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Five Modern Office Trends for 2019

What’s Hot this Year in Commercial Furniture Designs

By Angela D. Wagner

As time marches on, designs and trends come and go. Commercial furniture designs and office trends are no exception. As the modern office makes adjustments to the way people work best and technology changes the way we work, the commercial furniture industry is making changes as well. This year expect to see fresh designs, furnishings that incorporate the latest technology, and multifunctional pieces that meet the demands of today’s modern workspaces.

The modern workplace considers the whole employee when determining how to design the office. Businesses who invest in modern office designs, the right commercial furnishings, and interiors consider many ways in which employees can be positively influenced to boost their productivity, sense of worth, and overall health. Research shows that improvements to workspaces have a major impact on employees in several ways including:

  • Ability to Adapt to Stress
  • Increased Productivity
  • Overall Efficiency and Efficacy
  • Well-being and Wellness
  • Improved Focus
  • Lower Absenteeism Rates
  • Better Overall Happiness

Resommercial and Casual Work Stations

According to the most recent survey of American workers by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics conducted in 2017, full-time workers in the U.S. spent an average of 8.56 hours a day engaged at work. With people spending so much time at work, it’s no wonder resommercial furnishings and casual work stations are increasingly employed in offices both in the U.S. and around the world.

Resommercial furniture has allowed designers to bring the comforts of home into the modern office by combining residential designs with commercial spaces. Such furnishings add a home-like appeal to offices where workers spend such a significant portion of their day, five days a week.

The upholstered leather Baden and Zürich couch by Nienkamper is something you might expect to see in someone’s living room. This couch offers maximum comfort and luxury seating with foam core cushions wrapped in a down and feather combination. The simple lines and leather make it a timeless classic for the modern office and matching chairs can be ordered as well. The best part is it is made to last and wears well in a busy commercial setting. Add a couple of throw pillows to make your office feel just like home.

The leather upholstered Baden and Zurich couch and chairs by Nienkamper in white.
The leather upholstered Baden and Zurich couch and chairs by Nienkamper in white. This collection brings a residential feel to commercial spaces.

When it comes to casual work stations and desks, there are a number of them available from several manufacturers so employees can work sitting, standing, or both. For a relaxed and open workspace, consider the iMove-C Desking System by Corona Group, Inc. This desking system lets workers change positions throughout the workday which can have a huge impact on their productivity, creativity, and well-being. It also allows for ease of collaboration for working with others in the office.

Another of our new favorites at CORE is the Footprint® by Kimball that allows for an open office, casual workstation concept. The desks and seating can be configured in a variety of ways so employees feel empowered by selecting their workstation set up. There’s even some “wall” space to hang photos of the kids, the great outdoors, or a favorite meme.

Free-Range Cohabitation Spaces

With the current unemployment rate sitting at just four percent and job-hopping becoming more commonplace, many companies are seeking ways to attract and retain top talent. One of the ways they are making themselves more attractive to employees is by updating their office space. Many are tearing down walls and adding more open, shared workspaces. This trend allows staff to collaborate flexibly with one another in an efficient manner without seizing a board room to get the job done. Other areas in the office where walls are coming down include reception areas, lounges, and meeting rooms.

In cohabitation spaces where more than one company shares space, it maximizes space, saves money, and promotes collaboration, innovation, and creativity. At CORE, we practice what we preach and our business cohabitates with Fischer Design Studio which gives us constant access to an interior designer. Not only does it help both businesses but our clients have the benefit of having both companies at their fingertips.

Sleek modern couches and chairs that can be combined in a multitude of ways are becoming ever more popular for open spaces and cohabitated work places. The Pairings collection by Kimball® comes in a variety of sharp colors and fabrics to match your interiors while offering employees and guests a comfortable place to chat and work. The collection allows flexibility in movement to add more seating or table space as needed and remove what you don’t want for more private, focused group meetings.

The Pairings collection by Kimball incorporates technology with comfortable seating, style, and privacy in a small space perfect for cohabitation workspaces.
The Pairings collection by Kimball incorporates technology with comfortable seating, style, and privacy in a small space perfect for cohabitation workspaces.

Integra® offers a wide variety of seating for group work and collaborative spaces including the Coffee House which incorporates individual pieces for group seating. These seats offer comfort and style with a multitude of options from the arms and legs to power ports and attached tables. Integra® also offers a variety of benches to fill shared workspaces and allow for comfortable seating as well.

The Corbin lounge by JSI Seating features clean lines and delicate angles that give these couches and chairs an unassuming feel while catching the eye. The seat and back support offer excellent comfort while the craftsmanship promises modern simplicity that will hold up well in busy office spaces. JSI Seating provides several options for the modern office as well. Its Ziva Collection can be configured in an assortment of ways from straight bench seating to waves and circles making it easy for everyone collaborating to see and hear one another, improving communication.

The Community Table by Maverick allows people to greet, meet, eat, and everything in between. Made in the USA, these tables come in a variety of sizes and colors to meet the needs of your office. Whether you want to offer table space for collaboration among employees or a place for them to eat lunch and relax, these tables fit the bill.

Singular Workspaces

Though there has been a huge trend toward collaborative, open workspaces, there are still times people need quiet and privacy in order to concentrate and be most productive. Dedicated independent work spaces are still needed. This can mean “hot desking,” where individual desks are not assigned to any one person but are available to anyone who needs it, cutting-edge cubicles, or the traditional assigned desk.

The Apex Freestanding Trough by Maverick is a great option for offices that prefer the “hot desking” method while the Compile System by Evolve Furniture Group gives a modern twist to the cubicles of yesteryear. There are also endless individual desk options to choose from such as the Task by in2design that can incorporate everything from storage space to technology in one place.

The Task by in2design provides desk and storage space in one. Task can be configured to fit your space and taste.
The Task by in2design provides desk and storage space in one. Task can be configured to fit your space and taste.

“Smart” Furnishings

Another top trend in 2019 is incorporating modern technology into commercial furniture. “Smart” furniture has become a reality. From cable management and tabletop outlets, technology in commercial furnishings have continued to evolve.

Consider the Vamp desk lamp by Safco. It offers everything from LED lighting and touch-free dimmer switches with memory recall to flicker-free, energy-saving, economical lighting. The Vamp has eight color settings and a filter to reduce glare making the viewing of electronics easier. This straight-lined lamp even boasts a flexible neck to allow for personal adjustments. If you like curves, the Vivo desk lamp by Safco is another option with most of the same features as the Vamp including a flexible neck so you don’t have to strain your own. Many varieties of desk lamps also offer discreet charging ports and even wireless charging stations including the Z-BAR desk lamp by Koncept Lighting. Imagine cordless charging at your fingertips!

While standing desks are nothing new, today’s versions can be completely automated. Imagine taking your desk from sitting to standing and back with the touch of a button. There’s no need for cranks, levers, or clumsy manual lift desks.

The Priority™ by Kimball provides both amazing designs and incredible beauty with simple mobility. Not only do height-adjustable desks enable workers to go from sitting to standing and back again, but they take into consideration the best ergonomics for day to day work. JSI offers a number of height-adjustable options in many shapes, sizes, designs, and price points to fit the needs of every office. There are even mobile apps that connect with Bluetooth-enabled standing desks, tabletops embedded with “personal assistant” touchscreens, and wireless surface chargers that can be desk or table mounted. Under-desk mounted CPU holders now save space beneath standing desks as well.

A height-adjustable desk allows employees to work standing or sitting for better health and improved ergonomics which leads to increased productivity.
A height-adjustable desk allows employees to work standing or sitting for better health and improved ergonomics which leads to increased productivity.

Fullbright Glass Boards offers magnetic glass boards that have replaced the hard-to-clean white boards of days past. These cutting-edge magnetic glass boards can now be used in everything from conference room tabletops to elevator walling, workstation tack boards, and kitchen backsplashes. No need to fuss about where to have meetings since they even come in mobile form so they can be moved from place to place with ease.

Incorporation of Natural Designs

In 2018 the working world watched in wonder as natural designs and shapes entered the workplace. This year, expect to see an uptick in architects and office designers bringing the great outdoors indoors to add energy to workspaces. Expect to see more plants, real wood furniture, and other biophilic design elements in the modern office.

The concept of biophilic design means using the architectural framework found in nature to build an eco-friendly, sustainable workplace that breathes life into the work environment. Some of the key features of this form of architecture include:

  • Natural, Sustainable Materials
  • Plants and Trees
  • Living Green Walls
  • Natural Lighting
  • Thermal Comfort and High-Quality Ventilation
  • Visual Connections with Nature

Biophilic design embraces the idea that the environments in which people spend significant amounts of time have a direct impact on their health. Amazon’s workspace in Seattle, known as the Spheres, is a terrific example of how botanical workspaces are finding their way into mainstream offices. Woodland Furniture produces stunning furniture using real wood for everything from desks to tables and cabinetry. Space dividers that double as planters from in2design are a terrific option for bringing in plants to energize any office.

The Walpole by Woodland incorporates rich leather with solid wood for elevated office seating that makes a statement.
The Walpole by Woodland incorporates rich leather with solid wood for elevated office seating that makes a statement.

Kimball, offers wood case goods that will add modern sophistication to any office. Take, for example, Transcend® with its rich woods in a variety of colors and configurations. Maverick Office Solutions offers a number of wood case goods as well in its Sierra, Canyon, and Napa signature series’ among others.

So whether you’re breaking down walls to break down workplace barriers, want to open your office to more natural light and go green, or you simply wish to integrate more beauty and comfort into your office, 2019 is your year to shine. Let CORE take the guesswork out of everything from space planning to commercial furnishing designs with integrated technology. Call CORE today at (520) 999-3470 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation.

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The Christmas gift that will keep giving

A work of the heart made a difference during a difficult holiday

It has been said that one small act of kindness can change the world and so it was this holiday season with Mercedes Flores and her team at CORE. After months of labor and hundreds of hours of work, CORE had successfully helped Casa de los Niños complete its relocation in Tucson, AZ, and made a gift to a special friend will last a lifetime.

A Story of Love

This story of love began in September of 1998 when Terry DuBay decided to adopt a child of her own through Casa de los Niños, a social service organization dedicated to children in search of forever families.

“I was single and had not been married but always wanted to have kids,” said DuBay. “Some of my friends said I should start by being a foster parent. That’s when I found out about the foster to adopt program.”

It wasn’t long before DuBay was matched with a five-year-old little girl named Diane.

“She was playing on the playground in the back,” recalled DuBay of her first meeting with the child who would become her daughter. “She was just a teeny, tiny little blonde girl that was as cute as a button. I played with her for a while. That weekend, there was a country fair and I got to take her for the day. She came and spent the night on Tuesday and then I got her (permanently) on Thursday. I just immediately fell in love with her. I just adored her.”

Diane and Terry DuBay on the day of Diane’s adoption.

A Growing Family & Tragedy

After a year and a half, Terry was able to adopt Diane as her own. In 2001, Terry and Diane’s family grew when Steve Rahn married Terry, giving Diane a father, too. During that time, Terry worked in the same industry as CORE Principal Mercedes Flores and the two women became good friends. Time passed and Diane blossomed into a beautiful young woman but tragedy struck on March 12, 2012, when she died by suicide.

Flores, along with other friends and family, helped DuBay and her husband cope with the loss of their beloved daughter. The couple sought support in a suicide survivor’s support group and through grief counseling. They also became involved in a foundation that takes suicide awareness into high schools.

“In a momentary speck of time, they see nothing but hopelessness,” DuBay said of those who seek suicide as an answer. “There was a thought process where teachers and counselors didn’t want to talk about it because they were afraid kids would do it. It’s about awareness, seeing the signs. If you can catch it in time, you can save someone.”

Making a Difference

When Flores discovered Casa de los Niños had the huge undertaking of combining five locations into one building, she wanted to help. Flores remembered Diane and wanted to do something nice in her memory so she jumped at the chance to help Casa de los Niños.

Over the course of the last two years, Mercedes and her CORE crew took a full furniture inventory at all six Casa de los Niños locations. Then they used plans for the new building to determine what furniture was still usable and what new furniture would be required.

“We worked with their interior designer and architect to come up with the best possible furniture solutions,” said Flores, who tagged every piece of furniture to be relocated. “When it came time to move, we installed the new furniture first. Once it was installed, we helped to coordinate with the movers to bring in the existing furniture. Our installers then went through to make sure everything was put together, level, and good to go.”

Flores and the CORE team provided roughly 300 hours of work including project management, inventorying furniture, and coordinating with the movers which saved Casa de los Niños about $20,000.

“I had gone in there because of Terry DuBay,” said Flores. “I was really trying to give a bench or something for that new area as I knew that’s where Diane had been adopted. The CEO, Susie Huhn, had mentioned they were building a new building. At that point I asked what they were doing for furniture and they didn’t have a plan in place yet. So, I thought we had a much bigger opportunity to do something more for Terry than just a bench.”

A Group Project

DuBay is a representative for several commercial furniture lines that CORE works with. With this in mind, Flores asked the interior designer if they would be willing to use her lines of furniture for the new building. The designer agreed and without DuBay’s knowledge, they went to manufacturers to ask for special pricing to make the project come to life.

“Every one of the manufacturers came through because they knew about Diane’s suicide,” said Flores, who took the story and project plans to Arcadia Seating, Kimball, Encore, Mayer Fabrics, and others. “The pricing we got for Casa de los Niños; I have never seen it that low.”

CORE Project Manager and Designer Brieanna Green had just started at CORE when Flores had taken on the Casa de los Niños project. Though she had known for a long time that Flores and her husband were giving people, she said she was surprised by the depth of the volunteer work that went into this project.

“I had no idea,” said Brieanna. “I was thrilled to be a part of it. My heart just went out to Terry. I have a teenage daughter and I quit my previous job to be with her. To be a part of this felt appropriate. To be there for other people, we need to do things like this.”

A Personal Touch

In addition to the hundreds of hours of work CORE performed for Casa de los Niños since January 2017, Mercedes wanted to do something more personal. She worked with the staff at Casa de los Niños to dedicate a room in Diane DuBay’s name. Mercedes put together verbiage for a special plaque outside of the room. In addition, she took quotes from the Lemony Snicket’s books Diane loved reading as a child and turned them into canvas artwork to beautify the room to give it a more personal touch.

On Dec. 20, 2018, the room was ready for unveiling so Flores and Lisa Webster, Director of Development and Community Relations for Casa de los Niños, took DuBay on a tour she will never forget.

“We were kind of standing by the room and then they took me over to see it and I saw the plaque; I just fell apart,” said DuBay, who added that the holidays are especially difficult without her daughter. “It said ‘The DuBay Room’ and it had Diane’s name on it. In a 100 years, I would never have expected that. It was just very moving.”

The plaque marking The Dubay Room at Casa de los Ninos.

Terry said she was incredibly surprised by the extent of it all from the volunteer hours to the participation of all of the people involved. Most of all, she was overwhelmed by the gift from her dear friend.

“Mercedes is one of the most loving, generous people I have known in my life,” said Terry. “She has helped so many girls through tough times. Since I lost Diane, she has been so supportive. I don’t know what I would have done without my friends and family. It shows the capacity of people to give and love. I am so thankful for her friendship and the love she has given me. It’s pretty cool to have people like that in your life.”

But if you talk to Flores, she will tell you all of the hard work, time, and money spent were just the right thing to do.

“It was no big deal,” said Mercedes. “If we have the opportunity to do nice things, we probably should.”

If you would like to learn more about Casa de los Niños or wish to make a donation, please contact the organization at (520) 624-5600 or visit them online.

Diane DuBay enjoyed reading Lemony Snickets books as a child, loved the holidays with her family, and wrote poetry.
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The Big Move

CORE’s relocation provides more space and a larger showroom.

The dust is settling, decorating is underway, staff have extra room to work, and visitors get to see more of what they are looking for. After three-plus years at the same location, Commercial Office Resource Environments (CORE) has relocated in Tucson, giving its staff more space to spread their wings and clients a bigger showroom.

When CORE opened at the beginning of 2015 at 124 W. Cushing St., the 1,800-square-feet of office space was enough for the company’s small staff. They loved the historic brick building in the heart of old Tucson but as the business grew out of its infancy, the location simply became too small for both the staff and the showroom.

“We needed a bigger showroom space,” said CORE Principal Mercedes Flores. “Our company was growing. We were running out of places for people to sit.”

CORE made the big move at the end of March to its new digs at 698 E. Wetmore Road, Suite 410, not far from the Tucson Mall, where upgrades, fresh furnishings, and new décor continue to be integrated.

“There are so many benefits to our new space,” said Flores. “We have the ability to show off more things. We are centrally located and it’s enough space for all of our employees.”

The new location offers nearly 3,000-square-feet where CORE staff work to fulfill client furniture orders, host meetings, and participate in combined lunch and learns with manufacturer and vendor representatives. There is even enough room in the conference room for educational seminars where staff and designers can obtain their continuing education units.

“Designers and architects must have them and we can do them right here,” said Flores.

The best part, adds Flores, is the extra space for an expanded showroom where CORE can stage new options for office seating, tables, medical equipment, and other furnishings that are perfect for a wide variety of settings from legal firms and corporate offices to medical suites and classrooms.

“We’re going to have the new Kimball Narrate,” said Flores. “It’s a panel system (commonly known as cubicles). We are going to have a small medical vignette and an educational vignette. We’re going to have Collette from National (a leather sectional with an integrated table) to showcase our resimercial seating. It’s commercial-grade seating with the familiar, comfortable elements of home furnishings. It’s gorgeous and we’re going to feature it in our front lobby.”

When considering what to integrate into CORE’s fresh setting, Flores said every facet of the office becomes part of the showroom from the décor to the furniture and even the lighting.

“We’re going to have some really cool lights,” said Flores. “It comes in mid-August. It’s acoustic lighting.”

The new flower-shaped fixtures will have felt fins around the lights to reduce noise in open settings such as the new CORE office and showroom. Clients can also take a look at a plethora of seating, wallpaper, and flooring options in the new “chair wall,” and can even check out the innovative kitchen and lounge seating that might also be a good fit for their own offices.

Flores said the new office will also have KI modular walls installed in the near future to allow everyone their own privacy while retaining an open feel for the office and showroom.

“They are glass office fronts with sliding barn doors,” said Flores of the soon-to-come walls.

In addition to CORE, the new location offers enough space to share with local Interior Designer Janet Fischer of Fischer Design Studio. While she operates her business solely and separately from CORE, Fischer said the two companies often partner on projects and enjoy working together. Sharing space made sense in terms of both economics and combined resources.

“We get the advantage of having an interior designer design the showroom,” said Flores of the shared space with Fischer. “We also get to share a library space.”

“That’s a huge advantage,” added Fischer. “It’s (the library) a time-consuming thing to keep up.”

Fischer said it’s also nice for her to have a furniture person on hand at all times.

“I’m always running to Mercedes to ask about a chair or a table,” she said. “It’s nice that they know about the products.”

Both women, who have become close friends as well as colleagues, agree that it’s nice not to be so isolated in their own businesses and clients can enjoy the services of both companies at once. Plus, there’s the advantage of a shared office happy hour on Friday afternoons once the doors close.

Elaina Vasquez, the office manager at CORE, has been with the company for more than three years. She said the move was a big job but is excited to be in the new location.

“It’s more open and I am glad that there’s more storage,” she said. “I like that they got to design it themselves and it’s closer to home for me.”

The newest member of the CORE team, Business Development Manager April Cardinal, said clients will love that they have the ability to see more of what CORE has to offer.

“Since we have more storage, we are able to show clients what we have,” Cardinal said. “We don’t have to say, ‘Oh, we’ll have to order that,’ so the turnaround will be faster. Clients will be able to see what’s new and what’s available right here.”

While the office and showroom are currently still a work in progress, CORE Account Manager Cristina Arriaga said clients are going to love the project when it’s complete.

“It’s going to have a grand effect,” said Arriaga. “When all of the new furniture and colors are in, it’s going to be an adventure to come into the showroom.”

Flores added that once the office and showroom are complete, CORE will host an open-house so clients, manufacturers, and vendors alike can experience the new location for themselves.