Category: TCW News

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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Educated Spaces

05.06.2019

Educated Spaces

What is an educated space? Is it within the education sector, caters to learning environments, or designed with the intent for growth and development? All of the above.

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.

“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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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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Sideshow Alley

29.05.18

Sideshow Alley

Dance for Life 2018 is rapidly approaching and last Wednesday we opened our Alexandria showroom to some of the madness. Along with our organisers Thinking Works and InStyle, seven of the teams that are participating in the June 15th competition created stalls where all proceeds went to their fundraising targets.

The night was filled with stalls of fairy floss, popcorn, and cocktails to mini golf, video games, face painting and fortune telling. TCW supplied delicious paella for the masses and the incredible team from ReachOut managed tickets. Youth ambassador Yaseen spoke passionately and with gratitude about his experience with ReachOut. He enthused about why it is so important that the generations of youth growing up today feel more open, and are compelled to have more conversations about mental health than before.
In the waves of technology, social media usage, and constant bombardment of news and events, having a quiet space to think and rest ones mind is difficult, especially if you don’t have a quiet one to begin with. ReachOut Australia is one of the most comprehensive and full spectrum organisations when it comes to addressing issues of mental health. Their services go above and beyond in providing a plethora of ways to understand and manage mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, anorexia and wide variety more.
TCW is so excited that we are involved this year and hopefully for more to come! Good luck teams and don’t forget that tickets are still on sale for those of you who haven’t got your hands on some yet.
http://bit.ly/DFL18-Tickets

Yes, Dance for Life is an incredible event for the architecture and design industry in Australia, but none of us would be here if it wasn’t supporting a worthwhile cause.

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YELLOW Volume 2

October 30, 2017

YELLOW Volume 2

We are so excited to announce that the second issue of our in-house magazine YELLOW is available online now and physcially in our showroom. This issue we were fortunate to get words from Jeremy Harkins from Ineni Realtime, Markants Jan Beltman’s ideas on the healthy workplace, and an exclusive interview with Tom Lloyd of Pearson&Lloyd. 

View the magazine – http://bit.ly/TCW-YELLOW2

One of our features was the insights from Jeremy Harkins, founder and Director at Ineni Realtime. In this article he delves into the new frontier of virtual reality, and how it will effect the architecture and design industry, as well as our means communication with our customers.
Read below to see for yourself. 

The biggest thing that will change about the internet in the coming decades is how we interact with it.”

We will see our technology shift from screen based interaction to environment based information, eventually reaching a point where the barrier between virtual worlds and the real world are blurred to invisibility; the screen slowly drifting into obscurity much like the radio’s of yesteryear. While we are not completely there yet, Virtual Reality is helping us to make a screenless world possible.

Let’s start by clarifying what Virtual Reality (VR) is exactly, as there seems to be a lot of misconception about the differences between Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR), as well as a bunch of other acronyms and labels for the concepts involved.

The current best definition is that VR is part of the “Reality-Virtuality (RV) Continuum”, coined by Paul Milgram’s co-authored paper in his 1994 work “Augmented Reality: A Class of Displays on the Reality-Virtuality Continuum”, that defines the two extremes of MR as Reality to VR, with AR and other derivatives sitting somewhere in the middle. This continuum has always existed, even before the advent of the digital age. It is the dreamworld, the realm of imagination, and we have been trying to access it through mysticism since the dawn of civilisation.

For the first time in history, our digital tools have progressed to where we can experience an alternate reality as if we were physically there; which in a sense, we are; after all, if I can see it, touch it and manipulate it, to my mind at least , it is real.

Games and experiences are being created with a huge variety of content matter. From piloting a fighter jet in a global war, to learning Tai Chi in a picturesque garden, to aiding dementia patients with virtual cues to minimise the effect of memory loss; the imagination really is the only limit with what is currently being created. These brave new virtual worlds are not just producing the stuff of imaginations, they are also allowing us to better understand the real world, with virtual reality being explored by businesses to discover and expose the virtual aspects of their products.

Architects are using VR to step inside their buildings before they exist, exploring design options virtually before committing to build them, allowing for testing and a surety of design that is helping to produce better architecture. Builders are using AR and VR on site during construction to assure the architect’s vision is accurately achieved. Facilities Managers are using MR to peer through the walls of their buildings, visualising pipes and services that are normally hidden from view and virtually inspecting their assets. Occupants and designers are furnishing empty spaces in VR, allowing people to understand how a space will work when it is completely fitted out.

With the goal of always giving the customer a better experience, suppliers and manufacturers are making virtual versions of their stock for marketing purposes and to allow the propagation of their digital products in virtual spaces, extending the reach of brands. All of these activities are contributing to the establishment of a pervasive virtuality that is seamlessly integrated into every object and task around us.

In the continuing journey of technological progress, we are infants in this brave frontier of virtual space, only recently having reached a point where we can believably immerse ourselves in a virtual reality with the current generation of VR headsets, like the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive.

In just a few years we have seen massive leaps in what is virtually possible, and the current round of VR solutions have shown that this technology is here to stay, and not just a passing fad. Soon the novelty of virtual interaction will subside, and the expectation of access to the valuable and invisible information floating all around us will be common. 

It’s an exciting time to be alive as we get to watch a parallel reality being revealed.

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Happy Birthday Melbourne

November 2, 2016

Happy Birthday Melbourne

Happy One-Year Birthday, to Our TCW Melbourne Furniture Showroom!

Melbourne, thank you for embracing our Victoria team and for making us feel like part of your community. Over the past year we’ve opened 1 new showroom, hosted 2 events, launched 3 new brands, and completed 89 projects. Not to mention the hundreds of unique faces who’ve crossed our path.  

Again, thank you, Melbourne.

Situated in one of Melbourne’s highly regarded hot spots, The St James Precinct, the showroom quickly became a rather unconventional office space within a more conventional office building. TCW Melbourne was designed in collaboration with Interiors firm PTID. Together, our intent was to provide clients with a community space of their own – a place to work, to connect and to relax.

“Happy Birthday to Melbourne! We hope that everyone that attended our birthday had a fantastic time celebrating with us.”

TCW Melbourne has brought a fresh, and more holistic solution to the Melbourne commercial furniture industry – quality product, great service and competitive pricing. This combination was our goal and so far we’ve been blown away by the response of the Melbourne A&D community and with the niche we’ve been able to fill.

Some of our most memorable projects to date include:

Arup, Buchan Group Melbourne, Castle Towers Sydney, C02CRC, Central Queensland University, Dan Murphy’s, DST Bluedoor, Monash Law Faculty, Porsche Cars Australia, Qantas, Renault Australia, UNIQLO, Julliard, Australia Post, Sidra Solutions, Holman Fenwick Wilan

If you haven’t made your way up to Level 4 at 535 Bourke Street, we encourage you to pop in for a welcome visit. Local residents, Robbie Lloyd and Patricia Esser, will be happy to great you, brew you a coffee, and if you act quickly, there may be some leftover birthday cake in store for you too.

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The Day I Met Eames Demetrios – Grandson of Charles and Ray Eames

February 20, 2016

Meeting Eames Detmetrios

As told by TCW Director Kasim Ali-Khan – Last weekend had 2 personal highlights. The first was winning nearest the pin at Wakehurst, a birdie and the promise of beer. The second requires a little more explaining…

EAMES DEMETRIOS needs to be recognised as a global and interstellar traveller, poet and story teller. In the world of CS Lewis there are fictional characters appealing to children with a parallel meaning to adults, inviting the symbolism of Aslan as Christ and the world of the stars and constellations. 2 layers operating in a mesh of fiction and symbolism. Eames has created a world with a series of “markers” in 127 locations around the world in remote places, under water and in more popular spots, where stories unfolds with a tint of local flavour and characters with creatures from the deep depths of his mind. Welcome to Kcymaerxthaere. Eames has overlaid “Earth” with his parallel world of design and creativity having no boundaries to the imagination of form and function. Throw in characters, stories and places in Kcymaerxthaere where “Nobunaga” links “Alcibiades” at the “Adalanta Desert” across the parallel universe with the current geography of the world and you have a vivid world of stories and possibilities.

Eames Demetrios, the grandson of Charles and Ray Eames, needs to be recognised as a global and interstellar traveller, poet and story teller. 

So there I was in a place, known in our world as Kangaroo Valley, a tranquil spot owned by Designer and Sculptor Alex Ritchie with Edward de Bono guardian, Amanda Mobbs, in the middle of the adventure to lay another piece of the world of Kcymaerxthaere here in our back yard. So the 128th marker was laid amongst a frenzy or formwork and setting concrete, with 1541 words ( not quite infinity less 29) a team of enthusiastic pilgrims just being a part of a story not yet written. As the shadows lengthened and the mossies tore into their work, the last letters were pressed and the crowning beer drank to a good days work. Eames indulged us with 20 minutes of his world and the vision for these markers and the promise to set out more in this land “we” call Australia. Not sure what I got out of this experience apart for an appreciative and commemorative shot glass for my participation, but I would not have traded the day and the experience of being a part of something important. One day the places and the characters will become household names like Aslan and the White Witch and when I take my grandkids to the marker in kangaroo valley and probably others, I can say I was a part of this adventure.

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TCW OPENS NEW MELBOURNE SHOWROOM

May 15, 2015

TCW Melbourne Opening

Here at TCW we love supporting change, progress, and improvement. That’s just what we do. We help our clients with their business changes and challenges each and every day. We also know it’s important to focus on our own transformation – to stay fresh and relevant to the clients we serve…to people like you!

CHECK OUT our latest Press Release to find our more about our stunning new Melbourne showroom and the recent Launch Party!

TCW (Tables Chairs & Workstations), is excited to announce that its Melbourne Showroom is now open.TCW proudly presented the new space during a stylish launch party on Thursday, May 28th. The evening included some of Victoria’s most well-known interior design and construction influencers, all of whom enjoyed an evening of socializing, live entertainment and an opportunity to casually explore some of TCW’s new products.

The showroom, located at 535 Bourke Street, Melbourne, marks a new stage for the Sydney-based, commercial furniture dealer who has undergone a recent rebrand and holds significant plans for continued expansion.

“TCW Melbourne has been designed to provide clients with a community space of their own,” says Melbourne Sales Manager, Robbie Lloyd, “a place to visit, to work, to relax and enjoy a conveniently located environment situated in one of Melbourne’s highly regarded hot spots – The St James Precinct.”

It was this sense of friendly community that was felt during the evening’s festivities and one that TCW wishes to continue to support. One designer remarked, “I’m getting to know my colleagues more tonight than I have in all the years we’ve worked together. This space is simply fantastic.”

TCW Melbourne was designed by renowned Interiors firm, PTID. Staying true to the brief – design something slightly unusual within a more conventional office space – TCW Melbourne boasts a dramatic black open ceiling, polished concrete floors and feature carpet by Interface. A warm, autumnal colour palette was chosen to coincide with TCW’s new mustard-yellow logo and current design trends.

On behalf of PTID, Director, Cameron Harvey commented, “TCW brings a much more holistic solution to the furniture supply industry. One that will provide a welcome sense of competition to the design marketplace in Melbourne”.

TCW’s Director, Kasim Ali-Khan, echoed this sentiment. “So why TCW and why Melbourne?” said Kasim, “By answering the market’s demand for great product, great service and competitive pricing, TCW aims to fill an existing gap between service offering and actual delivery.”

Kasim acknowledged the wonderful depth of design in Melbourne and congratulated all in attendance for being part of such a superior design community. He also expressed gratitude toward the brands that have helped to solidify the business (ActiuDauphin and Markant), as well as introduced the crowd to TCW’s latest manufacturers (LoOok Industriesand naughtone). Both align well with the residential and hospitality aesthetic increasingly found in today’s office environments. Others present included reputable ergonomic and accessory brands (Colebrook Bosson SaundersZgonicBeCodeOof).

If you haven’t had a chance to experience the new space for yourself, TCW welcomes you to schedule a tour and looks forward to meeting more of the Melbourne community.

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