meet Up collection | News

Taking cues from residential furnishings, the elegant, minimal lines are warmed up with textural details, such as the option of Calacatta or Noir marble finishes

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‘More and more, especially in Europe, the executive office has been abandoning the allure of power,’ says Mariana Fantoni, the Technical Director of the material specialists. ‘During the Covid period, this conviction has been reinforced, together with the idea that management is more and more involved in meetings and company relationships, rather than hiding behind a screen.’

Nimble working structures

Hierarchy may still have a place in some office structures, but if there is one thing that global lockdown has taught us, it’s that being nimble and adaptable in business is now a necessity, and this, along with good cross-company communication is the advantage of more lateral operations over top-down arrangements. And when it comes to inter-departmental collaboration, what we need more than anything is the means to meet in ease and comfort.

The tables come in various sizes and shapes, always with rounded corners, and height-adjusting mechanisms, both electric and manual, so that a table’s function can easily be changed

Flexible furniture, New Work and Fantoni's new Meet Up collection | News

The tables come in various sizes and shapes, always with rounded corners, and height-adjusting mechanisms, both electric and manual, so that a table’s function can easily be changed

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Meet Up, the striking new furniture from Fantoni has evolved from this thinking. The tables are made to adapt to different work scenarios with a concealed counterweighted mechanism in their metal powder-coated pedestals to allow for height adjustment. They can be used by an individual, or collaboratively, and are perfect meeting places – standing or seated they nurture informality and accessibility. They are also complimented by a series of cabinets that are fuss-free monoliths, blending in easily with minimalist architecture and teaming with the tables to make an inviting environment.

Post-pandemic work practices are leaning away from the individualistic, executive model, and more towards meeting-centred teamwork, requiring flexibility from office furnishings

Flexible furniture, New Work and Fantoni's new Meet Up collection | News

Post-pandemic work practices are leaning away from the individualistic, executive model, and more towards meeting-centred teamwork, requiring flexibility from office furnishings

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Though form and functionality is core to this collection, it is in its finish that Fantoni distinguishes itself. A world leader in the ecological production of MDF and chipboard panels, laminates and melamine papers, sustainable and recyclable wood chip have been fashioned into striking materials with a finish that resembles thinly veined Noir or Calacatta marble. A leaning towards an inclusive management style doesn’t have to mean loose standards when it comes to design.

Fantoni uses recyclable and sustainable materials in the collection such as the chipboard panel produced in-house using 100 per cent recycled wood

Flexible furniture, New Work and Fantoni's new Meet Up collection | News

Fantoni uses recyclable and sustainable materials in the collection such as the chipboard panel produced in-house using 100 per cent recycled wood

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Flexible working practice needs flexible furniture

As we stitch back together our work culture and practices after the fractures of lockdowns, it becomes clear that what we need in place of bolted down office structures, literally and metaphorically, are flexible spaces in which to come together socially and productively: ‘Remote work is still an important aspect of daily operations,’ says Fantoni. ‘However, we are social beings and the desire to experience the office environment expressed by most of the workers in recent months outlines an evolution of the workplace. The office acquires the function of safeguarding the sense of community and connection between people.’

With furniture that can move and adjust within a space, workplaces can become truly hybridised, switching between executive, meeting, and operative spaces

Flexible furniture, New Work and Fantoni's new Meet Up collection | News

With furniture that can move and adjust within a space, workplaces can become truly hybridised, switching between executive, meeting, and operative spaces

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Just as the community needs to be agile and fast moving when changes come along, so does the furniture. And while there’s still no guarantee that sitting convivially around a table in the workplace will land you any holy grails, with a good set of meeting tables, you will be well set up to have a go at finding one or two.

© Architonic

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