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The appearance of our offices has dramatically changed over the years, as well as the way we make use of our workplace. We used to spend our 8-hour work days surrounded by huge computer screens and sturdy wall panels, but today’s office spaces are far more pleasant. We no longer have to settle for the bitter, stale coffee from the machine, but we order our lattes in the fancy coffee corner. We have become used to opening up our laptops whenever and wherever we choose to, instead of having to sit next to the same colleagues and having to tap our pencils against the edge of the same desk until the clock turns five.
But some things have stayed exactly the same. Even though the atmosphere of our workplace has undergone a great deal of change; the desks and chairs that fill our offices remained unaltered. And the reason for that is quite simple:
Designers are forced to follow the European standards that dictate the form and functionality of office furniture. These regulations have made the design process quite inflexible. And it has made the offer on hand limited.
Of course it’s possible to find more appealing furniture but most companies will have to work around a tight budget and will end up with cheap, wear-resistant furnishings that are rendered in unforgiving colours.
The architects of Space Encounters kept on stumbling upon this same issue. Each time they were ready to put the final touches on one of their newly designed office spaces, they were confronted with the same office chairs, tables and cubicle walls: stubbornly old-fashioned furniture that was determined to spoil the party. Add the usual picture frames, plants, folders and coffee mugs, and the original concept behind the interior is completely overshadowed.
The traditional office no longer exists and it’s time to let the furniture catch up. Our workplace deserves affordable solutions that comply with regulations and also manage to let the overall interior design shine.
An attempt to create more aesthetically pleasing furniture is not an option. It will either become unaffordable or will lead to impossible compromises. That is what made Space Encounters decide to shift the focus away from the furniture and onto other things, resulting in a process where they redefined office furniture by questioning what is truly essential about these designs.
The basic elements were on hand; the task was to choose between the already existing and certified components. By taking the European standards in consideration while trying to minimize their impact, Space Encounters assembled a line of archetypal furniture. Shaded in a muted grey tone that gives the designs the unique ability to completely blend in with its surroundings.
That is Boring Collection. Sober gray, no fuzz, no pretensions. The tagline: Because it’s not about furniture. It’s time to put everything else front and centre: the interior design, the view, that other great chair, the pictures on the wall, the people.
What really stands out about Boring Collection is how the designs manage to be anything but outstanding. Their true virtue and potential becomes apparent when the different products are arranged in a group. Together they make up a sober and quiet family of furniture that, despite being multiplied still manages to let the interior around them play the lead.
And let’s not forget: Boring is affordable, which means the budget will leave enough room to purchase that one beautiful design chair. You can be sure any iconic design will receive all the attention it deserves as long as it’s surrounded by Boring collection.
Boring is a deceivingly simple design that can inflict great change. It will bring an end to slow delivery times, because all the components of the collection are always on stock: that’s the great advantage of a design that is available only in grey. And following a design brief has never been this easy, since Boring furniture meets all of the requirements.
It sounds a little idealistic, but Boring is a way to make the world a better place. In short, Boring Collection will help create a more pleasant workplace experience. Our offices will no longer feel like the dreaded place where time has to pass as fast as it possibly can, but can instead turn into a breeding ground where new unexpected things materialize and where everything is possible. From nine till five, that is.
LENSVELT WINS MILAN DESIGN AWARD WITH BORING COLLECTION
Other nominees were Tom Dixon and Nike. The jury was not only raved about the clever concept, but also about the courage of Lensvelt to create an anti-design statement on the world’s largest design fair. The grey furniture pieces from the Boring Collection are not striking. They are more likely to disappear in the interior, so that attention can be on everything else that matters’.
The show was rewarded by the jury ‘for the ability to imagine a new narrative way to the office-product. The project is a simple but effective conceptual innovation with starts from a stereotype to turn it into a playful and engaging experience’.
The exhibition concept was developed in collaboration with Space Encounters Office for Architecture and students from KABK in The Hague. Hans Lensvelt: “We did it as a team.”