Why offices have become more like home?
During Clerkenwell Design Week, we were part of a discussion: why did offices become more like? Chaired by design podcaster Daniel Nelson, Alejandro Villarreal from contract furniture company Hayche and our very own Pippa Roberts, we took on this question from differing points of view. You can read the discussion below…
Daniel — Hayche have recently taken up this space, and is the first showroom they have occupied. Pippa has been creative director of Jackdaw since she founded it almost ten years ago, they design offices and commercial spaces for creative agencies and fintech businesses, amongst others. Their approach to designing spaces is what interested me most as Jackdaw have a unique methodology to work through the requirements of a space with a client and can often end up being completely different to the original brief but serves the purpose perfectly.
Why offices have become more like home?
Daniel — So we’re here to dissect this big question about why offices have become more like homes, and how the furniture industry has adapted to meet the needs of the changing market, as the office world has changed massively in the last ten years, and even more so in the last five years, with coworking and coliving, working in coffee shops, people working in offices, hot desks, it’s all completely changed at that scale.
Pippa — I think we were talking about why that was, and we were saying obviously technology… it was kind of two things really, technology has completely revolutionised kind of how we work, and obviously we’re not tethered to a desk anymore, and a monitor and a screen, so we’re free to move around, because that’s your office, and then I suppose the other thing is for the people we work with who are mainly kind of creatives, they tend not to work in the same company throughout their whole life as my parents did, and they tend to move around. So in a way if the workforce has become fluid and flexible we then have to design offices that reflect that, and so what that then means is that the spaces that they go into have to feel almost familiar, and so often what we ended up doing is creating kind of offices that do feel like home in some respects, so it’s been quite an interesting change.
Daniel — Freelancing is on the rise, which means that they don’t necessarily have offices, their offices could be in their home, and actually mine secretly is as well, I’m sure all of us probably work from home at some stage. And then hot desks at work, digital nomads which is a term I love, where people are even moving around the world with just their laptop and working wherever they are, actually Hayche are in lots of places, particularly small team that’s all over the world, and how that affects the design process almost, what you just touched on really.
How can design predict the future?
Daniel — How do you think about how that’s going to change more in the future, you can’t predict the future, but there must be a sense of what people are asking for, or what you’re seeing you actually do need to start building this in and thinking about this because otherwise in five years’ time you’re redesigning your office, does that come into it?
Pippa — Of course, there’s an idea of flexibility, we were just looking when we came in at the new desk that Hayche have just designed, what’s quite interesting is it’s multi-flexible, because it’s a desk, it’s also a dressing table, and it could be in a home, but that could easily go into an office, into corners that you need to find niches within offices, and it’s a great place to go and, you know, take a laptop, I think it’s 450mm deep so it’d fit a laptop.
Pippa — So it’s kind of that’s how we think about furniture and about space, is like opportunities of what can, what they can be. So if you think about that, the same way you think about an office can be anywhere, then we also think about space, and we imagine that anywhere within the space can be used as a place to work, so we often then have to work back and think about the person and what kind of work they’re doing within that space, and then design the furniture, or design the items around it, and look at the constraints and the possibilities.
Daniel — In some of the businesses you work with, particularly the fintech businesses, because that’s something that’s changed in the last five years, you can’t even guess what they need for the future, or even now, and they’re growing so fast that they could be in a space for a short period of time, then you know, and outgrow it in three months’ time, it must be quite difficult to think about what they’re going to need, what their requirements are, but then ultimately has it… with some of the creative agencies, people still work the same way, anyway, their process of working surely hasn’t changed too much, but their requirements mean more.
Alejandro — Flexibility is part of the question at the end of the day. I think that in a way our generation has had the privilege of being free of from the corporate machinery through technology up to a point, so that has allowed a lot of things to move, but at the same time it’s quite an irony that we’re in a way enslaved by technology and the behemoths on the other side of things, so we have switched a little bit there. So that’s something to bear in mind, it’s there, and it would be forever changing I’m sure.
Alejandro — Now I think what you’re doing is quite the relevant thing, I think it’s very much about the environment that you’re creating, or to what’s happening at the end of the day, and I think it needs to be adaptive, it needs to be flexible, it needs to be creative at the end of the day, because it’s just a reflection of how societies or human species is as a whole, probably we were too much restrictive probably for half a century with the ideas of modernism and how we should be more like machines, less like humans. But now it’s more about how can we flourish as a human in a work environment, right?
Alejandro — And not the product in itself, within this environment has a huge impact. So what’s interesting is that probably because of technology we basically need a table or a desk and a chair, and with that and a Wi-Fi connection probably we’re forever productive, even though with the mobiles you don’t even need the chair, the desk, so it’s I think it’s interesting.
Daniel — Yeah, actually that’s very true, that in a way I’m kind of a bit archaic being stuck to my laptop, and with things on the phone.
Pippa — You could, but I think that means that you’ll always need places for people to gather, you know, because the more we have the technology, and the more we can work separately and alone I think it’s really important to create spaces where people can come together, you know, debrief, collaborate, and you know, the best place to do that is often around a table, you know, so in a way the more we have this way that we can work alone I think the more we need to create, or we have the responsibility to create spaces where people can come together.
Pippa — And be human, and hear each other’s stories, that’s often where we start is with someone’s story about how they, you know, and I want to understand what someone’s working day is like, you know, how they feel, how they work, the type of places they need, and then I also want to create spaces that mean that when people come together they’re interested in other people’s stories, and how you know, to emphasise, and to work together.
Do products need to have a universal use?
Daniel — So you’re touching on what you just were saying about is furniture used to have more specific uses, and then we went through a bit of a phase where people were thinking about having to change a piece of furniture to do… and it feels like that maybe has moved on to now actually thinking about designing a piece of furniture that built-in has the use, like we’re saying about desks, could be a dressing table or could be a desk, but rather it’s not changing it’s, it’s not like transforming into something else through some furniture, like for instance coffee tables that you can then raise up to be a desk, we’re seeing less and less of that, I don’t know if that was a blip.
Alejandro — I think it’s certainly true that there’s more of a universal use to objects nowadays, particularly with a seat or with a table, so at home we have a dining table that is also desk, and is also my office in the evenings, so it’s just a surface that is universally used, and sometimes I’m alone, sometimes I’m with the family and that’s the same thing here in the office, so we have, well we don’t have it now, but we have normally a dining table, which becomes now the desk, and it is, and now it has become part of our presentation now, so I think objects inevitably need to be more released from the constraint of our previous description of use, but of course you need to bear in mind always the ergonomics of that particular with the sitting, so you need to perform different activities sitting down, but as long as you’re comfortable you can do them.
Daniel — So kind of designing for instance a chair, focusing on comfort first rather than different activities, because if you get the comfort right then it works across all those?
Alejandro — To some extent. Having said that, of course you have the constraints of weight as well, if you want that to be stackable or not, how would you like that to be transported, and the shipment, so there are many other factors, but in general terms, yes.
Pippa — Sometimes we do put furniture purposely in spaces that are uncomfortable because you don’t really want people to sit for too long, so stools that don’t have any padding, that are high, that you’re not going to sit and stay there because we don’t want people to necessarily take up residence in a room all day, so we often find that really comfortable spaces they get monopolised. So it’s about also making sure that everything’s not necessarily comfortable.
Pippa — Obviously around a dining table style kind of seating, you do want people to be comfortable because they’re going to be there for a couple of hours, but any less than that then…
Alejandro — Yeah, so I think it’s important, and if there’s a purpose, I mean you can adapt accordingly which is important.
Is city office space forcing people to work from home?
Daniel — Yeah, this question seems quite obvious, but I’m just going to ask it anyway just to get a different point of view. But with the cost of office space rising in cities, it’s just increasing and increasing since the changes, is this driving people to work from home?
Alejandro — Well my take on that one is that yes, but I don’t think that’s the only reason or the main reason for that. I think that also practicality, technology, less commuting time, and also probably more of making more human the work environment, or in a way going the direction of allowing this to happen. So it’s a combination of factors, the economics but also practicality, and the human nature.
Pippa — Yeah, our kind of take on that is that often we work with a lot of companies that go agile, so nobody has a desk, and then if nobody has a desk, so we kind of reduce down those kinds of spaces, then we open up the kind of shared working space, and then what often happens is there’s quite an encouragement for our clients for their people to work at home a couple of days a week, you know, it might be for childcare, it might be for other reasons, and then you can kind of share the office space a bit more, so then it reduces down the actual floor space that they actually need. So for them it works on a financial level, i.e., they don’t need as much office space because not everyone has to have a desk.
Pippa — And it also works for everybody else because their life can be more flexible, you know, everyone… I think there’s more of a realisation now with people that everyone knows that people have children, that you know, people look after other people so that there is a bit more flexibility within that workspace, yeah.
Daniel — Yeah, you have to consider the space that they’re working in at home because companies have an obligation to think about what they’re sitting on, does that ever come up, or is that…?
Pippa — It doesn’t, but I do talk to people about their workspace at home, but yeah, I don’t know if it does, being…
Alejandro — I mean for us we don’t have that reach unfortunately. But I think at the end of the day the conversation goes interestingly more into the humanising of the work environment again.
Daniel — Yeah, it’s interesting actually that, ‘cause actually I don’t know too much about it so I assume that someone might know more, but essentially an obligation that a company has about a chair that someone’s sitting on and the desk that they’re at, when they’re working from home, and in the past people that have worked for me and want to work from home, because a lot of us just work at home, have often asked that they don’t want to sit on an ugly office chair, they want to sit on the nice chair that they’ve got, but they’re not allowed.
Japanese words for space
Daniel — I’m going to move onto a completely different point which is something that really interested me recently, and I sent it to both of you, but I’m just going to read it because it makes more sense when I say it like that, so when you first arrive in a room do you think of it as being empty or full, the Japanese words for space Wa, Ba and Ma, centre on the interactions and relationships amongst people, they propose that space is not defined by the objects that inhabit them, but by the possibilities of what can happen in the space, this concept sounds a lot like the way that we design spaces today, but has the influence come from Japan or is it just actually the natural way to approach space, and we’ve just ended up there, where they had.
Alejandro — Of course, well I do think the Japanese culture is fascinating, and it’s a universe unto itself, so if you’re not born Japanese it’s probably impossible to really grasp what the culture is about.
Alejandro — And I think some of those concepts are very much in sharp contrast with values, so there’s loads that have then to be learned from Japan, it’s interesting actually that some of the modern principles of design came from studying Japanese traditional architecture and in truth design, and but I think at the end of the day probably Japanese have more of a wisdom on how to deal with space, and how humans can interact with it, and probably we’re just tapping into that probably natural way of doing. Again instead of the prescribed modern state that you need to be as effective, and as productive as possible.
Daniel — Yeah, because as we were saying before productivity is often not what people are focused on, it’s squeezed into a space.
Pippa — Yes, well the word productivity, obviously it’s a driver, everyone wants everyone to be as productive as possible, well business owners want their people to be as productive as possible, and I think we start to think about, you know, just the what drives productivity, it’s also kind of wellbeing within a company, so we were talking before about creating spaces that have rituals around them, we often try and create rooms that you have to take your shoes off before you go in, so we think about that and we design them out of cedar wood so they don’t smell, you can’t take phones into them, they’re kind of dark, and so they’re kind of a way of just escaping from the kind of hubbub of the office. I mean obviously usually what ends up happening is someone goes in there and takes it over as an office and on the phone, but I think it’s the idea of that, I think is really important, I think people are starting to think about that more, it’s just obviously convincing a business, because you can convince the creative people in the company to do this, but obviously talking to financials is a different way, because they don’t understand why would I give away this area, this valuable space to something that I can’t see you doing anything in, so but I think it’s important.
Alejandro — That’s a challenge huh?
Pippa — Yeah.
A tangible intangible
Daniel — Yeah, like a really cynical view, do you know that it’s more productive to have that space, I mean I feel like intuitively it says yes, but is there anything you can quantify where actually when we’ve had these things people have become more productive, is that quite difficult to describe?
Pippa — It’s really interesting because we often talk about this in the studio and with clients like how can you quantify, can you quantify that this is, and you know, we can’t, we can only ever find out that there’s staff retention, that people are happy and then you walk in, you know, it’s there probably is ways around it, but it’s such, I don’t know, it’s so intangible a lot of it, so it’s more that, you know, they’re happy companies, they’re doing well. I don’t know.
Alejandro — It’s a tangible intangible. Because at the end of the day you fill it, right, and it has an impact on what the company is doing, and I think it probably goes back to this holistic approach that probably we are now embracing more of a, as a generation, to have that balance, that places need to be productive of course, but they need to be more pleasurable, and they need to in a way more fulfilling in many other ways, so and it’s not just about the space as well, it’s about the intention we have as a company, which is the mission of that company, and adding value to some way which is not just economical value. So there is so many things that now we take into consideration, that probably beforehand last generation was out of the question.
Reporting on retention rates of staff
Daniel — So it’s the financial controllers that are deciding things. Are you ever able to report on what the retention rate of staff is after they’ve designed a space? Do you ever get that data, or is that too difficult?
Pippa — It’s hard, because how do you report that? We can find out if clients are able but it’s often word of mouth, eventually maybe it’d be good to report.
Alejandro — You will get more clients at the end of the day, if you get the data.
Daniel — Because then, you know, that it is much easier to see this many people left the company in the years following redesign, than actually we only had this many people, there are so many other factors to that as well.
Pippa — Yes, exactly, it’s really hard, and there’s other forces that move those things as well that you don’t know, but I mean, yeah, I suppose the only thing we can gather is what the feedback, is that, you know, again is the stories that they tell us, so yeah.
Pippa — I think that’s how we gather that. It’s an ongoing conversation, it would be good to find out, because I think when you’re talking to financial people they actually just want to know data, they want… you know, that’s what they’re interested in, so…
Open plan is not productive
Daniel — There’s plenty, this is an interesting one that I think probably in the last six months I’ve learnt about, which I didn’t even know this term, there is plenty of evidence to show that open plan designs are not productive, which I then went on with research a bit more about this, because I thought that was actually how we were supposed to design spaces now, but is broken plan better? (broken plan is this concept where it’s a mixture of open plan but you could divide out spaces where there is stairs, a few steps up and you’re making the space bigger, breaking up that open plan). Or should spaces have clear definitions of purpose and smaller rooms?
Pippa — Yeah, very. I think we come back to it again, you know, open plan offices, the history of why they’re there often is to do with financials, if you take down all the interior walls then obviously you can fit more desks in, so you know, obviously that’s where it started, and that only suits certain types of people, so it only suits a certain type of work, you know, call centres and the extroverts. And so obviously we’ve taken apart that, and we always say, okay, what kind of activities does this company require, and then we form spaces around their activities, so you know, there’s different typologies that go upon a floor plate to promote movement, to promote certain types of activities. So there should be an open plan area for sure where everyone can come together and, you know, talk and, you know, and have moments like this that we’re having now, but there also needs to be within that space that you can share an idea that’s not out on the open floor plate because, you know, when you’ve… your first idea, and often in creative companies it’s like this, the first idea is ridiculous and you don’t want to say it out loud because you’ll just be mocked, so we create smaller meeting spaces to do that. And I also think furniture has a really important part to kind of influence your behaviour, so if we put low level kind of soft seating outside meeting rooms, so someone’s had a really intense meeting and then they come out and they then sit on soft furnishings often it’s a much more relaxed informal chat, and it can often change the dynamic of the day, and then you move from that to a kind of, you know, a project room where it’s noisy and you’re putting work up on the walls. So each one of those spaces needs to inhabit that floor plate, so just having a single type, like an open plan office will just create, will just be… I mean, you know, I don’t think anyone here would want to work in that kind of space, so…
Alejandro — No, it doesn’t sound very appealing right?
Alejandro — I think that, yeah, spaces need to reflect in a way the human condition, so we need to respond to activity which is high activity or low activity, or to formality, or to informality, or as you’re pointing out which I think it’s very interesting is personality types, so the introverts in the different environment, at least some part of the time during the day than extroverts. So finding that balance, I think the space needs to respond to such, to saying in order to make the best out of that experience of the working environment.
Daniel — So in a way the old offices or booths that we had before, were just as bad, because they stopped interaction and open plan caused another problem?
Pippa — Yes.
Alejandro — And I think it’s a hybrid, and it depends on each organisation, but also it depends on the lifespan of that organisation, in which period in time they are in, so it’s an ever changing environment.
Alejandro — So I think that that’s how the environment it needs to respond to that.
Pippa — It needs to be organic.
Alejandro — But ultimately what you’re creating is an atmosphere, is something that fills you, that you want to be that… that you want to belong to that particular group of people.
Alejandro — And that that’s relevant, that the other piece is the practicality side, I think we can deal with that, but…
Pippa — That’s a really good point, because it’s also a reflection, when you walk into a space, it’s a reflection of the company’s values, exactly, exposed in the architecture, and in the furniture that they’ve chosen, so you immediately know what kind of company you’re walking into, you know, what their value is, what they value in… and you know, and if a company values its humans that works with them then it will look after them by providing a space that fits for them, and works for them.
Alejandro — Well now that you say that I am thinking I would love that probably is the fact that the individual has become more empowered.
Alejandro — Probably again by technology to some extent.
Alejandro — So that the corporation is not the one choosing, but it is the other way around, with a conversation, both are choosing each other, so people like to work within an organisation, and as much as a company want that people to work in, so yeah, and the value side thing, it is what makes things happen, to some extent.
Pippa — Yeah, it’s true, it’s like a conversation.
Formal or casual meeting spaces?
Daniel — So there’s something I was thinking about, which puts you on the spot a little bit, is there’s a project that you worked on where it was full of meeting rooms. And the brief was not to rip out the meeting rooms, but you did rip out the meeting rooms.
Pippa — Yeah, I think the project that came, we landed that, I think the project you’re talking about, is we landed the project and they’d already decided that they wanted this, their kind of reception area to have lots of kind of boardrooms, very formal boardrooms that you walked in, and a very traditional reception, so the whole thing felt very corporate. And what we said was let’s get rid of all of the meeting rooms and have no meeting rooms whatsoever, and in fact let’s make most of it into a huge café coffee bar, and let’s have a small reception round the front where, you know, the receptionist is free to move around, and then let’s have a huge kind of café open area and soft seating, and let’s have music going on, so what actually happens is when you walk into that company now you just get an incredible buzz of lots of people in there eating, talking, and the café area, so it has furniture like this here that people can sit and they can either work there, or they can meet or they can work alone, and then all that furniture get pushed aside every Friday and everyone has a, they have a huge talk, so all the screens come down in the space and everyone collects and gathers, and it’s proved to be incredibly successful on all counts, because as, you know, people gather and eat together which is a ritual, which we really think is important, morning and lunch and dinner, and then also, you know, that’s something we always think is really important to bring food into a company, you know, like a kitchen. Because all the companies we worked with originally started their businesses in kitchens, and so we just transplanted all of the elements from the home into, we just thought that was how you did it, we didn’t know that… we just assumed that’s how it should be, so we always do that. And so it’s become really, you know, that space is amazing now, and you know, and I’m really happy.
Pippa — It’s buzzy, otherwise it’d be a really quiet formal space if you walked in there and they were all board meetings, you know, very formal and everyone acting in a really formal way, now it’s really relaxed, and people talk, and there’s lots of informal chats, and people bump into each other, so yeah.
Alejandro — So probably you allowed a switch in the values of the company in the first place.
Pippa — I hope so, I’d like to think so, I’d like to think so, but again how do I… I don’t know, it’s just word of mouth, how do I quantify that?
Alejandro — That’s it, that’s it, it would be very interesting to make probably a recollection of experiences, over the years with those clients, and see which was the end result, as a positive, as negative, I’m sure there are negatives, but as long as the positives are more than the negatives.
Daniel — That actually is almost in a weird way what this Japanese concept, of the space changes constantly, that you don’t look at it and see it as an empty room waiting for something to happen, there’s multiple uses to it, it can change to work for whatever it needs to be working for at that time.
Daniel — You wouldn’t call it, you wouldn’t give it a room, that the room a name because it would defy what it’s used for. So it’s just a space that can be used for however people need to use it for.
Pippa — Yes, I think people should be able to influence their space as well, so the type of furniture people should be able to move it around and do what they want, but then also easily reset it again, so the next people who are going to come and use that space can adapt it themselves, so I think that’s also really important as well, to give, like you were saying before about, you know, people feeling that they’re working and they’re owning a space, as well as the owner owning a space.
Pippa — So it goes back to that two-way conversation.
How does the furniture industry adapt to change with this market?
Daniel — Actually that leads on really nicely to my final question, which is about furniture, so because spaces are constantly adapting like this, well you could have literally things that are adapting that you have designed purposely, but that wouldn’t fix what it’s being used for, that it can only be these three things, so how does the furniture industry adapt to change with this market, where you need to have furniture that can be used in certain ways, well in multiple different ways, do you add more products to the collections so that there’s more choice for people, or does the product have to become a bit smarter, think about how it’s going to be used?
Alejandro — I think, well I surely believe that furniture needs to be adaptive, and probably it’s a combination of both, you need more products that are well thought out, it’s interesting, I was watching how Ercol made this play of how furniture was made 40, 50 years ago, and the same model how different it is now, just because of how the society has changed. So used to be lower and wider, and now it’s taller and thinner.
Alejandro — Okay, just the reality of the population, right? So it’s not just the years, but it is also the anatomy, that’s…
Pippa — As humans are changing.
Alejandro — That changes.
Alejandro — Which is very interesting. So I mean furniture needs to adapt to it, and I think it’s an ongoing dialogue, and for me in particular like it’s like a beautiful challenge, and it’s a never-ending one, is how to make beautiful pieces of furniture that deal with the constraints of the ergonomics, with the multiple use, but also with the economics, and now more and more importantly with the environmental implications of that particular piece. So at the end of the day you need to juggle around with a few factors when you’re designing a piece of furniture to make it, yeah.
Daniel — Do you think everyone is starting to do that, or doing that well, or is the industry still trying to figure this out?
Alejandro — That’s a difficult one to answer, I would like to think that yes, I think more or less we are trying to do our best within the industry to adapt to this reality, but probably is the same as any there industry, I mean you can think about the industry at the moment, it’s having a massive transformation towards sustainability, and health, so I actually do believe that the furniture industry is lower in that adapting to those changes, or the fashion industry as well, but nevertheless we’re part of society so we are dealing with it.
Daniel — Yeah, I just picked up on what you said almost, as soon as we walked in, was that when you started and you were looking for certain… because we’re essentially an area that’s full of a lot of contract furniture, you didn’t come to a lot of them.
Pippa — No, we never started, our company we never started because the furniture that we wanted to put in I think we talked about it before, was you know, all the companies that we started working with, started from their home and the kitchen, so you know, when they moved into their first office the conversation that we always had around was how do we make this feel like still our home, that where we started this company, so Alex and I would look for furniture and try and find pieces, and we didn’t find it within the contract furniture, we couldn’t find anything, so we would then have to go and find, we’d actually find a lot of vintage furniture, so we’d get on aeroplanes and go out to Germany, there’s great photographs of us in snow fields choosing pieces of furniture and bringing those back because they represented, you know, the companies that we were working with, what they wanted for their interior. We then spent a lot of time fixing lots of broken pieces of furniture, but you know, I think for us it felt really good as well because we were using… and at the time, you know, this is ten years ago, there wasn’t so much of a conversation about recycling and reuse, but it still felt really good for us and it felt really exciting for us because we were finding out about, you know, designers that we hadn’t heard of before, that we’d been working with, and also it was just a way for companies to express themselves, so it wasn’t so homogenous, you know, it’s very individual.
Pippa — And so that has carried on I suppose, and in a way we feel like, and that a lot of companies are now catching up, you know, that that’s how there’s that kind of furniture is everywhere now, so it’s great to see, you know, really good dining chairs available because we would have to go and find them, that we can use for our fit-outs. But I think it’s really true, I think the conversation about how do we look for the future, and how, you know, the kind of, you have to think about, you know, producing this furniture, and then how can it be sustainable, you know, because we… everyone’s looking for the cheapest and, you know, the kind of easiest way to get the look, and for us it’s also like we want to make sure that that’s not at the expense of the environment, so yeah, I think that’s going to be the next conversation that, yeah.
Alejandro — Well and it will be a shift quick in terms of conversation I guess.
Audience — So you were talking about like when you’ve been looking for particular products, and kind of how it was a home-from-home. Are there still areas that you struggle to find the right products, or do you feel it’s now improved, or is there a particular product type when you were like, I can never find this?
Pippa — It’s a really good question, there is always products that we can never find, yeah, I mean I think for us it’s often that… so a big question studios often, is it a table or is it a desk, so often what we want to say is that we want the spaces not to have desks, but you need the properties of the desk, i.e., you need to get power and data into the desk, but we don’t then want it to look like a desk, we want it to be a table, because the nice thing about a table is that you can have one person at a table, or you can have six, and so everyone moves to make that space. So you’d… if you have a desk then you’ve got legs, and it’s defined by that space, so we’ve always found that that’s really hard to find the perfect desky table, tabley desk, not very catchy name. So I think something like that is always, we end up designing them often. I would say the other thing is often kind of storage, around storage, and again it’s often things that are very corporate looking, that we don’t… that we still need, I mean if it’s there and it’s always existed, then it’s there’s a requirement for it, but we just don’t want it to look corporate, so it’s often that’s the thing that we have to go and find.
Audience — Question for you, you were talking about sort of technology influencing furniture potentially, is this something that you have tried yourself to… have you responded specifically to pieces of furniture, for example how can you use iPads, or how could we use phones, thinking about integrating them into furniture, and have you ever seen that done well, or effectively, you know, to like… I’ve seen some sort of little home working tables that are very specifically geared to items of technology that are currently around, that even six months later look ridiculous, and it’s that thing of trying to I guess keep up with technology and think how are you going to use your furniture, I guess have you ever tried that, have you seen it work well?
Alejandro — I tried that in my mind, thankfully. So let’s say eight years ago I was enjoying myself some time working at home, from the desk, but got tired after the six hours so to speak and then went to a lounger, but I had my computer on my knee, and it was very uncomfortable, right, because you know when we make something comfortable that I can be on a lounger, and have my computer, so I have sort of like sketching some ideas and never never came to anything, but I do believe that for example now you’re sitting on a chair, right, and at the end of the day if that’s comfortable, if that serves the purpose for being seated then whatever happens along that is perfect, okay, so it’s not around technology, it’s more about probably human comfort, so that you are more keen on using the technology, or whatever activity that you engage with. So I’m more of a, becoming more of a universal open approach. I think that’s another element, I think that technology, or the technological industry compared to the furniture industry, I mean it goes 1,000 times faster, so you simply cannot catch up unless you are technological company yourself, right? So I think there needs to be a clear distinction, it’s not about trying to catch up, it’s about how we compliment it, okay? And in my particular opinion, which is one of the influences of the company, is that the more human the… probably the more technology we become aware of as a society we need more tangible human artefacts around us to connect us back to the real world, right? So the use of solid wood is important for us for that reason, or craft, so you as a human have more of a tendency to connect with this piece, than with that particular one, so I think one needs to rebalance the other up to a point.