Corkform features at Vitra’s adaptable office installation

The role of the office is undergoing a dramatic transformation. While the way we use workspaces has been gradually changing for many years, the pandemic is fast-tracking this evolution.   

At Quadrant we’re particularly excited about the increased focus on adaptability, sustainability and human-centred design that plays a major role in this shift. So we jumped at the opportunity to showcase our pioneering commercial cork flooring at Vitra’s working installation in the creative heart of London, which features office solutions for the post-Covid era.

The changing role of the office

With a marked shift to remote and flexible working, it would be easy to assume offices are a thing of the past. But in reality they are still the beating heart of most companies, enabling connection, communication and collaboration.

While many businesses will retain a more accommodating approach to working schedules, allowing employees to work from home on a regular basis, most will still maintain office premises of some sort. New working patterns simply mean the office environment must become more adaptable, with flexible spaces that can be easily configured to suit a variety of needs.       

What’s more, there is a recalibration of business priorities which is seeing both environmental impact and employee wellbeing working their way up the agenda. This means workplaces need to become more sustainable and comfortable. By putting people at the centre of office design, businesses can create spaces that inspire creativity, boost productivity and promote wellness, all while having a positive impact on the planet.    

Vitra’s experiential workspace  

To demonstrate its vision for the future of offices, global design brand Vitra is running a temporary working installation at Rolling Stock Yard. This landmark development designed by Squire & Partners combines contemporary offices with light industrial space, and is just a short walk from Kings Cross.       

The Vitra installation houses the brand’s UK team, and aptly demonstrates how businesses can create an experiential workspace for the modern age, which can be adapted and configured to suit constantly changing requirements. Employees can rearrange the space as needed on a day-to-day basis. They can even transfer it to an entirely new location, meaning businesses don’t need to start from scratch every time they move offices.  

The installation – which is viewable by appointment only –  features a range of products and solutions from Vitra’s own agile product portfolio that are perfect for flexible and sustainable offices of the future. These include Dancing Walls, that are used to flexibly divide offices into zones while also providing vertical work spaces, and Soft Work, a modular sofa system with ergonomic functions. There are also Alcove Plus sofas with side panels and extra-high backs that form room-like spaces without the need for permanent fixtures. Tyde 2, a table system with multiple configurations, enables users to alternate between sitting and standing while working.         

And underfoot there is Quadrant’s Corkform flooring, part of our innovative and sustainable Climate+ collection. Our clicBAC plank format is used for a floating installation, featuring our Corkform Flux in Stone. There are also samples of other Quadrant flooring collections available for visitors to the installation to view.

Cork’s suitability for office design

Cork is the ideal flooring material for workplaces of the future for a number of reasons. First, it is exceptionally durable with high mechanical resistance, meaning it has a long life span and doesn’t need to be replaced frequently. This attribute is largely due to its exceptional shock absorbing performance which enables it to bounce back from impacts.  

Second, cork is a natural, renewable and recyclable material. It can reduce global warming potential because cork oak trees retain five time as much carbon dioxide as other trees, and aren’t cut down during the cork harvest. In fact, many cork products – including Corkform flooring – have a negative carbon balance, which is important for businesses looking to reduce carbon footprints or achieve net zero targets. Our cork flooring is manufactured in a circular economy that uses waste from the bottle stopper industry and turns it into a fully sustainable product.     

Finally, cork flooring has a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of employees within commercial office environments. It has low chemical emissions, which helps maintain air quality, and is water resistant which makes it easy to clean. It has a unique honeycomb structure that delivers acoustic insulation to reduce noise pollution, and thermal insulation for optimal temperature control. These properties contribute to a calm and comfortable work environment that promotes productivity and creativity.  

Today’s cork flooring is a far cry from the orange tinted tiles popular in the 1970s. Available in a range of contemporary colours and designs, it is a stylish addition to any office space. It works especially well with the current trend for biophilic design, which brings natural materials and textures into the indoor environment to reduce stress and promote wellbeing.   

We’re looking forward to seeing how this rapid evolution in workplace design progresses, and to helping businesses make better use of their office space. Please do get in touch to find out more about the Vitra installation or our innovative commercial flooring. 

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