Photography Credit Jasper Sanidad.
The Kimball showroom at NeoCon 2015 was a collection of spaces illustrating how the company’s versatile furniture could be adapted to the many kinds of work and leisure activities a modern office typically must handle. O+A’s design grew from the concept that every office is a microcosmic city and that the types of spaces in an office correspond to urban neighborhoods, each with its own personality and purpose.
Our design team gave each space a distinct footprint using color, furniture placement, lighting and flooring. At the base of the showroom’s curving staircase, for example, we used pendant light fixtures and plywood constructions on the floor and wall to “enclose” a workstation in invisible walls—demonstrating how open office configurations can carve privacy out of thin air. Throughout the showroom our theme was the energy that comes from eclecticism—an overlap of patterns and styles as dynamic as a city’s grid of streets and squares.
Our firm’s brand studio tackled the Kimball Showroom as an illustration project. We created custom patterns that suggested the electricity and density of a city—geometric shapes that evoked architectural forms and systems of infrastructure. A signage protocol explained the space types like the wall installations in an art museum. With the El and the Chicago River right out the window, these urban graphics provided a kinetic setting for Kimball’s varied lines of workplace furniture.
One of the key requirements for this showroom was that it reflect Kimball’s changing aesthetic. As a company that began its life making pianos and organs and is now one of the leading manufacturers of office furniture in the world, change was always built into Kimball’s DNA. The new Kimball Office embraces both the versatility and the creativity of modern office design. As such our designers wanted its showroom to cover a range of possibilities.
We made the first view of the showroom a workstation—with signage that expressed up front the parallel themes of the 2015 exhibit: “The city is your office” and “Work your way.” This first view featured a new desk option that blended working “your way” into a single, adaptable piece. It was called Canopy and with its easily altered and customizable parts it embodied the design of the space as a whole: simple, crafted, approachable.
Each area of the showroom demonstrated a similarly unique work style or a different approach to taking a break. Using the full repertoire of Kimball office options, O+A accentuated the diversity that characterizes city life (and working life) in the 21st century. And by making each of the wall graphics a custom design, our branding team gave the showroom a spirit as festive and inclusive as a big city parade. Even the window coverings were designed from scratch.