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Design, Furniture Design

Social distancing furniture: innovative solutions for post/pandemic design

Social distancing furniture: innovative solutions for post/pandemic design

7/29/2020 8:56:00 AM

Social distancing furniture: innovative solutions for post/pandemic design

From subtle screens to adaptable furniture, here are some designers\u2019 solutions to social distancing in the form of private, separating systems to ensure safe indoor spaces.\nCOV by Matteo Cibic\n\n\n\n \n\n\nItalian designer Matteo Cibic has conceived a range of partitioning glass screens, appropriately named \u2018COV\u2019, which play on the dichotomy...

Italian designer Federica Biasi has created a series of partitions for Manerba. Called ’Hinoki’, they can be adapted to a variety of spaces, from hospitality to office to domesticFrom subtle screens to adaptable furniture, here are some designers’ solutions to social distancing in the form of private, separating systems to ensure safe indoor spaces.

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COV by Matteo CibicItalian designer Matteo Cibic has conceived a range of partitioning glass screens, appropriately named ‘COV’, which play on the dichotomy of socialising in separation. Produced by FusinaLab, these delicate dividers are made from anodized aluminium and perspex and give a light and airy feel to environments such as office spaces, restaurants, bars or reception desks. The designs consist of subtle decorative details and come in various shapes and sizes including the fan-shaped ‘Flaneur’ model, all of which are defined by the joyful curves that are typical of Cibic’s works.

Hinoki by Federica BiasiWallpaper* Handmade2018 veteran, Federica Biasi, has designed a range of freestanding and tabletop panels called ‘Hinoki’ for Italian office furniture maker Manerba. These slim panels come in subtle tones that are based on the chromatic scheme of Manerba’s existing product line. Made from polycarbonate, which was chosen for its wearable, scratch-resistant and flexible qualities, the translucent panels physically divide spaces without compromising the feeling of spaciousness. Thanks to the semi-transparent material, the panels still allow for a sense of closeness to others nearby, as shapes and forms can be discerned through the vertical surface. The panel can be freestanding, on wheels or attached to a desktop. The modular system has endless customisable potential with the option of additional accessories such as cork, magnetic board, hooks, elastics, shelves and mobile hangers, while for spaces that require more privacy it can be covered in sound-absorbing fabrics. 

L20 Sofa by JaK StudioOne of the biggest challenges in the face of the new work-from-home culture is the clash of our personal and work environments. Award winning JaK Studio have designed a solution for this by redesigning the classic L-shaped sofa to transform into a working pod. This versatile sofa can be folded out into a sofa bed with bedside table or turned on its side to create a sound proofed work space. Adapting to compact urban spaces, the L20 sofa concept looks at the most central feature in the home and how we can use this to transform the heart of the domestic space into a working environment. The idea behind the concept was inspired by JaK Studio’s director Jacob Low’s observation of his own children building dens during lockdown, using anything they could find around the home. ‘It dawned on me that the limit to what we can use our homes for is infinite if we are creative. The sofa bed was a revolutionary piece of furniture when it was first designed but it has not evolved further,’ says Low. Fitted with all the necessary work accessories including drop down desk, reading light, USB port and laptop charging points, this multipurpose piece of furniture gives us a real glimpse into future living.

Saltine and Toast by PairUS-based Pair has devised two models of unobtrusive dividing screens for office spaces. The studio is specialized in functional furniture specifically for the workspace, and these two new projects expand on their expertise. Saltine (pictured here) is a clever solution that attaches a screen on brackets to existing office desks, eliminating the concern of these structures taking up valuable floor space. The adjustable height provides the user with the option of a completely enclosed private space or a more informal desk division.

Made from materials that can be easily cleaned such as glass and acrylic, Pair has created a universal solution for a sanitised and focused desk space that reduces the spread of germs in compact working environments. Toast is a floor-standing adaptation of Saltine: made from lightweight material, this screen allows for an adaptable work separation wherever needed, with the option of being turned horizontally or vertically depending on the height required. This sound-absorbing panel comes in a variety of playful or subtle colours and tones. Made from recycled materials, it creates a quiet, private environment whilst also sparking collaborative innovation as its tackable surface is the perfect moodboard. 

Screens by TihanyExperts in hospitality design, Tihany studio’s new solution to dining diligently in these unprecedented times is a series of elegant screens consisting of glass and wooden decorative panels created for his hospitality clients. These easily moveable and cleaned screens can be adapted in their design details to fit seamlessly with the interiors of the restaurant; so much so, that once in place they feel as if they have always been there.

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Providing a more intimate dining experience, the varying designs feature sleek geometric shapes evocative of the Art Deco style. ‘The screens are designed with wellness and comfort in mind, but they actually evoke a kind of public privacy that we feel might actually offer a positive spin on rebuilding the experience of dining out,’ says Tihany’s Managing Partner Alessia Genova. ‘It becomes an opportunity to focus on the faces and food in front of you while still enjoying the atmosphere, the service, and everything we’ve been missing while apart from our favorite restaurants’. These screens will help restaurants from Miami’s Novikov to Hong Kong’s Amber (pictured) as they navigate reopening safely and adapt to the new normal for dining out.

Clikclax by ZahavaAustralian designer Zahava Elenberg has conceived a fun and uplifting desk tidy system which provides the necessary divisions to ensure a clean and safe working environment. Clikclax is a bright multicoloured and multi-purpose system of interlocking perspex sheets which nods to the vintage children’s game, Playplax, synonymous with toys in the 70s. Comprising varying shapes and sizes of sheets that interlock with the cylindrical bases to form shelves, divisions and storage solutions, the desktop system has endless functionality and adaptability to be erected on any flat surface.

‘Clikclax is a verb as well as a noun,’ Zahava says. ‘My dream is to see people Clikclaxing all over the world — in a range of situations, from offices and co-working spaces to schools and student accommodation, hotels, galleries and libraries, at communal tables in cafes and restaurants, and on floors for kids to play together, apart. I can also see Clikclax working on a larger scale, as people-sized partitions and wayfinding demarcations. There’s nothing we can’t click together.’

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