Oblong Leisure Projects

Oblong – Leisure and Hospitality

If you have a leisure or hospitality opportunity, our Oblong Furniture brand can help. Whether you require tables, chairs, fixed seating, bar stools, soft seating, or custom products, we relish the challenge of finding the right products for you.

If you want to know more, have a look at our case studies on the Oblong website:

Link to Oblong website
Brief overview of Oblong products

Oblong are now a brand of Corporate Workspace

We are pleased to announce that Corporate Workspace Ltd will be taking over the operation and brand of Oblong Furniture. This exciting opportunity brings benefits to both parties and their customers and allows us to further enhance our portfolio to provide more tailored solutions.

More details, and a message from Stuart Silverman of Oblong, can be found on the Oblong website here:

oblong logo

Illuminate Your Life

Yes, that time of the year again – cold, wet, and the days are getting shorter. And to top it all, the clocks have gone back. Here are a few ideas to light up your life during the long winter nights.

Clockwise from top left: Fritz Hansen Pharoah; Fritz Hansen Suspence Nomad; Tala Voronoi; Artemide Nur; Fritz Hansen Suspence; Tom Dixon Melt; Verpan VP Globe & Fritz Hansen Calabash
Clockwise from top left: Fritz Hansen Orient; Verpan Spiral; Fritz Hansen Orient; Luum Bangle; Verpan Illumesa; Fritz Hansen Caravaggio & Verpan VP Globe

Eames Fibre Glass Chairs

The Return of an Icon

Launched in 1950 by Charles & Ray Eames, the Fiberglass Chairs introduced a new furniture typology: the multifunctional chair whose shell can be combined with a variety of bases to serve different purposes. The material of the shell’s fibreglass owes its charm to an irregular surface, which appears almost like a natural material thanks to its clearly visible fibres.

Until then fibreglass was unknown in the furniture industry, having been primarily restricted to military applications such as aircraft radomes and cockpit covers. The Eameses recognised and fully exploited the advantages of the material: mouldability, rigidity and suitability for industrial manufacturing methods. They successfully developed the moulded seat shells for mass production: the Fiberglass Chair was born. Its organically shaped, one-piece shell proved to be a much-admired innovation at a time when chairs typically consisted of a seat and backrest. Fibreglass offered the added advantage of pleasant tactile qualities and a perfectly moulded form for optimal comfort.

“The idea was to do a piece of furniture that would be simple and yet comfortable.”

A Black with Feeling

For Charles and Ray Eames, black was not just black but a colour with many dimensions. The couple mainly used a limited scale of subtle and neutral colours for their furniture designs, but each palette was thoroughly researched and carefully selected.

While working on the Eames Fiberglass Chairs in the early 1950s, Charles and Ray Eames designed a range of nuanced shades for the chairs. No colours for fibreglass had existed before Charles and Ray Eames designed their plastic chairs.

The first fibreglass colours developed by the Eameses were Greige, a portmanteau which hinted at a beige-grey, Elephant Hide Grey, a warm black-grey, and Parchment, which was notoriously translucent. Shortly afterward, still in the early production phase, Sea Foam Green was added, along with a bright Lemon Yellow and a fresh Red Orange. Later these were followed by an array of other colours.

Eames Fibre Glass

One hue that apparently caused the most frustration and was the most difficult to achieve was a warm blackish grey – after several attempts Charles Eames expressed: ‘What I really want is a black with feeling’. These efforts ultimately resulted in the colour the Eameses called Elephant Hide Grey.

Vitra manufactures the Fiberglass Side Chairs by Charles and Ray Eames in six of the original colours. The fibreglass shells have a lively visual appeal that is much-prized today. Fibreglass owes its charm to an irregular surface, which appears almost like a natural material thanks to its clearly visible fibres. The version with a polypropylene shell – the Eames Plastic Chairs– also remain available. Together the two chair groups form an extensive family, enabling countless variations of the classic Eames design, with a suitable version for almost every taste and purpose

St Mary's Sixth Form

Case Study: St Mary’s Catholic School Sixth Form College

St Mary’s remains one of the most over-subscribed schools in the North East. Building on the momentum of its increasing sixth form enrollment, the school needed a new facility that would provide an exclusive area for the students to both study and socialise. The school appointed Ward Robinson architects. Their solution involved the opening up of a series of existing classrooms and offices to allow for a social study hub and café breakout area, as well as a silent study room and learning resource centre. Built in facilities include a student managed café, bleacher seating, integrated technology and a range of both group and individual workstations.

The materials and colours were carefully considered across the range of settings to create a light and airy environment, as well as to incorporate the school’s colours through the furniture and accessories. Furniture included products from Verco, Sixteen3, Frovi and naughtone.

Check out some of our other education projects here.

Next CPD Event: The Psychology of Collaboration Spaces

Our next CPD event is The Psychology of Collaboration Spaces, a RIBA Accredited CPD by Herman Miller.

Collaboration is much talked about today, especially when it comes to workplace design. As companies employ more knowledge workers, it is no longer just what you know, but what you do with what you know. Successfully designed collaboration spaces as well as an enabling culture are key to helping this along. With this in mind, Herman Miller commissioned Dr. Nigel Oseland, a psychologist specialising in workplace, to carry out a literature review of the psychology of collaboration and how that might impact workplace design. Herman Miller will share these findings with you, as well as some observational research carried out by our International research team.

Admittance is strictly by invitation only. Please register your interest here and we will get back to you.

RIBA Core Curriculum: Business, clients and services, Design, construction and technology

Knowledge level: General Awareness

Where: 2 Riverside Way, Whitehall Waterfront, Leeds, LS1 4EH

When: Thursday 28th February 2019
12:00 – Meet & Greet
12:15-13:15 – The Psychology of Collaboration Spaces
13:15 – Q&A

Light refreshments will be provided. Please contact us if you have any specific dietary requirements.

Vitra Orgatec

Vitra at Orgatec – Workplace Trends

This year at Orgatec, Vitra showcased three concept areas to reflect current trends in the workplace: Company Home, Shared Office and Super Flexible Office.

Vitra Company Home Sevil Peach

When you are conceiving an office project, it’s important to capture the spirit of the company. If you manage to do that, good design happens almost by itself.

Sevil Peach

Developed by British architect Sevil Peach, the Company Home shows an example corporate headquarters created as a harmonious work environment that includes a park and a dining area; elements from the public realm that are becoming an integral part of more and more head offices. Such multi-use areas give employees a sense of well-being and offer opportunities for concentrated work, meetings or rest phases.

Vitra Company Home Sevil Peach

If it’s true that that public spaces are influencing the internal function of office interiors it’s also true that the work zone is spilling into public spaces.

Vitra Barber & Osgerby

Formal work rules are dissolving, regardless of where and how we work – now frequently in hotel lobbies or cafés. As a result, the desk is no longer at the centre of our work life. It is disappearing as an archetype.

Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby

The Shared Office blurs the boundaries between the office and public space where public work environments in the form of co-working spaces, cafés and hotel lobbies are becoming the norm. Increasingly companies are opening their ground floor spaces to the public. There is little demand for the classic desk in such places – rather, large sofas form the hub of new working practices. As a platform around which the workday revolves, they are equipped with power connections, worktops and privacy screens. Additional tables and chairs are grouped around the sofa and can be pulled up as needed. As part of this concept, Soft Work is a new modular sofa system that responds to today’s needs, developed in collaboration with the designers Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby.

Vitra Shared Office Barber & Osgerby

Vitra Superflexible Office

The idea is that of an empty space that can be redesigned to suit new purposes at any time, or just as quickly be restored to its original set-up. I find it extremely interesting not to create a definite layout. A good analogy would be sports halls, which can be configured to suit a wide variety of sports and activities.

Konstantin Grcic

Konstantin Grcic’s concept for the Super Flexible Office is all about creativity, communication and innovation. Users can easily rearrange this office on their own: divider curtains, mobile partition walls, furniture on castors and stacking chairs make it possible to create differently sized rooms for myriad uses in just seconds. The Super Flexible Office can be frequently reconfigured while always maintaining its identity – now a meeting room, then a café, tomorrow a communal space. At Orgatec, Vitra showcased two new products in the Super Flexible Office concept: Dancing Wall, created by Stephan Hürlemann, and Rookie, a small task chair for agile workplaces, designed by Konstantin Grcic.

Vitra Superlexible

Wlater Knoll Visit

Walter Knoll – a modern way of life

Walter Knoll has always advocated modernity. A recent visit to Walter Knoll’s HQ near Stuttgart provided us with an insight into this remarkable and forward thinking family and company.

The company had its origins as far back as 1865 when Walter’s father Wilhelm opened a leather shop in Stuttgart. This soon became a successful company and was taken over by Wilhelm’s sons in 1907. Walter founded Walter Knoll in 1925, building on many years of experience in his father’s successful leather business. Early developments included the furnishing of several show flats for the 1927 Die Wohnung exhibition at Stuttgart’s trailblazing Weissenhof Estate that featured work by architects such as Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius. Post-war, Walter Knoll have striven to push the boundaries of modern living, presenting the Vostra chair in 1949 and continuing into the 50s with a series of modern designs such as the bucket seat 369 (still considered a modern classic). In 1993 the company was purchased by the Benz family and continues to promote the ethos of masterly craftsmanship, fine materials and lasting design. The company is now one of the leading furnishing manufacturers in the international high-end segment working with renowned architects and designers such as Norman Foster, Pearson Lloyd, EOOS, Ben van Berkel, Kengo Kuma and Claudio Bellini.

Walter Knoll HQ1A walk around the factory headquarters in Herrenberg (which has been the base of Walter Knoll since 1937) provides an insight into Walter Knoll’s incredible attention to detail and quality. We begin outside viewing the company’s high-tech multi-award winning building from without. An edifice of glass, steel and concrete greets us, but it is the glass facade that dominates; an open invitation into the heart of the company, where cutting, sewing, upholstering, testing and packing take place. Inside, the story of quality continues: the employees know their stuff and are passionate about their work. Leather, for example, makes up 70% of the company’s output and is sourced locally from specially approved and selected tanneries in Central Europe. Once at the factory it is thoroughly checked and tested, the tiniest natural features being marked with water-soluble chalk before cutting templates are projected onto the hide to provide the most efficient use of the hide and indicate areas that require the best quality leather. This ethos permeates into other parts of the production including fabric, seams, and surface finishes. The attention to detail and the resulting quality of the product is phenomenal.

Walter Knoll DetailsWalter Knoll also aim for products that are ecologically sustainable and socially responsible. Their sumptuous Legends of Carpet range for example is created by artisans, hand-dyed and hand-knotted in the Himalayas following centuries-old traditions and using locally sourced wool. Each carpet may take four or five craftsmen up to five months to create. The workshops comply with Fair Trade Organisation guidelines on working conditions and fair wages.

Walter Knoll Legends of CarpetThe company is proud of its heritage, still producing classic designs that have stood the test of time as well as new designs that follow the same ethos. Well-crafted, well-engineered, minimalist and timeless design is by definition sustainable design. Such products require less material and will last for decades.

Walter Knoll ClassicsThe company’s sustainability ethic transfers through to their buildings as well. Our trip concluded with a visit to Walter Knoll’s production facility in nearby Mötzingen. The building features optimised insulation, heat pumps, concrete core thermal activation, sprinkler tanks for heat storage, solar panels and flood detention basins.

Welcome to the world of Walter Knoll. A truly modern way of life.