Innovations at Orgatec
Icon heads to Cologne to take part in one of Europe’s most influential trade fairs: Orgatec.
One of our Designers, Sam Jeffrey, gives us his thoughts on this year’s exhibition.
Billed as “the leading international trade fair for the modern working world”, Orgatec is a huge week-long event that brings together some of the newest innovations, inspirations and trends in workplace design.
At the end of October I headed to Germany, along with seven other members of the Icon team, to take part in the event. Not only were we inspired by what we saw there, but we also showcased a couple of our own innovations too: Nomad and a pre-launch teaser of Bedouin. Both part of our new Liberate your Workspace range.
The first thing to hit me was the sheer scale of the place – it was huge! – with hundreds of exhibitors from all over the world in multiple halls. By the end of our two days I was truly exhausted from walking around such a massive venue, but I was also buzzing with inspiration and ideas.
The theme of the event is "creativity works - new visions of work" and the show was packed with quirky and novel inventions and ideas, some of which were more practical than others. I saw everything from a self-driving Mercedes; to screens in every shape, size and colour; to products made out unusual materials like paper, hemp, 3D printed porcelain, organic composites and even coffee cups made from recycled coffee grounds!
Our bright orange desktop Nomad screens attracted a fair bit of attention on the stand. Visitors were able to play around with them, making different configurations, to see how it might work for them. Nomad allows you to cordon off different areas of the desk with multiple screens (all without any fixtures and fittings!) so events like this are a really useful way of giving designers and architects a chance to get really hands-on with the product.
As we are manufacturers at Icon, one of the most interesting things for me was watching a live demo of seating being handcrafted which, amongst stand after stand of finished product, really captured my attention. I am fascinated by the work and craft that goes into making these concepts a reality.
There were a number of trends that stood out. Firstly, an ever-growing need for flexibility. This leads to some pretty ingenious design solutions: screens that can move, for example, or screens made of interesting textures, shapes and materials. From a design perspective, I saw a lot of pastel colours used to contrast against darker fabrics such as leather. There was lots of plywood furniture too – a minimalist style I am very fond of that is also very popular at the moment.
Take a look at some of my favourite shots from the show below.
- Samuel Jeffrey, Designer