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monthlies OnOffice July9

10 May 2016

The community table

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Offices are creating spaces that facilitate better social interaction as people seek more meaningful connections at work, says Steve Delfino of furniture company Teknion

Category: Design

Taking a cue from the restaurant sector, “community tables” are making appearances in office lobbies, corporate cafes and meeting spaces. It’s a movement that represents something of a change in values – towards a more residential, familial workplace that encourages open communication and the building of relationships. In an office, the community table is a natural place to gather and exchange stories and ideas.

While such large, shared tables do reflect this particular cultural moment – when people are seeking more interaction at work and in public settings such as restaurants and hotels – the community table has been a meaningful object for centuries, a symbol of kinship or alliance. Today, the table emerges as a relevant feature of an evolving workplace that exhibits many of the characteristics of a home, a place that’s more relaxed, more congenial and collaborative than traditional offices.

Communitytable 2

Minimal yet warm, the well-crafted wood table is one that alludes to the domestic environment and is informal, collegial and collaborative. Like the simple, customisable table we have created in collaboration with multidisciplinary designer Michael Vanderbyl (pictured above), a community table invites people to gather together, and serves as an architectural anchor for workers to converse while sitting or standing. In our example, the lines are long and clean, the proportions are substantial and the integration of power/data is open and straightforward.

It is important to create comfortable and functional spaces that allow your creativity to flow. Sitting with colleagues around a communal dining table allows us to feel like we’re part of a team, and fosters a connection with our physical workplace. The community table is an invitation to design your workflow to suit your day.

Steve Delfino is vice president of corporate marketing and product management at Teknion

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