Over the last decade we have been observing and exploring the changing nature of work and its impact on the working environment. Ten years ago the emergence from the open plan offices, now referred to as ‘the Third Space’ indicated a shift in the way we work and learn. Technology, social change, a booming economy and a generational shift in demographics were having a considerable influence and impact on the workplace. Being aware of these changes and wanting to respond to them, we designed Hive, a modular, flexible range of soft seating with the ability to build horizontally and vertically, incorporate working surfaces and wire management to create collaborative social and learning spaces.
DESIGNED FOR THE PLACES INBETWEEN
A menu of parts when assembled together produces numerous configurations creating spaces that support collaboration and concentration, enhancing communication and social activity. Hive creates interior architecture that is designed for today’s agile working environments, spaces that are effective and productive, optimising the use of existing real estate.
SOLUTIONS FOR THE 3RD SPACE
A modular set of components that can be assembled into a wide variety of bespoke activity based settings, establishing different zones without the need to build walls. Integrating the vertical and horizontal planning it produces visual, acoustic and territorial privacy for individuals and groups. Hive creates inspiring environments to attract and retain the best talent by enhancing and reinforcing the organisation’s brand and culture.
SETTING A TREND
Hive integrates technology including power modules, fixed or freestanding TVs and displays. The range of accessories such as acoustic canopies allowing the creation of private spaces and work rails at different heights onto which work surfaces can be fitted at any point along its length. Hive can also be upholstered with a wide selection of fabrics, textures and finishes to reflect the brand and culture of any environment.
Hive was initiated from a growing awareness of ‘the third space’. This prompted RWA to produce a research paper that highlighted significant growth in this area, due to social, economic, technological and demographic changes that were influencing the work place. This research gave us a positive design direction, first explored in concepts sketches that were then translated into tenth scale models exploring a variety of themes. The prominent idea was a modular seating system that could grow both horizontally and vertically to create a variety of landscapes. Selective market feedback from the initial presentation reduced the three design options to what is now Hive. It was developed as a series of seats backs and screens which are panel framed in construction and covered in fabricated polyurethane foams. The unique feature of Hive is the use of an extruded aluminium tool rail that links and separates the backs and screens, but also acts as a horizontal link between modules. The tool rail also supports a series of accessories, the most prominent being a wide variety of tables. Launched at Clerkenwell Design Week in 2011 as a series of prototypes it rapidly became successful and as volumes grew the design was adjusted and the range extended in response to market needs, adding power management, booths and canopies.