Casual encounters can often turn out to be the most meaningful. PALMBERG's continuously reconfigurable, soft-seating system MELOUNGE is changing the face of the office meeting.

MELOUNGE is just the latest in a series of product-typology innovations that PALMBERG has delivered over the past few years, driven by its commitment to respond to the changing landscape of work

Form follows informality: MELOUNGE from PALMBERG | News

MELOUNGE is just the latest in a series of product-typology innovations that PALMBERG has delivered over the past few years, driven by its commitment to respond to the changing landscape of work

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I once had a meeting with a client in the back of the bus, going from Tegel Airport in Berlin to the city centre. The engine was loud, which meant raising our voices – much to the consternation of one of our fellow passengers, who came over to us to complain. I could see her point. As the kind of person who gets irritated by overly loud mobile-phone conversations, I’m all for a quieter public realm.

The point of this story? Well, where and how we work has dramatically changed in a relatively short space of time. Digital technology has increased the pace of business by connecting us virtually. Which, in turn, has led to a demand for greater dynamism in the analogue world. Whether you’re working in the office, at home or in between, idea generation and knowledge exchange relies on close, and often unscheduled, collaboration. And the way we organise our physical landscapes is key.

Comprising a series of pleasantly graphic, soft forms, MELOUNGE has been developed to allow users to fashion their own interior landscapes ad-hoc, to meet their changing collaborative needs

Form follows informality: MELOUNGE from PALMBERG | News

Comprising a series of pleasantly graphic, soft forms, MELOUNGE has been developed to allow users to fashion their own interior landscapes ad-hoc, to meet their changing collaborative needs

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PALMBERG has been at the vanguard of Made-in-Germany office-furniture production for decades: considered design married with quality manufacturing. A large company for sure, but not so large that it’s not agile. The last few years have seen a greater emphasis at PALMBERG on innovation in product typologies, as part of the company’s response to the shifts in how we work and how we fashion the spaces in which we work. 'We want to give workers the environment they need – and deserve,' explains marketing chief Christoffer Süss.


'Today, we communicate casually, in a way that is rich in terms of results and experiences'


MELOUNGE is PALMBERG’s new supremely configurable system of pleasantly graphic, soft volumes, developed with dynamism and creativity in mind. Users can create their own mini-landscape to meet their ad-hoc collaborative needs, by bringing elements together that serve as both seating and work surfaces for laptops and other devices. With a number of different shapes available, as well as upholstery in range of eye-comforting colours, MELOUNGE’s informality facilitates informal exchange, underpinned by the belief that the best ideas don’t happen at your desk.

Melounging: PALMBERG's in-house product-development team – from left to right, Thomas Kracht (Director Department Product Development), Jeremy Zimmermann (Product Designer) and Änne Schultze (Head of Product Development)

Form follows informality: MELOUNGE from PALMBERG | News

Melounging: PALMBERG's in-house product-development team – from left to right, Thomas Kracht (Director Department Product Development), Jeremy Zimmermann (Product Designer) and Änne Schultze (Head of Product Development)

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The brains behind MELOUNGE are PALMBERG’s in-house product-development experts – Thomas Kracht (Director Department Product Development), Änne Schultze (Head of Product Development) and Jeremy Zimmermann (Product Designer) – so I went to the horse’s mouth, as it were, for more detail…

How did the MELOUNGE project come about? Why was it developed?

AS: Today, we communicate casually, in a way that is rich in terms of results and experiences. When it comes to meetings, the range of locations can be very wide. Informal exchange is no longer tied to a specific place, as was previously the case with the large meeting rooms. So, we developed a furniture system that could be used both in central zones, foyers, break and relaxation areas, but also at your desk.

'42% of working time in the office is spent on communication activities,' says Thomas Kracht, Director Department Product Development. 'So, it was clear to us that products for the office worker needed to be adapted to this new way of working'

Form follows informality: MELOUNGE from PALMBERG | News

'42% of working time in the office is spent on communication activities,' says Thomas Kracht, Director Department Product Development. 'So, it was clear to us that products for the office worker needed to be adapted to this new way of working'

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What kind of research was conducted beforehand? And what were the findings?

TK: All projects at PALMBERG start with an extensive market research. According to an IBA study (2017), 42% of working time in the office is spent on communication activities. So, it was clear to us that products for the office worker needed to be adapted to this new way of working.

AS: We understand today's work processes in companies. A day in the office has many different phases, and not all of them require a desk. Smaller meetings or short exchanges between colleagues, in particular, can be more effective in a relaxed setting.

JZ: The world of work is becoming more colourful and homely, meaning a relaxed and playful character is created, which makes its way into our everyday office life. Teamwork is being continuously reinvented, and is taking on ever-larger dimensions. Co-working, or working together, means more productivity and generates more innovation, more creative solutions and also more motivation for employees.

With a number of different shapes available, as well as upholstery available in a range of eye-comforting colours, MELOUNGE's informality facilitates informal exchange, underpinned by the belief that the best ideas don't happen at your desk

Form follows informality: MELOUNGE from PALMBERG | News

With a number of different shapes available, as well as upholstery available in a range of eye-comforting colours, MELOUNGE's informality facilitates informal exchange, underpinned by the belief that the best ideas don't happen at your desk

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Can you describe the design-development process in brief?

JZ: The brief was to create new forms for informal meetings via seating furniture. Many ideas were first recorded in scribbles and, thereafter, a number of designs in various forms presented. The goal: to create an independent, friendly product. As is so often the case, it’s the simple solutions that are the most convincing. With MELOUNGE, we’ve divided a square metre, asymmetrically, into four parts, creating inviting volumes and, by extension, new forms of conversation.

'As is so often the case, it’s the simple solutions that are the most convincing,' explains Product Designer Jeremy Zimmermann. 'With MELOUNGE, we’ve divided a square metre, asymmetrically, into four parts, creating new, inviting volumes'

Form follows informality: MELOUNGE from PALMBERG | News

'As is so often the case, it’s the simple solutions that are the most convincing,' explains Product Designer Jeremy Zimmermann. 'With MELOUNGE, we’ve divided a square metre, asymmetrically, into four parts, creating new, inviting volumes'

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What were the particular challenges you encountered while developing MELOUNGE? What did you learn?

TK: The topic of seating furniture was new for us at PALMBERG, but we embraced the challenge! Of course, aligning a proposed design with actual production possibilities requires a lot of know-how and a willingness to compromise. The costs involved in introducing a new product to the market aren’t insignificant.


What do the PALMBERG HQ offices look and feel like? How have you yourselves harnessed design to benefit collaboration and creativity?

AS: Yes, we use MELOUNGE in break rooms and in places where quick informal discussions take place. The employees like the loose, colourful elements around their desks and in our communication zones. MELOUNGE helps connect the natural creativity of its users with the office. That’s what we experience here on a daily basis.

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