Friction; the flexible furniture solution

Flexibility in the workplace is an important aspect of office design.

Giving staff the opportunity to choose how and where they work not only impacts on employee wellbeing but also creates a workplace where multiple generations can find a space that suits their needs.

Flexible Furniture

The layout of an office is often the best way to achieve this, creating areas that meet differing needs, whether that’s concentration, collaboration or contemplation.

But innovative office furniture can sometimes be used to give employees flexibility in the workplace, like the Altwork station that can convert into a sitting, standing or reclining desk.

Now we can add another piece to the list of flexible furniture.

Heatherwick Studio

Led by Thomas Heatherwick, Heatherwick Studio’s work is often impressive in terms of its scope.

They recently created South Africa’s biggest art museum by hollowing out the inside of a grain silo.

They also designed Vessel, a piece of sculptural architecture in New York made up of 154 staircases.

Their most recent piece is a bit smaller in scale, but its mechanics are just as impressive.

Friction by Heatherwick Studio

Launched during the 2017 Frieze art fair, the Friction table is the result of research into the way furniture can adapt to different spaces and needs.

A tenet of activity-based working, it meets many of the requirements that businesses currently face when considering their workplace design.

The table is formed from slats made out of paper sheets that have been solidified in resin.

The material it’s made from is interesting enough, originating from the mid-20th century and developed for industrial purposes.

The grain and texture from the fibres of the paper give the table a rich tactile quality.

However, it’s the way that Friction transforms that is most impressive.

How does it work?

Over the years, the studio experimented with a prototype pivot mechanism, developing and refining it in a number of objects.

Sheets of paper set in resin were used to create the lattice structure of the table which consisted of 61 slats positioned by hand.

These were then calibrated and aligned so that the table can be stretched out when the table legs are pulled.

From a circular shape that can seat eight people, it transforms into a four-metre-long elliptical shape that can accommodate large team meetings.

You can see the Friction Table at London's Daniel Katz gallery until 20 October 2017.

If you were hoping to get one for your boardroom, you’ll need to be quick.

Heatherwick Studio will only be producing a limited-edition run of seven.


You wait for one flexible furniture solution and then two come along

We just spotted another funky, flexible furniture solution. This one’s a little quirkier.

Flexible Love

Remember those concertina Christmas decorations? Or those cocktail straws with a paper pineapple that folds out like an accordion?

Flexible Love has designed a range of furniture that does exactly the same thing.

Made from 100% recycled paper, the longest sofa can hold up to 4,232 pounds when fully expanded.

At just over 5 inches thick when collapsed, they’re as portable as they are flexible.

A lot of fun and definitely a talking point for an office, we can certainly see these working in break-out areas.

Posted by on

Categories: Office DesignOffice Design TrendsOffice Furniture

Related Blogs