This week, we’ll be looking at a big name in the NeoCon 2013 competition hosted by Contract Magazine. Herman Miller earned an innovation award for its Metaform Portfolio. The recognition is for the lightweight polypropelene that makes up the modular blocks in this systems furniture. Because each “block” weighs less than 20 pounds, employees can actually reconfigure their workspace on the fly. That’s a massive shift in thinking about office design. Instead of providing different spaces for head down and collaborative activities and having workers move from one spot to the next, employees can move the furniture around them. Facility managers may not think this “no tools, no rules” approach is necessarily a good thing, but it will certainly open up new possibilities.
One of the configurable features of Metaform is the addition of privacy screens that can be slotted into the top of each block. It’s a pretty sweet furniture system. Of course, you’re looking at a price of several thousand dollars per unit. So just adding OBEX privacy panels is going to be a lot more cost effective unless you plan to replace all your current workstations.