Designed by Michael Schmidt of Stuttgart-based firm code2design, MeetYou is a flexible seating and partitioning system with 11 components that can be reconfigured and customised to fit any office.
Schmidt’s design process revolved around the question of why, in the digital age, we even have offices. For many workers, actual location is becoming increasingly irrelevant as digital connections multiply. And on the flipside, many people who are based in open-plan offices now deal with the proliferation of online media – such as video content on news websites, podcasts and Skype meetings. It’s not as simple – or as quiet – as sitting down to read the paper these days.
So why do we go to work? Schmidt’s answer was that bringing people together face-to-face to communicate is the lifeblood of a business, generating collaborations and more creative ideas – ideas and information that are the raw material of the knowledge-based society.
Another factor in the module’s development was the increasingly mobilised and democratic way people work today, which includes the need for spaces that can be temporarily taken over and relinquished again.
Designed with clean lines, flowing walls, an unbroken surface and no visible supports to be a minimalist presence within the office landscape, MeetYou allows companies to create ‘islands of communication’ that foster both open dialogue and privacy – whether hammering out the details of a deal over Skype with an overseas colleague, or streaming breaking news.
Its elements comprise three lightweight, acoustically effective walls of varying sizes that can be extended, benches, corner tables with electrification, a lighting unit and shelving. Schmidt also designed a system of self-supporting wall made from an EPS hard foam kernel with honeycomb perforations, which is both lightweight, flame retardant and sustainable, being CFC-free and 100 per cent recyclable.
“Places where people feel comfortable nurture creative exchange. They should be attractive and commodious, radiate a certain calmness but at the same time animate dialogues and inspire,” says Schmidt. “We decided on clean lines, a lot of fabric and little apparent technology. This also allows for optimally modelling the acoustics of a room.”