Workspace Design Show Highlights!

The Workspace Design Show, marking its third occurrence on the 27th and 28th of February at the Business Design Centre in London, continues to solidify its position as an essential fixture on the commercial interiors calendar.

During this event, our Editor, Alys Bryan, led an engaging seminar titled “How can good design enable collaboration, inspire innovation, and build connection in workplace design.” The session brought together a panel of experts who agreed that a deep understanding of employee needs and offering them choice can profoundly impact these aspects of workspace design.

We are excited to share our six key event highlights: the creation of inclusive spaces that address diverse requirements, the focus on elevating details that boost both functionality and style, the strategic use of colour in workspace design, the shift towards workspace on the go, the development of immersive experience through the fusion of technology and design, and Design Insider Talks.

While these highlights represent the facets that resonated with us the most, they offer a glimpse into the innovative spirit and forward-thinking approaches that characterized the entire event.

1. Inclusive spaces

Choice, and adaptability of your immediate surroundings is at the heart of the design for Kabin. Not surprisingly we experienced many work booths and pods during our visit to the event, but this one particularly caught our eye. Kabin has been designed to function beyond the traditional ‘acoustic booth’ to be utilised for extended periods of time.

Kabin’s humancentric design approach aims to enhance comfort and connectivity. Occupants are immersed in soundscapes and visuals through the Kabin AV experiences, which are accessible via intuitive inbuilt touchscreens. In order to incorporate biophilic principles into the design Kabin features plant holders. The inclusion of outward-facing, comfortable seats offers security and enhances the user’s connection to their surroundings, with bronze-tinted glass minimizing glare and increasing privacy. Additionally, an articulating work surface rotates out of the way when not in use, optimizing the available space. Integrated features such as storage, adjustable fresh air flow, and dimmable lighting further underscore Kabin’s commitment to providing comfort, efficiency, and a personalized experience.

‘The interior environment of Kabin was designed to feel spacious, whilst a compact size means it’s a perfect for many placement opportunities. The design was centred around the Human Scale Theory, which focuses on the proportions of a space in relation to human beings. The spaces we occupy have a profound effect on our lives, our mental health and our overall well-being!’  Walter Craven, Founder, Kabin

2. Elevating details

Interior spaces necessitate the inclusion of vital safety features, such as fire extinguishers, alarms, and safety lighting, which are integral to overall functionality. Daisalux, a pioneer in safety lighting solutions, has introduced an innovative product, Spica, which not only meets but exceeds the required safety standards for commercial environments. This light is ingeniously designed to be discreet, boasting an ‘invisible luminaire’ profile with a diameter of just 20mm and an ultra-flat 12mm lens.

This emergency light is one of the smallest available, providing a sleek and unobtrusive solution that allows architects and designers to incorporate safety features without compromising on aesthetics. Spica’s self-contained design ensures it remains operational independently of the main power supply, activating when the mains voltage dips below 70% of its nominal value, thereby enhancing safety during unforeseen emergencies.

Spica’s design extends to its broad and effective light coverage, essential for ensuring visibility in spacious settings. The light prioritizes uniform distribution and clarity, ensuring that emergency pathways are well-lit and signals are unmistakable, even in critical situations.

The design of Spica showcases how integrating essential safety features can elevate an interior scheme, with every element thoughtfully resolved.

3. Colour

Since our visit to the Pedrali stand at Solone del Mobile in Milan last April, where we had the opportunity to be introduced to the new product launches by the Pedrali team and Andrea Pedrali, Grandson of Nari, we have had a deeper understanding of not only the brands design approach but the importance colour plays in the design portfolio. 

It was a pleasure to speak with the Pedarli team at the event and here the passion from their team about the importance of their carefully curated colour pallet, celebrating natural earth tones including beige and sand. It was also wonderful to hear about the Pedrali Pavilion: a stage of beauty, tradition and innovation. 60 years of company history was showcased through the Pedrali Pavilion – designed for the occasion by AMDL CIRCLE and Michele De Lucchi and inaugurated on 15 September 2023 in its Headquarters in Mornico al Serio (Bergamo) – which stands as a new, warm and hospitable home, ready to welcome not only those who have contributed to the company’s history but also the newer generations. Inside, the Pedrali Pavilion features the exhibition “Pedrali60, we design a better future” curated by Luca Molinari Studio.

“The Pavilion is like a large roof that stands on its own two legs, approachable via a staircase that is also a grandstand where people, visitors, spectators can stay together. In this mobile and movable exhibition space, shows and events can be staged, which tell the story of the existence of a company, a community of people building together something that deserves to be built, distributed, sold, told, combining together the destinies of many individuals.” Michele De Lucchi, founder of AMDL CIRCLE.

In line with their commitment to sustainability, Australian brand Woven Image has introduced an additional five colours to their standard palette for EchoPanel®. Since its inception in 2004, EchoPanel® has offered both aesthetic appeal and functional acoustic benefits. This interior panelling solution is celebrated for its ability to reduce and control reverberated noise in shared spaces, making it a perfect choice for various commercial settings, including workplaces, educational institutions, and hospitality venues.

EchoPanel® is not just about sound absorption; it’s also a testament to eco-innovation. With a fabric-like finish, it’s designed for dematerialization, eliminating the need for further upholstery, painting, or protection post-installation. Leading the charge against single-use plastics, EchoPanel® utilizes post-consumer recycled PET bottles, transforming them into a superior, upcycled product that offers a myriad of interior applications.

Notably Woven image were the only exhibitors to install a waste-free stand, with each stand element pressed fitted together for ease or assembly, disassemble, and transportation onto its next event.  Sustainability is at the core of this brand, which we are promised will be further demonstrated through their upcoming launch in September, we can’t wait to discover more!

4. Workspace on the go

Hotbox has for a long time led the way in delivering tools which enable employees to work with each when away from a desk.

In 2021 the Hotbox team launch Shuttle, a work backpack, contemporary in form, detailed in function, big on organisation. I personally use shuttle when I am away from my desk, benefitting from the design details incorporated by the bags designers BroomeJenkins which include a work backpack.

Shuttle offers an expandable design with quick side access to essentials and a padded 15″ laptop pocket for protection and convenience. It features adjustable, padded shoulder straps, a concealed magnetic front pocket with a key clip, and an expandable side pocket suitable for a water bottle or umbrella. The internal compartment includes a zipped divider for organization, and a luggage handle strap for easy attachment to wheel cases. Comfort is ensured with a soft handle, and the bag’s showerproof material keeps contents dry. Additionally, there’s a specialized compartment for easy access to work items. The bag is made from recycled polyester interior and bluesign® approved exterior fabric, ensuring recyclability.

There are however day trips when I don’t need to utilise the space offered to me by Shuttle and a smaller, but equally well considered, bag would be helpful. My wishes have now been answered by Hotbox’s launch of Adapt, also designed by Barry Jenkins and his team at BroomeJenkins.

Adapt, Hotbox’s most flexible, on the go, work backpack and laptop messenger bag in one. It was fantastic to see this new product launch in person at the event and be walked through the features by Hotbox Managing Director, Jamie Rothwell.

The Adapt bag offers versatile carrying options with two strap configurations, serving as a backpack or messenger bag. It features a padded back that conceals the backpack straps and an adjustable, removable shoulder strap with support for comfort. The bag includes a slide-on feature for luggage handles, a padded 15″ laptop pocket, and a fold-down front section for workspace use. Its sturdy base keeps it upright, and the front section doubles as a stand for phones or tablets. The large internal compartment is designed to fit the Utility Pouch, Folio, or Utility Case. Made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic water bottles, the bag is showerproof and fully recyclable.

5. Immersive experience

Our standout exhibit at the show was Ekko! Their range of acoustic lighting solutions, crafted from materials comprising 60% recycled plastic bottles, illuminates various spaces like meeting areas, breakout zones, and wellness centres. Ekko’s acoustic lights offer visual appeal and provide sound dampening and absorption, aiding in the creation of secluded areas within open-plan designs.

For an enhanced narrative around their products, Ekko collaborated with MF Design Studio, a distinguished interior architecture firm known for their commitment to innovation, sustainability, well-being, and exceptional user experience, led by Founder & Creative Director, May Fawzy.

This partnership resulted in an Alice in Wonderland-themed walk-through exhibit, allowing visitors to fully engage with Ekko’s acoustic and lighting solutions. The display was a feast for the eyes but also a demonstration of how design can significantly contribute to workplace serenity and overall ambiance.

6. Design Insider Talks!

Design Insider is known for sparking conversations with industry leaders, and we relish the opportunity to do so at leading events within our sector. We were honoured to moderate a panel discussion at the Workspace Design Show, focusing on the role of design in fostering collaboration, innovation, and connection in the workplace.

Our Editor, Alys Bryan, engaged in a thought-provoking conversation with Chloe Nicholls from AtkinsRéalis, Simon Bone of Perkins&Will, and Nicol Lee at Area, exploring these vital themes.

We look forward to sharing the full discussion next month, providing deeper insights into our panellists’ expertise. For now, here are three essential takeaways:

1. Data-Driven Insights: Understanding the interplay between a business’s objectives, employee needs, and spatial utilization is crucial. Gathering data through direct engagement, surveys, feedback mechanisms, and AI technologies is indispensable for informed decision-making.

2. Cultural Alignment: The essence of a company’s culture significantly influences workplace dynamics. It’s vital for business leaders, employees, and designers to clearly define and align with the company’s cultural vision to ensure a collaborative, inspiring, and connected work environment.

3. Sensory-Inclusive Design: Creating inclusive workspaces entails a meticulous consideration of the sensory experiences within the environment, allowing for personalized adjustments to an employee’s immediate space.

Workspace Design Show has a great atmosphere, with engaged and enthusiastic attendees. The seminars could not possibly have been fuller, and the challenge for the organisers was to draw the seminar audience onto the stands, from the feedback we heard this had been a success!

The workspace sector has an appetite for growth and innovation. It’s an exciting time!


About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
View all posts by Alys Bryan →