Category: News

Aristocrat Technologies

ARISTOCRAT TECHNOLOGIES

Design Firm: Alkimi Studio

Fitout Contractor: MPA Projects

Completed: March 2020

 

Situated in the heart of Macquarie Park, Aristocrat Technologies undertook a fully occupied refurbishment of their full building, seven storey national headquarters. In collaboration with Luxmy, TCW was brought in by Alkimi to supply a range of custom loose furniture items for this new Office.

 

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Alkimi’s design for the space led them down a biophilic route with Aristocrat wanting a natural connection to be felt. This ideology guided them in designing healthy and light filled spaces. The inspiration for the colour palette utilised throughout was an echo of the Aristocrat branding, where bold colours take on both a sophisticated and playful role as the spaces unfold from formal meeting rooms and tranquil wellness spaces to a lively café and congregation spaces.

With the biophilic ideology in mind Luxmy and TCW were engaged to design several bespoke loose furniture pieces for the new space and worked closely with Alkimi to achieve this.

Along the corridors and egress where people pass through Garden Bench was paired with Rosebud Ottomans. Combining the two informal furniture pieces allowed for social interactions and quick touch down meetings to be had.



With an open office design being established, there was a need to introduce places where workers can retreat to, to have semi-private meetings or get away from the hustle and bustle of the office. The Hedgeline screening system was used as a way of wrapping small furniture clusters to create sanctuaries.

The statement furniture piece for the offices are the custom designed Hollyhock lounges; a high back round lounging system, designed in such a way that it allowed for a planter and tree to emerge from the centre and epitomise the culmination of biophilia and colour that was requested by the client.

Other items used throughout the project included the Iconic Conical tables manufactured in Wilson Traceless Black which ensures no finger prints are left behind and the sleek Topiary lounge supplied in a range of autumnal tones.

Back to Work

BACK TO WORK

TCW can help you space plan your office post Covid-19

Over the last few weeks many established designers and consulting firms globally have written more than they ever have about the “new normal” and what this will look like. There is certainly a great opportunity to use the current pandemic as a catalyst for change and hopefully for the better in new developments and fit outs.

This is a bit beyond our pay grade in terms of the body of research available to TCW. Our focus has been to support change within the current workspace and to help organisations manage the BTW (Back to Work) by understanding their ratios of staff returning at a given time and clearly labelling plans with instructions to the users with distances, pathways and seat allocation. We have the ability to overlay any DWG plans with a layer of clear symbols to manage until a more permanent change is designed and implemented.

TCW can help you plan and ease your way back to the workplace as we have done for many of our clients already. As a sounding board on who is doing what, or in more detail working out how many people you can get in your working areas and your meeting areas and what that would look like to assist you to make a decision. An example of the work we have been doing is below. Our brief in this case was to place a layer of the workplace with a 50-50 ratio and what that would look like in space metrics. How many people can you have in a meeting room of 15m2? How many people in your break out areas and personalised sanitizers for public spaces and individuals?

TCW can provide the physical barriers to provide a level of comfort for those concerned about possible contamination in the workplace. We can also provide ergonomic advice to staff working from home with chairs, monitor arms and desks. What obligation does the organisation have towards its staff working from home and how may the tax man help you on that spend. You can’t claim chocolate biscuits working from home, but you can claim an office chair or monitor arm.

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Back To The Fu(rni)ture

Back To The Fu(rni)ture: 


What Does Your Workspace
Look Like After
Covid-19?

Life has always been about change. But this time, we’re being expected to change our normal behaviours at exponential speed. Moore’s Law famously said that the speed of computing will double every 18 months, although the way we used those computers didn’t shift as fast as that.

But now, in the space of weeks, we have moved from normal working and living conditions to dramatic changes, where our daily interactions have moved from face-to-face to a completely remote basis.  Every day now, I am catching up and communicating with friends, family and work colleagues via a screen.

My office colleagues are having dance classes and yoga online. My daughter is having online football coaching and my dogs have lost 15% of their weight with all the walking they are being forced to do. I’m not sure if I have also lost weight, but perhaps on zoom it’s not so obvious either way!

In Australia, the curve of infection that we have flattened through our enforced social distancing now looks to be heading in the right direction, back towards a more normal, safer world.  However, that “normal” world is not the same as the one we left just a few weeks ago.

According to the Centre for Future Working (see link), 15% of the current workforce have the ability to work permanently from home, and they expect this to rise to 30%. Meanwhile, almost all of us have had the experience of working from home, and now understand the good and bad of it. For many people, once the anxiety and social isolation from the pandemic dissipates, it looks like working from home will be their preferred option in future.

The impact of this on workspaces in future will be significant, possibly transformational.

First the HOME OFFICE: Employers are just starting to think through the full implications of their staff working extensively from home. Will employment contracts in future come with an expectation of an allowance to kit out employee’s homes with the appropriate furniture, computers, printers and other office-like services – maybe even a coffee machine? Perhaps staff will consider that a better work -life balance will “pay” them for this privilege. Either way, how will the taxman view such permanent arrangements? Will they remove the tax and CGT disadvantages, and will all workers be treated equally – for example, will these benefits be means-tested?

Secondly – the OFFICE WORKPLACE: With social distancing, are we going to reverse the diminishing ratio of office space per person, with the current allowance of less than 10m2 per person being increased by 20-50%, to 12 or even 15m2 per person? Or are we going to assume that we will have an A and B shift at work, and need half the current desk space in future? Do they share desks, and do you then need a deep clean every weekend?

With proximity comes the need for protection. Maintaining 1.5m of “social” (work?) distance within our work environment will not be easy, where the trend has increasingly been to improve staff interaction, not limit it.  Do we mark ingress and egress channels on the carpets for staff, to ensure they keep their distance as they walk around? And how many people will be allowed in a lift at any given time? One suggestions has been that we ask them all to turn to the walls to minimise breathing each other’s air, although I think that this “naughty corner” approach may be too uncomfortable to work in practice for long.

Perhaps workstations will need “sneeze screens” to protect everyone from their colleague next door. If so, then the vast majority of workstations that have screens at less than 1200mm high will need a new larger screen, to protect the potential spray from an errant Covid virus. All of these office arrangements will need additional cleaning. 

The good news is that safer personal space (and increased employee privacy) in the office can be provided by the increasing range of in-office booths. Whilst the air that you breath sitting in one of these booths is the air from outside, the air filters and solid sound-limiting materials of the booths can offer protection as well as privacy, combined with a regular sensible cleaning regime.  

Reception areas, for health clinics in particular but also anywhere the public congregate, including cafes, lobbies (and whilst we are at it, trains and planes), need some re-thinking. Right now we are seeing requests only for polypropylene chairs that can be easily wiped or hosed down by the ubiquitous cleaning gangs.

From what we’ve seen so far, TCW can help provide what’s needed on the furniture side for the post-virus office (and home office) – including “sneeze” screens, polypropylene chairs and in-office booths. It is a fast-evolving space, and there are some bigger issues that need addressing as I’ve touched on above. I would be happy to hear any and all your views on this, as we all try to make sense of the new world of working, so please drop me a line and I will report back over the coming weeks as things develop. In the meantime please find some useful links.

 

WRITTEN BY: Kasim Ali-Khan – Director TCW

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/04/will-coronavirus-end-the-open-office-floor-plan/

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/30/business/lessons-from-china-business-coronavirus-intl-hnk/index.html

https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-05/COVID-19-Workplace-Checklist.pdf

https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-05/Working_from_home_Workstation_Setup_%20Guide-COVID-19.pdf

https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-04/COVID-19-Physical-Distancing-Checklist.pdf

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Working from Home Tips

08.04.2020

Working from Home Tips

What does it mean to work from home safely?

In a well set up workplace you will have monitor arms, ergonomic task chairs, regular meetings and reasons to move about and most importantly, routine. In order for us to not just get through this COVID-19 pandemic but also thrive working from home, TCW has a few tips to share.

SETTING UP

Where do you work? From the sofa, dining table or a study desk? Wherever it is, maintaining an ergonomic set up as much as possible is beneficial to your productivity. TCW has created a list of ergonomic furniture pieces that will help you work from home safely and as happily as possible.

Task Chairs
Choose a chair that supports your spinal curve, this should be a chair that has a number of different adjustments like our To-Sync Task Chair.

  • Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest flat on the ground and your thighs are parallel to the floor. A chair with a gas lift and adjustable seat will assist with this.
  • Adjust arm rests so that your arms gently rest on them and your shoulders are relaxed.  Arm rests will also assist you in getting out of your chair.
  • Make sure that your back is completely flush with the rear of the seat and that your chair allows for flexible movement. An adjustable lumbar support and a synchronised mechanism will help with this.

Monitor Arms
If a person can adjust the height, distance and angle of their monitor it means they can adjust their technology to their own unique requirements. Using an adjustable monitor arm like our Flo Monitor Arm will reduce the occurrence of eye, neck and back strain. 

  • Using the monitor arm, place the monitor directly in front of you at approx an arms length.  The top of the screen should be at a slightly below eye level angle.
  • Throughout the day as your eye sight deteriorates, bring the monitor arm slightly closer to you.
  • Both points require a dynamic monitor arm to make these easy adjustments.

Workstations
Everyone has an individual working style, environment and requirements, your workstation is no exception. The design of workstations has progressed with human centric principles in mind, gone are the clinical silver frames of the past. At TCW we have the ability to order customise workstation tops allowing you to fit a work space around that trick corner or exposed beam and create a space that is all yours. All of our products are sold based on their brands quality and dedication towards functional solutions for our clients.

“Find your routine, then stick to it!”

Routine

Having a routine is a surefire way to maintain a productive and healthy working day. Make sure that you try and stick to as normal a schedule as possible when working from home. Here are a few of our favourite tips:

  • Wake up on time! Even if your work hours have changed try and get up, have a stretch and get a good start on the day.
  • Change into work clothes – this is very important for a positive mindset. Don’t forget that more and more virtual meetings are taking place. You can even experiment with outfits you have always wanted to trial!
  • A good breakfast. Speaks for itself.
  • Movement – take breaks during the day to stretch and alternate environments. Go for a walk around the block at lunch, take tea and water breaks.
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Home Office Packages

Home Office Packages

We have been working with our suppliers to provide you with ergonomic home office setups that are in stock and ready to go, to help you work from home more comfortably and economically.

This includes items such as workstations, task chairs, monitor arms and much more. The mobile setups will be extra beneficial for users on the go, they are a great long term investment and may come with Government incentives. Check with your employers to see how these packages can assist you whilst working remotely. 

We continue to serve your online needs here on our website. Our team is available to answer questions as usual during our standard business hours Monday-Friday 9am-5pm at 02 8070 9314. 

Please see our Fixed-Height and Sit-to-Stand packages below and in our current stock products. 

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Northern Beaches Hospital

Northern Beaches Hospital

Architect/Interior Design: BVN Architecture
Builder: CPB Contractors Pty Ltd
Completed: September 2018

The Northern Beaches Hospital is a Level 5 facility providing a range of services. The primary objectives of the hospital development were to deliver the best quality integrated health services and clinical outcomes to the community of the Northern Beaches of Sydney, where public and private health care are integrated into a single facility.

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TCW were engaged to supply furniture solutions to different parts of the hospital. A variety of products manufactured by Actiu provide both front of house aesthetic elegance as well as purposeful and practical solutions to meet the needs of a high functioning hospital. To make a statement in the atrium foyer of Northern Beaches Hospital, the iconic Badminton chair, with its design inspired by the shuttlecock used in the sport of the same name, is combined with the Eeni chair by Lux Studio to provide a comfortable and relaxing oasis away from the from the hustle and bustle of the hospital environment.

Avant modular bench seating, upholstered in solid in polyurethane for easy cleaning, is installed in the foyer of the Medical Centre, among other locations. This product is a perfect fit with its smooth lines and clean aesthetics and provided a comfortable waiting and rest area to the users in these designated areas.

Wing Chairs are installed throughout the hospital, both in the wards as visitor chairs as well as meeting and breakout chairs for the staff. Its polypropylene composition make it an ideal choice for a health care facility due to its antimicrobial properties: easy to clean, stackable and with an extensive colour range.

The Northern Beaches Hospital image is one of care and commitment, safety and excellence. It provides an important civic anchor to Frenchs Forest, and to the whole of the Northern Beaches.


Products used in this project

YELLOW Volume 4

14.02.2020

Yellow Volume 4

 

We are excited to announce that the 4th edition of our in-house magazine YELLOW is available online now or come and see us in our showroom to collect your own copy! This issue we investigate: “Wellbeing in the Workplace – How do we achieve it?”

View this issue NOW – YELLOW V4


 

“Designing so that employees have more access to natural sunlight and outdoor areas can also make for happier, more engaged employees”

 


In this issue, we feature an inspiring Q & A by Teknion’s Director of Sustainable Programs, Tracy Backus with Paul Scialla, Founder of the International WELL Building Institute. The interview focuses on how interior designers and furniture manufacturers can create a healthier built environment.


“BEAUTIFUL SPACES CREATE BEAUTIFUL MINDS”

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Melbourne Food + Wine

31.10.2019

Melbourne Food + Wine Experiences

On a spooky evening TCW decided to do something wholesome with our clients and hosted Melbourne Food + Wine Experiences in our Bourke St showroom. 

This Farm to Table event introduced food crafted by the Social Food Project. Sustainability and supporting innovation is important to us at TCW whether it be what you eat or what you’re sitting on!

The Social Food Project focuses on sustainable food events that are designed to connect local communities and bring people together. “Food is the great connector – in the sharing of food, barriers are broken down and we create opportunities to meet, learn from and empathise with others.”

Special thanks went to our MC of the night Wendy Hargreaves for introducing the evening and sharing her insights of the Melbourne food scene. Wendy founded the Sunday Herald Sun’s first food section and Melbourne’s most independent food/fun magazine fiveofthebest.com.

As well as regular slots on 3AW Radio National, The Project, A Current Affair and Today Tonight Wendy created short film ‘Burnt’ winning two awards at Hollywood Dreamz International Film Festival. Thank you to everyone that came on the night to talk food, fun and a little bit of furniture!


Capitol Theatre

Capitol Theatre

Originally designed by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin in 1924, Melbourne’s Capitol Theatre has been reopened by RMIT University.

Design Firm: Six Degrees Architects
Builder: Hutchison Builders
Completed January 2019

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The historic cinema has been repurposed as an education facility for students studying film and digital media, and it will also be used as a public cultural venue.

Six Degrees Architects and Hutchison Builders completed the multi-million dollar refurbishment, which involved the retention of the iconic geometric ceiling of the cinema and the restoration of the entrance, as well as providing learning spaces for more than 1,000 students, new office and incubation spaces.

All the ceilings and critical heritage elements are overhead, and all the new work comes up underneath.

TCW was delighted to participate in a short overview of the exceptional project with ArchiTel TV you can see below. 

Products used in this project

Connect East

Connect East

Design Firm: Spowers
Fit out contractor: Capabuild
Completed April 2019

ConnectEast Group is the owner and operator of EastLink, the largest tollway network in Victoria.

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TCW provided an ergonomic sit-to-stand workstation solution to replace their old fixed height snowflake style desks and increase the occupancy of the existing EastLink Operations Centre. EON Workstations were used to address acoustic concerns and re-invigorate the existing accommodation.

The sit-to-stand operation of the EON workstations will support the staff into the future and the colourful PET Screens helped address acoustic concerns and the animation of the space. Various EON workstation configurations were used including, individual workstations with plywood modesty panels for the offices and pentagon shaped workstation clusters with EFit chairs for the call centre area.


Products used in this project

RMIT GUSS

RMIT GUSS

Design Firm: Spowers
Fit out contractor: Capabuild
Completed June 2019

Located in the heart of Melbourne on RMIT’s City campus, the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies (GUSS) has been designed to reflect the identity of its occupants. It has created a strong grounding for its identity, seen from the inside and outside world. 

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Tatjana Plitt Photography

 TCW supplied EON sit-to stand workstations, Domino Task chairs and mobile storage units for this project. The EON workstations incorporated natural woodgrain finishes and PET Acoustic panel for the workstation screens and personal privacy dividers. Over 300 EON workstations in various configurations were supplied to accommodate the school’s occupants over two levels.

Utilising an urban design context as a design narrative was key to unlocking the spatial challenges of a vast and deep floor plan presented to the design. The project involved crafting an authentic space employing natural materials honestly whilst providing spaces of equity and agility delivering a future flexibility.


Products used in this project

UTS Central

UTS Central

Design Firm: FJMTFit out contractor: Richard Crookes ConstructionCompleted August 2019
Located next to the UTS Tower and opposite Central Park on Broadway, UTS Central is a striking, 17-storey, glass-encased building that adds to the architectural diversity of the UTS campus. The building holds a 5 Star Green Star Design and As-Built rating certified by the Green Building Council of Australia.

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As well as a vibrant student hub, study areas and Our Faculty of Law space, it will also be home to the new UTS Library and scholarly Reading Room. TCW was proud to supply a range of our agile products that support the cutting-edge facility for education and research, supporting active and collaborative learning.
Read more here. 

Products used in this project

Trades Union – Sydney Office

Trades Union – Sydney Office

Design Firm: Danks Design
Fit out contractor:CD Constructions
Completed September 2018

TCW was brought in by Danks Design to supply a range of furniture for this new Office, Training and Conference Facility for 62 staff in Pyrmont.

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The breakout areas are bright warm, having been designed to maximise space for when you are not hard at work. TCW supplied Butterfly Tables and Chilli+ Lime Tables from Luxmy with Urban chairs for these areas.

In the workspace area Markant MO-X and Scenarios, credenzas and storage were used to create focused back to back clusters. This included ergonomic support through the cable management systems. 

Meeting rooms needed to be agile so that the same space can be utilised for a conference, meeting, group work or training area. Thinking Works I.Am folding tables are ideal here with a linking device and simple folding mechanism.  


  • lobby

  • office

  • ottomans

  • canteen

  • sofa bit

Products used in this project

Denfair 2019

09.03.2019

Success at Denfair

Over the course of three days in Melbourne was taken over by the best in the industry as Denfair and the National Architecture Conference collided in the best of ways.
As Denfair celebrated their 5th birthday for the first time the exhibition also housed a dedicated workspace sector. This new direction, LIFE WORK shone a light on designs that support the rapid integration of working and personal lives.

TCW takes pride by not being pigeonholed into specifying for any one sector, in recent years our projects have spanned over public spaces, retail & hospitality, workplaces, education and healthcare. Having said this our team of experts has a pooled knowledge about furniture design specifically for the workplace. Current design trends, shifts in office culture and building/ property influences all contributed to what we decided to show at Denfair.

Photography credit to Fiona Susanto

Photography credit to Denfair Media

Booths, pods, meeting rooms – call them what you will, we believe they are a fundamental element in current workplace designs. Creating an ecosystem of spaces that caters to a variety of tasks is essential in keeping employees satisfied and productive. How can we solve this with rental buildings, open plan spaces and technology ruling work? Flexibility.
“Our focus was on innovation in the way we manage spaces, with a view to support the agile and activity based workplace. Telephone booths are about addressing the human need for privacy, for those quiet moments or focus work and are an integral need amongst the buzz created by dynamic working. TCW are exclusive agents for the Silen Space and the Smartblock as well as having one of Europe’s leading, more established brands Dauphin with their Bosse human space cubes.” – Kasim Ali-Khan Director
At Denfair we were able to demonstrate the possibilities of creating spaces that are not just flexible but clever by catering to specific tasks. The LIFE WORK area was a great success for workplace furniture and shone a light on the intersection of technology and human centric design in the industry. TCW also collaborated with Markant and their Hybrid collection, which was installed at the Media Stand.

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NSW Rugby League Centre of Excellence

NSW Rugby League Centre for Excellence

Design Firm: PopulousFit out contractor: ADCO Construction Completed January 2019
The new Rugby League Centre of Excellence located in Olympic Park is a space that unites the NSWRL, CRL, NSWRL Referees Association and other affiliates, and a home base for the NSW VB Blues and all state representative teams. The site contains playing fields, hydrotherapy and sports science facilities, change rooms, an event space and administrative offices.

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ADCO preferred to go with a single supplier, to keep things as smooth and seamless as possible. TCW was specified by the Populous for our range of flexible meeting and education tables all of which are ideal for multi-use environments and suited the clients needs. We demonstrated the ability to provide competitive quality products to meet their budget and worked closely with ADCO and Populous for a successful result.
In the players’ breakout lounge and the main reception we supplied tub chairs, bar stools, sofas, I.AM tables, and Cheese on Toast side tables. In addition to this were bike racks and custom sliding door cabinets. The scenic meeting rooms views were fit out with the EONA boardroom table and Cron Sport high back chairs. The elegant Audit 10 seating with writing tablets were installed in the amphitheatre in that wonderful NSW shade of blue. Breakout and administrative areas were also looked after by TCW with Vital Plus workstations, Stay chairs and Spacio all from Actiu.

Products used in this project

Educated Spaces

05.06.2019

Educated Spaces

What is an Educated Space?

A learning space or learning setting refers to a physical setting for a learning environment, a place in which teaching and learning occur. It is designed with the intent for growth and development.

There are many articles saying there is limited evidence to support the idea that making physical changes to classrooms boosts learning outcomes. They conclude that the outcome is found solely in the teaching model, and the impact of it is derived from the practices of its educators.

Despite this, there has been a boom in re-designing education spaces. Why? Well we can look at how technology and the appreciation of collaborative working has driven a need to be more flexible, and create more task-orientated designs.

In workplace design the creation of open, agile and collaborative spaces has been successful by creating ecosystems of zones depending on the nature of work. The mistake is applying this same approach to designing for education. Younger people need more structure in an environment as their brains grow, not just learning curriculums but also how they best learn.

The phrase ‘everyone learns in different ways’ remains true person to person. Visual, auditory and kinaesthetic styles are all known and students develop their best learning style naturally as they grow. Educators have in recent years embraced this diversity using more technology, group learning and visual aids in best teaching practices. In education spaces the different zones for types of learning needs to be strictly outlined. Individual desks for independent classwork, canteen tables for group work, in libraries and open areas for example.

  • UTS Insearch

  • UNSW Law Library

  • FASS Sydney University

  • Deakin University

“Everyone learns in different ways”

It remains that rows of desks work in most teaching spaces because the structure is needed. What we can look at is flexible furniture so that classrooms and breakout spaces can be changed for the different learning zones. Folding and moveable tables are ideal to change from individual task work to group clusters. Stacking chairs to optimize space, and create room for large discussions, mindfulness workshops or project space.

In open areas and libraries soft seating and laptop tables allow students to move around and create a space that works best for their need.

By combining the knowledge of current teaching practices, and what is physically needed to define spaces, we can create agile and efficient educated spaces.

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Human Beings: The species in the built environment

24.04.2019

Human Beings: The species in the built environment

Humans: species profile
Common Names: Human, sub-species Designer and Non-Designer Scientific: Humana, Excogitatoris; Humana, Non Excogitatoris Diet: Way, way too often Size: See response to diet, above Intelligence: Often questionable Habitat: Human’s place-based thoughts and behaviours have been systematically investigated by scientists. Applying insights derived from their findings increases the likelihood that single humans and herds of teammates in a particular habitat achieve species-valued goals. These objectives often include sustained market success and financial health.

Researchers, working in labs tucked into the darkest recesses of psychology department basements, and in spaces as publicly accessible as Grand Central Station, have learned that the responses of members of the sub-species Non-Designer to their habitat can differ from those of humans in the other sub-species, Designer. The most frequently identified reason for these differences is that design training influences how humans experience the world around themselves.
Both Designers and Non-Designers share the same cognitive structures, however. The rest   of this section will focus on the form of habitats in which both Designers and Non-De-signers exhibit their highest levels of professional performance, with sub-species differences noted, as relevant.
The ways that today’s humans are affected by the world around them can often be linked to collective experiences as a new species, many thousands of years ago. Being in the same sort of environments where early humans would have felt comfortable has a positive effect on the mood of today’s humans. That’s important because, achieving the goals detailed in design briefs depends on humans being in one particular mood or another.
Rigorous research studies have found that when humans are in a more positive mood, they think more broadly. As a result, they’re better at problem solving, coming up with creative ideas, and getting along with others, for example. When they’re thinking more broadly, humans are also healthier, because their immune system functions more effectively.
There are times when negative moods are best, however. When they’re in a negative mood, all humans are better at quickly and accurately running through emergency protocols, for instance. So, don’t eliminate the flashing lights and annoying sirens that come standard with each nuclear power plant control center, at least in the movies, just yet.
Humans, both individually and in teams, are in better moods and do a better job on cog-nitive tasks when they can make choices about the spaces where they’re working—that means they can adjust light levels and temperatures, for example. People, however, can become stressed when they need to make more than 4 or so decisions about their physical workplaces; so curated option sets should be provided. It is better to provide humans with lighting fixtures with a finite and carefully selected set of light color/light intensity options than rheostats with infinite numbers of light color and light intensity possibilities built in, for example. It is particularly desirable for humans to be able to choose where they will do solo work that requires concentration and, in so doing, avoid distractions whenever pos-sible. Distractions generate stress and destroy positive moods.
For humans doing cognitive work to feel comfortable in a space, and be in a positive mood, they must feel secure. Humans (of either sub-species) feel sheltered in the same sort of spaces that chipmunks (scientific name: Tamias) do. Chipmunks are regularly social creatures who rely on their wits to survive, just as the earliest humans did. Chip-munks are in relaxed positive moods when they sit on a shielded tree branch with a view out over the nearby meadow, just as people like to survey a restaurant from a high-backed booth with a view of the door. Neither humans nor chipmunks will do their best at work requiring focus when they’re sitting with their backs to passersby in an open area or when they’re being watched by hoards of others, for example. The “chipmunk test” reliably distinguishes spaces where humans are in relaxed positive moods from those where they’re in tense, negative ones.
Researchers have identified numerous pleasant experiences humans had in places where they prospered long, long ago that can be conceptually replicated in modern environments to create spaces where all humans perform well cognitively and are in positive moods. For example, gentle air currents can move things such as mobiles, just as mild spring breezes caused flower heads to bob slightly. Also, a range of sensory experiences at a variety of scales can be incorporated into spaces.  
Humans are pack animals and never ignore the relative status of those they’re with. Many of their social processes depend on having rank-related information. For example, the distances that humans stand or sit from each other depend on their social standing. Not knowing relative status makes humans tense.
Humans today judge their own rank and that of others just as courtiers did centuries ago, by determining what goodies are provided to them—a seat near the manager? A special task chair? Eliminating differences in options provided doesn’t reduce humans’ need to determine the relative standing of others. People use whatever tools they have to signal relative rank. In one case, when everyone was given an identical workspace and coat racks were randomly distributed across the office floor, after a little while, all of the coat racks mysteriously migrated to be beside the work areas of those of highest rank.
The sorts of places that make it more likely humans will be in a better mood make them feel appropriately respected. Non-Designers put a lot of effort into deciding if a place in-dicates that they’re valued (which Designers do as well but don’t like to talk about). Both human sub-species share a deep-seated interest in knowing what other people think about them—so they’ve become good at working with whatever clues they can find to do just that. Are bathrooms appropriately designed and maintained? Are finishes used unhealthy? Do spaces provided support the work that people need to do, really?
Spaces silently convey additional information that can influence human mood. Organizational and national cultures create the context in which messages are sent and interpreted by users. The only way to understand the symbolic language being spoken in a place is to spend time with the people who use it. Habitats that send unwelcome unspoken messages are extraordinarily stressful for humans—and stress diverts mental energy from the task at hand, degrading cognitive performance.

“when humans are in a more positive mood, they think more broadly”

Scientists have collected a great deal of information about how sensory experiences in an area affect how humans respond emotionally to a space. So much information, that only a sprinkling can be shared in this profile. Seeing colours that are not very saturated but relatively bright, such as a sage green with lots of white mixed into it, has been linked to the relaxed positive moods that are just right for knowledge work. Looking at colours that are saturated and not very bright, such as Kelly green, is helpful when humans need to be more energized. Being in warm light optimizes the likelihood that humans get along well with others. Around the planet, floral smells are likely to put humans in a good mood, while smelling cinnamon has been linked to more creative thinking; orange aroma is an anxiety-buster. Sniffing lemon puts people in a great mood to do knowledge work.
Human hearts start to beat in time to nearby sounds, a process called entrainment, and people keep careful track of how fast or slowly their hearts are beating. Unconsciously, humans use information about their own heartbeats to, in part, judge their own mood—with slower beats being interpreted as feeling calm, for example. Tactile experiences also affect humans’ moods, encouraging them to be more or less empathetic to others, or generous and trusting, or to negotiate more vigorously, for instance.
Peoples’ mood and performance are best in spaces with moderate visual complexity. A space with moderate visual complexity features carefully curated sets of colours and shapes. The interiors of homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright generally have moderate visual complexity, for example. Designers have much better experiences in spaces with low visual complexity than Non-Designers, who often feel quite stressed in these areas. Designers are generally attuned to variations in design details that are lost on Non- Designers; as a result, Non-Designers can be unpleasantly under-stimulated in a space where Designers are at ease. Non-Designers’ discomfort in spaces where Designers are pleased to be often puzzles Designers.
Information is continually being gathered by human sensory receptors and processed. Individual sensory inputs are combined with simultaneous other inputs to determine the overall effect of a space on mood. National and organizational cultures guide the process-ing, integration, and interpretation of information received. Many other factors, such as compensation structure and economic conditions also affect employee moods.
In technical terms, the physical situations in which humans find themselves drive their conceptual and tangible assessments of stimuli. When those assessments are integrated they determine humans’ fully processed emotional reaction to an experience. That fully processed emotional reaction in turn contributes not only to professional performance, etc., but also to place-based wellbeing.
A final cautionary note: Humans, whether members of either the Designer or Non-Design-er sub-species, can, on occasion ignore their own human-ness, and the forces that influence their emotional response to the world that surrounds them, noted above. This has dire consequences for personal and organizational outcomes. Humans are not automatons, however; they are complex animals, often driven by processes more primitive than they like to acknowledge.

Author: Sally Augustin, PhD, environmental psychologist and a principal at Design With Science, focusing on human-centered design. Via Teknion ETHONOMICS. 
Read more from TCW in Volume 3 of YELLOW here. 

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NSW Parliament House

NSW Parliament House Education Centre

Design Firm: NBRS Architecture Completed July 2018
The refurbishment of the auditorium at NSW Parliament House presented many design challenges due to certain structural engineering restrictions.  Unceasing collaboration between TCW/Actiu and NBRS Architecture resulted in the delivery of a high quality solution. In the auditorium there are 164 seats from the Actiu Audit collection spread over 11 rows.

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The project was not without its challenges. There were air-conditioning grilles on the concrete floor that had to be avoided, so Actiu came up with a 3-seat beam to supplement the single foot pedestal. The seat light fittings were sourced from Dunnart from Light Project, and the signage is an Actiu standard. The specified Instyle Vinyl is a simple and elegant tone that meets with the retardant standard in Australia. All in all this project required a lot of communication with the client, our suppliers and NBRS and we are highly satisfied with the outcome and our ability to manage challenging projects.

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Some Considerations When Purchasing Office Furniture

Some Considerations When Purchasing Office Furniture

Being tasked with buying office furniture for your company is a major responsibility. Purchasing new office furniture and equipment can be a major decision not only because it contributes to and supports the well-being and comfort of your staff, but it also impacts office productivity.

Before spending days visiting office spaces or browsing the internet for collaborative workspace furniture, it would pay to spend some time reviewing a few key strategic considerations.

 

 

The Time factor: 

Similar to making any major investment, purchasing too quickly could lead you to regret your choice later. It would be significantly more helpful to save some valuable time to chalk out a strategy. This strategy can basically be an assessment of needs regarding your office furniture.

Spending time talking with your staff about their needs, looking towards future organisational requirements and taking into consideration the ever changing working environment will ensure your office fitout works for you now and into the future. 

Ergonomics: 

Employees will be sitting and working most of the day, so providing them a comfortable chair and desk is a must. More importantly, ergonomic chairs and desks are critical as they make working easier and healthier, as supported by numerous studies. Ergonomics considerations like contoured seats, lumbar backrest supports, adjustable seats and armrests are important.

Consider not only what’s comfortable to your colleagues, but also what’s designed according to ergonomic best practices. When you find furniture that does both, it will be worth the investment.

Flexibility & Functionality: 

Office furniture with multiple functionalities is usually a better choice. When you balance functionality with a reasonable price you obviously are getting more for your money. For example, do the desks have storage for files? Are the drawers easy to access and provide enough storage capacity? Can you stretch your legs and move them freely under the desks, or tables? Are they comfortable enough for your employees?

To answer these questions, it can be a good idea to have some coworkers test out different chairs and desks. What feels comfortable and functional can depend on several different factors, such as the kind of work they do, and their height and weight. Think about the kind of furniture you need and consider how your office will function. A beautifully appointed office is great, but if it’s not really functional, you’ll find yourself more frustrated than inspired. What kind of work does the furniture need to support?

Health & Safety Post Covid-19:

With workers heading back to the office post Covid-19 it is important to provide them a safe working environment. Considerations such as space between colleagues, “sneeze screens”, cleaning measures and materiality of furniture are all important. 

Conclusion:

Try not to think that purchasing office furniture is going to be a staggering job. Take a lot of time in your research, plan accordingly for what you need, and be smart in regards to your choices and design that will take you from the now and into the future.

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Deakin University

Deakin University Greenwood Park

DEAKin University GREENWOOD PARK

Design Firm: WMK MelbourneFit out contractor: CapabuildCompleted December 2018
TCW has specified education furniture for a number of projects for the leading Victorian tertiary institution, Deakin University. For this project TCW worked with WMK Melbourne to deliver on a new workspace to accommodate three faculties relocating from the main Burwood campus located nearby to Greenwood Park.

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This was a highly collaborative design and construction project, successfully delivered within a tight timeframe and on budget.  The building architecture absorbed the nearby park and carved a series of pathways throughout the space, linking experiences along the way.  
We provided a series of furniture that were ideal for flexibility, communal areas that featured modular furniture and collaborative learning. From our ranges we supplied MOX Workstations, Multiway Sit Stand Workstations, Bend Ottomans, I AM Tables and TCW Disc Base Tables.

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Orgatec Wrap Up

29.10.2018

Orgatec Wrap Up

Last Friday wrapped up Orgatec 2018, and with manly of our suppliers on the ground exhibiting their new products and innovations so were we. Themes that TCW has explored since FRONT re-surfaced in Cologne. Flexible working, wellness and of course human-centric design were all at the forefront.
 

If Doctor Who, ever wanted a new Tardis then this was the show. There were small ones, large ones, good ones and some pretty ordinary efforts. TCW have the pick of the bunch with the Dauphin Human Space Cube having a large range of sizes as well as excellent air handling and very good acoustics. The other measures of cubes include, plug and play integration, comfort, installation time and mobility.
Smartblock won the mobility race easily with simplicity of movement and engineering that rates very highly on all scales. Flexible working was visible in so many of the stands – from soft seating to the highly considered booths and pods mentioned.

“Orgatec 2018 once again proved to be the most influential and ahead-of-the-curve global design trade show.”

On the first day I viewed the Framery booth, new LoOok industries products, Dauphin, Actiu, our new brand Smartblock. To close Wednesday we had the Dauphin 50 year celebration and the speeches with Mr Dauphin being acknowledged for his massive contributions. Dauphin was a highlight with the latest rendition of the Human Space cubes with black powder coated frames offering great aesthetics, some of the best engineering systems and modular abilities.
Actiu highlights included the new chair Karbon, a strong indication of the technical possibilities and trajectory of Actiu’s design development. Whass and Talent were the other big hits, where the integration of furniture and technology met again showing the industries response to the increased need for agile furniture. Actiu’s 50th bash was incredibly vibrant and showed their commitment to forward thinking with not just products but technology and mobile applications focused on wellbeing.
Orgatec once again has shown that growth and new ideas is insatiable in design industry, and we are so glad businesses and individuals continue to be curious and challenge the now, looking into the future.

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Taronga Institute of Science & Learning

Taronga Institute of Science & Learning

Design Firm: NBRS Architecture
Building: Taylor Construction
Completed: June 2018

As part of Taronga Zoo’s Centenary Revitalisation Plan, The Taronga Institute of Science and Learning (TISL) was created with a vision to reveal innovative concepts for conservation, science and learning.

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To set TISL apart from other science and research institutions, the concept of “the discovery of patterns in nature” was developed as a core design influence. This can be seen from the ‘hive-inspired’ designs in the main foyer to the environmental graphics and details throughout each space. The incorporation of natural materials throughout the design further highlights the harmony between the facility’s visual aesthetic and the surrounding sandstone landscape.

Designed to cater for staff as well as visitors, TISL cleverly integrates animal-friendly zones with educational and community spaces to create an interactive and immersive experience that promotes the “cross-pollination” of ideas across science, education and animal care.

TCW worked with the Builder, Architect and Taronga Zoo to supply a range of furniture to meet the needs of the multi-disciplinary research, teaching, outdoor and breakout spaces across the facility. We provided a diverse collection of furniture, integrating the natural design elements and tones of each area to complement the spatial unity of the Institute and its surroundings.

A great example of this are the Albury and Bronte chairs. Ideal for both breakout areas as well as working and meeting rooms, they are an excellent fit for multi-use spaces. In keeping with the feel of the built environment, we supplied chairs which were upholstered in earthy colours and set on wooden bases. This ensured that they slid comfortably into the visual aesthetic.


Products used in this project

Friends at Orgatec

19.10.2018

Our friends at Orgatec

Next week kicks off Orgatec, the leading international trade fair for the modern working world hosted biannually in Cologne. This year will be pushed by “culture@work” as the central theme, exploring diverse and visionary concepts for work environments, and what the future of this design will look like.
TCW is in constant collaboration with designers, builders and creative thinkers that are influencing this culture of change in the workplace. With our friends and suppliers on the ground as exhibitors, we are keenly involved in how workplace furniture can be designed with a positive culture at the forefront.

Image © Koelnmesse 2018

Orgatec 2016 presented the theme “creativity works” and that was true to form for LoOok Industries, which are an exclusive brand of TCW. Their design approach breaks boundaries and old notions that workplace furniture has to be ‘corporate’ – what they create are fun, practical and applicable furniture for flexible working. This year they are back with new ideas and products that push this notion further and we can’t wait for the world to see. Find them in Hall 10.2 Stand K039.
Both Actiu and Dauphin Human Design Group celebrated 50 years this year, and what better way to celebrate with the continued development of innovative products. Actiu will be showcasing their smart furniture, and it’s firm commitment to people. Actiu has been creating comfortable and efficient cool working spaces around the philosophy that “organisations can align their challenges to transform with current needs”. Have a peek at Hall 09.1, stands C049 & B048, after 50 years you can still expect great things.
Technology and furniture integrate with The Human Space Cube designed by Bosse. The modular system allows for rooms to be created independently of a building, necessary in current workplace designs. Not only is it freestanding, but also fully aerated, temperature controlled, with specialty lights and technology ports. This unique private or collaborative space (depending on size) has a sound isolation of 38dB ideal in open plan environments. Make sure you try this out at Hall 8.1 aisle B/C, stands B028 – C031.

“After all, it is only through a culture that promotes diversity, collaborative partnerships, motivation and trust that we are inspired to work creatively and our ideas are allowed to flourish.” – Orgatec Media

Smartblock is the latest brand that TCW is enthusiastic about distributing exclusively in Australia. It is well know that the development of workplace furniture has been largely pushed by shifts in culture, but there are other factors prevalent also. In Australia the rising costs of property, building and employee expectation shifts have meant that how a company re-structures their workplace interior is as much economical as it is about culture and wellbeing. Smartblock allows for a flexible workplace without pouring money into permanent infrastructure, or creating spaces that are single purpose. This is something you need to see at Orgatec, find them in Hall 10.1, Stand C013.
Australian’s go abroad! ThinkingWorks have not only done a fabulous re-brand in recent months but has revamped existing products, and made way for new products in workplace furniture. They are being quite secretive about what exactly will be on show but have said they are releasing two completely new product ranges. Gathering by all the fantastic new things they have created of late, we will definitely be stopping by Hall 6.01 aisle C058 to see.
Let the show begin!

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10 Years On

24.09.2018

10 Years On

September 2008 was an auspicious month as it was the month that Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy which, 2 weeks later, triggered the 2008  Global Financial Crash (GFC). It was also the month that Tables Chairs & Workstations now known as TCW was formed out of a lounge room in Ashfield. The first office started off with a rather dodgy garage, which typically had around 10-20 sample chairs and no stock. The office doubled up as a lounge room and a coffee stop with a house-trained rabbit! Modest beginnings framed around the uncertainty in the market.

10 years later we have beautiful showrooms in Sydney and Melbourne a fantastic client base, some of the world’s best-known suppliers who have supported us through the growth pains and a developing team with a broad range of industry knowledge and skills. We aim to be the “supplier of choice” and I am extremely confident from the feedback and ongoing support we have, that we are doing most things extremely well, most of the time.
We have increased our stock levels for both workstations and task seating as well as a number of feature pieces. We have just moved into a 3,000m3 warehouse allowing us to stock more. deliver quicker and by turning over our stock quicker, control the pricing more effectively. TCW are also working with an external team to have ISO 9001 certification which we will have towards the end of this year.
So what is new and where are we heading over the next 10 years? Although we have a pretty good plan we are also open to opportunities as and when they arise. The quiet space, team space and agile environment are workplace areas where TCW feel we have great options and a lot of education around. We will have more products launched this year and we are looking forward to having a launch party in November which can double as a birthday!

“The office doubled up as a lounge room and a coffee stop with a house-trained rabbit!”

Next month Orgatec and no doubt new opportunities will come about. To all those clients, suppliers that we have been involved with over the past 10 years. THANK YOU. To my teams in Sydney and Melbourne you are the best and we could not move ahead without your continued support and strength.
Kasim Ali-Khan

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