Category Archives: New Product

Lapalma: Celebrating A New Partnership

Lapalma’s success has been achieved step-by-step over thirty years. Using natural recyclable materials, expertly combining metal with wood, leather and fabrics to create timeless pieces of elegant furniture with clean fluid lines. It is the hard work, passion and inexhaustible enthusiasm of brothers, owners and founders, Dario and Romano Marcato.

Romano & Dario Marcato

Zenith is proud to announce a new partnership across APAC, supporting Lapalma’s passion for furniture made with high precision using the most advanced technology while respecting the environment and source of all the noble materials employed to make their collections.

AP Stool

In October 2017, Zenith officially launch the Lapalma brand into all 12 locations across APAC.  To coincide with his first visit to Australia, Dario Marcato joined Zenith at two special events to help launch new collections released at Il Salone, Milan in April 2017 and Orgatec, Cologne in 2016.

Guests enjoyed a degustation style menu of Veneto inspired food reflecting Lapalma’s origin of Padova, one of North Italy’s oldest cities.

Lapalma Melbourne Event

Two years ago, Lapalma launched ‘Light Office’ a new direction for them in response to the new approach to workplaces – flexibility and well-being.  An increased need for a lifestyle approach teamed with the ability to change the environment easily according to task, be it for focussed or collaborative work.

Lapalma Light Office

More on Lapalma Here

 

Pino by Keith Melbourne

Do Designers Have A Responsibility To Manufacturers?

The A+D world faces a precarious future: dwindling local expertise, unlikely local capacity, and a race we thought was heading toward the bottom but seems, instead, to be heading nowhere.

The Anxiety Of Influence

Although the current state of our property market might indicate our growing status as a well-designed nation, few of us in the A+D world are quite so sanguine. Tasked to close contracts faster and cheaper than ever before, our A+D community continues to report a culture of fear within the industry, circuitous monetary flows and wildly ambivalent consumer confidence – whether for key developments in our property market or for the position our industrial design will index on the world’s stage in the face of growing international competition.

At all avenues, we appear to be racing to the bottom faster than ever before. Needing to curb costs wherever possible in order to bolster our value proposition to the market, (namely, a value proposition that hangs solely on price point), the collateral damage has been enormous and, sadly it would seem, largely silent.

Within the space of a single workforce generation, our local manufacturing industry has experienced an ongoing period of contraction, falling to record lows on the Industry’s Group Index. In the 2015-2016 financial year, manufacturing’s injection into the national economy capped almost $30 million AUD. Throughout the last financial year, however, it contributed less than $15,598 million – a drop of almost 50% (which, comparatively, outstrips the drop experienced during the same parameters for our equally anxious mining industry).

Manufacturing Industry’s Performance Activity
(% contribution to AU GDP):
Australian-Bureau-Statistics-Australian-National-Accounts
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Australian national accounts: national income expenditure and product, cat. no. 5206.0.

But Is It A Question Of Déjà Vu?

It may sound flippant, but it feels all-too-familiar to me. Though few might be willing to see the correspondence, we find ourselves today in an oddly similar position to mid-Nineteenth-Century Europe. As the cause of industrialism continued to make in-roads into European social and political circles, the correlative emerged simultaneously for the continent’s economic thinking: the purportedly unspoken virtues of laissez-faire market drivers. We have novelists, in particular, to thank for the gainsaying. In the British tradition, Dickens, Eliot, Carlyle, Gaskell and any one of the Bronte family filled reams and reams of paper with the very human-centric tales of entire industries falling to task as the race to the bottom became more of a chaotic sprint.

But what might the Victorians teach us here? Well, for one thing, their response was inspired: intervention. Charter after charter was passed from the 1848 People’s Charter onwards, delineating strategies for mutually beneficial relationships between industry sectors: the cotton industry bolstered the weaving industry, textile trade and international trading relationships (even the colonial military) all working collaboratively to manage the ongoing struggles of ameliorating the rapid effects of mechanical innovation into an otherwise localised cottage IR structure. In short, the shift in industrial relations produced highly specialised skillsets as relationships became entirely driven by exclusivity and specialisation for quality control.

Do Industrial Designers Have A Responsibility To Manufacturers?

Needless to say, such effects are also currently extant within the A+D community. Relationships between our industrial designers and suppliers have never been richer and more penetrative. And yet, the local manufacturers still appear to be lucking out. While our lower dollar continues to boost manufacturing export volumes, weak local demand continues to subdue total activity as designers seek cheaper offshore alternatives

According to a recent report by Fairfax, 83% of Australian votes believe that we have a responsibility to generate more revenue and jobs within our total manufacturing capacity. Such sentiments could not have arrived at a more pressing moment. Between 2008 and 2016, more than 300,000 manufacturing jobs were lost, now accounting for approximately 1 in every 13 workers.

“The public’s instinct is absolutely right,” says Jim Stanford, economist at the Centre for the Future of Work at the Australia Institute, following his key findings that this nation displays a significantly lower proportion of manufacturing capacity than any other comparably advanced economy. “We risk paying a long-term price if the decline continues.”

So, should the A+D world reconsider its relationship with manufacturers? After all, government deregulation of the commercial sector in particular – plus the constantly changing landscape of taxation and tariff control – doesn’t bode well for too heavy a reliance on offshore manufacturing in the long term (even if it does satisfy short-term commercial imperatives). While local expertise continues to decline, we are actively complicit in creating an arena that is not sustainable for our local industrial designers, their local and international suppliers and the push for seeing our local design language make a loud impact on the international level.

Under such conditions, never has ecologically and socially sustainable approaches to our industrial relationships been more pressing. And thankfully, some industrial designers are proving that understanding the future direction of our collective practice and the potentially errant market forces at play is key to our overall success – as a nation, as an industry, and as a design community.

Rethinking The Designer-Manufacturer Relationship

Keith Melbourne is one such forward-thinker. Following the launch of his Pino collection for Zenith, Melbourne sat down with me to discuss his unique relationship with manufacturers, underscoring his discussion with the insight that closer collaborative approaches are key to the success of industrial design as a discipline, and design as both collective practice and community.

From designing all unique manufacturing componentry for the range, not to mention furniture kitted with ergonomic solutions for the manufacturers needing to construct these difficult product typologies – it becomes clear that it is near-impossible to delineate where Pino’s design story ends and its manufacture story begins. At all points, the difficulties, necessities and support systems for the range’s manufacture appear to inform its design resolution from the beginning. What emerges is not simply a product to decorate our mantle as a well-designed nation but, rather, the vital support system needed to ensure that the mantle will no longer be top-heavy.

Pino by Keith Melbourne
Pino by Keith Melbourne

David Congram, Indesign:      You’ve commented elsewhere that Pino is unique for you because it was very much a balancing act between sustaining its characteristic wire form and still providing the level of comfort and performance we wouldn’t normally expect from hard furnishings.

Keith Melbourne:      Yes, and ‘balancing act’ is the perfect term for it. [laughs] Well, sometimes, but it really was more of a pleasurable experience as a whole. And probably the number one thing which I found especially arduous this time with Pino was the manufacture. It was a wonderful challenge but I seriously underestimated the scope of the manufacturing side. We developed twelve manufacture components, and then spent two years refining the manufacturing process as a whole.

DC:      Well, since the manufacture for Pino was largely uncharted territory for you in terms of the form of the range, was it key to collaborate with specialist manufacturers?

KM      Oh absolutely! It was a very mutually-rewarding experience for both myself and the manufacturing team because it was such a prolonged collaborative process. Manufacturing is something that is very hidden, so I enjoy coming out and championing that part of the design process. Otherwise, how would people know?

Pino Stool Bodies by Keith Melbourne
Pino Stool Bodies by Keith Melbourne

DC       And people are intensely interested in that part of the design process, too, I feel.

KM      Yes, extremely so. It’s always met with a very high level of fascination. It has a tendency to ground the product, and really sweep away the unecessary ‘mystique’ that surrounds design as a discipline.

DC       And when you were refining each element during that questioning, how many prototypes were required to truly test its functionality?

KM      Interestingly, not many at all. I normally make a lot of models when I’m designing furniture, but it’s almost impossible to make a model of anything in the Pino range. When you take it down to one fifth of the scale, the wires don’t really translate. The accuracy required during the prototyping stage to inform the end-result just couldn’t be achieved for Pino because of its peculiar materiality. So largely it was done in CAD with some mock-ups in MDF for an ergonomic point of view.

DC       That’s quite interesting because I imagine it would be rather uncommon –

KM      Well yes – prototyping is an important part of any design process, but the material that constitutes the bulk of each piece wasn’t very welcoming of traditional prototyping, and certainly wasn’t particularly suited to dropping down the scale. I developed a new type of prototyping for this range using laser cut MDF to make a simulation of the chair, for example, so that you could sit inside to test the distribution of load and weight. Although it differs incredibly from the end result (not only in material) this way I was able to test and refine the ergonomics of each piece. But largely, I think we only did one prototype overall.

DC       One?!

KM      Yeah! But, thousands of megabytes of CAD data as well. It was an interesting challenge because I normally do like to make many models and work directly with the material and form. Unfortunately, or actually quite fortunately in a way, the material in this instance worked against the way I normally design.

DC       You’ve told me quite a bit about the manufacturing side of developing this range, and I’m curious to know your opinion of the manufacturer-designer relationship.

KM      Oh it’s extremely important! It’s critical as far as I’m concerned. I don’t work just by completing the design process and then passing the spec sheets through to the manufacturers. I prefer to work more collaborating alongside the manufacturers and I find very often that this also colours the design process to a great extent too, while also influencing the success of the design from a performance, quality or even aesthetic angle.

DC       Do you think that is standard or rare for the design community currently working throughout Australia, in particular?

KM      All designers I know have slightly different relationships with their manufacturers. Some, like me, are quite involved, and others can be very removed, some removed entirely as we often see with those who use offshore solutions. But I think that the line in the sand – where the manufacturer finishes and the designer starts – for me at least is very blurred. Perhaps that’s more informed by my engineering background than I know. But I love the relationship with the manufacturer. I spend a lot of time physically in the factory refining the manufacturing process. And the manufacturers love it too.

Pino Rolling off Production Line by Keith Melbourne
Pino Rolling off Production Line by Keith Melbourne

DC       I imagine that the stronger the relationship between the manufacturer and the designer leads to a better-resolved product at the tail-end of the whole process.

KM      Yes I’d have to agree. The whole process of the tooling side of things is about spending time refining those elements that can improve quality but also save time and a lot of funds too.

The design process for me can sometimes be quite lonely. I do a lot of the legwork alone and then the collaboration starts with the manufacturer where the sparks start to fly. I have a lot of respect with the manufacturers I work with, and the transference of skills and expertise is by far one of the most rewarding parts of this relationship.

By David Congram

 

Pino by Keith Melbourne

5 Minutes With… Keith Melbourne!

In the lead up to his launch of Pino for Zenith, we sat down with Keith Melbourne to get a behind the scenes glance of the designer
at work.

It has been said before, and yet I will say it again.
Keith Melbourne has carved out a unique place for himself in
the world of contemporary design. Exploring the sometimes twin, sometimes twain, virtues of rational engineering and creative design, his work bears an unmistakable signature: highly resolved end-results that appear equally whimsical and graphic, but soon start to reveal a litany of calmly determined design choices to bestow the invisible comforts of everyday life.

Having recently launched his latest collection – Pino – for Zenith,
it is clear that the union of engineering, manufacture, R+D and creative design continues to be a strong driving force for Melbourne. Across the entire range, comprising wire-work
dining and lounge chairs, stools, and accompanying tables, Pino carries a sometimes surprising back history that Melbourne was kind enough to share:

Pino Stool by Keith Melbourne

David Congram:       It has been said before that your engineering background heavily influences your work. I was wondering, however, whether your background in aerospace and automotive engineering
also influences it more directly?

Keith Melbourne:       That’s a good question. I don’t think that it
is directly influenced by aerospace and automotive engineering
as much as it is by manufacturing. I work with manufacturers to refine the design of the product and pre-empt moments where
we can refine the product (as an end result) and the process of its manufacture. The aesthetic … well, maybe I’m not the best person
to judge!

DC       [laughs]. No no, really?

KM       [laughs] Ah, well no not really. But I do think that in terms
of aesthetic, Pino has so many lines and in that way it is almost
like drawing. The different lineweights express the product in a different way. So we start with much finer seating wires that hang
in a frame, and these lineweights add more definition to the product.
So in terms of its aesthetic influences, I’d have to say it’s the precision I choose to work with … You can take the boy out of engineering, I guess!

Pino Dining Chair by Keith Melbourne

DC       And is that quite common for your work process? Designing functionally first, and then aesthetically second? Or are they constantly intertwined for you?

KM       Definitely intertwined. But having said that, I’m a strong believer in the functionality of products. So much time on this product was spent trying to perfect its comfort. I was adamant that although it is essentially a wire chair, it should be as comfortable as possible for its category type. So I spent a lot of time reworking the distribution of load over the wire seat, minimising or eliminating pressure points that lead to discomfort. I always start with thinking about the functionality and comfort of each piece, and then rework elements of its aesthetic dimension – so they are very intertwined.

DC       So when you began with the functionality and comfort of Pino, what was its initial seed?

KM       Well the very first part of the design journey for Pino is this softened hexagonal hoop that forms the seat and back of the chair. That’s the distinctive feature of the chair – it screams out at you from the other side of the street. The wires that hang from the hoop almost forge a sling shape – very soft, and very surprising given the hardness of the material.

Right from day one, the key features of the product were still
there, and they really did determine the direction and the
editing throughout.

Pino Lounge Chair by Keith Melbourne

DC       When I sat down with the other editors in the office, we were refreshing our memories of your recent work for brands like Stylecraft and Zenith, and the one thing that really jumped out at us was the strong graphic nature of your portfolio –

KM       That’s interesting because if I had to choose only one word to describe my work it would have to be ‘line’. How line in the 2D and the 3D form then translates into a sculptural presence. I obsess over it, really. Complex lines and vital lines are a central theme in my work. So when you recognised the graphic nature of what I do, you’re right on the money!

DC       [laughs] So you feel that Pino is very harmonious with your previous collections?

KM       I do, yes. Well … actually, that’s a difficult question.

DC       Well, do you feel then that Pino offers something new and slightly divergent from your back history of work?

KM       In a way, yes. For the dining chair in particular, I hadn’t tackled that type of product before – let alone in wire! I’ve done a lot of upholstered furniture and soft seating and stools, but for me I would nominate Pino as ‘hard’. One of the main challenges (which, in a way was more pleasurable than frustrating) was the fact that when you work in wire, everything is on display.

The ergonomics, the aesthetics, you can’t hide anything! By sculpting the piece to achieve comfort, you’re radically changing the sculptural form of it at the same time.

DC       Well on that, Pino has this sense – at least to me – of wearing its heart on its sleeve (if such a thing could be said of a wire chair…) –

KM       [laughs]

Keith Melbourne showcasing Pino

DC       And I have a feeling that this comes from its very flexible nature. Not only is it appropriate both indoors and out, but I can see it being equally at home in residential, commercial and even hospitality environments. It’s equally casual as it is formal. Was this versatility something very much at the centre of your design intent?

KM       Yes – and I viewed it particularly while I was developing
the chair, as ‘a chair’ not ‘an outdoor chair’, for instance. I wanted
to develop it to a level of comfort and aesthetic refinement that would allow it to sit in a home. I think that if people find it appealing enough to want it in their home then that’s top of the list. That’s the hardest nut to crack. And it’s been overwhelming because the manufacturers and the sales people and the general public who
have been introduced to it have already said to me that they’d
love it in their homes – and that’s extremely rewarding for me.

DC       So what were some of the questions you constantly asked yourself to achieve this degree of versatility?

KM       Comfort was one that kept coming up. And also, the pieces need to be universal – from a scale point of view, it needed to be quite universal in that way. But then also making sure that I was able to refine each piece for its specific function: dining chairs, lounge chairs and stools all require different negotiations of scale, weight and features, so it was definitely necessary for me to really question the relationship between form and function, without favouring one over the other.

DC       How did the range itself begin to take shape? Did you have quite a resolved idea of the relationships between each piece – where they diverged and coalesced – or did it emerge quite organically?

KM       Well when I began designing the tables to accompany the dining chair in particular, the soft hexagonal form kind of transferred across as a motif. I really did try to hero the chairs in particular,
so the tables are much quieter in form to allow the chair to be the star. But for the collection as a whole, it really did start with the dining chair. About a year in total was spent refining that particular piece, and then the rest of the collection iterated from that quite quickly in comparison.

DC       So the dining chair was … true north, I guess?

KM       Absolutely! It was very important for me to get the chair to a stage where it was harmonious, dynamic and highly resolved so that the rest of the pieces in the range had the best aesthetic and functional blueprint to work from.

Keith Melbourne with designer Gavin Harris

DC       And what do you think is going to capture the imagination of the market for Pino?

KM       Aesthetically, the soft hexagon is the key feature of the product. The curvature is very key, but I do believe that the fanning gesture of the wirework – particularly in the sling leading up the back of the seat – will be one of the more popular aesthetic touches. It gives the piece a sense of spaciousness and expansion.

DC       Yes, it’s quite an elegant gesture –

KM       And I think that will lead to it being equally as suited to the residential market. But in terms of what the market will love best, I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

By David Congram

 

Introducing SOL-MIX By Zenith Design Studio

With a design intent driven by empowering the end-user – be it individual or team – SOL-MIX aims to celebrate a new frontier for flexibility in the workplace.

The result of working alongside some of Asia Pacific’s biggest and boutique organisations for several years, Zenith Design Studio has just launched its latest offering to the commercial sector with SOL-MIX.

Through understanding the enormous potential of user-centred design thinking, this portfolio of mobile, modular, reconfigurable and versatile furniture aims to celebrate the dynamic nature of the contemporary workplace, while also providing the all-important tools of both individual and collective end-users.

“Working with leading companies in Asia Pacific,” says Zenith Design Studio’s R&D Manager Bob Stewart, “has allowed us to gain valuable insights into users’ needs in the emerging workplace. Mobility and the need to be user-reconfigurable is becoming increasingly important in our design intent for the contemporary workforce.”

Suited to spaces that frequently change to accommodate mutable needs – of desk sharers, mobile workers, agile teams – SOL-MIX allows end-users to freely collaborate and connect. Bringing people, process, technology and design systems into direct conversation, SOL-MIX is designed around four key pillars of contemporary working behaviours: facilitating spaces for formal or informal meeting situations, social aspects of our daily routines, creative collisions for knowledge sharing, and moments requiring retreat and focus.

With flexibility remaining the order of the day, SOL-MIX celebrates the fact that today’s commercial spaces need to be flexible to a heightened degree: promoting the happiness of individual workers and the dynamism of teams as the basis for sustained productivity.

SOL-Sit’s seating modules in a variety of dimensions – whether singular or lounge – is available in either geometric or curved forms. Exceptionally modular, with a back or an ottoman in either a concave or convex shape. Used either in isolation or combined to create settings for various modes of work, SOL-Sit is equally amenable to individual and group needs.

As an extension of the formal design language of the SOL-Sit lounge, SOL-Rest is an armchair that boasts a sweeping and generous arm. In continuous flowing steel with solid timber accents, this piece forces a narrative of continuity that echoes the free-flowing of ideas that emerge through collaboration.

SOL-Lap’s heightened minimalism understands that functionality will remain at the forefront of intelligent design. With ease of movement, access and productivity, SOL-Lap’s table is equally useful for work that requires generating and clarifying thought, accommodating a variety of technologies that facilitate such processes.

SOL-Think is a single chair with a high back and sides that embraces its end-user in a visual and quieter realm of privacy and focus. Open and yet also private, SOL-Think is a fantastic example of how to balance the primacy of individual need with the necessity for cooperative team collaboration.

For more team-oriented working activities, SOL-Pavilion is a semi-private booth that has proven popular for facilitating quick meetings that require a degree of privacy or intimacy due to its exceptional acoustic attenuation. Comprising four distinct parts: two highly acoustic booth sides, a media panel and table with integrated tech componentry, SOL-Pavilion can be easily mobilised and assembled. With in-built lighting and a folding roof, this entirely upholstered system pushes the boundary for sound insulating design.

SOL-Bench’s highly accommodating dimensions allow workers to stand or sit with the addition of SOL-Sit. Designed to co-operate with either standing tasks or more informal sociable settings, the bench is available in a variety of dimensions and customisable options like privacy screens.

SOL-Dash’s mobile stools – available in either a square or rounded sculptural form – are highly flexible. Set upon castors, SOL-Dash is a fantastic addition to breakout zones and waiting areas, alike. Applauding a new type of agility that is no longer synonymous with stress but, rather, fun, the spontaneity inherent in its design intent lies at the core of successful collaboration.

SOL-Break’s round low tables snuggly combine with SOL-Sit configurations. Available in a variety of different top finishes, SOL-Break understands the requirements of touchdown zones and the importance of flexibility across a variety of working spaces.

SOL-Sketch’s two-sided whiteboard acts as the innovation hub for meetings, presentations, or is modular enough to simply act as an efficient way to temporarily divide open-plan spaces.

From the brains of Zenith Design Studio – a research and development department of Zenith Interiors – the range anticipates what many believe will determine the future of our working environments. Thanks to the visionary responsiveness of a team of industrial designers, product engineers, trend forecasters and experts in the productivity, change management and wellbeing of workers, SOL-MIX is an inspired curation of design frameworks that are comprehensive and user-centric.

SOL-MIX is designed around four key pillars of contemporary working behaviours: facilitating spaces for formal or informal meeting situations, social aspects of our daily routines, creative collisions for knowledge sharing, and moments requiring retreat and focus.

According to Zenith Design Studio’s Bob Stewart, “Australia really is at the cutting-edge of workplace change. Working with leading companies here has given us valuable insights into the current and continually changing needs of the working world of tomorrow.”

By David Congram.

View the SOL-MIX specification brochure

Zenith Design Studio Has Just Won the War For Talent

Can design really make a difference to the international problem of attracting, retaining and building talent?

Almost two decades ago the world’s brightest managerial minds detected the beginnings of a commercial famine. In the years that would lie ahead, it was rightly believed that for organisations to remain solvent, continued success would depend upon how well they could attract, develop, and retain talented employees.

And for almost twenty years, we all fidgeted as wide-eyed executives – under the guise of whacky titles like Chief Energy Officers and Happiness Co-ordination Managers – dismantled, rebuilt and redecorated our places of work thinking, and perhaps rightly, that an employees surroundings loom large in their estimation of professional and personal self-worth (not to mention productivity).

So, for twenty years, we survived skirmishes in the cubicle-filled trenches, we bunkered down in boardrooms as offices were raided of their internal fortifications. We became open plan and, consequently, open prey. Brief guerrilla attacks sprung up all over the place as AstroTurf-clad-lunchrooms with hammocks or (in a rather infamous example) as noisome miniature basketball courts replete with whiteboards. Apparently we were all meant to feel our minds expand, the groundbreaking thoughts would flow freely … and yet, all we achieved was a migraine.

Then, the reparations began. We realised the virtues of simple design principles of function coalescing with form. We realised, too, that natural light was good for us (!). And finally, we realised that talent, at the end of the day, was the only thing that was going to win its own war.

But why are HR Managers still despairing?

Well, never has the rapid connectivity of global markets been more immense; never has it been so difficult to locate proficient successors in the pipelines for succession planning; and never has it been more impossible to cushion ‘development practices’ … or at least make development something both achievable and sustainable.

Though many believe we are at the tail end of the most lopsided period in global economic history, it is becoming clear that we are merely at its brink. Corporations’ necessity for talented individuals has exponentially increased, while the pool of possible candidates continues to diminish – or, at least diminish demographically. Meanwhile, whether through age or specialised knowledge, today’s workers becomes more and more obsolete each day, their half-life decreasing as rapidly as the many pieces of technology at their disposal.

But though it may sound very doomsday, some of us are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. While everyone continues to experiment with ways to attract and then retain that all-important talent, the A+D community is uniquely positioned to help.

Creating Efficiencies Which Create Talent

A new demand for intelligent design systems that are purpose-driven to empower their varied and numerous end-users speak volumes – and especially so in the commercial sector – about a shift in where we place the value of design. Where previously the A+D community was sought after to add the polish of prominence to organisations, current interest lies in design’s potential to elevate the status of the individual and their particular needs.

Here, collaboration is key. Rightfully recognising that in this knowledge sharing economy talent is absolutely transferrable, collaboration has become an important weapon in the corporate arsenal of competitive difference. Calling upon the design world to create systems of efficiency, communication and interrelation in the workspace, organisations seek to enter a balance between group and individual needs – the fundamentals of collaboration and identity for teams. In our increasingly agile workspaces based on habitual flexibility and change, efficient design systems that can empower each individual end-user while still providing the collective identity and tools for teams suggests that, perhaps, talent isn’t merely a question of luck and investment but, rather, of re-investment.

Talent Has Become Something We Can Grow

Essential, modular, multi-functional and highly versatile, democratic furniture that seeks not to label workers and delineate the specified areas or facilities for tasks highlights that companies intend – and will continue to do so – prize talent over status. This is precisely where Zenith Design Studio’s latest offering to the commercial sector enters the fray.

Through collaborating intimately with multiple corporations for years, Zenith Design Studio understand that a user-centred approach is the only avenue of design-thinking that can elevate the end-user and forge systems for the creation of talent. With a new portfolio of intelligent design solutions for the contemporary workplace, this suite of mobile, modular and reconfigurable designs – SOL-MIX – celebrates the talent and not status of each individual, the unity and not the difference of each team.

According to Zenith Design Studio’s Bob Stewart, “Australia really is at the cutting-edge of workplace change. Working with leading companies here has given us valuable insights into the current and continually changing needs of the working world of tomorrow.”

Suited to spaces that frequently change to accommodate mutable needs – of desk sharers, mobile workers, agile teams – SOL-MIX allows end-users to freely collaborate and connect. Bringing people, process, technology and design systems into direct conversation, the furniture in situ promotes dynamic and idiosyncratic work patters, the happiness of the individual, and creates a space for employees to understand and access the material and extensive totality of ‘their work’. It bestows, that is, the individual’s own custodianship of their output.

Focus. Collaboration. Sociability. Community.

Designed around these four rudimentary styles of approaching work – focus, collaboration, sociability and community – the entire SOL-MIX range can carry workers through formal meeting situations, social aspects of their daily routines, creative collisions for knowledge sharing, and moments requiring retreat and focus.

SOL-Think is a single chair with a high back and sides that embraces its end-user in a visual and quieter realm of privacy and focus. Coupled with the SOL-Sit seating modules in various dimensions, straight or curved sculptural forms, the configuration now welcomes informal gatherings for quick tête-à-têtes that can increase in informality and congregation with artfully arranged SOL-Dash mobile stools. Whether donning waiting rooms or working areas, the SOL-Bench’s accommodating height and generous straight or curvaceous form can be infinitely reconfigured in arrangement and space that, when combined with SOL-Rest’s armchair with a sweeping arm or SOL-Lap’s tablet-friendly tables, means that waiting no longer means simply killing time or working no longer means sitting down. Applied for either strict or flowing think-tanking sessions, SOL-Sketch’s mobile whiteboard acts as the fulcrum for meetings, presentations, or is modular enough to simply act as an efficient way to temporarily divide open-plan spaces. And, to accommodate larger teams, SOL-Pavilion is a semi-private booth that has proven popular for facilitating quick meetings that require a degree of privacy or intimacy due to its exceptional acoustic attenuation.

Throughout the entire integrated system, a formal design language of bold contoured and organic forms prevails. Sweeping vital lines, anodyne and essential sculptural silhouettes, and intelligently selected acoustic upholstery or light and tech-friendly componentry achieves the universality of our working requirements: spaces that can motivate focus, systems that allow collaboration, moments for touchdown and socialising, and furniture for any type of meeting along the formal-informal spectrum.

A New Frontier For The Working World

SOL-MIX represents a much-needed response to the psychosocial potential harboured within design. The potential, that is, to view design as a mode to facilitate certain behaviours, empower end-users’ latent capacities, answer to the needs of the many and the one in a single, reconfigurable furnishing system. From the brains of Zenith Design Studio – a research and development department of Zenith Interiors – the range anticipates what many believe will determine the future of our working environments. Thanks to the visionary responsiveness of a team of industrial designers, product engineers, trend forecasters and experts in the productivity, change management and wellbeing of workers, SOL-MIX is an inspired curation of design frameworks that are comprehensive and user-centric.

Having just celebrated the launch of their full-scale operation in Singapore last year, and with a similar feat on the cards for Shanghai soon, Zenith Interiors’ 12 showrooms across the Asia Pacific region in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Hong Kong, hotly anticipate the arrival of SOL-MIX to an already staggering portfolio of local and international brands.

Though sixty years on, time still fails to weary Zenith. Thanks to SOL-MIX’s arrival, the team prove they are once again at the vanguard of the evolving nature of the international working world.

“Working with leading companies in Asia Pacific,” says Zenith Design Studio’s R&D Manager Bob Stewart, “has allowed us to gain valuable insights into users’ needs in the emerging workplace. Mobility and the need to be user-reconfigurable is becoming increasingly important in our design intent for the contemporary workforce.”

By David Congram.

Tomorrow’s design… today!

At ZENITH, trend forecasting has been pushed to new frontiers.
Responding to the connected workplace of the future, ZENITH
creates products to meet emerging needs. Where, commonly,
design is reactive (where products developed are matched to a
client’s identified needs), ZENITH Design works at the forefront of
embryonic need and advanced technology. The team’s approach to
product innovation springs from extensive anticipatory research.
Drawing information from a range of research initiatives squarely
positions design thinking within the arena of empirical reasoning,
distilling the practice of design down to one key question: if this is
happening now, then what will happen next?

Bob Stewart, who sits at the helm of ZENITH Design, states:
“We’re very focused on what the end-user needs and what their
workplaces require. We have a forward-facing work methodology
in our design approach.” Little wonder, then, that the latest offering
from ZENITH Design, KISSEN, is already responding to the functional
requirements of a new breed of commercial environments. As a
collection of tables and workstations carrying a strong timber
aesthetic and distinct leg profile, the range takes its name from
the German word for ‘cushion’.

KISSEN by ZENITH Design

With an interchangeable kit of componentry and custom material
choices, KISSEN’s supreme economy of space streamlines the products’ form and accessory options to provide ease of team
expression and identity. Responding to the need for tomorrow’s
diverse work models, KISSEN seeks to foster connection in either
social or collaborative settings.

While KISSEN responds to the primacy of collaboration in the
commercial environment, EDO by Schamburg & Alvisse responds
to the desire for new degrees of flexibility. Inspired by Tokyo’s dori
(streets) and yokocho (laneways), the EDO Streetscape is an elegy to
the city’s vibrant melting pot of technology and tradition. Whether
offering flexible modularity for interactive team meetings, formal
catch-ups or more private settings for focus and retreat, in the
words of EDO’s designers, the range offers the design community
“the tools to create utsukushi basho (beautiful places) for people
to work, learn and refresh”.

EDO by Schamburg + Alvisse
EDO by Schamburg + Alvisse

Comprising a suite of single and supplementary modular
lounges, ottomans, collaborative modules and additional tablet
arms, EDO’s custom options carry across timber and powdercoat
legs, high or low backrests, removable armrests and upholstery.
KISSEN and EDO are available throughout Asia Pacific thanks
to the team at ZENITH. With showrooms throughout the region,
contact your nearest ZENITH team to view these latest collections
designed for tomorrow’s commercial sector.

 

EDO by Schamburg+Alvisse

KISSEN by ZENITH Design

Mobius Has Grown Taller

With a choice of three back panel heights, Mobius High Back Modular Lounges create intimate meeting places and streamlined open-plan seating that elegantly twist & turn, seemingly without a start or an end.

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The 19th Century “Möbius Strip” theory inspired a unique double-sided S-back seat that changes the seated position to face both ways. From this first piece, a full collection of seating modules evolved, that elegantly twist & turn, seemingly without a start or an end.

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Mobius includes curved and straight seating modules that connect to form almost any configuration you can imagine.

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Add your choice of three back panel heights to create intimate meeting places and streamlined open-plan seating offering endless layout possibilities.

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Mobius has been specified for corporate breakout areas, building foyers, airport waiting, university lounges, school libraries, and shopping centres.

 

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View specification brochure.

Acoustical performance and privacy with a twist

BuzziBlinds Straight, Wedge, Beach and Arch

Design by Alain Gilles

After the introduction in 2011 BuzziBlinds Classic became an instant hit as partitions for open-plan spaces. Five years later it’s time to add some zest to the family. BuzziBlinds are inspired on modernist architecture. The rhythm and tonalities created by the orientation of the V-cut BuzziBlinds add a dynamic of depth to any space.

BuzziBlinds Straight V cut
BuzziBlinds Straight V cut
BuzziBlinds Straight V cut Detail
BuzziBlinds Straight V cut Detail

The free-standing room divider is made up of a series of five rotating acoustic blinds. With a simple twist, the blinds can be opened or closed to varying degrees to create privacy or open-up a space. This gives individuals the opportunity to determine the level of privacy they may want or need at any given moment to concentrate on a specific task.

BuzziBlinds Wedge V cut
BuzziBlinds Wedge V cut
BuzziBlinds Wedge V cut
BuzziBlinds Wedge V cut
BuzziBlinds consists of 4 different shapes
BuzziBlinds consists of 4 different shapes

The Blinds are covered with plain BuzziFelt. Adding a V-cut feature to the BuzziFelt enhances a stronger architectural look in your space.

View BuzziBlinds product specifications at: http://www.zenithinteriors.com/au/product/buzziblinds

More Added to the Toolkit

EDO Stage 2 is now released with longer lounges and a handy power module for recharging your devices and connecting via USB.  It even doubles as an armrest and table top, giving you many more opportunities to create unique landscapes to suit all the diverse activities in today’s office.

Zenith - Edo - Arrangment B

Inspired by the city of Tokyo (formerly known as Edo), the Edo 1 collection offers a preview of the technology rich Edo Workscape soon to follow.

Taking its cues from a mega city humanised by intimate teahouses, intriguing laneways and bustling courtyards, the clean architectural lines of the Edo Workscape promises designers a toolkit brimming with placemaking solutions.

Zenith - Edo - Arrangment C

Unlock your clients’ potential by offering them Edo’s spatial diversity: places for quiet focus time, places for private conversations, places for quiet collaboration and places for energetic team brainstorming.

The Edo kit of parts includes: removable armrests; variable back rest heights, a selection of base/leg options and now comes with a handy power module for recharging your devices and connecting via USB. It even doubles as an armrest and table top.

View Specification Brochure

All Sorts: Inspired By the Lovable Confectionery

All Sorts: Rich, luxurious and inviting, just like the lovable confectionery that inspired its name. The range of lounges and ottomans from The SD Element combines layers of contrasting densities of foam to give a soft and supportive seat that has a sensitivity to commercial ergonomics

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Wrapped with an overlay of luxurious feather and down, the All Sorts range provides a softer aesthetic with commercial endurance.

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100% Australian designed and manufactured by The SD Element, the All Sorts range is finished in your choice of contract fabric or leather and is available in small and large ottomans, single and double seat lounges, a low seat “lounger”, as well as a chaise lounge.

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The range also features a European style cross-stitch detail, with a thread available in a range of colours. Outdoor versions are also available.

View All Sorts product specifications.