2. Where and how do you work?
What works best for me is to divide my time between working in my workshop, a space I share with other creators and where I can do the actual making and testing and where I do not have to worry about the mess. In this workshop I actually do a lot of work standing, or even sitting on the floor. And the other days of the week I work on location or meet collaborative partners and clients at coworking spaces and cafes, where there is great Wi-Fi, coffee and a good ambiance.
3. What was your inspiration for the OffSize elements?
The pieces are a result of observations I made rather than something like inspiration. I started noticing that typical home, and even contract, furniture was only used for a short time in the position that it was originally designed for. People actually use furniture in their own way, moving away from how it was originally intended. Like lounging on a couch with your legs pulled up, sitting on an armrest and leaning against a cupboard. There is something more dynamic and mobile going on in the static world we consider furniture to be. I see it as a quality and not as a violation of the rules for use. The OffSize elements are a new way of thinking about the use of furniture. The comfort they hold invites you to change your position and perspective, keep moving physically and mentally.
Photo: Seeking comfort in an uncomfortable chair by Bruno Munari, 1944
4. What does ‘’progressive office’’ mean to you?
The progressive office can only be seen as a necessity when you acknowledge that the world we live in is changing, which it undoubtedly is. Imagine our kids all grown up and ready to join the workforce. How they work, what kind of work they will do and the places they will work at will not look like the ones we know today. Defining our future workplace as the progressive office means it will hold the answers for change.
5. What is your vision for the future working landscape?
Next to the changing work environment, there is a growing sense of rethinking how we connect with the products in our workspace. The way we connect now and in the future with each other is more dynamic and flexible compared to the past and so the products we use in the office will have to adapt to this. There is a growing number of studies showing us that an active way of working produces more and better ideas and its healthier too. This is the way forward. I envision less working behind a desk and having shorter meetings on furniture that facilitates just that.
Photo: School of Athens by Raphael, animation by Léon de Lange
6. How does your design, the OffSize, fit into this?
The OffSize elements invite people to connect and exchange ideas, but not in a traditional meeting kind-of way. The elements for sitting, lounging and leaning are lightweight and mobile, so you can easily set up a little landscape that fits the type of ‘’meeting’’ you need. They open the floor for communication and connectivity.
7. How do you think office design influences knowledge workers?
The last few years you hear more and more people talking about activity-based-working (ABW) and sit-stand desks at the office. But when walking around the city and seeing all the office buildings I notice that the majority of office workers still sit all day behind their desks. An active way of sitting, leaning, hanging when we work creates better ideas. I experience this myself daily and there is scientific research which proofs this. Imagine what a world of ideas the knowledge workers would create if we make a big step forward and keep moving in the office!
Photo: Playtime by Jacques Tati, 1967
8. Does your work environment play a role when designing?
Where I work highly influences how I work. I’m not really stuck in one place, I rather choose a place that fits the type of work I am doing. When I work on graphics I need a neat and empty place to sit down, resembling a blank sheet of paper. But when I make models I work mostly standing and want a place surrounded with stuff and pieces of material. The visual world around me and the position I have in it highly influence the ideas and I want them to influence me.
9. What do you see happening in the future of office spaces and how we work?
In a world that keeps on digitalizing, where we connect and work online there will be a true hunger for actually meeting each other in person. There needs to be a space for this, an attractive place. I have ‘’offices’ all around the city. I choose the one I want for that day based on the kind of meeting I will have or the type of work I want to do. And the location, building, furniture, facilities and atmosphere that suits my mood.
Photo: Léon de Lange and his #007 OffSize at the launch in April, 2015
10. And what is the future role of interior design and product design?
Where we meet, we meet products as well. A product designer’s role is to think about and answer the needs in a new dynamic work landscape. The space should have meaning and function and so should the products surrounding us as well. In order for products to be more attractive and important they must really work and provide a space for the needs of the user.
2016 signifies our 10 year anniversary, as Prooff was launched at the 2006 Biennale Interieur (Kortrijk). To celebrate this we’d love to share our insights and inspiration on the progressive and innovative workspace with you. All in list form, because who doesn't love a good list! Check out all the lists here and celebrate with us using #Prooff10
Photo: Mobile office, source unknown, 1961
Prooff's EarChairs in Moscow
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Multi-coloured restaurant area in Stuttgart
UnternehmenForm GmbH selected numerous colourful WorkSofas for the restaurant area of an automotive company in Germany.
A room within a room at Süwag
German dealer Raumgesichte wanted to create different types of workspaces in the atrium of the Süwag office and selected several Niches.