Large open spaces are often great for their occupancy and daylighting advantages. But what about those times when the users of the space desire a little less visual or aural stimulation? Small “phone booth” or breakout rooms are one solution. However, these days, many furniture designers are providing us with some great pieces that can supply a bit of shelter for individuals or small groups. These pieces may allow an office or even a large atrium space to maintain its overall openness while simultaneously providing an option for users seeking shelter and focus.
Let’s take a look at some of our favorites:
The Vitra Alcove series, designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, has been steadily popular since its debut. The sofa version was perhaps an instant classic, but I am partial to the single-seat piece with a tablet arm.
Vitra, Alcove Highback Sofa
From across the pond in the UK, Boss Design Group recently introduced some sheltering pieces with crisp geometries and exquisite detailing. For individuals, the Cega seat provides acoustical damping while also having the capacity to swivel for conversation. The piece maintains ambient light levels for its occupant by being open at the top.
Boss Design Group, Cega
Boss’s Cocoon bench may be used as a single statement piece or connected into a small meeting suite with media capability.
Boss Design Group, Cocoon
Winner of a 2014 Architizer A+ Award and Interior Design Magazine’s Best of 2013, Haworth’s Window Seat, designed by San Francisco studio Mike&Maaike, has garnered much media attention as a stylish respite from the open office.
Mike&Maaike, Windowseat Lounge
Designed in France by Toan Nguyen, Coalesse’s Lagunitas Lounge line is available in 1, 2 or 3 seat versions and with onboard power connections.
With the privacy, flexibility, and technology compatibility provided by these designs, we can continue to plan spaces that are open but also consider the desire for a quiet “third space,” for some modes of working and studying.