Great oaks from little acorns grow. This is the story of how the premium workspace-solutions brand KINNARPS managed to become a global player while staying true to its roots and values.

Europe’s leading supplier of workspace solutions for offices, schools and public spaces, Kinnarps operates in over 40 countries and reported a turnover in 2016/17 of over 4 billion Swedish Krona (or 400 million Euro)

Love in a small Swedish town: Kinnarps | News

Europe’s leading supplier of workspace solutions for offices, schools and public spaces, Kinnarps operates in over 40 countries and reported a turnover in 2016/17 of over 4 billion Swedish Krona (or 400 million Euro)

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There’s a, perhaps somewhat lazy, line of argument that goes: as a brand, you’ve got to be small or niche to be authentic, for your social, ethical values to dovetail with your business model. Scale things up and you’re just another corporate entity where the bottom line is top priority, right?

Well, sometimes. The market is certainly populated with a not insignificant number of former startups that once held bold visions, but who’ve, in the meantime, seemingly sold out – companies which nonetheless attempt to continue trading off their original intentions as progressive businesses engaged in the business of Doing Something Good. But here’s a different story.

The Kinnarps DNA can be traced back to husband-and-wife team Jarl and Evy Andersson, who founded the company in 1942. Still family-run, the business channels the couple's passion for solving their customers' problems

Love in a small Swedish town: Kinnarps | News

The Kinnarps DNA can be traced back to husband-and-wife team Jarl and Evy Andersson, who founded the company in 1942. Still family-run, the business channels the couple's passion for solving their customers' problems

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Kinnarps, the premium Swedish furniture manufacturer is certainly no startup. Founded in 1942 by husband and wife Jarl and Evy Andersson, the company, still family-run, has established itself as Europe’s leading supplier of workspace solutions for offices, schools and public spaces. Operating in over 40 countries, Kinnarps managed to chalk up an impressive turnover in 2016/17 of over 4 billion Swedish Krona (or 400 million Euro).

And yet the couple’s compassionate, pioneering spirit (they were by all accounts endlessly interested in drilling down into the individual needs of each of their clients in order to provide them with the best solution for their particular situation) lives on in the Kinnarps of today.

Sustainability receives more than just lip-service at Kinnarps. Their products leave the factory wrapped in reusable blankets made out of remnants and are transported in the company’s own fleet of eco-friendly blue trucks

Love in a small Swedish town: Kinnarps | News

Sustainability receives more than just lip-service at Kinnarps. Their products leave the factory wrapped in reusable blankets made out of remnants and are transported in the company’s own fleet of eco-friendly blue trucks

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With production still located in the small, eponymous Swedish town of Kinnarp, the company has remained true to its roots. It may export worldwide, but a sense of place and identity is important. And respect. Both for its customers’ well-being – delivered via its ergonomically calibrated, design-led furniture – and for the well-being of the environment.

That’s why, for example, when Kinnarps products leave Kinnarp, they’re wrapped in reusable blankets made out of remnants. No plastic. No cardboard. And they’re transported in the company’s own fleet of eco-friendly blue trucks. Only by retaining full control of the supply chain can the manufacturer guarantee such a consistently high, joined-up approach to sustainability.

Kinnarps' Better Effect Index – a proprietary grading system developed in consultation with architects, designers and end-users – allows customers to get the true measure of a product's sustainability according to a set of robust criteria

Love in a small Swedish town: Kinnarps | News

Kinnarps' Better Effect Index – a proprietary grading system developed in consultation with architects, designers and end-users – allows customers to get the true measure of a product's sustainability according to a set of robust criteria

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Authenticity also manifests itself in the refreshingly honest manner in which Kinnarps communicates the sustainability of the products themselves. Meet the Better Effect Index, a proprietary scoring system, if you will, developed by the company in consultation with its customers –architects, interior architects and designers, and end-users– covering such areas as materials and resources, climate, social responsibility and reuse. The introduction of the index across the entire Kinnarps catalogue means you can get a clear and empirically underpinned measure of a product in terms of its sustainability credentials, and, importantly, are able to compare products. No PR eco-blather. Just hard numbers.

The Kinnarps mission is – via its creative, innovative and sustainable solutions – to support organisations in their quest for greater effectiveness and prosperity, in addition to an enhanced sense of well-being on the part of their team members

Love in a small Swedish town: Kinnarps | News

The Kinnarps mission is – via its creative, innovative and sustainable solutions – to support organisations in their quest for greater effectiveness and prosperity, in addition to an enhanced sense of well-being on the part of their team members

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But it’s not just about the products. Kinnarps understands that transforming one’s working environment can be as disruptive as it can be creative. There’s potential on the one hand to increase effectiveness and general health, and on the other the potential for it to go wrong. That’s why a carefully structured process is critical.

Which is why Kinnarps developed Next Office – a six-step journey that the client takes with Kinnarps’ experts to arrive at a bespoke solution. From site visits and town-hall meetings to get a 360-degree picture, via occupancy studies and workshops, results presentations and the delivery of a tailored strategy, through to implementation of the new workplace concept and post-occupancy feedback, Next Office is nothing if not comprehensive.

Kinnarps offers specialist consultancy in the form of Next Office – a six-step journey with the client, including site visits and town-hall meetings, occupancy studies and workshops, and post-occupancy feedback – to arrive at a bespoke solution

Love in a small Swedish town: Kinnarps | News

Kinnarps offers specialist consultancy in the form of Next Office – a six-step journey with the client, including site visits and town-hall meetings, occupancy studies and workshops, and post-occupancy feedback – to arrive at a bespoke solution

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A raft of projects internationally, covering a number of sectors, including office and education (both secondary and tertiary), have benefited from Kinnarps’ expert consultancy offering. The results, in such client spaces as Peaks & Plains, Brain Embassy and Sjölunda School, all demonstrate a set of common benefits: flexible, more efficient workspaces that allow for creative co-working; which promote an increase in general levels of health; which engender a greater sense of pride on the part of users in the brand; and, in addition, which lead to a reduction in facility costs. Not bad, eh?

There’s a lot of love in that small Swedish town.

Kinnarps deployed its Next Office consultancy process when commissioned by Polish co-creation-workspace client The Brain Embassy to team up with interior architects mode:lina and Archicon to help expand the space

Love in a small Swedish town: Kinnarps | News

Kinnarps deployed its Next Office consultancy process when commissioned by Polish co-creation-workspace client The Brain Embassy to team up with interior architects mode:lina and Archicon to help expand the space

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© Architonic

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