A BREATH OF FRESH AIR
Heya translated from Japanese means ‘small room’, which we interpreted into a range of small working spaces within an office environment. Open plan has become common place within the workplace which has delivered benefits in productivity through collaboration and communication amongst groups of workers; however, there have been downsides, a lack of privacy, inability to concentrate, too many distractions. As the concept of Third Space has spread through the work place with the growth of informal and comfortable breakout areas, people have sought alternative places to work, collaborate and socialise.
Which is where the concept of Heya derives from – a small comfortable room, a private, intimate place to concentrate and focus? For individuals Heya provides a place to escape, think and breath; for groups a place to collaborate and connect. The elegant, high shroud that surrounds Heya has been designed to keep noise out as well as in, an acoustic shield. Internally its visual softness and working comfort invite and encourage their use. The aim of Heya was to blend it seamlessly into the new office environment, giving it a residential aesthetic, a home from home, while still providing the closeness and privacy people need to really focus.
The initial starting point for the Heya project was first to understand the culture and business of OFS Brands, its process of manufacturing and its route to market and how it sells its products. This was RWA’s first product brief from OFS Brands, and it required us to gain an understanding and knowledge of the organisation and its future direction.
In undertaking the project the first critical criteria for a seating product were to establish the level of comfort required for the product. At the time of producing sketch ideas we also built seating rigs to simulate the type of comfort we wanted to establish while working or relaxing in a soft seating environment. Through these rigs we were able to determine the correct dimensions, the level of spring in the seats the thickness and density of the foam cushions and the overall heights of the envelopes we wanted to wrap around the units.
From these adjustable rigs the product quickly evolved through full size mock-up built in wood panels, establishing the overall sizes and the basis of the product range. This developed into a more refined and detailed prototypes, based around a steel seating platform incorporating the seat springs, onto which the back, sides and legs bolted. The main challenge was converting our idea of the wrap around screens into a feasible manufactured component. Initially we prototyped this in blue foam which we were able to convert into preformed plywood panels. The end result look simple but it required considerable development and technical skill to achieve the final form while maintaining its accuracy.